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Mt. Kenya Planning Acclimatisation Health & Safety
Equipment Environment

Climbing Mount Kenya has unique medical implications. Mount Kenya, known for its steep faces and rapidly rising altitude, and has claimed as much as 50% of all the high altitude pulmonary oedema cases in the world each year. Mt. Kenya is safe as long as preparations are made to ensure safety. A strong prevention programme has significantly reduced the amount of mountain sickness cases in Mt. Kenya.


A little planning could save yourself and others from being involved in unnecessary dangerous situations. Persons attempting to climb Mt. Kenya should be in excellent physical condition with a reasonable goal of being the ability to run five miles in forty five minutes. There are no absolute medical contra-indications to climbing to altitude, except for certain cardiac and pulmonary diseases for which effected persons should consult physicians. Good conditioning will allow the climber to enjoy his/her work at altitude, without being totally fatigued.


Additional preparations also include enough food, water and protection from the elements. These should be well thought about. Mental altitude prior to commencing a climb is most important. Success at any cost can kill without reason. A proper frame of mind and mental altitude on the mountain are thus critical.

Water purification tablets: on the mountain, we use water from the streams. Although drinking water boiled first should be ok, it is also advisable to add a tablet or two to be on the safe side.

Acute mountain sickness (A.M.S): This is a condition commonly experienced at high altitude. In most cases this can be avoided by the following guidelines on hiking pace, eating, resting and good fluid intake. We recommend you familiarise yourself with various effects that altitude can cause. Please consult your doctor on use of Diamox-tablets used by some mountaineers to help them cope with effects of altitude.

Photograph taken by Martin Mergili
Development in Cooperation with the Institute of Geography of the University of Innsbruck, Austria. Project Leader: A.o.Prof. Dr. Ernst Steinicke
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