It was an extremely challenging and amazing adventure. I was quite pleased that I was able to summit. My trek mate and I both had a little bit of altitude sickness but we powered through it and were both ecstatic to have made it to the top.
First, my expectations were exceeded in all facets of this trip. The organization, feedback, response time, and materials for planning the trip were great, and it was a big reason I chose Thomson over some other companies I was looking at online at the time. Everything was so smooth and went exactly as planned. This was great as it allowed me to enjoy the trip and focus on the challenge rather than worry about other things.
Second, the guides (Bernard and Liberate), porters, waiter and cooks were awesome, to say the least. Bernard and Liberate did a great job making sure we paced ourselves properly, especially going up the steep and challenging Umbwe route. They made sure we did not go too fast and that we staying very hydrated day and night. They did great at recapping our day as well as briefing us on the day to come each night at dinner and our plan of attack. I think that it made a big difference in our success, especially when I saw countless people sick that could not summit and those that had to turn back before the summit.
The porters are just machines. I was impressed with how strong and fit they were and how they powered up and flew down the mountain. It was great getting to camp and having food, tea, water and our tents ready so we could focus on rest and recovery. They were always eager to assist and it was nice seeing them outfitted in proper boots and weather gear. It was tough to see what some porters working for other guide companies were wearing and how much harder it has to be without the proper gear and shoes. Bernard led a great team that ran very efficiently and without issue. Additionally, the food was great.
Overall, I was nothing but impressed and loved that I could focus on the climbing, rest and recovery, and not worry about the little things. I have been on various climbs and trips in the US and abroad using various guide services, and this was the most well run given the magnitude of the climb and supplies involved.
Thank you for the support and information. I had a great time and I have a great sense of satisfaction that all the hard work and dedication paid off and we both made it to the summit. Thank you Thomson Team!!!!