In December 2017, Mickael Asser and I decided to run on Mount Kenya. One of our challenge was to find a good reference article or video online to guide our planning. We watched a couple of videos online but they lack details in terms of training requirements, what was the challenge and providing tips for others.
In order to prepare ourselves for the high altitude and steep run on Mount Kenya, we started training on other mountains every Saturday for four weeks. We run on Mt. Longonot, Mt. Suswa , Elephant Hill and Mt. Satima. On our last training on Mt. Satima, we completed the 12km run in 1 hour 50m. This was a good indication for us to set a date for the big run.
On Feb 17, We arrived at Mt. Kenya National Park (Sirimon Gate) at 6:30am. Once done with registration, we drove up to Old Moses camp and started running up to Lenana. The highlight of our run up to Shipton was the expression on the Park’s staff, guides and hikers when they saw us running up to the summit. The common word was “You guys are crazy!”
We reached Shipton Camp, 4,200masl, in less than 3 hours covering 14kms. After two minutes water break, we set off towards the summit in an easy pace. The most difficult part of Mt Kenya is the 3km between Shipton camp and Lenana, which is very steep with lose rocks and scree slopes. We summited Lenana in 4 hours and 48 minutes.
On our way down, we missed our trail and struggled to get back on the right track towards Shipton. After two hours into our decent, we found a trail that led us to a camping site situated at 3,900masl. The guides at the camp informed us that we are running towards Chogoria gate rather than Old Moses. Exausted but determined to complete the run, we had to climb back to 4,400m and descend towards the gate. Despite the set back, we finished our run at Chogoria Roadhead camp site covering a total of 29.5kms in 8 hours 49 minutes.
Proper planning of the trail before hand and packing right for the challenge is critical. Missing our trail after the summit and looking for a way back took our energy. We also run out of water 7 hours into our decent due to our ultra light pack.
On the bright side, Chogoria route is the most scenic and breathtakingly beautiful. We enjoyed every bit of it and if we do it again, I think this will be the route we will take to the summit.
By Tewodros and Mickael.