Getting ready for big mountain hiking

We describe big mountains as those with peaks above 4,000m asl. Are you looking at climbing some big mountains in the year? Here is our summarised simple guide in how to be prepared for it.

You train for mountain climbing by climbing mountains. Without involving complicated fitness regimens, it is as simple as that.
You can start with hikes up your neighbourhood hill/rock, upgrade to bigger hills, small mountains and also regularly take on advanced 5-6 hour hiking trails.

You can also consider the intense indoor fitness regimen but one thing for sure is mountain climbing fitness is way different from the gym fitness. Many fitness buffs have found it hard to climb mountains.

So ultimately, if you are looking at Climbing the Rwenzori, sign up for Muhabura and Elgon first.

Climbing mountains is not cheap. It often involves a lot of travel and days spent away from home. This comes with a lot of expenses so saving up is top on preparation for the big mountains. Most expenses are on gear, food and travel. So saving up weeks in advance will get you hitting that goal for the ultimate experience without needing to break the bank.

Gear and essentials
No one has all the gear they need and you cannot buy all gear you need for climbing in one day. So part of preparation for big mountain climbing should be putting together gear months or weeks prior.

Here is a comprehensive list of all the gear and essentials you will need for the big mountain.

Sleeping bag efficient below 0 degrees
Optional: sleeping bag liner
Strong waterproof hiking shoes/boots
Crocs or slip-on shoes for the campsite
Balaclava or face cover for summit day
Summit jacket and summit pants
Head lamp (with extra batteries)
Waterproof summit gloves
Light gloves or glove liners
Daypack and rain cover
Large waterproof bag(60L or more)
Altitude sickness medication (Diamox)
Other medications (e.g. charcoal tabs for tummy trouble, deep heat for sore muscles, pain killers, etc.)
Energy bars, snacks & drinks
Camera & a power bank
Two warm knit hats/ Beanie hat
1-2 sets of thermal underwear (long-johns)
1-2 fleece or down layers
Hiking trousers and tops
Polarized sunglasses
6+ pairs of warm (preferably wool) hiking socks
Sun hat
Rain jacket and rain pants (optional)
Water container (2-3 liters of water daily)

Walking /hiking sticks
Leg gaiters for your boots
Extra batteries or personal power bank and charger (a necessity if you take pictures)
Hot water bottle for cold nights
Travel pillow or extra blanket
Four season tent (are often included as part of the mountain fees but at the end of the day you need to own one)

You can get all this gear from the Sunny Outdoors gear store.

Happy climbing!