Mt Kenya and Kilimanjaro

September 19 - October 04 2003


Andy, Festus and Tony at the summit of Mt Kenya


From the summit of Kilimanjaro



The air plane departed in Nairobi in the morning.  After have gotten the visa the passport control was easy.  The group of four met outside the airport and drove in a minibus to Fairview hotel.  We were two from UK and one from the US and me Norwegian.  We spend the day to relax after the midnight plane from Europe.   We got the pre trek briefing around 6 and ate a nice dinner together.   

The trip to Mt. Kenya and Kilimanjaro was organized by EWP.  

Nairobi - Mt Kenya -  Meru Mount Kenya Bandas  3000 meter

We started after an early breakfast.  It was a another minibus and a long journey.  I was very surprised, there were people walking along the road the whole four hours drive.  There were a lot of small villages and at least two "dead policeman" in each village.  We ate lunch at an hotel before we went into the 68 model land rover.  The road was bumpy.  


The land rover.


We started walking 400 meters below the huts.   Some minutes before the camp we saw some buffalos.  

The first days walk.

I did not feel well when we arrived at the huts.  I had headache, no appetite and felt like I had to vomit. This was not good signs, all together telling you are starting to develop high altitude sickness.  The thing to do is to drink.  After 1.5 liters of tea I felt fine.  Roger had the same kind of trouble, but he did not drink.  There were nice western style flush toilets at the huts.

Meru Mount Kenya Bandas -- Nithi Gates 3300 meter

Roger and the some of the porters resting outside the huts.

The mountain we were going to climb.  

We started after breakfast.  It was an easy 3 hour walk on a "tractor road".  We saw some small animals, probably antelopes.  Roger had increasing headache after not eating lunch he decided to leave us and to wait for us at the huts.  It was cloudy and a little bit of rain in the afternoon.   We had a short walk to the nearby fall.

The fall.

The cook in the dining tent.'

Today's walk, less than three hours and almost only uphill  for 300 meters.



Nithi Gates -- Hall Tarns  4300 meter

Today was a hard day, 1000 meters and 6 hours up.  According to the rule of thumb for acclimatization we should gain 300-500 meters pr day.  We were pushing the schedule but if we did not get trouble here we most likely were going to make Killi without any altitude problems.  


Typical view from behind Tony and Andy.  



Today it was 1000 meters uphill, some of it was steep.  After the walk it was nice to relax in the tents when it was snowing.  Tony was able to spot a couple of small animals far away.  He should have joined the safari.  

I had 4C inside the tent at 4 pm and around 0C during the night.  

Hard uphill day.  1000 meters in 6 hours.


Mt Kenya summit day, Lenana  4985m.



It was a cold night.  We started just after the sun rise.  We was walking slowly for some strange reason.  The guide set the same speed at flat areas as he did uphill.  We met some few people today.  In total we met  5 other trekkers.  There should have been more people, Mt Kenya was beautiful.  



A selection of pictures from the trekking to the summit of Mt Kenya, Lenana which is the third highest peak at Mt Kenya.  



The view from the summit was nice but to climb down on snow was not nice.  Tony helped me down several places.  The guide was not prepared at all.  He should have carried an ice axe and a rope to get us safely down.  We ate lunch at the austrian hut before we went down and up again to 4500 to sleep.  


We slept at the little lake seen on the right picture.  

The summit day.  The plateau  around 12 is the lunch.  The watch shows a little bit to less because of the "high" temperature.  The summit is at 4985. 


From Hut Tarn back down to Nithi Gates.





Nice mountain Mt. Kenya. 

Today was a walk down.  It started down, up, down, up, down.   We gained 700 meters during the day.  It was a beautiful day with nice views over the valleys.   I got terrible problems with my back.  I was "skiing" downhill and got a bad twist.  It was painful and we had only 6 hours to go.  The best tactic was according to experience walk and rest.  Uphill I was faster than the others and spend some minutes resting before they reached me.  Downhill I was slow and they were kind and waited for me. Down at the campsite I asked Andy if I was straight, not bending over to one side.  He confirmed that I looked normal which gave me a little bit of hope.  At dinnertime I had to much pain to be able to eat, could not sit at all.  I went to bed and had to move my body using my hands not the mussels in the back.  I had some terrible scenarios coming into my head.  How to organize an helicopter rescue and how to pay for it?   Would the insurance company pay for it? No way that I was going to be able to walk down from the mountain and no way that I would survive sitting in the jeep.  Kilimanjaro, no way.   The day after I told told Tony that I had not been worse since five years.  

It was a hard day walk, a lot up and down before down.  This was a long and hard day, almost 10 hours walk.  


Nithi Gates to Meru Mount Kenya Bandas and to Nairobi.

I started to walk before breakfast.  I had to try to move even my back was very bad.  I did not find Festus, the guide, and started moving.  Earlier on the trip Festus had told me about some lions that sometimes were in the area.  I was a little bit scared when I heard some noise in the bush.  It was just some birds.  The elephant that Tony and Andy saw, I did not see, but I saw a group of 6-7 antelopes.  Extremely surprisingly most of my back problems disappeared more or less after 30 minutes walking, and walking and resting for some hours made it go away.  At the huts we met Roger.  He had been recovering well and was now ready for the Killi attempt. 

The Land Rover drive was not bad.  I walked down halve the way and drove the rest.  I heard some noises in the forest on the way down, still afraid of lions and hyenas, it was an exiting walk.   The minibus tour back to Nairobi was not bad.  Part of the time I was lying on the floor to rest my back. For an obvious reason I did not take any pictures today.

It was extremely nice to to get back to Fairview hotel to get a shower, a meal and some sleep.   All in all Mt Kenya had been a nice experience, even considering my back problems.

Nairobi to Moshi

We started from the hotel at 8 and were in Moshi at 15:30 after a boring hour in Arusha.  The drive was good.  A nice small comfortable buss and a lot to see.  There was some game on the roadside, a lot of villages and some masais.  The masais was like on movies, painted in their face and carrying  weapons.  The word "shopping center" got a new definition.  The Tanzanians claim a store at a size of a telephone booth to be a shopping center.  

At Springland hotel we got a pre trek briefing by Patient.  The briefing was like watching a video telling nothing that we did not now from experience and form what we had read. It was like, drink walk slow and bring warm gear.  We had not had any food since breakfast and were hungry.  When dinner was served at 8:00 we had to wait for almost one hour to be allowed to serve us selves from the buffet.  The food tasted nice after 12 hours without eating although there was no meat and that they ran out of chicken.


The first killi view before sunset taken from outside the hotel.


Machame Park gate  to Machame huts 3000 m

We had an early wakeup call at 6 and ate breakfast before we waited to leave the hotel.  We drove to Moshi to pick up some porters, which was fun.  One porter just got on the bus probably because he believed that he would get a job if he joined us.  There was some people trying to sell maps and useless things.  On the way up to Machame Park Gate the locals were jumping on to the roof of the bus to get up to the gate to "apply"  for job as a porter.  It was well organized up at the gate, no other than the trekkers and staff that had been hired for the trek had the permission to go inside the fences.  Some of the salesmen and porters walked in, but were told by an armed guard to stay outside.  


After one hour waiting at the gate, we started walking up the rain forest, up is the correct word.  The first part the path was nice, almost like a tractor "road" in the forest.  The reason was that there were some people maintaining and improving the path.  After have passed those guys, the path was full of roots, trees and it was more narrow.  I was very happy that it did not rain.  That would have been muddy.  The rain forest was close to what according to my imagination is a "Troll forest".



The picture from the left shows the road at the start, the second a close up picture of the lower part of a tree.



Typical paths and forest up to Machame huts were we arrived at 4 pm.  We did a mistake, we arrived before the porters and I got cold because I did not bring the necessary cloths.  Today it was difficult to find the correct heat balance, the humidity was high and it was warm and cold at the same time.  Roger made it today and for the first time i had company in the tent.  It was difficult, all my routines had to be changed, I did not have the space I was used to.  

Uphill walk.  


 Machame huts to Shira Plateau 3840m


Typical view, we were above the rain forest belt.  We were lucky to have porters to carry our luggage.  To the right, resting halve way up.  





Killi an hour before the sunset. The weather pattern today was as usual, clear mornings cloudy during the day and clearing up before sunset. To the right sunset from the camp. Today Roger got more trouble, he did not have enough energy to walk further up and he got diarrhea problems. Andy was not very happy when he got his trek bag today.  The porter had used it to carry a fish and it was smelly like old fish.  The porters cleaned it and Andy was smiling like usual again.  

Basically uphill 

Shira Plateau -- Lava Tower to Barranco hut 3940m

The guide had to walk with Roger and the porters down to the hut to organize "rescue".  We started alone together with a porter and i made sure that we did not have a speed of more than 5 m/minute uphill.  Tony maintained an extremely steady speed and it was only a few times I had to ask him to slow down or speed up.  According to experience it is important not to spend too much energy on useless things, we need the energy for the important last 100 meters on the summit day.




It was a nice day for walking, not to cold or to warm and more or less sunny the whole time.  We also had some nice scenery, not as good as the days at Mt. Kenya.   


There was a lot of people at the camp.  


Before sunset there were some good picture opportunities.  To the right the "wall" we had to climb the next day.  I was not looking forward to that.  


Another hard day.  A lot uphill.  

Barranco hut to Barafu Hut at 4600m

We started early as usual and maintained the same slow speed as yesterday.  The climb was easy and I was never scared at all.  


It was a nice morning for walking, but the weather pattern was as usual.  



A picture from the lunch place.   The M-glacier to the right.  


Only 600 meters up, but we did like 1000 meters uphill.  I did not know that we had to walk down below where we started and felt very well at 4100, bud did not like all the downhill thereafter.  

Summit day 5895 and down to Mweka Hut

We had made the decision to leave early to have time enough to get to the summit to see the sun rise.  We missed by 10 minutes, but the sun rise was beautiful and we all made it to the summit.  We started at 11:20 pm.  It was a new experience to walk in the dark.  Having a head torque and given the nice path, it was no problems at all to walk.  I had a little bit of stomach pain when I was drinking and eating.  I had to because I was a kind off out of energy and was at the end only able to walk for a few minutes between a little bit of drinking or eating nuts.  My decision was to stop at Stella point because my back had started to hurt, but the guide told me to and the assistant guide took my backpack.  When walking normal, not small steps only uphill, it was not bad.  It was cold, probably between -10C to -20C.  The day before when talking about what to bring on the summit day, the guide told me to where my fleece jacket which was not my plan.  I told him that i am a Norwegian and know a little bit on how to dress when it is cold.  I brought enough to keep a nice temperature.   


The sun rise over Africa was one of the major goals for the trip.  The two pictures are taken 10 seconds after each other.  You had to be there and keep your eyes open when it happened.  As seen from the picture, there were not that much "Africa" to see.  



There were a glacier at killi.  To the right, the proof.


The crater and Tony and Andy at the summit.  


It was a long day.  I had some back pine before the Stella point and expected a terrible downhill back to the camp.  It was not bad at all when we walked in to the camp at 8:15.   


Steady uphill to the summit and then back down to the camp.

Leaving the Barafu we met the South-African man that was in our bus up to the gate.  I was totally exhausted reaching  the camp, he reached the camp three hours after us.  We saw him struggling like 45 minutes from the summit.  He made it, probably did the greatest achievement of all of us, probably the best of all the people today.  It is easy to imagine how much he hated the last 100 meters uphill.  

It was half way raining on the trek down to the last camp.  It was an fast and easy walk down.  At the camp we bought all the proters, the guide and the cook a beer.  It was very tasty after a terrible dusty trek to the summit of Killi. Tony and Andy thought that $3 for 0.5 liters of beer was expensive.  It is the the normal rate in Norway.


Down to the camp.

Mweka Hut to gate and to hotel

The breakfast today was a small breakfast.  Half a sausage and a little bit more.  We had the suspicion yesterday that we were close to run out of food.  Today we got it verified.  

The path down today was again rain forest.  The path was very nicely maintained and it was an easy fast walk. Normally I would expect back problems walking downhill, but today it was gone.  It was not dusty today because of the humidity in the forest.

Typical path down the rainforrest.                 Basically it was downhill today.

Down at the gate we met a lot of locals that tried to sell us useless souvenirs.  The children along the road had learned some useful words "jambo" and chocolate.   Back at Springlands it was terrible to wait for one hour to get the very necessary shower.  Not that terrible, the beer cost $1.  Today was the day for relaxing and to eat nice food.  Fore some strange reason we did not order wine for dinner.  At 10 pm I was tired as hell and went to sleep.  The next day I had problems walking because of all the downhill the days before. 


I was looking forward to the safari.