Thursday, December 14, 2006

8 Foolish Tips For Kili!...And Other Stories

One of my physiotherapists has climbed Kilimanjaro before, so she gave me six tips. I've picked up a couple more too. So, in true Foolish style, here they are:

  1. Make sure your platypus has an insulated drinking tube. Most people in my physio's troupe didn't have this, so the tube froze. It's not pleasant having to stop and take your water out of your bag all the time!
  2. She reiterated Gill's earlier advice about taking the herb gingko biloba for altitude.
  3. She said take zinc-oxide tape (it's like very strong plasters). Apparently even compeed after a few days can get worn down/off when walking up and down, so this stuff will hold it on. I'll be bringing some for my knee anyway, so you could always steal some off me if necessary.
  4. On the last day, don't forget to put sun cream on your face and to leave the bottle in your bag. It may be freezing, but if you don't you'll be dreadfully sunburned!
  5. "If you think you've got too many clothes, you're wrong!" she said. It's freezing!
  6. She also recommended that you get the prescription drug Diamox (also known as acetazolamide) for altitude sickness. This was backed up by Fool UK co-founder Dr. David Berger when I spoke with him at (former Fool MD) Bruce's leaving-do. He said: "If I was climbing Kili, I'd take it."
  7. So I need to go to the docs for this drug, but I also need to get my vaccines. Problem is, my surgery has always been unreliable and it's now told me that I can't get Hep A, tetanus and polio jabs for free, which many NHS surgeries will do. So I'm going to try and find a new surgery this afternoon, as it could save me about £100.
  8. My mum (a veteran traveller/walker) said that she soaks her sleeping bag and outside socks with insect-repellant before she leaves. (The spray has to be suitable for fabrics.) By 3,500 metres (or was it feet? I can't remember...) we shouldn't have trouble with insects, but there's always the jungle to walk through...

That wasn't a slip of the keyboard in the first paragraph. I did mean to say "one of my physiotherapists". I've been seeing a physio at my gym about my knee for the past month or so, but I wanted a second opinion, which I have got through the NHS. Unfortunately, the second opinion is different from the first! They both think it's my knee cap, but one thinks it's sliding to the right and the other thinks it's just a bit lose on the left-hand side. They have given me different instructions in how I should tape my knee up and they both want me to strengthen and stretch different muscles - in fact, the opposite ones.

So dilemma. Who do I believe? Neither inspires that trust that you hope for in medical professionals, but which is rarely found. They both seem fairly competent...They're OK I think, but young and not massively experienced. Neither sticks out above the other. So I'm researching on the Internet. I can't believe that you need six years of study before you can diagnose a knee injury. I'm also going to try out the second physios methods for a bit longer to see how they compare with the first's. If I'm still not happy, I'll have to get a third opinion. Damn it!

Now: sponsorship. I thought it would be a good idea if I speak with our sales team at work to see if any of our partners would be willing to sponsor us. There are some big names, many of them banks, which usually have hefty philanthropy budgets in order to convince people they're not all that nasty after all. This sort of thing may be right up their street.

I also thought of doing a bring-and-buy sale of CDs. Get everyone at work to bring in the CDs they don't want and they can buy what they want for a fiver. I'm going to try to convince someone at my last company to do the same for me, as it has 140 employees. Any CDs not sold I could sell on eBay. I'll look into all this on Monday.

Kili climbers - do any of you play chess? Is it worth me bringing a miniature chess set with me?

Now, I haven't commented on any of your last posts for ages, so here goes:

Andy quoted guidance from Explore! "Sleeping mat: an inflatable thermarest style mat is essential in order to help you get a good night's rest." As I recall, Jon seemed less than convinced about thermarest mats when we did our walk in Surrey, but I think they do a good job at making you more comfortable. Also, they help to keep you warm apparently, so I'm definitely taking mine.

Andy also said: "Sleeping aids: you may find ear plugs and an eye mask useful at night (in case the neighbours are throwing a really noisy party)." It'll probably be Andy and Gill throwing the party. You know how they can talk! So Eszter, Steve and Jon, we should all seriously consider the ear plugs. Although neither of them are unkind on the eyes, so we could give the eye masks a miss, unless we're feeling unkind.

Eszter: "What do you mean no need for the blusher and the mascara?! You know I always need to look my best, and that's going to be hard enough at 4am, when we've been climbing upwards for three hours in the dark and cold, and the summit is still many hours away!" I agree, I don't go anywhere without my blusher and mascara.


Blogger MRS M said...

I like your ideas Neil - we've certainly got loads of CD's to dispose of....
As for the partying, isn't that what we're going for? I thought we'd be having one every night. And don't forget it's my birthday on the way up - I'm definitely expecting a party that night!

4:08 PM  
Blogger Former Fat Guy dot Com said...

Definatly bring more clothes than you think you're going to need as it truely is cold on that last day. From my recent climb of Kilimanjaro, another tip is to bring an insulated cover for your nalgene bottle. I took mine and I'm glad I did as that last day, you'll want to keep any warm tea you make to stay warm. You can view my recent Kilimanjaro Summit Photos on my blog

7:47 PM  
Blogger Former Fat Guy dot Com said...

Oh, and if you're going to Africa, make sure to take a BUNCH of pens. The kids all ask for pens and you'll be hearing about it many times per day. We all wished we'd brought more pens or at least bought a bunch when we got to Tanzania. Seems a simple way to create a great moment in a kids life.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Great fundraising ideas, Neil - go for it! (I've got LOADS of 1980s CDs that are surplus to requirements...just not sure anyone will want to buy them).
Chess sounds good - we'll be able to play after dinner in the drawing room, with cigars and brandy.

12:19 AM  
Blogger Neil said...

Brandy sounds good. Do you think the porters wil carry our dining room?

Yes Gill, we'll have parties every night, and a big party on your birthday...although I may mostly have soft drinks if it falls on the fifth night of the ascent!

6:15 PM  
Blogger Dale said...

Happy Holidays! Don't eat too much, you'll throw the whole team out of whack! Tick tick tick.

2:27 AM  

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