Today we are introducing Jeremy who currently lives and works in Tanzania and has climbed the Mount Kilimanjaro via the Marangu road, not once but twice! All while guiding a large group of school children as well. We are so honoured that he agreed to share his story with us!
The Marangu Route is the oldest route on the Kilimanjaro and one of the most popular, but certainly not the easiest. The Marangu Route provides the most direct and gradually sloping route up the Mountain. Along the way, sleeping huts are available for those not wanting to carry a tent up the Kilimanjaro. As the sleeping huts provide the hikers with several beverages, such as Coca-Cola, the route is also known as the Coca-Cola Route. The Marangu Route is 72 KM/ 45 Miles, with the Kilimanjaro summit at the highest point at 5895 m./ 19341 ft.
With this extra information about this beautiful route, let's dive into the interview to read all about Jeremy his experience.
To start, would you be able to tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m 43 years old, married with 3 kids, a teacher by trade and currently living in Tanzania. I love being active and travelling around Africa and the World.
How did your passion for hiking and the outdoors start?
Back in 2015 I was asked to accompany our school on climbing Kilimanjaro. Not knowing what I was getting myself into I agreed. I loved the experience the first time for the most part but swore I would never do it again.
You hiked the Marangu Route and reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro; what a fantastic achievement! How was your experience?
This was the 2nd time doing it for me and it was amazing. The first 4 days of the hike on Marangu are quite enjoyable as it is not too technical or difficult. It’s the final ascent through the night and into the next day that is absolute torture. The last 24 hours before descending are difficult as you are climbing throughout the night, hungry because you haven’t eaten much, adjusting to the altitude and physically you’re exhausted as you’ve walked a lot of miles in the last day. Once you reach the top it makes it all worthwhile and the views are absolutely worth it!
“I think the mental part of the climb is the toughest and being able to continue through some pain and not wanting to give up when things become uncomfortable”
There are several routes leading to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, what was your reason for choosing the Marangu Route?
I lead a group of 50 high school students and chaperones on this trip. It’s the most affordable, you get to sleep in huts instead of tents and the success rate is pretty good on this route. It’s also the most popular among tourists.
The route reaches high altitude, how did you prepare for this? And do you feel that your preparation has helped during the actual hike?
Where we live in Dar es Salaam, the altitude is at sea level so it is hard to prepare for this. Many on our team take Diamox which helps the body adjust to the elevation change. The third day of the hike is a built-in acclimatization day where we stay and adjust to the altitude. We hike a bit higher that day but come down and stay in the same huts as the night before. That day is very helpful for altitude adjustment but also mentally as well.
Even though you prepared well for the trail, did you come across any (major) challenges that you would never have thought of?
There are always challenges in this but I feel since this is the second time for me I was able to prepare the team as much as possible. Some challenges that come up are dealing with blisters and lack of water especially the higher up you go.
"The third day of the hike is a built-in acclimatization day where we stay and adjust to the altitude. That day is very helpful for altitude adjustment but also mentally as well"
What is your best memory of the trail?
My 15-year-old son was able to be on the trip as well this time. He was able to celebrate his birthday while on the mountain which is cool. The best memory though was on the last night when I was ready to give up and head back down, he encouraged me to continue with him and we were able to reach the summit together. A memory I will never forget!
Before starting on the hike, you must have probably gone through your gear checklist a dozen times. In the end, did you take any gear with you that you eventually felt you could have done without? Or was there any specific gear that you wished you had with you on the trail?
A lot of people like to bring hiking poles with the hike. I’ve found that I haven’t really needed them. The climb is not technical so the gear you bring up is regular hiking gear.
After this amazing achievement and crossing Mount Kilimanjaro off your bucket list, do you have any other trails on your bucket list you plan to hike in the (near) future?
I’d love to go to Machu Pichu one day.
For all those inspired by your story and experience on the trail, what is the one tip you would like to give them?
As much as people think that you need to be physically fit to be able to complete this climb which you need to be. I think the mental part of the climb is the toughest and being able to continue through some pain and not wanting to give up when things become uncomfortable.
Lastly, when our hiking-lovers want to know more and follow your adventures, where can they find you on social media?
@pickel11 - Instagram
Jeremy, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with us, it was an absolute pleasure!
Do you have an amazing story about one of your trail adventures which you would like to share with the community? Please reach out to us via email@example.com as we would love to hear from you.
Jay & Maud