Taking the long way up Mount Kenya

Standing high above our camp on Lake Michaelson on Mt Kenya. PHOTO | ANDREAS FOX

What you need to know:

  • I have always said I would rather climb Mount Kenya again. Perhaps it’s because there are less people, more varied landscapes and vegetation on our mountain.
  • Many climbers start their hike here, trekking up to the Mount Kenya National Park gate. We decided to drive up with a picnic stop en-route. The vegetation changes as you gain altitude, going from thick forest to bamboo, onto Hagenia woodland and, finally, into the moorlands, punctuated with heathers, tussock grass and Protea flowers.
  • A howling gale hit us that night, sending whistling winds down from the peaks. The sound of ripping canvas woke a few of us up. For over three hours we were piling rocks on tent seams to keep them from blowing away over a precipice. The toilet tent was destroyed, and our mess tent tried its best to take off.

I was 15 when I first climbed Mount Kenya. I did the Sirimon Route in high school. I remember magnificent vistas, my first snow, a pounding headache and a chesty cough. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have been allowed to make the summit.


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