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Ive heard that climbing Kilimanjaro doesn't require any mountaineering skills and is really just a (very difficult) hike?

Is that true? Is there any gear I would need besides traditional hiking equipment?

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up vote 16 down vote accepted

The friends I know who have done this have said that it is just a long uphill walk - but the altitude increase means the temperature drop is incredible - from +25 Celsius to -25 Celsius, the equivalent of moving from the equator to the Antarctic over a few days.

So you want layers and layers of clothing.

It can also be very wet - some altitudes are often cloud-locked - so be prepared for rain and cloud.

Have a look at, where they have a great description of the zones you will encounter:

  • Bushland
  • Rainforest
  • Heath
  • Alpine desert
  • Arctic
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If you take the tourist route you "just" walk up.

The big challenge is the altitude, make sure you walk slowly to get used to it.

In addition to Rory's answer take some sun glasses. I came down on a stretcher once after getting snow blinded :)

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It depends on which route you take. The most common routes are all classed as trek which means you are basically walking. There are some less popular routes that encompass some climbing/scrambling such as the western breach route.

Equipment wise the main thing you will be dealing with is the cold. Lightweight summer boots may not be sufficient and you will definitely need a down jacket.

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