Mount Kenya

January 25 - February 2, 2016

Our friend Sue was posted to Nairobi, Kenya for a couple of years. Katharina has always wanted to travel to Africa, so we took this as a perfect opportunity to visit. What to do here though? Turns out there is a really big volcanic mountain which is the second highest point on the continent, just a few hours drive from the city. Reaching the summit requires more advanced climbing skills then we possess, so we settled on climbing and scrambling some other towers, as well as treking to the third highest point on the mountain, Pt. Lenana, at 4985m. This was the highest altitude I have reached in my mountaineering career.

Climbing in Africa is quite different than North America. While at home a group of twelve climbers might employ a single cook for a week long expedition, perhaps even hiring a porter or two to move the food into base camp, African standards involve a whole support team to follow climbers up the mountain. We hired a fantastic guide, Sammy (, who provided four porters and a fabulous cook to travel with us as we traversed Mount Kenya National Park. The result was that we had a group of eight people, so that two of us could actually climb. It made for somewhat luxurious travel as our packs were light and our meals excellent, if not a little extravagant.

The unfortunate side of this type of travel is that the environmental impact is four times what it would have been had we travelled alone. This was very evident at some of the campsites, especially the ones that had inadequate facilities for human waste disposal. Given that the park charges a fee of $80 USD per person per day to foreigners it was somewhat surprising to find some of the facilities so lacking.

Nevertheless we had a great nine day expedition to the mountain. Our support team was excellent, both on a logistics and personal level, we reached new heights, and learned a lot about African culture during our evening chats with Sammy and the others. The route we took ascended from Chogoria and descended to Naro Moru. We spent four nights above 4000 meters while exploring the summit circuit.