Sunday 29 March 2009

Climbing Mt Kenya etc

Two weeks ago we climbed Mt Kenya. Without a doubt the hardest thing we have ever done. The summit is at 4,985m and boy, do you feel it.

The schedule is punishing. 9km on the first day, climbing from 2,900 to 3,300m. Next day about 17km walk, up to 4,200m. Then the summit push, which starts at 3am (so basically no sleep) and afterwards, on top of that, back down the 17km you did the day before. Over 12 hrs walking that day!

If you are thinking of doing it, call Francis, our guide, directly – his contact details are at the bottom of this post. You'll get a much better price that way. Bring very warm clothes to change into after walking, lined gloves, warm hats etc - and be prepared to stay 2/3 nights in wooden unheated huts full of other walkers (sometimes 20 to a room). I didn't sleep of course, needing quite specific conditions in order to achieve R.E.M.

There is a mad valley up there (Mackinder's Valley) with these crazy plants that look like space pineapples. Sure they filmed an episode of Star Trek up there.

By the way, the middle finger on my left hand still isn't right after mt kenya. It's getting better, but circulation hasn't returned completely. YOU SEE HOW HARDCORE I AM WE ARE. Met an australian who did Kilimanjaro and he said the same thing happened to him, it does get better eventually.

On the way back from Nanyuki, which is where we started and finished the climb, we had our first proper crash, our matatu slammed into the one in front - par for the course apparently. On the news saw the funniest thing - there was a bit of a riot in central Nairobi a couple of days ago (while we were away) and some looting went on. Some guys had just raided a deli and nicked some food. One swooped in on another and grabbed a big cake from one hand, and right in front of the camera, TOOK A BITE ... whilst hot-footing it out of there. Classic.

There is a serious side to the story - the trouble followed a student protest, which was in response to the shooting of two human rights activists last week. These guys were well-known - in fact, some of the people we have met here knew one of them (G.P.O.) well. They were really cut up about it.

Looks like we picked the right time to be out of Nairobi!

contact Francis directly, he can sort you out a better deal than going through an agency. nice guy, knows his stuff, very considerate and aware. can't believe he had a fag at the top...

Francis Maina
+254 (0) 723847901
fmaina95 at

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