Trip to Mt Kenya - Sept 23 to Oct 5, 2010. by Margaret Brown
Nine of us met in Nairobi for this wonderful trip. They were Hannelie Morris (leader), Gavin and Barbara Raubenheimer, Gerhard Venter, John Crumley, Sharon Cox, Roy and Jean Stephenson and myself, Margaret Brown. Captain Joe, our guide, took us under his wing and organized our gas and transport to the mountain, via Chogoria.
The first night was spent in wooden bungalows at the Meru Mt Kenya Lodge at 3017m. The next day we walked through beautiful forests (with old Man?s Beard hanging from all the trees which were Pencil cedars, Podocarpus, East African Redwood (Hoginia Abyssinia) - in some ways, similar to the Eastern Cape. Finally, as we went up higher and nearer Lake Ellis, we came to the Giant, and Track Lobelias, and the Ostrich Plume Lobelia and Cabbage Groundsel. Lake Ellis is the largest lake on the mountain and very beautiful. We had all the different campsites to ourselves, which was wonderful.
The next day was our first of eight clear mornings and we saw the peaks for the first time. We trudged up to Mintos Hut and Hall Tarn at 4297m and looked down on Lake Michaelson and the Gorges Valley. The views were stunning! It was getting colder and there was a bit of sleet as we arrived at the campsite next to Hall Tarn. We spent two nights at this campsite, so were able to do some washing - and exploring, to see the Temple Gates and the huge cliffs above Lake Michaelson, as well as other tarns in the area. Every afternoon the weather closed in and there was icy rain or some other form of icy precipitation; temperatures were similar to July Camp but with a lot less sun. Mountain chats and Malachite sunbirds were in evidence around us.
On the fourth day, we could have climbed Mt Lenana, but the clouds and mist rolled in so we went on to Kami (4600m), where we spent four nights. From here Captain Joe led five of us – Barbara, Jean, Roy, Gerhard and myself - up Point Lenana (4985m). He was a very good leader and we all coped well. John and Sharon attempted Point Peter that day and Hannelie and Gavin rested. Very early the next day, Hannelie and Gavin set off for Batian, while Captain Joe led Sharon and John up Point Lenana. It was the only day it did not rain.
We were in radio contact with the Batian duo and heard late in the afternoon that they were retreating, as Hannelie had AMS. Captain Joe was very anxious when he heard this, and went to the base of the climb with two porters the next morning, to make sure Gavin and Hannelie came down safely. We had, in the meantime, been doing washing and picking up litter. The porters brought fruit and popcorn that day, as well as supplying us with flasks of boiled water every day, plus teabags and a tin of coffee! The hyrax there kept us company as well.
The next day we walked up and down various steep scree slopes to get around to American Camp, below three glaciers. We walked out by the Naro-Moro route and the Vertical Bog (which took about two hours). It was good to get to the Met Station bungalows and have hot water to wash!
Altogether it was a wonderful trip. Thank you, Hannelie and Captain Joe!