Mount Kenya Ascent....arduous, wet and exhilarating!
Reviewed Tour: Mt Kenya Ascent
“This trip was certainly deserving of the 'challenging/tough' label. Aside from the first and last days, all hiking was challenging underfoot. The going is almost always wet and boggy or once you get higher, loose scree and rock. This, of course, is part of the fun and also a characteristic of the Burgaret route - so the wildness and tranquility is hugely appealing but comes at the expense of comfort! Be prepared to be walking with your eyes down, watching where you put your feet rather than enjoying the view! We had a delightful group of 6 like-minded souls and we stuck together for the whole thing. I could imagine that it would feel harder if you fell behind. For that reason, having altitude experience and difficult hiking experience is a must. I am pretty fit but found the climbing in very thin air very tough. We were ably supported by fantastic teams on the ground from Patrick the local partner who met us at the airport and took us for a drink on our last day, to the 17 porters who looked after us spectacularly well, to our wonderful tour leader, Peter and his chief guide George. The only downside was that the rains had started (this is my only criticism of the trip - the rains are known to often start in October and thus going on a trip in late October can be very unpleasant). No one minds a bit of rain, in fact one expects it in mountain environment, but it rained all day every day and it made for very challenging conditions. We were soaked through and our packs (which weren't protected from the elements as the porters scaled the ridges) were also soaked. So it was hard to change into dry clothing. Also, the rain and mist and cloud meant that many of the excellent views were missed. The full service camping is fun and the food is terrific but it's hard going when it's cold and wet. The two camps were basic and long overdue for a decent overhaul but you are grateful for a bed - even if you're sharing a dormitory with your fellow travellers. On summit day, which was terrific, after the exhilaration of the climb and happy descent to a hearty and celebratory breakfast; we cheerily set on our way for the final long slog. And what a slog it was - you get up at 2am on summit day, make the summit for sunrise, descend, rest then set off again to get to our final camp. It was a very long and tiring day made all the harder because of the rain. This is not a trip for high maintenance people!”