After the experiences of the Bernese Alps and Mont Blanc I felt that I was ready for my first 5000-meter peak – and I wanted to see something of the world before finishing my studies. So I picked the mountains of East Africa.
Following a somewhat difficult start I first climbed Point Lenana (4985 m), the third-highest peak of the Mount Kenya massif. Then I teamed up with Joseph Njambara Ndungu, a local climber and member of the Mount Kenya rescue team. Together we did the classic route on Nelion (shipton & Wyn-Harris 1929) – 15 pitches of sometimes superb rock, with difficulties up to UIAA IV- on the “De Graaf Variation” (which left me pretty breathless at over 5000 m…). On the summit (5188 m) we bivouacked in the legendary tin shelter of Howell’s Hut and next morning continued to the belay above the Gate of the Mists, where we decided to turn back due to time constraints. We rappelled off the mountain on the very last day of the dry season. The following morning the peak was snowed up…A worthy summit indeed for my first 5000-meter peak!