Sunday, May 25, 2014

Climbing Kilimanjaro... or altitude sickness

 not my own photo - something I found on Google images

Maddie was to be climbing Kilimanjaro this week, but we got a call this morning to say that she was unwell and was making her way back down to the Marangu Gate.
We are so disappointed for her - she was so excited to be doing the climb.

Apparently altitude sickness can come from 2438m. She woke up this morning at the Mandara camp (2700m) not feeling at all well and having trouble breathing. Such a shame as she made it up Mt Meru last year without any issues.

From WebMD
Altitude sickness occurs when you cannot get enough oxygen from the air at high altitudes. This causes symptoms such as a headache, loss of appetite, and trouble sleeping. It happens most often when people who are not used to high altitudes go quickly from lower altitudes to 8000 ft (2438 m) or higher. For example, you may get a headache when you drive over a high mountain pass, hike to a high altitude, or arrive at a mountain resort.
Mild altitude sickness is common. Experts do not know who will get it and who will not. Neither your fitness level nor being male or female plays a role in whether you get altitude sickness.
Air is "thinner" at high altitudes. When you go too high too fast, your body cannot get as much oxygen as it needs. So you need to breathe faster. This causes the headache and other symptoms of altitude sickness. As your body gets used to the altitude, the symptoms go away
The symptoms of altitude sickness include:
  • A headache, which is usually throbbing. It gets worse during the night and when you wake up.
  • Not feeling like eating.
  • Feeling sick to your stomach. You may vomit.
  • Feeling weak and tired. In severe cases, you do not have the energy to eat, dress yourself, or do anything.
  • Waking up during the night and not sleeping well.
  • Feeling dizzy.
Your symptoms may be mild to severe. They may not start until a day after you have been at a high altitude. Many people say altitude sickness feels like having a hangover.
Altitude sickness can affect your lungs and brain. When this happens, symptoms include being confused, not being able to walk straight (ataxia), feeling faint, and having blue or gray lips or fingernails. When you breathe, you may hear a sound like a paper bag being crumpled. These symptoms mean the condition is severe. It may be deadly.  


  1. glad to hear she's coming down and is safe despite it being disappointing for her.... what an amazing photo!

  2. Darcy got it quite badly when we were in the high parts of Bolivia. Apparently you can get some times and not others. So it doesn't mean she can never do altitude stuff.