Climbing Adam’s Peak

Well, the ascent up to Adam’s Peak was absolutely epic. I remember reading somewhere (I think it was in some other chump’s blog) that “everybody should climb Adam’s Peak once in their life”. This is probably blown a little out of proportion, and it may be more appropriate to say, “everybody who has the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka should climb Adam’s Peak”, so as not to make those who have not had the chance to visit this intriguing country feel inadequate in any way.

I bet he/she was American…haha

So anyway, the point being that Adam’s Peak is fucking incredible. The walk up was long; over 5000 steps up the side of what was at some points a rediculously steep mountain. It was 2:30am when we started our ascent, and given that it is pilgrimage season (Januray – April) the path was illuminated with regular lights and overpriced tea / snack shops. The path meanders up the mountain towards the summit, and the climb took us just under 3 hours – it would have been less if it wasn’t an outright necessity to stop for a cup of hot, sugary tea about 100 meters from the top. We arrived at around 5:15am and had a 45 min wait for sunrise.

Soph and I have agreed that the sunrise from the summit was the most incredible that we have ever witnessed, rising ever so slowly above the mountainous landscape of Sri Lanka’s central mountain range, high above the low lying clouds. It is hard to explain, so I took a shit load of photos!

The pilgrimage up to the summit of Adam’s Peak is undertaken by a wide range of local people, from the tiny children, moaning the whole way; the old age pensioners, who without the support of their family would probably never make it; overweight men, gasping for breath, who without the support of their family would almost definitely never make it; and a range of paraplegics, who I have absolutely no idea how they make it!

After sunrise, and the complete and utter chaos of hundreds (possibly thousands) of people of all types trying to leave the temple on the summit and begin the descent down the mountain, we too began our mission back to our hotel at the base. The way down was almost as difficult as the way up, with old lady Nisbet (Soph) hobbling along with her aching legs, and the 2am wake up taking a toll on both of us. There is however no rest for the wicked, so after reaching our hotel, having a nice hot shower (which is rare in Sri Lanka!), off we went to get some breakfast and find a bus back to Colombo. The bus was leaving straight away, so as it turned out there was no time for breakfast…oh shit! So living off a selection of waddy waddy (fried snacks) on the buses we got to Colombo, then straight onto a train for Negombo. 7 or 8 hours of travelling later we arrived out our guesthouse in Negombo, suitably fucking knackered and hungry as hell – never fear, all resolved with beer, fried rice, and a solid sleep.

Anywhooo, a couple of nothing days in Negombo to go, then our flight back to India on Monday afternoon. Here’s some photos…

Adam’s Peak from the start of the path.
Sunrise View
Epic Clouds
Beginning to rise over the mountains and clouds
Mountains and low lying clouds
Amazing sky
The sun shows itself
The crowds leaving the summit
The view from the steps on the way down
Another view over the lake
More epic views on the descent!