I have nothing but positive things to say! Henry was an amazing guide, patient and helpful and kept us motivated to keep going. It was great having a small group (8 of us) and a private camping spot. There were a lot of other groups that were huge so it was nice that our tour was more personal. They gave us lunch and breakfast to take in our packs, and provided some warm clothing options as well. They brought and set up our tents and sleeping supplies for us and it was all great quality. Definitely recommend this company!
It’s brutal. It took us 8 hours and I honestly don’t know how I made it. It’s just a 14000 ft climb the whole way. Hard from start to finish. Like doing the stair master for 8 hours but the stairs are sand and the air is hard to breathe. That said, coming down was much better than expected. It only took 3 hours. It was still really challenging - my legs were giving out by the end - but not nearly as rough as the way up.
We brought our own sleeping gear and packs and that was a mistake. Travel light.
Here are some things I recommend bringing -
- water (they say to bring 4 liters, we got away with 2. Water is heavy and there are some vendors along the trail if you run out on day 2. They will take a liter from you at the top though for hot chocolate and dinner so be prepared for that.
- wipes - you are going to get so dirty. The sand and dust is everywhere.
- warm clothes - it’s freaking cold at night. Hats, gloves, base layers, bring it all.
- snacks - I was so happy to have some granola bars on me.
- sunscreen, hat, and sun glasses
- a mask or bandana to cover your face during the sandy dusty parts - I had a really bad cough by the end of the day and when I blew my nose it was pure mud…
- rain gear - we got lucky and had beautiful weather but it would have been pretty crappy if we didn’t
- hiking boots (good ones) are non negotiable
- if you have a heavy pack, get a porter. It’s worth it. We probably should have.
- we didn’t do the extra hike to the summit but we heard that it wasn’t worth it.
- you absolutely need at least one walking stick. You can rent them. If you are checking luggage, bring your own trekking poles.
The hardest thing I have ever done but it was SO worth it in the end. Seeing the eruptions and the sunrise was truly spectacular.