One of 8build’s founding Board Directors Nigel Bellamy and his family took on Mount Kenya raising an incredible £3,000 for CRASH charity.
Nigel Bellamy told CRASH his story of the climb:
The 8build team arrived in Nairobi and travelled three hours by truck to the Simiron Gate to the National park, this is the start of one of 6 routes up the mountain which is the second highest mountain in Africa.
We were six of the 10 climbers making the trip namely Nigel Bellamy, Hilda Bellamy, Peter Bellamy, Lucy Alford, Gemma Bellamy, and Jordan Eve Davidson.
Our team of porters carried the equipment, food and tents we would need for the trek up and back down the mountain and were our guides over the difficult terrain.
Mount Kenya is a Unesco World Heritage site which was once an active volcano millions of years ago, but is now a massif consisting of imposing spires, cliffs, complex ridges and peaks.
Mount Kenya straddles the equator and is sufficiently high to receive significant snowfall and have several glaciers at high level.
The first day we climbed to Old Moses camp at 3300m , this is in the Yellowwood forest inhabited by elephant , leopards, hog, antelope and other wildlife.
On day two we climbed up to Shipton’s Camp at 4200m and saw the scenery change to heathers and scrub as the temperature fell and climate changed around us.
At this level the lack of oxygen started to hit us and every step became harder and more challenging as the terrain became more challenging , steep and difficult. Concentration on every step forward became the priority to avoid injury.
On day 3 we climbed to America Camp at 4600m having overcome scree terraces, glacial moraine, and sheer rock climbs as we went into deep valleys and out the other side on our way ever upward to the summit.
On day 4 we had to acclimatise to the altitude and reducing oxygen content with a day of climbing and descending the terrain around the summit to prepare ourselves for the final ascent, this was a tough day but prepared us mentally and physically for the final push.
On day 5 we woke at 3am and left in the dark at 4am by the light of our head torches for the final 2k climb up from 4700m to the Point Lenana summit at 4985m. This was tough and was a slow slog up scree, ice, and a precipice to arrive at the summit at 6.15am in time to see the beautiful sunrise over the Kenyan plains. The views were fantastic and we felt a huge sense of achievement having all made this difficult journey.
Having soaked in the joy of the moment we then scrambled back down to our base camp for a well-earned breakfast after which we broke camp and started our descent back down the mountain this time following the Chogoria route down the other side of the mountain. In the day we covered 28.3km and arrived exhausted at 6.30pm after 13 hours at Chogoria Bandas camp for our final night on the mountain.
On day 6 we descended through bamboo forest and an abundance of plants and wildlife until we reached the track in the afternoon where we met our transport for the journey home.
It had been an incredible journey and we had seen so many changes of terrain, vegetation, and wildlife on our way up and down the mountain that reminded us of the sensitive changes to nature as climate changes.
Having supported CRASH for over 4 years, and to see the incredible work they have achieved even without government funding, has been astonishing. We know that for them to keep supporting the homeless charities, they need as much fundraising from their patrons as possible. For us it was a no brainer to support CRASH.
We were humbled by what we had seen but delighted by our achievement and what we had accomplished.