On the descent!

With the expedition complete and the team relaxing in a comfortable hotel with great Wi-Fi, expedition leader Garrett Madison provided this expedition recap and a cache of amazing climb photos:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Mount Kenya expedition.  We are back in Nanyuki, Kenya at the base of Mount Kenya.  We had a wonderful climb yesterday to the summit – all three high points were reached on the peak:  Lenana, Nelion, and Batian, the highest point on Mount Kenya.  It was a beautiful 18-pitch technical rock climb and rappel back down.  It was about a 16-hour day for us.

Today we descend down, back into the lush forest, and to the Soames Hotel here, a very comfortable place to stay in Nanyuki.  Tomorrow, we’ll head back to Nairboi and fly back to the USA.

It’s been a great trip and we look forward to returning to Kenya at some point in the future.

Comfortable breakfast in camp

Comfortable breakfast in camp

Chase on the climb!

Chase on the climb!

On one of the traverse sections of the route

On one of the traverse sections of the route

Making our way to the Batian summit of Mount Kenya

Making our way to the Batian summit of Mount Kenya

Climbing the final pitch of snow

Climbing the final pitch of snow

At the summit of Mount Kenya, Africa’s 2nd highest peak

At the summit of Mount Kenya, Africa’s 2nd highest peak

The final 18 pitches of 5.6 - 5.7 rock climbing on summit day

The final 18 pitches of 5.6 – 5.7 rock climbing on summit day


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

Climber on Mount Kenya

Congratulations to our team on reaching the highest point in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa, Mount Kenya!  With yesterday’s Point Lenana (4985m) summit and this morning’s top out on both the summits of Nelion (5188m) and Batian (5199m), our team touched all three of Mount Kenya‘s high peaks.  Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, provides the happy news from the very top of Mount Kenya via satellite phone:

Hello!  This is Garrett calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Mount Kenya team!  Today is January 20th and myself and Chase are up here on the summit of Mount Kenya – the Batian summit.  We reached Point Lenana yesterday and the Nelion summit today and we got up here (Batian summit) about 2:00 PM Kenyian time.  Great climb — took us 8-1/2 hours, 18+ pitches of technical rock and a little snow.

We are looking forward to heading back down, getting a good night’s rest, and then trekking out tomorrow back to the trailhead.  So, all’s well here on Mount Kenya.  We’ve had a great climb and we’re looking forward to heading home soon.

[While the team is without connectivity we will be sharing some stock photos of the general locations]


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

Austrian hut at the summit of Mount Kenya (Shutterstock 1214301250)

Today our Mount Kenya team ascended from the camp at Lake Michaelson to Mount Kenya’s third-highest peak, Point Lenana (4985m)!  One down, two to go!  They reached Point Lenana around 2:00 PM local time after hitting the trail at 08:30 AM.  Afterward, they descended to the high Austrian hut for dinner and the evening.

An alpine start is in store for tomorrow’s summit day, as they will be making their attempt on the Nelion (5188m) and Batian peaks (5199m) which will involve multiple pitches of technical rock climbing.  Godspeed guys!

[While the team is without connectivity we will be sharing some stock photos of the general locations]


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

Lake Michaelson, Mount Kenya

Day two of the trek to Mount Kenya and our team moved up from their camp on the shore of Lake Ellis (3460m) to Lake Michaelson (4100m).  The day’s trek was a beautiful walk along the ridge overlooking the Gorges Valley.  Later in the day, Lake Michelson came in to view and they enjoyed lunch overlooking the lake with a spectacular view.  From there a gentle traverse and descent lead to Lake Michaelson camp.

Tomorrow the team will climb up to the first of Mount Kenya‘s three high points, Point Lenana (4985m/16,355ft) before descending slightly to the Austrian high hut (4670m) for the night.

[While the team is without connectivity we will be sharing some stock photos of the general locations]


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

View of Lake Ellis on the way to the top of Mount Kenya

This morning our Mount Kenya team lead by Garrett Madison trekked the 8.38km from the Meru Bandas trailhead on the Chogoria route up to their camp at Lake Ellis (3471m/11,388ft).  After breakfast, they packed up camp and hit trail around 8:00 AM local time enjoying spectacular views of the rolling hills along the way and catching a glimpse of the snow-capped peaks of Batian (5199m) and Nelion (5188m) high above.  They made it up to Lake Ellis just time for lunch just before 1:00 PM.  They spent the afternoon exploring around the lake with a hike up to nearby Mugi Hill to enjoy the sunset.

Tomorrow, they will continue the trek and camp near Lake Michaelson at the head of the Gorges Valley.  And the following day they should reach the first of the first high points of Mount Kenya:  Point Lenana (4985m).  Stay tuned!

[The team is without connectivity, so we will be sharing some stock photos of the general locations]


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

At the trailhead - Bandas, Mount Kenya

After arrival in Nairobi last night, our Mount Kenya private expedition with Chase and expedition leader, Garrett Madison, kicked off this morning with a drive to the Meru Bandas trailhead on the Chogoria route.  Here’s Garrett’s audio dispatch:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Mount Kenya expedition.  Today is Saturday, January 16th and we departed Nairobi this morning from our hotel and drove a few hours to the trailhead here at Mount Kenya.  We just arrived and had lunch and settled into our camp.  We’re going to have a relaxing afternoon and then have dinner this evening and go to bed.

Tomorrow we start trekking up the mountain.  So, hopefully we will reach the summit in a few days, 4 or 5 or 6 days, and be back in Nairobi in about a week!

Chase enjoying his personal tent - Bandas trailhead, Mount Kenya

Chase enjoying his personal tent – Meru Bandas trailhead, Mount Kenya

Homo Erectus skeleton in Nairobi airport (1.6 million years old)

Homo Erectus skeleton in Nairobi airport (1.6 million years old)


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear Garrett Madison’s daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

 

Climber on Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya stands alone in the highlands of central Africa. Once an ancient volcano, estimated to have once been almost 22,000 feet tall, what now remains is a steep, eroded core, just over 17,000 feet in height. Though a couple of thousand feet higher and hence much better known, its nearby neighbor Kilimanjaro does not offer nearly the climbing challenge and alpine character of Mount Kenya.  In our eight-day itinerary, you will have a chance to touch all three high-points of Mount Kenya:  Batian (5199m/17,057ft), Nelion (5188m/17,021ft) and Point Lenana (4985m/16,355 ft).


The Normal route to Nelion is attempted via the southern side of Mt Kenya and is best accessed from the Austrian hut. After crossing the Lewis Glacier with headlamps on, you scramble up the scree to the base of the climb. Generally, you have completed the first two pitches before first light. Once the sun does come out, the climbing becomes even more enjoyable. As you work through the pitches, you will pass famous features such as “One O’clock Gully,” “The Amphitheatre,” and “De Graf’s Variation,” which will present some easy and some challenging climbing. “Bailey’s Bivy,” which is a disused hut, can be considered the half-way point on this spectacular route. The summit of Nelion is generally reached in 6-8 hours. Howell Hut, on the summit of Nelion, will be used for a brief rest before crossing over to Batian via the “Gates of Mist,” which involves dropping some 35m off Nelion and climbing a further 50m to the summit. The estimated time to do this crossing and return to Nelion is 3-4 hours and is dependent on ice levels within the “Gates of Mist.”


It is this route on to Nelion that saw Eric Shipton complete the first ascent to the summit of Mt Kenya in 1929 with PW Harris prior to him being part of a reconnaissance team on Mt Everest. The route has many other famous stories from famous faces of the past, which you will have to discuss with your guide during the unforgettable climb.