Outdoor Addict Jeremy Lay took up the challenge to trek to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro after catching the hiking/travel bug. We took a moment to find out more about his adventure and to find out which Gondwana products he took along with him.
Why did you decide to take up the challenge of the Lemosho route to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. What was the inspiration? After doing the Kokoda trail I found myself loving hiking, and after a couple years of not doing any big hikes I decided it was time to do another. The reason for choosing Mt Kilimanjaro, was that I wanted the first time I see snow to be memorable and what better story is there than saying I saw snow for the first time on the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro.
Why did you choose the Lemosho route over the Shiram, Rongai, Machame, Umbwe, Mweka and Marangu Routes? I chose the Lemosho route as I wanted to challenge myself, it's longer than the other routes. The Shira route was replaced by the Lemosho route and I actually didn’t hear about the Umbwe route till we were at Barranca wall where our guide told us about it.
How long did the trek take? I did the 10 day package which includes 8 days of hiking and 2 days of rest. It took us 6.5 days to reach the summit, where we were greeted with an amazing view, and 1.5 days to reach the end of the trail.
Can you give a quick run through of the places you trekked through? i.e. your route? Which camps did you stay at? Day 1: The first day of hiking was short as we passed through forests and took up camp at Mt Mkubwa (AKA “Big Tree”). Day 2: Resting at Shira camp 1 tonight where we saw the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. Day 3: Short walk to Shira camp 2. Day 4: After a full day of hiking we hit the Barranco wall. We also hit high altitude on this day, 4630m, remember “pole pole” (slowly slowly). Day 5: The climb of Baranco wall was memorable, and one that was spoken about for awhile at the Karanga camp. Day 6: This day wasn't too bad of a walk, we ended up at the Barafu (Ice) camp. Here we prepared for the summit which began at midnight. Day 7: A 14hr day, a 30km hike and an altitude at 5895m. It is a day I'll never forget. We reached the summit exhausted but ecstatic about the amazing accomplishment we just achieved. Day 8: Mweka gate is where our journey ended.
What was your favourite spot on the hike? My favourite spot was definitely the summit, after 7 hours of walking we finally reached it at 6:55am and the view was amazing. On one side you had huge glaciers that were beautiful to see, and on the other was a sea of clouds that did nothing more than give you the the most incredible sunrise.
If you were going to recommend a part of the trek for somebody with a shorter amount of time available, which section would it be? If I could recommend a route I would suggest the Umbwe route, it is the exact same as Lemosho route but you do it in less days. If I had to pick a specific section I would say the beginning and the end, that’s only because I love walking through the rainforest, there’s something about it that just calms a person.
Which part of the trail did you find the most challenging? For myself the most challenging was walking (braking) downhill after reaching the summit. The terrain was a mixture of snow and dirt like sand. The locals had quite a skill where some were able to sand board down.
Any anecdotes or funnies from the trail? We had a few great stories that came from this trip, but this one is probably the greatest. Before telling the story though I need to explain that a symptom of altitude sickness can be that you forget things quite easily. We had one person experience this very symptom, on the morning of day 5 he started acting suspicious and not talking as much to people and constantly only nodding to everyone. For the following days while hiking he was less talkative and listened to his iPod whilst hiking. It wasn’t until day 6 that he started talking to one of us saying, “Is it me, or is everyone talking quietly?”, after Mickey said “No” his facial expression started to show signs of worry. He then started to mutter “I think I’m going deaf. I should have told someone sooner, but I thought it was nothing”. After a while of panic, two other hikers (nurses, we were lucky to have them on our hike) started to assess him. They soon discovered that he was not deaf, but had his ear plugs in from night 4.
Which Gondwana products did you pack? Inkerman Trilogy jacket, Shell pant, Buchanan jacket, Bathurst jacket, hiking wool Circuit socks, and the Nerong tee.
How did you find the Gondwana products on your trek? The products were amazing they protected me from all elements. We passed through 6 different ecosystems, cultivation, forest, heather, moorland, alpine desert and summit. I’ve never been able to fault the Gondwana products and I still can’t, they performed well i the various conditions.
What was an exceptional stand out product? The most exceptional products for me were the Shell pants, Buchanan jacket and the Circuit socks. This was my first time wearing a down jacket and I must say that the Buchanan jacket is amazing. On every hike I’ve done I’ve always packed shell pants and Gondwana socks, they are a must have for any hike.