Climbing Mt.Kenya, attempting Point Lenana (4985M): The story behind the glory

As I had previously mentioned in part one of my Mt Kenya experience, I suffered from a terrible stiff neck on the first night of the hike which messed my whole experience-ish. The nights were severely cold and at some point I felt like I wasn’t going to make it.

I was so tired of this mind game, the never ending rocky slope, the kilometers that kept piling and a tough journey that came with no title! I was done. Completely. I wished everyone the very best and decided to just make it to the T- junction that led us to Lake Michaelson; our next camp.

Several attempts to start summiting proved futile until something strange happened.Determination.

I started walking slowly following the other guys footprints. There was no one in sight. The only option I had was to keep going.

I was barely moving, but I covered some distance.

After about an hour, I saw the first lot from our group crawling back. They had summited!They had an accomplished look on their faces but the exhaustion was evident as well. They were not talking much.

Somehow discouraging but I never gave up hope.I kept at it. It was probably going to take me three hours to go up,come down and catch up with the rest.

They were not sure I’d make it back on time with the moody weather. I was not sure either.

As I made the second turn up behind a huge rock, I saw Abbas; the leading guide. He was carrying two bags and encouraged me to go up. I mean if Abbas cheered me on, it was doable.

I crawled, sat, walked, stood but pushed on.

As I made it to the second turn, I saw Charles.

Charles was the other guide. He gave me painkillers the day I could barely walk. When he saw me, his eyes lit and he gave the warmest smile ever, stretched out his arm took my bag and held me.

‘I have met a guide who’s told me they left you struggling to come up, but they are not sure you’d make it past the fifth step! That you’ve struggled to make it this far, I will take you to the summit. I don’t mind going up for the second time. You are truly resilient.’ He told me.

Who wouldn’t get renewed strength with such encouragement? I had to make it.

Surprisingly enough, I did remarkably well thereafter.

Charles was heaven sent. I don’t know how he did it but the next thing I saw was Lewis glacier which is the largest remaining glacier but is quickly receding, I could see the Austrian hut; the camp set up by the Austrian Alpine Club, clouds, Batian and Nelion peaks stood there majestically as well, then alas! a ladder that led to Point Lenana! I instantly forgot everything else. I no longer had the neck and muscle pain. I smiled sheepishly at myself. If only I was this patient with myself always.

The fast receding Lewis glacier.

One moment there are no clouds, the next time its clouds all over.

Still can’t figure out where all this strength came from…

Snow 🙂

Batian checking me out…

At this point, I cared less about catching up with rest. I mean, I was at the summit, the view was breathtaking, Charles was there with me, I was the highest standing Kenyan in Kenya on both feet at that time and I had my camera! What more could I had asked for?

The final climb…

Well, seems like the victory pose world over…

The Bible at the summit.

Never seen such beauty before.

….Go where eagles fly…

The most deserved break!

I went, I saw, I conquered. Victory tasted so good!

Were it was not for Charles, I probably I would not have summited.

Me and Charles!

Charles…the friend with a golden heart.

There you have it! Summiting wasn’t easy, but I did it anyway.

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33 Discussion to this post

  1. CORRINE says:

    Im getting a positive vibe of never giving up, the way you met the other guys coming back and you forged on is encouraging. I think i would have turned at that point! Go girl you are the bomb!!!

  2. J says:

    You did it!
    Congratulations.

  3. Eva says:

    OMG! Bonita!!!!! I felt the struggle as if I was going through it myself….now considering I gave up at mount Longonot….I can just imagine the tears pouring down my cheeks as I check out the short yet seemingly long distance to point lenana! Good on you girl…this is inspirational!

  4. Myra says:

    Tough cookie kudos i knew you’d make it, infact i would be totally disappointed if you didn’t.

  5. Jeen says:

    My first Summit was almost like yours from darkness to the sunrise that found me patting like a bulldog, to the other me inside my head saying I could not get to Lenana to the long breaks I took is what my 1st mt Kenya was which makes me go back every year as though its a culture for me to go say my pray up at lenana. Well done and you are now among the People who have set foot way way high up on the top Kenyan soil.

  6. Sandra says:

    Congrats Bonnie!!

  7. Punita says:

    That looks like a rough hike up the mountains. Wow!, kudos to you for conquering it with your will. I am not cut out for this kind of a thing, though 🙁

  8. Bob R says:

    This looks excellent! Congrats on summiting.

  9. Nothing can describe a travel situation better than photos and you took only good ones! This is not our kind of adventure but you have inspired us to try this 🙂

  10. Emily says:

    I’ve never done a summit but have thought about it a few times. Thanks for sharing your story of perseverance!

  11. frank says:

    wow !!! this is such an inspiring journey full of adventure and magical experience to reach the highest point of the mountain. am so encouraged to a point that I got to do this once again to prove once was not luck but to affirm adrenalin junkie that I am.

  12. Alexandra says:

    Oh my gosh! Way to keep going, especially given your neck pain. It’s hard to imagine that climb with a full bill of health. Amazing views and an incredible story though. Hopefully you weren’t too wiped out afterward. I think I would be sore for days.

  13. Emily says:

    Wow this sounds like an amazing experience. Well done for pushing through the pain and seeing it through! This happened me on a 180km cycle last year. My legs gave up and I lost all want to keep going and the determination just hit me out of nowhere, harder than ever! The feeling of success at the end made it all worthwhile.

  14. Meg says:

    I really appreciate your honesty and transparency about how difficult it was for you. So much more interesting and real than just ‘summit’ pictures. Knowing the work it took, the summit pictures are all that much more beautiful. <3 Congrats to you!

  15. Miranda says:

    You are so awesome!! I was cheering you on while reading this haha! The view looks absolutely gorgeous and well worth it!

  16. Megan says:

    Your perseverance is inspiring! Congratulations on reaching the summit & capturing some truly beautiful views!

  17. maegan says:

    WOW! Great job! I know that was tough, but you persevered. You’re pictures captured the struggle and triumph beautifully!

  18. Beatrice says:

    Congrats on reaching the summit! Yeah mountain climbing can really be a struggle. In the end it’s all about your determination and perseverance to get to the top!

  19. What an adventure! We love climbing mountains and from your photos, Mt. Kenya seems to be very scenic. We are especially excited about the via ferrata considering that we are rock climbers. Putting this one in our bucket list.

  20. Gracie Gill says:

    This is very inspiring. It is my dreamto hike that high (or even higher) but I need a lot of practice first. You struggled and the fact that you had stiff neck, you still made it! The view up there is stunning! Congratulations for making it! Genuinely, you really inspire me! Thank you!

  21. Andrea says:

    You are amazing! I remember climbing Machu Picchu as I was reading your post. It was hard, but I never gave up. The pictures you have are beautiful. Thanks for this

  22. Iza Abao says:

    That was a huge accomplishment. Congratulations! We always need someone like Charles to motivate us. This was not easy. Your body must be so tired at some point. However, you have proven to yourself and to the world that you have strength and courage.
    The view was breathtaking and totally worth your time and effort.

  23. Rosemary says:

    Indeed…never give up. So proud that you kept going despite the steep slopes and exhaustion. What an accomplishment. The views from the top are spectacular. Worth the hike for sure!!

  24. What an amazing achievement. I feel tired just reading this! I recently did the Inca Trail with my Mum, and she had a guardian angel who helped her got to the top too! The photographs are stunning.

  25. You are full of determination and grit. Congrats for summiting! Indeed you need a lot of will power not to give up. You accomplished it! The views are awesome and it would have definitely made up for all your efforts. 🙂

  26. thats is awesome! you can be so proud of you that you did not give in and pushed further and further… and: I really really like the thought of that you were the Kenyan who stood the highest in Kenya at this time! It’s lovely and uniwue.

  27. incredible and inspirational story! Good thing you kept going, even if it was a little bit at first. Sounds Like your guide, Charles was super motivating and encouraging. I’m sure it was an epic feeling being up there! Nice job!

  28. Anita says:

    It looks like a great achievement you have put a lot of effort to make. Congratulations! It must be a great feeling. Thanks for sharing!

  29. Janet Musia says:

    Congratulations, very beautiful scenary

  30. Samantha says:

    Nice. How much training did you have before scaling the mountain? I’ve yet to even scale the highest peak in Malaysia. Probably will do that after reading your post.

  31. Having a good guide is what really makes a difference sometimes! Glad you persevered, it really looks like it was worth it. I hope to make hikes like that one day, Kenya’s always been on my list.

  32. Travel tips says:

    Ahhha funny! Then even if it took a while going up, seems that you guys enjoyed the view. Looks so nice up there

  33. Well done. That’s the main target “Never give up” 🙂

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