Adam’s Peak is a 2,243 metres (7,359 ft) tall conical mountain located in central Sri Lanka. It is well-known for the Sri Pada “sacred footprint”, a 1.8 metres (5 ft 11 in) rock formation near the summit, in Buddhist tradition it is held to be the footprint of the Buddha, in Hindu tradition that of Shiva and in Muslim and Christian tradition that of Adam.
Our experience of climbing Adam’s Peak
Take it from me, 2243 metres is tall! Especially when you’re trying to climb it at 2am and there are no lights because its out of season. But we did it, we climbed Adam’s Peak (no pun intended)
After a disrupted nights sleep and an argument with another volunteer, the four of us set off in the dark with the aim of reaching the summit. 4-5 hours later, muscles burning, gasping of thirst and bleeding from all parts I was greeted at the top by a monk holding a cup of tea and offering shelter from the biting cold, lovely!
We’d made it to the top of Adam’s Peak, but it was a struggle. 5200 (ish) steps is a lot of steps, and they were mostly large. Leaches took the opportunity to bite you in all manner of strange places whilst you struggled to keep moving forwards with muscles aching and sweat dripping. My leach seemingly had a foot fetish which is a little weird. I climbed in shorts so it had the both of my legs to aim for yet it chose to worm its way down my socks and nibble on the top of my right foot, strange one.
Without a guide, we inevitably manage to take a wrong turn, leading to extra unnecessary and definitely unwanted steps. But, that all said, it was magnificent!
Despite the overwhelming feeling of achievement having reached the summit and seeing the bolder and the sunrise, the climb itself was breathtaking. The temples and ruins we passed on the way up made you feel like you were in some kind of Indiana Jones movie. The stars above in the night sky only added to the mystery surrounding our ‘quest’ to the top. I doubt I’d have been able to complete the climb on my own, the support of the others making the climb with me was essential. The further we went, stops became more of a regular thing, and their length was ever increasing, but we were in it together.
We never really did see the sun rise, the cloud was so thick, that said I’m still glad I did the climb, the feeling of self achievement as I hit the top was immense. Climbing Adam’s Peak was probably the toughest thing physically I’ve ever done. Table Mountain in SA was probably a harder climb but it only took an hour and a half, this was three hours of continuous, never ending, energy zapping steps … steps, steps, steps. The descent was also quite taxing and quite tricky too, but now the sun was up the beauty of the surrounding area was clear. When we finally reached the bottom a shower and bed were the order of the day.
The mountain is scared to many religions. Each year, mainly between December and May, people of all religions scale the mountain with the aim of being at the top in time to witness sunrise. As the climb is over 5200 steps and takes several hours, that means starting in the early hours, just as we did. A large bolder at the top also has a religious significance. Indented in that bolder is what looks to be a footprint. This is known as Sri Pada. There are different beliefs as to where the footprint came from, some of the most common are …
Buddists – Believe that the imprint is from the left foot of Buddha.
Muslims & Christians – Believe that the imprint is from where Adam first set foot having been exiled from the Garden of Eden. There are theories/stories that Sri Lanka was said to be the original eden.
What to take
- Water – A must, it might feel heavy in your backpack, but its an essential.
- Carbs and sugar – Another must, energy bars and chocolate should see you to the top.
- Torch and extra batteries
- Bug spray
- A lighter … if you really don’t like leeches and want to burn them off.