Everything you read online tells you that you have to depart at 2:30am for the summit. Well, that’s IF you want to watch the sunrise together with the summit. Benson asked us this question, and we decided it wasn’t important, as it didn’t really matter where we viewed the sunrise. Benson suggested that people leave at 3:30am. An extra hour of rest sounded great if you ask me!
This decision later proved to be the smartest thing. At 3:30am we headed out into the darkness. To get ready for the frosty, we both wore longjohns under our slacks. I wore a long sleeve dry-fit top, a zip-up fleece, and a light rainfall jacket. We also got toques and gloves. We were expecting it to be near freezing outside but it was probably similar to 5C so that as we are from Canada, it was no big deal.
But if you are from an exotic country, it will be a huge shock to one’s body, so make sure you dress and in layers warmly. As soon as I started to climb, I heated up, so that it wasn’t long before my rain jacket and gloves came off and I went the rest of the way in 2 layers only. We were also lucky that it wasn’t windy or rainy. However the summit trail was shorter in distance (2 way. Your day before 5KM) compared to, it was believe it or not challenging.
In fact I experienced it was more difficult. The first part was a thousand endless stairs. Thank goodness our headlamps only illuminated the next 30 feet roughly, because honestly if you could start to see the finishing steps forward never, you might around turn. In fact, after we started shortly, we met a young woman and her guide who came down.
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She couldn’t go any further. But show patience, conquer the steps, take your time. Another benefit of starting later than the rest of the combined group is that you will be climbing alone and don’t feel like you need to be rushed by others around you. The ropes part of the climb had not been as challenging as what I’ve read online.
If you aren’t afraid of levels, have good chest muscles strength and okay with traversing unequal ground, you won’t have any problems. When you are submitting in the dark you can’t see the steep terrain, but you’ll see it on the way down. A must-have is a pair of gloves with good grip here.