Hiker mamas: Kilimanjaro postpartum?

posted 8 months ago in Travel
Post # 2
526 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I have no advice for you (I’m not a hiker), but another question might be what to do with your pumped milk- assuming you’re not dumping it? Friends that hiked Mt K some years ago took 6 days (I think they had a weather delay or ssomething)- so potentially you’d have quite a bit to either store, or dump (clutches pearls).  On the other side, you might not still be nursing at 6 mos, so maybe it’s a non issue? By when do you have to decide? Sounds like a fun adventure. 

Post # 3
1056 posts
Bumble bee

I definitely think it’s doable. I climbed Kili about 4 months after I had mono. The biggest challenge with a mountain like Kili is the altitude (duh!) making people either sick to their stomach or cerebral edema – so most fail to summit due to altitude sickness. I think people really underestimate what effect it can have. I saw so many hikers getting sick or turning back because of the altitude – not because they were necessarily out of shape. So if you have access to any place to do a little training at higher elevations, I’d highly recommend it. And if you can spend more days on Kili acclimatizing, even better. We did it 4 days total, which was pretty aggressive. But my ex was a mountain climber so I didn’t have a choice. LOL. We also made sure to take Diamox to help with the altitude sickness. Another issue, as you’ve said, is the temp at the top hut and and when summiting. You leave for the summit around midnight (it takes about 7-8 hours to the summit – the idea is to arrive at sunrise) so it is bitter cold and windy. But there are some amazing subzero clothing products out there now; I don’t really think body weight is a factor in that regard. Also, if you do the Marangu route, the climb from the top hut (Kibo) to the summit has a very steep section that is a lot of scree rock so it is physically challenging and slow going. You take one step and slide backwards…. It would help to train for that vertical incline as it can kick your butt at that altitude. But it’s an absolutely amazing, magical mountain! 

Post # 4
712 posts
Busy bee

While I love the idea, I think 6 months postpartum will be hard! I don’t think 2-3 hikes will really suffice as practice, you really need to do quite a bit of prep. It’s a respectable sized  mountain, and I’ve heard it is fairly strenuous, especially for the uninitiated. Winging it, especially with a postpartum body, is probably not a good idea.

My second concern if you’re pumping and dumping is: that’s a lot of work to be doing at a high altitude, and you will risk dehydration. You’ll need to have extra water supplies, extra food supplies, extra time to pump, and some extra time to rest. That will significantly impact the planning and logistics of your trip, and if you were getting a guide, they may not be able to accommodate your needs. 

Post # 5
586 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2017 - Nepal

wahwahwah :  This is an awesome goal! The altitude will likely be your biggest challenge. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, everyone’s body responds differently regardless of fitness level. Do you have experience hiking at higher altitudes? If not, it may be  a good idea to get some hikes at altitude in before conceiving to see how you do. I think summiting 14ers (depending on where you are located) can help give you an idea of how susceptible you are to Acute Mountain Sickness. As PP mentioned, Diamox can be very helpful and your primary care doctor can prescribe this before you go. Also bear in mind that the Kili hike takes roughly 9-10 days not including rountrip travel to KLM.

Post # 7
2498 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

wahwahwah :  My co-worker did it about 2 years ago and loved it. She trained for 6 months, did a few 14-ers in Colorado, and hiked locally every chance she got. I believe she did the 8 day trip to the summit. And she said it was HARD. The altitude made her queasy and she had the worst headache. Based on the logistics you mentioned, it might be better to wait till 2021 so you have time to recover from baby #2 (good luck, BTW), focus on your health, train, etc. 

But the biggest question is: Do YOU want to climb Kilimanjaro? And why? You didn’t mention why this appeals to you, just that you agreed to go on this adventure. If this is a bucket-list item and you really really really want to do it, I think it’s doable with some serious planning. 

Post # 8
2348 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

My sister climbed it and got cerebral edema… started hallucinating, etc.  Your brain starts swelling and you need to descend quickly to avoid serious serious issues!  That’s not a usual experience obviously, but point being, it’s a hardcore mountain, especially given the extreme altitude.

I’m 5 months postpartum right now and wouldn’t even consider something like that for at least another 6 months.  And I’m signed up to run a half marathon in July, so I’m not a total slouch or anything.  The combination of not being in very good shape, and the altitude, would just make this a completely miserable experience IMO!

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