Here's something I just posted to GAP's Watering Hole forum. Quite honestly, it scares me that this info is missing and I would never travel with them again because of this HUGE oversight...
Dear Perspective Kili Klimbers,
Having guided for over half a decade and having watched GAP clients shell out significant amounts of additional money at the base of the mountain, I feel it it is my duty to every other person who goes up that hill with GAP to be as informed as possible; even if GAP chooses not to do so.
As you begin to wonder if "you can really do it" or you make that final click to submit your information (and first of many payments to GAP), please be aware of something that GAP shockingly (and possibly criminally) does not emphasize enough about this trip: it's cold up there.
Duh, right? Of course it's cold up there - 5,895 metres (19,341 ft), tallest free standing mountain in the world, highest point in Africa, etc etc. Snow generally begins to fall well below 8,000 ft so one should certainly expect it to be cold, right?
Then why is it that GAP doesn't recommend a *single* piece of warm clothing in their Marangu trip dossier? In fact, the word "cold" is only used ONCE in the ENTIRE dossier and that single instance describes the silly huts you sleep in.
How can it be that GAP would be so careless? Is GAP *assuming* its clients are going to know it's cold up there? It doesn't appear so because they certainly don't *assume* you're going to bring your kite! (You're reminded to bring this in the gear checklist). The fact of the matter is whoever wrote the gear checklist has never climbed Kili, which says VOLUMES of what type of organization this is.
I watched other GAP Adventurers have to pay more than just their "local payment" because they strictly adhered to the GAP equipment list and were caught at the base of the mountain COMPLETELY unprepared for the weather ahead of them.
So here it is, the list that GAP has failed to provide for you. You're going to need:
- a WARM, SYNTHETIC THREAD hat. It can be wool if you like, or a blend, but it must be warm and you should like wearing it while hiking because at 1 a.m. when your heart is pounding out of your chest and you are "pole poleing" your way up the summit, you are going to need a hat that will keep you warm
- warm GLOVES OR MITTENS. This one REALLY shocked me! How could you not put this on an equipment list? Women should especially be mindful of this due to the reduced profusion in the fingers. Bring little chemical HAND WARMERS if you like those.
- WATERPROOF BOOTS. Yes, they MUST be waterproof (it's not just a "recommendation" as GAP would have you believe). And they must be BOOTS. I don't know what moron thought "Sturdy, comfortable walking shoes" would work when during day 1 you're in a rain forest (wet) and by day 3 you're in a high altitude tundra (frozen). It's probably the same guy who recommends you bring a "rain racket" (see checklist). The fact is, if your shoes get wet they will certainly freeze (not dry) and your trip will be over. And even if your shoes don't freeze, waterproof boots will help keep your feet warm.
- a WARM JACKET and PANTS. Imagine you need to hike for 4 hours, in the dark, in the wind, on frozen skree - that's the summit hike from 12 a.m. to 4 a.m....until the sun comes out and you see the snow and ice fields. I'd recommend you wear something you'd have a snowball fight in.
Finally, be comfortable in wearing all this gear AT THE SAME TIME. Personally, I wore every piece of clothing I brought (which included all the above that were *not* on the GAP list) and I was *still* cold. One could say it's all personal preference, but YOU be the judge because YOU know your body best! I find it truly shocking that GAP makes the assumption you won't be cold up there.
Having guided for other outfitters before, this is a clear sign of unnecessary risk which quite honestly scares me about this organization. I would never guide for them, nor would I recommend anyone do this climb with them. This trip has clearly never been vetted by their senior guiding staff who would have CERTAINLY caught this omission. This is a pretty glaring oversight that I've never seen an outdoor company make.