The mountain unveiled itself for a half an hour this morning, but was cleaverly camouflaged with the white clouds behind it. The peak was white. Not only was it completely covered in snow, but the weather forecast doesn’t look like things will let up for another night or two. The team sent a message at 6:15am this morning stating:
Our sun dances are not working yet. The rain persists and snow arrived this morning. All well regardless and en route to summit tonight.
The message was soon followed by an update from Paul, the head guide on Mount Kenya. He said,
All are fine. Very wet mountain though!
By mid-afternoon the sun came out for the first time. The peak became clearly visible again around 5pm – covered in snow.
Originally, the 2007 challenge was chosen to take place in January after much research on climbing seasons and weather patterns year round. However, scientists are estimating that for East Africa, climate change is already making an impact. The short rains that typically fall during November and December are not light and steady as they are characterised to be. Rather, many parts of East Africa are seeing masses of rain in clumps, rather than a steady two months.
It is difficult to complain about the precipitation this year as it was needed so badly. Though it is not the best for climbing, we can all be grateful that it has arrived for the people, plants and wildlife in the region.
In just 6 hours, around 3am, the team will depart from their current location at Shipton’s Camp (alt 4200 m) to head for the summit (alt 4985m).
They will don every article of clothing they have carried, most importantly gloves, balaclavas and gaitors – Thank you Outdoor Research!
It will likely take them 4 hours to reach the summit, and another 2 to get down to the next camp, MacKinders (alt 4300m). We expect to hear from them at MacKinder’s next and until then, can only say …
Climb on ladies and climb for conservation!!!