Ascent of Mount Kenya-Point Lenana on 2016-11-25
|Date:||Friday, November 25, 2016|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
|Peak:||Mount Kenya-Point Lenana|
| Elevation:||16335 ft / 4978 m|
Ascent Trip ReportThe opportunity arose to travel to Kenya for a vacation. Flew through Frankfort and then Nairobi where we stayed the first night and saw part of the city the following day, including the Elephant Orphanage and Giraffe Centre. Did a short run to the arboretum and back to the hotel, seeing more wildlife and a bit of Kenyan life. Could feel the elevation, particularly on the climb on the way back. The rest of the day was spent driving to Nanyuki and settling in with the folks with whom we were staying before the trek. Was fed a home cooked Kenya meal, which was delicious. It wasn't on actual Thanksgiving, but it felt like a proper Thanksgiving meal.
First day was a ride from Nanyki to the Sirimon Gate where we ate lunch and climbed the (mostly paved) road to Old Moses Hut. We were joined by our hosts up to the first hut, which made for slow but steady progress. Some really nice views to the north and clouds and storms all around. A little bit of wildlife at the camp and a few other parties that were trekking to Lenana. Not sure I slept particularly well and had to get out of the bunk several times because of all the hot tea and hot chocolate our guides were serving us. Not really complaining, though. The second day was a decent hike on proper trails across one stream valley and then up the next one to Shipton's Hut. Vegetation went from lush green area to sparse palm-like plants that grew low and then up. Distinct change from a V shaped river valley to a wide U shaped glacial valley. Second night at Shipton was not very restful. Elevation was almost as high as we had hiked previously, and those times were for short periods before returning to lower elevation.
Got ready to leave at 2:30 and climbed the first stretch in the dark. Other hikers on the path showed how much we were climbing. Did not make the summit at sunrise, but we got near a ridge at the right moment and could see the sun unobstructed. Clouds kept us from seeing the Indian Ocean or Kilimanjaro, but still pretty fantastic views in all directions. The early hour meant clear view of Nelion and Batian. Guide Joshua showed us the hut on the high summit, pretty amazing location. Continued clear view of the twin summits on the way down and then the clouds rolled in. My hiking/trail running shoes were having trouble with the path as the frozen ground melted. Completely zoned out at Shipton's before heading back down to Old Moses to spend our last night. Did finally get hit with rain, we had been completely dry up to that point.
Last day was the simple hike back down the park road. We did see Colobus Monkeys and a waterbuck, but that was the extent of wildlife we saw (and we left early in attempt to see something). The early arrival back in Nanyuki gave us time to drive over to Ol Pejeta Conservancy and we saw plenty of wildlife there--Rhinos, Elephants, Hyenas, Baboons, Zebra, and many types of Gazelle. We also spent a couple of nights at Lake Naivasha and saw Hippos there (they came right out of the water and grazed basically at the edge of the cabins). And we biked around Hell's Gate seeing more wildlife and the interesting rock formations there.
4 days total to reach Lenana and return. Trip was using guides and porters from Trek Mt Kenya (recommended). Early rise on Friday to reach the top, and back down to camp.
GPS track is summit (day 3), started an hour or from anticipated summit to make sure to capture the top with diminishing battery life.
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