Earlier this month, Ben Scott took on the challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro as part of a charity group for ‘Help for Heroes’. Mount Kilimanjaro is 5,895m in height, and by taking the Machame route it is a 62,000m long trek. The greatest challenge is the lack of oxygen, as at the peak of Kilimanjaro oxygen levels drop to around 10%, half of what is available at sea-level.

Ben started training 3 months prior to his Kilimanjaro trek. After undergoing a Mountaineering Consultation here at our centre, he found out he was sensitive to low oxygen which is found at altitude. Acknowledging this, he regularly came into the chamber to undergo Intermittent Hypoxic Exposure sessions to pre-acclimatise before his trip. He then developed his training by adding exercise into the mix.

Passive pre-acclimatisation is a great way to train your body before you go to any altitude. However, walking for 62 km with a heavy bag on your back, and constant incline isn’t easy. Therefore he began to raise the altitude and climb to higher inclines using the treadmill. Very close to the climb, Ben actually attempted to climb Kilimanjaro in a day here at the centre. This involved having different simulated altitudes and different inclines to mimic the different parts of the Machame route. Once altitudes reached around 3500m, Ben wore an exercise mask which filtered in air with oxygen levels as high as the top of Kilimanjaro. This was a great way for Ben to get the pre-acclimatisation he needed as well as feel for the demand this trek would place on his body.

We are pleased to say that Ben reached the summit with triumph and claimed the trek to be the best experience of his life.

Before the ‘Help for Heroes’ group went to Kilimanjaro, they were invited to a seminar here at the centre. Here they learnt a lot about altitude and the risks associated with it, as well as having a go at exercising in the chamber in simulated altitudes. We are pleased to say that out of a massive group of 30, 29 summited, and we hope this was helped by what they learnt here at the centre.

On behalf of The Altitude Centre, we would like to congratulate Ben and the other trekkers on their great success for such a great cause.