Over Spring Break I (Jamie) had the amazing opportunity to hike Mt. Kenya, Africa’s 2nd highest mountain. My good friend Scott Barnett was organizing a trip for his company, Tanari International, and invited me along. This is a mountain that I have been planning to hike since I first laid eyes on it in 2007 and I was very grateful to have the opportunity to do this with some great friends, as well as the new friends I made along the way.
The hike took us from 8,000 ft. to 16,000ft and covered a distance of 50 km. The distance itself is not that far, but the high altitude increases the workload. This is by far the most beautiful hike I have ever taken. Mt. Kilimanjaro is the most famous mountain in Africa due to its height, but I was told by Vic (a South African member of our team) that from his experience on both mountains, Mt. Kenya was the more beautiful of the two. This opinion has been reiterated to me by several people. I guess I will have to hike Kili and find out for myself. Scott chose a combination of 2 routes for us, beginning on the NW side of the mountain on the Sirimon Route, circling around the eastern side of the peaks, summiting Point Lenana, and then coming down the Nora Mora route down the SW side of the mountain. This allowed us to see various angles of the peaks, not to mention a wide variety of landscapes and vegetation zones. We were also able to see something that very few people see or experience when they are in Africa….snow. At the top you can not only see the glaciers but also patches of snow that rarely melt. When we were on the summit of Lenana Point snow flurries began to fall. The one down side to Mt. Kenya is that very few people actually reach the top. The highest peaks, Batian and Nelion, can only be technically climbed. The 3rd highest peak, Point Lenana, is the more common peak to summit. Standing at 16, 355 ft. it is still quite an accomplishment.
The only other downside was that Jess was unable to come with me (something about being 6 months pregnant). It was great to climb with my good friends, but it is an experience that I will have to have again with Jess.