Climbing the second highest mountain of Africa!!

Trip Start May 03, 2011
Trip End Jan 31, 2013

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Flag of Kenya  ,
Saturday, September 22, 2012

This was the highlight of the holiday, a 5 day trip to the highest point of Kenya at 4.985 meters. At least, this is what most mortals do, if you are a technical climber you can go to the highest peak (Batian) at 5.199 meters.

Via a Dutch guy called Laurens I met in Namibia I got the contact details of our guide Nicolas and agreed on the package. We would take the Sirimon route up and the beautiful Chogoria route down in 5 days. In Nanyuki we met up and agreed on all prices and he arranged the needed equipment since you need a good jacket, gloves, thermo stuff etc on high altitude.

The road to the top and back

DAY 1: Sirimon Gate (2.650 m) to Old Moses Camp (3.300 m) => 9 km

At 11 hrs in the morning our climbing group picked us up at the Nakumatt store in Naynuki. The team is:

-          Nicolas                                    Guide

-          Joseph                                     Cook

-          Patrick                                     Porter

-          Lennert 'DUN BUFFEL'       Porter

After an hour drive we came to the gate, paid our entrance fee ($270), took lunch and started off around 12 hrs. The first part was not very interesting since it was just a road up which can also be used by cars. However a good and easy start to adapt to the extreme altitudes we would get to the next days. Unfortunately 1 hour before we entered the camp it started raining. With our rain jackets (but without rain trousers) we made it to Old Moses camp and were cold brrrrrrr…But luckily we were just before the big rains and hail storm wow… Roel had his stuff so could quickly change but our porter was not yet in with our bag so Sven and me waited about 20 minutes in the cold which turned out to be almost catastrophically. The camp was like a big building with several dormitories and a general eating hall. No heaters or other electricity just some lights in the dining hall. So already the first night was very cold and I dreamt and hardly slept. Im quite sure I had a fever because of waiting so long in my wet clothes and for Sven it was more or less the same.

DAY 2: Old Moses Camp (3.300 m) to Shipton Camp (4.200 m) => 16 km

Because of the shitty night I was feeling very bad in the morning and if I would not be on the mountin then I would probably stay in bed. However that was not an option so take some breakfast, put on the boots and go! 7.15 hrs we started off for a 16 km hike up to 4.200 meters altitude. Me and Sven had a hard time climbing the various slopes but could still enjoy the beautiful scenery of this amazing mountain.

The last part of this day went through the Makinday valley from where we had a nice view on the peaks of Point Lenana, Batian en Nerion. At 14 hr we arrived at Shipton camp and could relax after this tiresome day. We had some food and played some cards with our new friends Bernard (Austrian) and Erik (Dutch). We discussed what the plan was for the next day and decided to take an acclimatization day before climbing to Point Lenana.

DAY 3: Shipton Camp (climb to 4.600 and back) => 2,5 km

Because we went to bed early we had a vey long night and got up early this day. Had a relaxing breakfast and felt better than the day before. At 9 am we started off for our acclimatization day also known as the short summit circuit. Just climb a bit higher to 4.600 m to enjoy the view and get a feel for the climb to Point Lenana. It was a steep part up but we went ‘pole pole’ and after 2 hours up and 1 hour down the climb for this day was finished. We just relaxed in the camp, played some cards (Hearts was our game here sometimes added with some ‘toepen’) and enjoyed the food our cook made for us.

DAY 4: Shipton Camp (4.200 m) to Point Lenana (4.985 m) and down to Chogoria Banda Cottages (2.950 m) => 29 km

At 3 am in the night we started off for a dark and mysterious trip up to Point Lenana, the highest point possible for hikers. We started off in a slow pace and eventually Roel and me decided to go up faster to be in time for the sunrise. We just missed it but got some spectacular pictures just before the summit. What an amazing feeling to reach the highest point after 3 to 4 days of hiking, sweating, cursing, etc… Sven followed some time later and for 15 minutes we enjoyed the views and made some unforgettable pictures.

This wasn’t the end of the effort and there was still a long way down ahead of us so we started the descent together to Mintos Camp where we could have some breakfast and a bit of rest. That was necessary because we definitely needed some food to strengthen again after the hard climb. Then the 19 km’s of the Chogoria route were ahead of us and luckily this was mostly going down steadily. The weather was not too good and our rain jackets protected us from the various hail and rain storms we encountered during our descent. Chogoria is however a very interesting route with lots of different sceneries to enjoy while walking. The pictures are not great due to the weather but for us it was amazing. 

After this long day we were happy to arrive in Banda Cottages where we heard there was a hot shower, woooww! We had some tea and popcorn and arranged some cold cokes for the whole team and for ourselves, tsssshhhh aaaaahhhh! After 4 days of water and tea it is nice to get something else..

In the evening it was time for our evening game of hearts with the camp fire in our hut and afterwards get a good last night on the mountain.

DAY 5: Chogoria Banda’s to pick up truck along Chogoria route => 10 km   

The last day was nothing special but a 10 km walk through some forest before we could jump on the old Landrover to go back to the town of Chogoria. We hoped that we would encounter some wildlife but after 45 minutes we thought it would not happen when….suddenly our guide stopped because there was an elephant on the road, cool! We went back a bit and after a while we continued our way. Then later we heard some noises and could have a good look on a group of 8 elephants who were making their way through the bushes by breaking the bamboo and eating some. A nice sight and a good ending of our trip. 

Then we jumped in the Landrover and went to Chogoria over one of the worst roads you have ever seen. Then matatu to Meru and from there the matatu back to Nanyuki. We emptied our bags and in the evening gave the guys a tip and thanked them for a successful trip.
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