Since I have been here in Tanzania, there is a term “pole pole” (po-lee po-lee) that I have heard a lot. It translates as “slow, slow” but when used as a single word “pole” it can mean “I’m sorry” and an expression of condolence or it can mean, “I really appreciate what you are doing”. People who are in too much of a hurry are told “pole pole” to stop rushing and to pace themselves. On the mountain this is incredibly important. There are many cautionary tales of very fit climbers who fail to heed their guide’s “pole pole” only to have to abandon their climb of Kilimanjaro because of altitude sickness. About 1/3 of climbers do not reach the top because of altitude sickness. Our guide tells me that only 45 percent of people who attempt a five day route summit. The best way to minimize altitude sickness is to aclimatize slowly. I believe that the same applies to other challenges. Often when we try to go too fast and don’t pace ourselves, we lose motivation, get injured or run into problems because we are not as well prepared as we need to be. I am wondering how pacing applies or does not apply to your Kilimanjaro. Please let us know. Mark.
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