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Climbing Kili with a very fit 12 year old. Recommendations?

maui, hi
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Climbing Kili with a very fit 12 year old. Recommendations?

We are about to book a Kili climb with our very fit 12 year old for December. We are wondering if anyone has done this or knows someone who has done it. We would greatly appreciate any advice.

Also, has anyone given their child diamox? We are not crazy about using it but would hate for our son (or us) get sick and not ascent.

maui, hi
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21. Re: Climbing Kili with a very fit 12 year old. Recommendations?

We just went to our pediatrician for a check up and ask about climbing Kili for my 12 year old, as well as the use of diamox. He said that diamox is used frequently to treat children for a variety of ailments (like meningitis, for one) and said that it is safe. He said it would be a good idea to bring it in case there is an emergency and our son gets sick, but would not recommend using it as a precaution while hiking, which some adults seem to do.

West Vancouver...
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22. Re: Climbing Kili with a very fit 12 year old. Recommendations?

Hi!

We've just come back from Kilimanjaro where we summited with our 12 year old son. We did give him altitude sickness medication and there were no side effects. It was his second time at high altitude (once in the Andes) so that likely helped. He was fine, although the summit night was horrible for all of us. I agree with the recommendation to not go with any budget operators!

Stanley, Falkland...
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23. Re: Climbing Kili with a very fit 12 year old. Recommendations?

Which route? Which operator? What preparation? (I don't think the Andean trip would have made a lot of difference to his body, but what do I know?).

Nashville, Tennessee
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24. Re: Climbing Kili with a very fit 12 year old. Recommendations?

Agree with Peter, the Andean trip would have NOTHING to do with success or acclimation. Also, as I stated in two previous posts, the anecdotal success or use by one single child in no way indicates the success or side effects in your child. It only gives false hope.

Your pediatrician is right that Diamox is used frequently in kids to TREAT illness, but has not been studied to PREVENT altitude sickness. It does have side effects, even in treating meningitis and the such. "Safe" is a relative term. The yellow fever vaccine is safe yet is debated daily on this forum by people as the the reasonableness of getting it.

Edited: 11 September 2013, 03:42
Minneapolis...
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25. Re: Climbing Kili with a very fit 12 year old. Recommendations?

Glad the hike went well for the family, especially the 12 year old who will have a lifetime memory...

One thing I always like to mention is that altitude sickness is very variable... even for an individual. It is not the case that somebody who does well at altitude will always do well at altitude, or someone who gets altitude sickness is prone to it and will always experience it.

I've spent weeks "at altitude" - hiking and climbing with groups of various ages. I hiked with guys who never had a problem and thought they were immune - and then they experienced severe symptomes at relatively moderate altitudes on a subsequent trip... You just can't generalize... you can just keep watch for the symptomes and respond appropriately. I have used diamox on occasion, though its diuretic effect became so irritating that I only used it in the last years at real altitude - like in Peru.

Case in point... one of America's most famous climbers - Willi Unsoeld. One of the first American team to summit Everest... famous guide and teacher. He named his daughter Nanda Devi after the second highest peak in India. She became an experienced mountaineer and, at age 22, was a member of Willi's expedition to climb her namesake. At 24,000 she died of altitude sickness. Experienced... and surrounded by very experienced climbers... she died. Willi and Devi's fiance' placed her in her sleeping bag and "consigned her to the deep" - threw her body over a precipice.

You can't predict - you need to be vigilant and... unless you are like Willi, who said he had "no regrets..." ... be conservative and careful.

United States
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26. Re: Climbing Kili with a very fit 12 year old. Recommendations?

The minimum age for climbing Kilimanjaro is 10 years old. However, it is possible to get approval for exceptions from Kilimanjaro National Park. Our youngest clients have been 7 year olds, who fared very well, making it to Gillman's Point (5681m) on their own accord. As a general rule, we do not take minors on Kilimanjaro unless they have significant hiking experience, preferably with some at high altitude, and are accompanied by a guardian who is a strong hiker and is known to acclimatize well. My recommendation is for you to do a trek at high altitude to see how you and he fares (a weekend trip to Mauna Loa 4169m is perfect).

Climb with a guide/company that has successfully lead children and can handle emergencies on the mountain. Know that being tired is OK but being sick is not. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. Always err on the side of caution. Do not push your son to summit, but rather let him know it is totally fine to turn around.

Mfuwe, Pork Pies? LOL.

Regarding Aaryan Bilaji, the 7 year old Indian whom reports claim to have summited Kilimanjaro, several of our clients who were alongside him for much of his expedition reported seeing the child being literally carried up the mountain during summit night. So although the article is true, in that Aaryan reached the top, he did not do it under his own power.

Lastly, while acclimatization is mostly genetic, it is an exaggeration to state that fitness does not matter (at all). Being fit means your body does not have to work as much on the mountain as a whole, which means your body can use its resources to acclimatize instead. By minimizing the stress factors on your body, the easier it is to acclimatize. So do not ignore fitness and training if you intend to climb Kilimanjaro.

Windham, Connecticut
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27. Re: Climbing Kili with a very fit 12 year old. Recommendations?

My husband and I climbed Kili a year ago and are going again in 2014, this time with our 15 year old. His pediatrician is prescribing Diamox for him as we also took some. I have lots of good advice.

Windham, Connecticut
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28. Re: Climbing Kili with a very fit 12 year old. Recommendations?

My husband and I climbed Kili a year ago and are going again in 2014, this time with our 15 year old. His pediatrician is prescribing Diamox for him as we also took some. Can't advise you as to whether your 12 yr old should use Diamox but I agree with previous posts regarding being physically fit. Of course it helps to be fit but I've seen 20+ yr olds that looked fit giving up because they were exhausted. I personally, age 41 didn't have any issues with the altitude at all. No one knows until they go! Since we made it to Uhuru we want our son to have the same experience. I say GO FOR IT with your son... An experience of a lifetime that he will remember forever! Good luck!

maui, hi
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29. Re: Climbing Kili with a very fit 12 year old. Recommendations?

Our 12-year-old made it to the top of Kili on November 30, 2013! We used Marangu Hotel, which I highly, highly recommend. They were extremely professional, knowledgeable and most of all, safe. I personally only made it to Gilman's Point because I was so sick, but my husband and son made it all the way to Uhuru. We did the 5-day Marangu route and it was an unbelievable experience. Overall, the physical aspect as far as muscle strength was very easy for us. The summit day, however, was difficult, due to all of us having altitude sickness, with mine being the most severe.

Thank you to everyone on this forum for all of your helpful advice and information. Trip Advisor is the best!

I will be posting more detailed information about our climb with Marangu Hotel later. We will be eternally grateful to them and how much they took care of us.

maui, hi
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189 posts
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30. Re: Climbing Kili with a very fit 12 year old. Recommendations?

Our 12-year-old son made it to Uhuru Peak (the top of Africa) on November 30, 2013! We used Marangu Hotel and they were amazing--professional, knowledgeable, honest, and safe. We will always be grateful to them and how well they took care of us.. I will be writing reviews about their hotel and climbing company, but I wanted to thank all of you who helped us on Trip Advisor with such useful and thoughtful information.

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