March 28, 2003

Mount Kenya - Day 3

By 2:30AM I give up sleeping and starts to pack my gear. Gerald and I are having a quick hot drink with cookies and we leave the camp by 3:35AM. It's pitch black outside. Gerald tells me that his torch does not work so we will have only one torch: my head lamp.

Good to know... We are insane. The lamp does not lighten mot than 5m as we are in the middle of the clouds therefore it is quite a challenge to follow what is supposed to be the path. It is normally identified by a set of stones in a couple of places but we hardly can see it considering the lack of light. Moreover we are forced to be close to each other so that we both benefit the lighting making the ascending even more dangerous. It does not take long for Gerald, leading the way, to put his foot on an unstable rock that I receive on my missed the tibia by a few inches. Pfeeew.

After 2 hours We take a break during the ascending and I still cannot believe how we are doing this. I'm quite angry. I ask Gerald how long he thinks it remains to go and his reply is as accurrate as the one from yesterday. If we are still not half way, there is little chance to see the sunrise at 8AM... Anyway.

I don't know if it is because of the altitude or the fact that I did not sleep for 2 days but I feel somewhat weak and a desire to sleep. It is not like it is physically difficult but every step to bring up my weight seems forever and exhausting.

The light starts to come and we are about to reach the top. Only hundreds of meters remains. It is now pure climbing and we take a grip on every rock to bring us up taking care of using stable and non slippery one. I cannot believe we are doing this and I hardly can see *HOW* we will be able to go down this way !

By 6:30AM we are at the top of Point Lenana. 4985m. We did it just in time for the sunrise. We enjoy this moment a couple of minutes, and start descending to Austrian Hut. It takes us less than 30 minutes to reach it as it is at 4790m. It is another route that is way easier than the one we took.

We rest about 20 minutes at Austrian Hut, eating and drinking a bit and start going down to Mackinder's Lodge. The way down is easy as it looks like soft gravel. We are nearly running and it is enjoyable to feel again some energy. It does not take long for us to reach Mackinder's Lodge, about 1 hour. Nobody is there. The porters did not arrive yet from the other path that contourns the mountains.

I spend the rest of the day hanging around and enjoying the weather. I don't feel like going up again for a few hours to visit the lakes, I'm missing 2 night and I feel quite tired but don't want to sleep during day to avoid waking up in the middle of the next night.

In the afternoon I meet a group of three girls, two of them being american and working as volunteers in Nyeri and Nanyuki for three months now. Tait is a French teacher so we are practising her French together. I greatly enjoy their company as they are very nice people ( and pretty as well

They will climb Mount Kenya during the night from the Naro Moru route (the one we used to go down) and go back to Met Station the same day so we will meet there again.

At the end of the afternoon, AnnaJo is cutting Tait's hair. It does not happen everyday to have an hair cut at 4300m in such spectacular landscape, therefore I'm immortalizing the scene.

Once the Sun disappears, it starts freezing quickly and we end up sleeping by 8PM. Not that there are much things to do in the camps. As I want to spend a full night of sleep and that we have no strict schedule tomorrow, I'm using ear plugs. The girls are leaving around 2AM and I'm not sure about the mess made by other people around.

Sunrise on top of Mount Kenya Me on top of Mount Kenya ( Peak Lenana - 4985m ) Me on top of Mount Kenya ( Peak Lenana - 4985m ) Sunrise on top of Mount Kenya Sunrise on top of Mount Kenya Sunrise on top of Mount Kenya Sunrise on top of Mount Kenya Sunrise on top of Mount Kenya Rock hyrax at Mackinder's Lodge. This is the nearest living relative of the elephant. Rock hyrax family around Mackinder's Lodge Annajo at work on Tait's hair

Posted by stephane at March 28, 2003 03:56 PM

I have not seen snow for a really long time. Travelling with you /even just on your side/ while sitting in the school makes me feel nice. Have a nice time there.j

Posted by: jana on April 4, 2003 04:21 PM