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Mt. Kenya Challenge

This past week marked another physical milestone - I summitted Mt. Kenya, which is the second-highest mountain in Africa and holds the record for having the highest "Via Ferratta" in the world.

A via ferrata (Italian for "iron road", plural vie ferrate or in English via ferratas) is a protected climbing route found in the Alps and certain other locations. The essence of a modern via ferrata is a steel cable which runs along the route and is periodically (every 3 to 10 metres (9.8 to 32.8 ft)) fixed to the rock. Using a via ferrata kit, climbers can secure themselves to the cable, limiting any fall. The cable can also be used as aid to climbing, and additional climbing aids, such as iron rungs (stemples), pegs, carved steps and even ladders and bridges are often provided. Thus via ferratas allow otherwise dangerous routes to be undertaken without the risks associated with unprotected scrambling and climbing or the need for climbing equipment such as ropes. They offer the relatively inexperienced a means of enjoying dramatic positions and accessing difficult peaks, normally the preserve of the serious mountaineer; although, as there is a need for some equipment, a good  head for heights and basic technique, the via ferrata can be seen as a distinct step up from ordinary mountain walking. Conversely, the modest equipment requirements, ability to do them solo, and potential to cover a lot of ground, mean that via ferratas can also appeal to more experienced climbers. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Via_ferrata )

 

We were a group of 11 climbers and we started our climb from the Naro Moru KWS Gate. Once there, we had a quick sandwich lunch and started our hike to the Met Station, where we stayed overnight.  The next morning we had a long hike to Mackinder's Camp, where we stayed overnight and left for the summit at 2:45am.  At that altitude, anyone can succumb to high-altitude sickness and the guides must be careful to look for the signs.  We had two people on our team who didn't feel well and so we slowed down and let them regain their strength so that we could summit as a group.  We leave no one behind!  It was especially challenging when we reached the via ferrata because the rocks were slippery due to the ice.  We took it nice and slow and we all made it through.  The views from the summit were fantastic! We celebrated for 30 minutes and then had to start the treacherous trek down the mountain. My knees are still sore from that but I feel very accomplished! You learn a lot about yourself when you take on a mountain - how much you can tolerate, how to internally dialogue with yourself when you think you have nothing left in you to move forward, how to push your teammate who's worse off than you...so many lessons!

What do you do to challenge your body, mind or soul?


 

 

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