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High Expectations and even Higher Hopes
18 November 2016
It was a big day for adventure in the country as Hans Rey, Danny Macaskill & Gerhard Czerner, 3 of the biggest mountain bikers in adventure history teamed up with our very own Nickson Mwaura and Peter Wambugu, to attempt to summit Mt. Kenya on bikes.
Rift Valley Adventures has for more than a decade set the standards in Outdoor Adventure across Kenya and beyond. Soaring above the rest, RVA has played a key role in the development of Mountain Biking having supported races and challenges for many years and now being the only company in East Africa to offer international accreditation for Mountain Bike Instructors.
When Hans Rey and his friends showed interest in a joint effort to summit Mt. Kenya, it was not only and achievable goal for us, but a natural incline to RVA’s efforts to take it several steps further: 16355ft to be precise...
Danny Macaskill, Hans Rey and Gerhard Czerner were every bit a sensational trio to work with. They quickly got to assembling bikes through the night and met with our team, to go over in detail the particulars of the trip and what to expect.
Monday 24th October: Bikes checked, gear loaded and cameras rolling, we hit the road. The bikers sought to get some footage as we bused through the communities. It goes without saying that hopping, jumping and front wheelies on a bike is a crowd puller on any given day. We arrived at the park gate into Mt. Kenya National Park, much to the amusement of groups and individuals gearing up for their trek.
The goal was a four-day bike expedition up the mountain, and back. The crew was laden with equipment to capture this epic journey; Bikers ready and the super trooper porters. The mountain was ready too. The winds had already been picking up for an hour before we arrived at the gate. To the East, the clouds were steadily building up, and blowing in.
Danny had never been to Kenya before and this for him was a first of its kind; with the climate, pressure, altitude and environment to cope with. It was a test of his 20 odd years of bike experience across the world. Hans Rey, a legend of his own, had summited Lenana in 2004 so knew exactly what he was up against. With years of adventure, he has traversed the globe across volcanoes, down buildings and done bungee jumps on his bike and now he was here to conquer not just the conditions on the mountain, but the sustained rigidity of it. Gerhard, like Danny, had been biking across the world on numerous tours, and now brought twenty plus years of biking experience to the team with high expectations and even higher hopes.
The rains hit hard in the first hours of the Bike Expedition. This was going to be nothing less than an unrivaled challenge. Nickson and Peter brought to the table years of collective experience and knowledge not only in biking, bike maintenance and mechanics, but also of the mountain itself. Having been up on many of the known routes and mountain trails, they remained central to guiding this expedition, advising on timings, weather, distances and route information.
The team encountered the best of moments and most adverse of conditions on the mountain. Battling altitude, weather, poor filming conditions, bogged terrain and even poor visibility, the team made an exemplary effort to achieve their goal starting at Sirimon Gate and finishing at Chogoria. Mt. Kenya is revered as one of the more technical mountains on the African plains. It’s a breath of fresh air with a taste of pure hard vinegar.
Despite the inevitable challenges of altitude, collectively, it was more than a successful venture- one that will for a long time remain a bench mark in climbing, biking, and mountain biking history not only in Kenya, but across the world and probably Peter Wambugu from Rift Valley Adventures is the first African to summit Mount Kenya on a bike.
Knowing Bikers and Adventure enthusiasts, it goes without saying that this was not only the first – but the first of many. We look forward to having this team back as our paths cross into the future.
This team went on to Summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain at 19,341 ft, with great fortitude and admirable determination and are the First Team to summit Kenya and Kili back to back.
Special mention to the KWS Warden and his team as well as the Mount Kenya Trust for keeping our mountain safe. Rift Valley Adventures was proud to host this expedition and congratulate this exceptional team of larger than life Bikers…
By Richard Wachira