Wednesday
Jul062011

Elephant poaching on Mt. Kenya

Elephant poaching on Mount Kenya is escalating at an alarming rate, and the Mount Kenya Trust  statistics indicate that over 100 elephant have been killed in the last two and a half years. In 2009, the  Mount Kenya Trust (MKT) and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) teams patrolling the mountain suddenly began to find elephant carcasses poached specifically for ivory.  Most recently, there has been the shocking discovery that 4 out of 8 elephants collared on the northern side of the mountain by the organisation Save the Elephants were poached between the months of January and March of 2011. These alarming statistics are a huge cause for concern within the region and are a probable indicator of what is happening throughout the vast expanses of Mount Kenya, including numerous areas in which MKT currently is not able to assess the true scope and scale of the problem.  
 
The Mount Kenya Trust is seeking funds for a horse patrol unit to tackle the identified hot spots between the Imenti, Marania and Sirimon areas of the mountain. The project has the full support of KWS, and MKT currently has two foot patrol teams working in conjunction with the existing but undermanned KWS team on Mount Kenya. The Trust has seen great success with its ‘Marania Wildlife Gaurds’ and ‘Joint Wildlife Protection Team’ (JWPT). The Trust employs and trains rangers from local communities.   In the JWPT model, Mount Kenya Trust ‘civilians’ are backed up by armed KWS rangers; this ensures that government protocol is followed and that some of the teams have armed support.  The KWS Mount Kenya Senior Warden has stated that, “presently the JWPT is the most responsive and effective team on the mountain.” 
 
With the addition of horses, the proposed new team will be able to cover more ground and will have a distinct advantage when approaching and chasing poachers who operate on foot.  This team will be made up of trained civilians and KWS rangers and they will be in regular communication the Trust’s Marania Wildlife Guards. The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, located just to the north of Mount Kenya, has a proven effective armed security team that also is available as support when necessary.
Monday
Jun272011

1st-3rd July : Satima from Shamata Gate in the North.

The highlands of Aberdares are Afro-alpine moorlands. Satima is the highest peak in the Aberdares and is usually climbing in a short walk from the road head on the south side of the mountain. The Northern end of the Aberdares Park is much less frequently visited, but has well developed roads and good camp sites. The hike from the North side is rarely done and is over open moorland with many interesting views and rock features. It is a solid days hike up to the summit and back to the road head on the North side.
Previously, the Shamata gate accepted cash and provided official receipts. We will reconfirm before departure that Smart Cards are not required.
We will plan to camp on Friday in one of the high campsites or at the road head (special permision) on the approach from Shamata Gate. On Saturday morning we will hike up to the summit of Satima and return to camp. Sunday morning is available to visit other interesting spots on the north end of the park (i.e. the Twin Hills or the rock formations called the Dragon’s Teeth) with return to Nairobi in the afternoon. 
An alternative descent and return plan is to descend from the summit to the road head on the south side to meet a second car and return to Nairobi from there. Some of the group will probably take this route as it requires less descent to reach the cars.
The meet will leave Nairobi on Friday at no later than noon to drive up and into the park. The most direct route to Shamata gate is through Gilgil to Nyahururu (Thompson Falls). From Nyahururu, the road across the North of the Aberdares in the direction of Nyeri is taken. The right hand turn to the Shamata gate is at a location called 4 miles (or Malonne) and is described as about 4 miles from Nyahururu. The muram road to the Shimata gate is about 39 kms and the gate reports that the turning from the highway and the muram road are all sign posted to the Shamata gate. The drive to Nyahururu takes 3 – 4 hours and 1 hour should be allowed to travel from Nyahururu to the park gate. The park closes at 6 PM. The Shamata gate accepts only cash and provides official receipts. The warden in charge at the gate has confirmed by phone that Smart Cards are not required.
The hike should be a strenuous but well rewarded day. Those wishing to participate will need overnight camping gear. Sharing of tents and cooking stoves and group meals is possible, but each participant will need a sleeping bag and pad that good to the range of 5C. Clothing for a chilly night (including warm hat) and rain is highly advised.
Basic equipment for a day hike is required. Plan to bring sun screen, protective hat, 2-3 liters of water, light pack for lunch and rain gear. On longer day hikes like this in remote areas, t is usually advisable to carry a head lamp and a bit of extra clothing and food in case of emergencies. 
Park fees for two days are required and these can be accessed at: www.kws.org/export/sites/kws/misc/downloads/KWS_Park_Entry_Fees_2009.pdf
Two rangers will be necessary and this cost will be shared by the group. The official rate is 1,500 KSH per 6 hours day and we will need to negotiate how many days or program requires on site.
Those interested in the trip should send me an E-mail(j.mariner@cgiar.org) to express interest (or reconfirm interest) so we have an up to date list. We will plan to meet at Java, ABC Place, Westlands on Wednesday, June 29th at 7:30 PM to discuss the route, car pool arrangements and other issues.

 

Wednesday
Jun222011

28th June - MCK Supper & Slideshow Night, Uzbekistan & Kyrgyzstan by Johannes Deitz

The peaks of Central Asia in the former Soviet States are probably among the least explored on that continent. At the turn of the Millenium an adventurous excursion from Taschkent took a number of students towards the Pamir mountains in Kyrgyzstan.
Although summiting the snowcapped peaks like Pik Lenin (7,134 m) and then still Pik Communism (Ismoil Somoni, 7,495 m) was not the objective, the stunning vistas from the road and hiking trip as well as the silk road in Usbekistan took our breath away and will probably inspire us all for another trip to these remote gems of mountaineering.
The slide show will follow the route from Tashkent through the Fergana Valley to Osh in Kyrgystan and to the Abramov Glacier in the Alay Range and then return to Uzbekistan discovering the historic cities of Samarqand and Buchara along the Silk Road.
The outside caterer who provided us with finger licking-good food last supper night will be back at it, hoping that at least 30 hungry people turn up! So come hungry, without remorse of not having prepared anything, and excited. We will offer you a choice of:
  • Pork Ribs
  • Shredded Chicken with cashews (Sweet & Sour Sauce)
  • Stir fried Veg with cashews (Sweet & Sour Sauce)
  • Mixed Veg in Garlic Sauce
  • Veg Noodles
  • Plain Rice
  • Fried Rice
  • Sweet melon in sesame sauce
at the bargain price of K.Shs 500/-  (650/- for non-members)
For any info, contact Johannes Dietz dietz.johannes@googlemail.com
Tuesday
Jun212011

Update your membership information

If you are a new member or you are an old member but your membership information has changed, please fill in the form here. Climbing and hiking are inherently dangerous sports, this infomation may prove useful incase of an emergency.

Monday
Jun202011

Top tips for organising MCK trips

Whether you just want to get out of Nairobi for a couple of days hiking and climbing or whether you
plan a longer trek to explore Kenya’s peaks which are further a field, here are some handy tips to
help ensure that your trip goes smoothly.
1.Destination
Prepare a brief description of The Trip: the Destination, Route, Severity and Duration.
If you are not sure where to go or how long it might take to get there? The Club has a list and
description of previous MCK trips. These can be found in the filling cabinet.
2. Timing
If you have planned the trip in advance you can advertise the trip in the newsletter and put it on the
club calendar. Alternatively, if you have a last minute urge to go somewhere that same week, simply
mention it at the MCK club house on the Tuesday night and see who is interested to join you.
3. Briefing
The group briefing should take place the Tuesday night before the trip.
  • Destination, Route, Severity and Duration
  • Accommodation, food and water requirements
  • Transport: Agree on the maximum and minimum number of cars or people for the trip and
  • allocate lifts. Agree meeting point, and time.
If the trip is to a restricted area or requires guides or guards, the appropriate authorities should be
contacted before leaving Nairobi.
4. On the Trip
During the trip the group organiser is responsible for:
  • keeping the group informed; departure times, route, rest stops, destination etc.
  • meeting the appropriate local authorities to agree the rates for camping and organising
  • guides or guards.
  • collecting daily fees for non-members
  • arranging a short write up for the news letter on the success of the trip and the memorable moments
Remember, organisers can share these responsibilities with other group members on the trip !
If you have never lead a meet before, and would like a hand getting organised please do not
hesitate to contact meets@mck.or.ke , or any of the Committee members.
Friday
Jun172011

18th - 21st June 2011 - Mount Meru

Climbing Mount Meru is a 4 day trek, and it is proposed that the trek would take place between Saturday 18th June – Tuesday 21st June 2011 – enabling people to drive to Mount Meru (c4-5 hours from Nairobi) on the Friday 17th afternoon, and to drive back to Nairobi on the Tuesday afternoon. 
Proposed Itinerary
Day 1 (Saturday) trekking from Momella Gate (1,500m) to Miriakamba (2,500m) – via the Southern route - about a 5 hour trek through forest.
Day 2 (Sunday) trekking from Miriakamba (2,500m) to the Saddle (3,750m) – about 4 hours – with the possibility of additional side treks once we have arrived at the Saddle.
Day 3 (Monday) summiting in the early morning (4,566m) before descending again to Mirikamba (2,500m) – between 5-8 hours. 
Day 4 (Tuesday) is a short day descending from Miriakamba to Momella Gate via the Northern route – about 3-4 hours, which with an early rise should mean we are back at Momella Gate for an early lunch.  There is then the option to look around the reserve for a couple of hours (as park fees would already have been paid – although transport around the park would incur additional slight cost) before heading back to Nairobi in the afternoon.
Costs
 Per discussion with the rangers, the following is an estimated total cost per person of the trip – from Nairobi, inclusive of transport, 1 nights stay just outside the park, food, park, ranger, cook and porter fees and accommodation within the park.  Full cost for the 4 days is $264 for East African Citizens or $476 for all others.  There is likely to be a small amount payable for transport between the starting point within the park and the lodge where we will stay on the Friday night (and where we will leave cars).
 
Kindly let Christopher know before 10th May if you are interested in climbing.
Itenerary and Costs. Contact Christopher Kelly, chriskellyhome@googlemail.com
Wednesday
May182011

11th - 12th June : Annual Dinner