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Week 35: Picture of Me on Top of Point Lenana

This picture didn’t make it into the blog yesterday for some reason, but it is me sitting at the tip top of Point Lenana with the highest point of Mount Kenya in the background (second highest place in Africa behind Kilimanjaro).  This is the same place from where I took the video below.  Word.

Week 35: Climbing Mount Kenya

As previously mentioned, I met two guys at a coffee shop in early March from Oklahoma and Texas, Nick and Mark.  Well, we have gotten together a few times since then and two weeks ago Mark invited me to go climb Mount Kenya with him and his girlfriend.  First thought, “welp, you only live once.”  My boss okayed the trip and as the day approached for us to leave I slowly learned more about what we were doing.  I’m an outdoor kind of guy and love to go camping, but have never been on a serious climb/hike.  Mark’s major in college was Outdoor Ministry, so he is THE outdoor man and gets to say things like, “I know how to do an Eskimo Roll out of kayak, do you?”  So, I started asking Mark what to bring and he told me that I needed clothes for ten degrees and I said, “Celcius, right?”  Nope.  Fahrenheit.  Poop.  Furthermore, I thought we were going with just a guide at first.  No, we had three porters, a cook, and a guide.  We ate like royalty.  Besides the climbing it was the most posh outdoor trip I’ve been on.

The Contestants: Robert, Mark, and Karen (who is strangely the first cousin of a person I went to college and Dwight Mission with)

Monday – We woke up at 5 AM and were on the road to Mount Kenya getting to Chogoria at around 9 AM.  Then we took an old-school Land Rover from Chogoria to the Park Gate which was 20 miles.  We only got stuck once and it was thoroughly entertaining with the nine of us in there.  We reached the park gate and had lunch and then began our relatively easy 7 km (4.35 miles) first day.  Our camp site was in a cave by two water falls and was absolutely beautiful.

Mark and I at the Edge of the Waterfall:

It was -5 degrees Celcius (23 F) that night, but we were all warm.

Crazy Cool Flower:

Tuesday – We had a leasurely day on Tuesday only going 10 km (6.21 miles).

Us Hiking on Day Two:

Beautiful Waterfall and View on Day Two:

I got a migraine at some point during our way up and right after lunch my stomach started feeling queezy.  We were now at 14,075 ft. and so I believe me and the altitude weren’t agreeing on life.

Minto’s Hut (where we stayed Tuesday night)

My migraine got worse so I went to bed at 7 PM which was good because…

Wednesday – we got up at 1:30 AM so we could be ready to climb to Point Lenana.  Point Lenana is the third highest peak of the Mount Kenya peaks at 16,355 ft.  The first two have to be scaled with equipment, so those were not options.  So, by 2:45 AM we were climbing the last 7 km (4.35 miles) to point Lenana.  It was dark (obviously) and about half way I saw the first snow I’ve seen in Kenya which was exciting.  Then the snow and ice became a nuisance.  My altitude sickness got a bit worse as we increased altitude (who’d a figured), but we arrived at Point Lenana just as the sun was rising.  It was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit and windy, but we had plenty of layers on so it was not bad.  We stuck around at the top for about fifteen minutes and then headed back down.

At the top of Point Lenana of Mount Kenya at sunrise:

Mountain Peak Circle Rainbow (note the ice on the bottom left side):

The down was more annoying than the up because of the ice and rock combination so I took it really slow.  I’m definitely a 25 year old tortoise rather than a hare.  Slow and steady wins the race… or doesn’t get hurt.  We got back to where we had spent the night Tuesday and met our porters and had breakfast.  I was feeling pretty sick, but after lying down for an hour I felt much better.  Then we walked the entire distance we had walked the previous two days back.  Therefore, we walked a total of 18ish miles Wednesday… I slept well.  I was really proud of my body and especially my legs because one has a titanium rod in it and the other has shin splints, not so great.  So, I was proud of my 18ish miles in one day and my legs, good job guys!  We got back to Chogoria later than expected so we had to stay the night there and catch the 5 AM matatu back to Nairobi.

Me in the back of the matatu for the ride home. I hope you’re entertained because I sure wasn’t during this experience, but now looking at the picture I am definitely entertained…

It’s cool to say that I climbed Point Lenana of Mount Kenya and was at 16,355 ft.  So, I said it, I feel cool now.