My short bio:

My name is Sae Han Sol Chung, and I am a 26 years old Korean. Got out of conscription in late January, and currently I'm a freelancer.

I climbed Kilimanjaro via 6-days Lemosho route from February 20th-25th. 20th was day 1. I had climbed many mountains in Korea, and also climbed Mt. Fuji last July. I wasn't obese at that time but after sustaining an ankle injury and resting for 3 months, I became quite badly out of shape. I believe my weight during the trip was around 96kg (211 pounds).

I just wrote this and attached a single photo of myself along with a completion certificate to show that you can climb Kilimanjaro even if you are obese.

Feel free to ask me anything!

My Proof:

Comments: 2132 • Responses: 76  • Date: 

zeamp2256 karma

Are you really considered obese where you're from?

American here, asking for a friend.

Saehansol1527 karma

Yes, at 96kg and 173cm tall I was considered obese :(

luckydice12241595 karma

What was your biggest obstacle you had to overcome?

Saehansol2126 karma

For me it was actually pressing on with my irritated stomach and actually eating meals regularly. My appetite dropped further I went, and my stomach was trolling until the very end.

tbcze425 karma

What irritated it? Local food (different to what are you used)?

PDXEng558 karma

It could have been the altitude. Some people it makes feel like they have the flu

Saehansol596 karma

Strangely it was mostly only my stomach but I did think that altitude had much to do with it as well.

hungryfarmer53 karma

And in a close second, the steep ass incline right before Stella point.

Saehansol73 karma

Oh god the nightmare of slopes after another.

epacseno1087 karma

  1. If I have understood it correctly, there are different routes to the top. Which one did you take and would you recommend yours?

  2. How much did the trip cost?

Saehansol1310 karma

  1. I took 6-days Lemosho Route to the top. It was actually pretty okay but the summit day and day 2 was brutal.

  2. It costed around $3,200 for trip operator fee + flight, and another $600 for tips and expenses.

VenetianGreen293 karma

What kind of freelancing do you do?

Saehansol491 karma

I'm a translator :)

brasies726 karma

That’s amazing! Was the climb hard for you especially with an old ankle injury?

Saehansol857 karma

Actually I was very conscious of that injury and thought it might get painful. Thankfully it didn't hurt because everyone in there recommended their clients to go slowly slowly (pole pole in African)! The pain and discomfort didn't kick in due to calm pace.

Armadillo19483 karma

Did you see any cool animals or birds?

Saehansol640 karma

I saw strange looking ravenish-felican birds, some monkeys, and plants unique to Kilimanjaro. My guide told me that hyenas appear at night sometimes but I didn't see them which I consider a good thing.

iwhitt567438 karma

Does it rise like Olympus of the Serengeti?

Saehansol259 karma

It was pretty gradual except for some parts with moderately steep climbs!

AlwaysCuriousHere183 karma

Did the climb help you lose weight? Do you feel stronger after? Great job btw! Getting out there, improving yourself, and then being brave enough to share it so others can be inspired!

Saehansol227 karma

I do believe I lost some weight, and I think my body actually got more resilient over time. Thank you for your compliment!

Badoit1778178 karma

Did you find your size a helped With the cold? And did your size help by having more energy stored over the multi day trek?

Saehansol262 karma

Actually I'm very weak to coldness and worn 4 layers of clothes in the summit day. Energy part though, I think actually eating and storing good amount of food helped me keep push on at higher altitude, over 4,000 meters.

douche_canoe7765 karma

What was the temp at the summit?

Saehansol153 karma

Didnt measure but i remember that an opened can of juice started freezing quite quickly. Also the cold started penetrating my 4 layers of clothing.

Rokksolidrees166 karma

Did you fly into Kenya or Tanzania? Also what tour group for you go with?

Saehansol247 karma

I flew to Kenya and then took a transit flight to Kilimanjaro Airport. I went with the Monkey Adventures. They are nice.

gutterandstars100 karma

How was the hike?

Saehansol225 karma

It wasn't technically challenging, but mentally tough because it was the first time for me camp out in high altitude mountain for 6 days. My irritable bowel syndrome also got worse on high altitude and that was quite a pain. Other than that I enjoyed climbing and seeing jaw-dropping scenaries!

_ferpilicious71 karma

Check out the FODMAP diet for your IBS. Dietitians are starting to push it where I'm from and a lot of people are having success with it. I found out I had a pork allergy because of it.

Saehansol63 karma

Thanks for the advise! Will definitely check it out.

Sev7241 karma

How did you manage your IBS on the hike? I'm sure it couldn't have been fun.

Saehansol67 karma

Tried my best to empty my bowel before the trek of the day begun, and drank plenty of warm water along the way.

Stsat95 karma

Did you encounter any interesting wildlife?

Saehansol125 karma

Yes! Monkeys, some weird looking birds and plants unique to Kilimanjaro!

whatspeat80 karma

Have you always wanted to climb mountains?

Saehansol367 karma

Actually I only started taking interest last year. I started with some Korean mountains and eventually climbed Fuji in Japan. My desire to climb peaked then.

kak-4761 karma

Does your culture shame you for being your size? 211 pounds in America is overlooked especially if you are out climbing mountains. Unless you are 4 foot tall

Saehansol208 karma

Well even my dad was like 'how did you climb that mountain? You are so out of shape and your stomach is so big.'

wasthatlatin87 karma

Your stomach might be big but your heart is much bigger.

Saehansol71 karma

Awww thank you (hugs)

dissenter_the_dragon47 karma

Do you play Tekken?

Saehansol88 karma

Used to main Law but now I'm just a scrub!

bojoan35 karma

What is the right way for a parent to encourage their teenager to lose weight?

Saehansol176 karma

All I can suggest is never tease them with their weight. They are already stressed enough inside.

UpSiize33 karma

Apart from shorts over cyan pants, what was the worst part of the climb?

Saehansol22 karma

The summit day. Ughhh.

drewishy31 karma

Pretty bad ass. Have you ever considered adding an extra O to a certain part of your name?

Saehansol27 karma

Ahahaha not the first time I heard this. Some people already call me with it :D

cgatlanta30 karma

What was the sleeping accommodations like? How many people were in your group? Were you constantly around other hikers?

How many days up? How many down?

Saehansol66 karma

The staffs did pretty good job with tent. It was quite comfy with a sleeping mattress and all. Environmentally though, it got worse as we went up since the weather starts to get quite unstable from 4,500 meters+. I ended up becoming the only one climbing with 7 staffs as others didn't show up. But I was around other hikers in camps. Just didn't talk to them much cuz I was tired and everyone was tired as well.

It was 6 days up, and I came down to Mweka gate at day 6, having climbed to summit at daybreak the same day.

suicide_aunties11 karma

Damn you’re the only person in your group who submitted? I know Kili is hard but I’m surprised at that odds.

Saehansol24 karma

It actually surprised me too! When I first emailed the operator about the group, it was 3 in total, but when I asked like 2 weeks before the climb again, I was the only one left!!

Natures_Stepchild27 karma

Well done!

I've tried to hike much smaller mountains and gotten too tired/out of breath within hours. Did you do much training before attempting this, or was it more of a "fuck it, let's go!!" sort of thing?

What would you recommend to weaklings like me (lol) when they get tired - rest and carry on, or rest and go home for some training?

Saehansol65 karma

I climbed Mt. Fuji last year July to see if I could overcome altitude sickness around 3,000~4,000 meter range. Turns out I had no problem at all and started planning to go higher. Before I sustained an injury, I climbed many mountains in Korea to prepare.

What you can do is maybe to slow down and actually tackle the mountain over longer period of time. Some people can go up Mt. Fuji in 1 day, but it's safe to climb over 2 days. I always take longer when climbing the mountain. If you get tired, take plenty of rest and try your best. But if you really don't feel safe or too tired, just go down. There's no need to risk your life. Hope my words are helpful.

FredZeplin25 karma

Has conquering this mountain motivated you any to lose weight?

Saehansol83 karma

Good question. Yes it definitely have. I would prefer to see a fit me instead of obese me blending inside wonderful scenary of nature. Plus I believe I wouldn't have struggled as much on summit day if I was more fit.

Trapisstalien23 karma

Great job! I’ve always wanted to make that journey. What was your favorite part of the climb?

Saehansol72 karma

Kilimanjaro itself. It's literally a work of art. Its vegetation changes as you go higher, and actually provides unique scenery for each.

faldmoo14 karma

Awesome job, man!

What does this trip cost? Not counting flight tickets for obvious reasons.

Saehansol16 karma

It was around $1,700 for operator, and about $600 extra for tips and stuff. I actually went with 7-day Lemosho route but I just wanted to go down quicker, so I came down in 6 days.

livingdeadgrrl12 karma

I know during endurance activities my brain gets freaking weird, and does awesome things to entertain me -- what was one of the thoughts that kept you going during the hard times?

What other peaks would you like to conquer?

I'm proud of you, fellow human.

Saehansol11 karma

Asante! Thank you, fellow human :). I actually thought about my favorite games while walking. I'm a hardcore gamer so nothing soothed me more than thinking about my favorite video games. I would love to trek Elbrus and Lenin Peak in near future!

latarian26 karma

How hard was it to carry your gigantic fucking balls?

Saehansol12 karma

Quite challenging cuz it weighs like steel.

CTMalum6 karma

What’s your next peak, and what is your ultimate mountaineering goal?

Saehansol7 karma

I eventually want to climb Everest, but it's very expensive so my next would probably be Elbrus or somewhere else.

__boop__5 karma

I used to teach English in South Korea (Mokpo)—how did you learn such great English? What are your thoughts on having native English speakers at korean schools?

Saehansol9 karma

I actually lived overseas for like 14 years, learning to speak English during those periods haha :) I think having native English speakers at Korean school is good, but I do also think that we need more variety. You can't just hear American English all the time.

Bossman10864 karma

I had thought about doing this a couple years ago as my brother was working for the Peace Corps over in Africa. I was planning on visiting him and then hiking Kilimanjaro. Sadly, it never happened and he left Africa before I had a chance to get out there.

But I do still hope to do it some day. How would you recommend organizing the climb? Any specific tour guides you recommend? Tips to get ready for the climb beforehand?

Saehansol9 karma

I would say to prepare hard for altitude sickness. Get prevention medication, tablets for emergency... Although I didn't get any altitude sickness, I did see people struggling with it. Also, I would recommend taking alot of clothes for low temperature, and a good sleeping bag.

I went with Monkey Adventures and they were pretty good. Before tackling Kilimanjaro, I tested myself in Mt. Fuji (3,776 meters) to see how I hold up in higher altitude. Maybe you can try tackling high-altitude mountains to see how your body reacts, and decide. :)

SavageCucmber4 karma

Could you say, it could...kill a man?

Saehansol7 karma

Oh yeah, although I didn't encounter any corpse on the way :)

thelionmermaid4 karma

안녕하세요! 서울에 거주하는 미국 여자 입니다 😊 한국에서 올라가보신 산들 중에 경치가 제일 좋은 산이 어디였어요? 추천해 주신다면 저도 도전해보고 싶습니다!

Saehansol3 karma

일단 설악산도 좋았고 서울에 있는 산들 왠만해선 경치 다 좋았어요. 인왕산도 멋있었고 관악산도 멋있엇고요.

opinsky4 karma

Is it really a climb or more like a walk? BTW, congrats on your achievement!

Saehansol10 karma

Mostly it was a walk to the top with some sections that require climbing.

K_Click_D3 karma

Well done buddy, what inspired you to do this?

Saehansol4 karma

Just wanted to climb high again. You can never forget the prospect from altitude higher than 3,000 meters.

Cranberry_Tea3 karma

Did you climb both peaks?

Saehansol4 karma

I climbed up to Uhuru Peak!

bl1eveucanfly2 karma

Did you died?

Saehansol4 karma

Thankfully I didn't. I didn't want to drop my souls.

Mr_Phishfood2 karma

hmm you may very well be obese according to your BMI reading, but do you know what your body fat percentage is? Of course doing this with a more fat and lean mass is a greater triumph

Saehansol8 karma

I haven't done strength exercise for long time and my muscles shrunk so I think my fat is more than 25%. Just a prediction tho I didn't measure in detail.

sudsy9152 karma

Did you lose any weight while climbing? Also what was your diet like during the journey?

Saehansol5 karma

It actually had lots of calories because trekking takes lots of energy. It contained eggs, sausages, bread, veges... Everything.

UnWeonMas2 karma

I'm not obese (I think I'm actually underweight), but I kinda sit at my pc all day so I'm not physically toned either. Would you recommend me to just go climb the highest mountain I can find or to start by doing sports regularly? I'm afraid if I try to take it slowly I'll just stop and go back to my old routine.

Saehansol5 karma

Actually I would recommend starting with smallest mountains. That's how I started as well. My first mountain was only about 680 meters. That's because at high altitude, you can potentially get a deadly altitude sickness. You gotta build up first to see how high you can go first.

EdenSB2 karma

Which was more difficult, Kilimanjaro or Fuji?

I did Fuji myself, but had to stop just before the peak as it was closed due to terrible weather.

Saehansol5 karma

Kilimanjaro is wayyyyyy harder because despite having people to carry your stuffs except your day pack, Kili is still much higher and you actually have to live in a tent for at least 5 days.

FusionGel1 karma

Did you snag any vibranium?

Saehansol1 karma

Nah I could feel Wakandan airship watching me from ridiculous distance. I dared not.

girlhassocks1 karma

Did you drink makgeolli when you got to the top from a small metal cup?

Saehansol1 karma

Ahahaha, unfortunately no! I did eat a ramen in the previous camp though!

mynamesrach1 karma

Congrats!! Did you do anything to prepare for it beforehand?

Saehansol2 karma

I got my yellow fever vaccination 2 months ago before departure, and prepared specifically for altitude sickness. Also climbed many mountains before the injury, and a week before the climb, I ran about 10 km to see if I still have the least endurance.

KickAssMiles1 karma

What's cooler than being cool?

Saehansol3 karma

Ice Age

BluePretzel1 karma

Now that you’ve done this, what do you want to do next?

Saehansol2 karma

Just chilin' and exercising like hell. :)

c_c_c__combobreaker1 karma

Congrats on the climb! How long did you stay at the top before going back down? How was the trek back down? Thanks in advance.

Saehansol2 karma

I stayed very short, like 20 minutes I believe. The guide told me not to stay longer as I might get altitude sickness and stuff. Trek down to the camp isn't too bad but you have to be careful as the slopes are moderately steep.

Xopher8181 karma

You remind me of the hikers in Pokemon. Do you also have an onix or geodude?

Saehansol4 karma

Squirtle or get out :)

Karamzungu91 karma

How many shillings did it cost and is 6 days a nominal excursion?

I have visited the park and met some guides but never was able to make the trek.

Congratulations on your accomplishment: himnae and nzuri sana!

Saehansol2 karma

Asante my friend! It's bit hard to count in schilings but in total it costed around $3800-3900. Also Lemosho route itself is quite and expensive route compared to others.

GunMetal2521 karma

Did you get a good view of the Serengeti from up there?

Saehansol2 karma

To be honest I was so damn tired on the summit and didn't recognize Serengeti :(

cheekyirishguy1 karma

Do you have plans to climb Everest?

Saehansol2 karma

Eventually yes, but I want to be extremely fit and prosperous before doing it!

ttgregory1 karma

What was the cost of the trip. Was it a package you purchased or did you put it together on your own?

Saehansol2 karma

I just purchased a package and it costed me $3800-3900 in total. About $1,700 for the tour operator.

justin_memer1 karma

Why would you climb a mountain that begins with "Kill-a-man"?

Saehansol2 karma

I mean, what could kill you more than a stress at work? :D

i_am_another_you0 karma

when you say climb, do you mean trekking up hill on the path, or actually real climbing, with help of ropes and hands?

Saehansol1 karma

No ropes but hands definitely required on some sections. Mostly it's trekking.

biggletits-1 karma

What's so special about this?

If you weren't fat there would be 0 reason to post an AMA for walking up a mountain that 50,000 people do every year..

Saehansol2 karma

I mean I did saw some articles that it will be very hard for obese people to successfully climb up to Uhuru peak. I just wanted to say it's wrong, although I'm not extreme extreme obese.

utspg1980-3 karma

How fit were you before the injury? How much did you weigh?

Even if you ate ice cream and chocolate all day, it would be tough to gain that much weight in 3 months, I think.

Saehansol2 karma

I believe I weighed around 90kg. Unfortunately I do gain weight very quickly ;(

iLickVaginalBlood-16 karma

Are you a virgin?

Saehansol6 karma

Nah but I did feel that my testosterone level went down during my ankle injury period.