In December 2013 I hit the big six zero and needed an adventure to mark the occasion. It didn’t take much thought. I wanted to climb Mt Kenya again, 42 years after my first ascent as a just-turned 18 year old on my gap year.
I also wanted to take the opportunity to raise money for our charity Paul’s Fund but I didn’t know who I could go with – no-one of my generation seemed to have the combination of time, money and fitness!
So it was a real thrill when two of Paul’s own close friend, Jo and Rachael, said they would like to join me and would raise their own expenses.
It was a great trip which this time we tackled via the Sirimon route from Nanyuki up to Shipton’s Hut. On summit day we set off in the dark with the aim of reaching the top in time for sunrise. We nearly didn’t get their in time as Rachael was feeling the effects of the altitude but arriving in the nick of time we were rewarded by spectacular views of the rising sun shining on the main summits of Batian and Nelion and the surrounding peaks and valleys.
The descent proved interesting as Rachael was seriously feeling the effects of the altitude and needed a lot os support on the way down. We spent an anxious few hours back at Shipton’s camp wondering if she would recover or need evacuating off the mountain – just as had happened to a porter on my first expedition. Fortunately she made a good recovery!
Pt Lenana is about 3,000ft (900m) lower than Kilimanjaro but Mt Kenya is, in my opinion, a much more scenic and interesting mountain with the summit peaks rising as rocky pyramid above the surrounding moorland and valleys. Well worth a visit and if you can, do a full circuit of the main peaks.