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African Rock, Snowy Summits & a return to base

Jo making her way up the first ascent of 'Pole Pole Ilpoloi' HS in Laikipia

Tricky business running rock courses during the heaviest rains in Kenya reportedly since 1997. Thank goodness someone built a climbing wall although that only was only part solution given that its an outdoor tower and as such also susceptible to the weather. However we did manage to quite literally soldier on, delivering plenty of good adventure training come rain or shine. One of the tricky aspects of heavy rain can be the liquefaction of the roads. Leading to some ‘technical’ driving approaches although quite fun if you're not a nervous driver. A place where 4x4 comes into its own. With a land cruiser though you can pretty much get anywhere you need to leaving just some creativity needed to deal with the wet rock.

Snow covered slopes on Mt Kenya during Jo's rapid trip to the top

Jo had a super impressive day out this week on a mountain run up Mt Kenya in somewhat adverse conditions she found a chance window to make a very rapid one day ascent of Point Lenana, Mt Kenya. Kicking off at 6am she was up to the summit and down in just 10.5 hours. This is normally a four or five day expedition style trip so very impressive to tick it off in just a day and in such a fast time to. Given the rains, which at 5000 metres equals snow its a snowy summit no one had summited that day and there where some large groups trying. Often when on a trekking peak like that if there is snow like that its better to wait until later when things soften. Its nice to get the summit sunrise but if its a cold clear night then it can be very hard an icy but that soon softens as the day goes on. If your super lucky and its exceptionally clear you can get a view all the way to Kilimanjaro.

For a look at our Kenya programme for 2024 click here.

Back in the sunshine working at the Near Ndare crags which the hugely now green landscape of Lewa and Boranna as the backdrop

Two courses back to back rounded off our stay in Kenya and great to have been back out despite perhaps not getting in as much climbing for ourselves as we hoped. Always great to see the team and see how things have been going its one I have been working with for over decade and Nanyuki seems is a second home. The two courses ran well, the initial of the two was pretty wet but with a mix of cunning, climbing wall and enthusiasm we where able to navigate the syllabus. In the Highlands on a long five day course a day in the wall can often provide a huge amount of learning and a welcome break from bad weather. With people warm and dry the focus can be on the ropes and learning without too much distraction. Which was exactly what we did, with the benefit of having a great cafe from which to operate.

The second the weather seemed to ease and with no other clients in camp Jo and I both teamed up to deliver this one. Fine sunshine and plenty of climbing and learning finished off what has been a nice trip out. We had a particular highlight on the last day of having one last hit in the vast Laikipia. The rather improbable looking cliffs on the huge copy that sticks out above Illpoloi made for a great venue. Some impressive blank walls and cannon style blocks sticking out made for some fun adventuring cementing the skills learned on the course. This rounded things off with now plenty who have come through during 2023 on their rock foundation course and hopefully a few more to come through in 2024.

Dramatic abseil at the Ilpoloi crag deep in Laikipia

Thanks again to the team at Rift Valley Adventures

For now its a return to what is looking like just what we hoped for in the Scottish Highlands, winter! See you on the other side……….

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