Pole, pole….slowly, slowly. The guides and porters on Kilimanjaro say it frequently to their clients. Going pole, pole greatly increases your chances of getting to Uhuru Peak.
So whether you’re at 10,000 feet or 19,000 feet, chances are you’re going to go pole, pole. And if you don’t, if you’re a young, brash man who is in terrific shape and you’re certain you can go much faster, chances are you’re going to find yourself with a debilitating headache, unable to eat or breathe. So listen to those who have been up their hundreds of times. They know.
Then on the way down, all that gets tossed aside. You’re wanting to go slowly, pole, pole, and they are racing past you with your supplies on their heads, running and sliding down that mountain. Going down is much harder than going up. You want to step carefully, you’re afraid you’ll fall, so you take your time, and wow, your knees and your thighs begin to scream. You start to feel blisters on your toes. And by “you”, I mean “me”.
So next time I’m coming down that mountain I’m going to do what they do; reckless abandon, letting gravity take me down. My knees will thank me.