THE BANDA SCHOOL NEWS

All Hail the Mountain

Year 8 successfully climbed Mt. Kenya summiting on Wednesday 21st September. The savage wilderness lead excursion tackled the Sirimon route to reach Point Lenana, which is 4,985 metres (16,355 ft) high. The children were a credit to the school, giving everything and leaving nothing behind.  Well almost nothing, a couple of walking poles and a little sanity!

On the first day the group had a gentle, tarmacked incline to the first campsite. This warmed their legs up and allowed their bodies to experience the first taste of altitude. They arrived at Old Moses Camp Site at 3300 metres. Some experienced the freezing cold temperatures for the first time but all settled quickly in their tents for a good nights sleep. 

On day two, the group really had to pull together fast as the weather turned nasty. Luckily, our fit and determined pupils walked positively up the steep ridge between the Northern and Southern Naro Moru rivers, before dropping down into Liki North Camp at 4000m. Two hours of extreme hail turned our campsite into, what looked like, a ski resort.  The brave children, undeterred, took it upon themselves to make ‘hail-balls’ and even created their own strawberry ‘slushies’ to eat.  The parents had alternative means to fight the cold and found their courage, in their hipflasks! 

Day three began with a challenging climb into Mackinder Valley but the ascent was worth it when they caught their first glimpse of both Batian and Nelion peaks. The weather was beautiful and the ground still white from the previous day: a perfect opportunity for photographs. Six hours of walking and the final campsite reached: Shipton’s Camp (at 4200m). At this point some were starting to experience the symptoms of the altitude. Headaches, racing hearts and nausea were common but the children never lost their positive spirit. An early night at 7.00 pm was in order, before they awoke at 2.00 am for the summit. 

Day four began with a shock for most, the temperature at 2.00 am was below freezing and children had to pack up and head out for a 16-hour day of trekking.  Bleary eyed, they ate hot porridge and set off in a train of head torches. They climbed in darkness for four hours before, finally, the most spectacular sunrise appeared and lifted spirits. 

Just 200 metres of climbing awaited the group at this point. Many children left bags and climbed with hands, up the rocky summit area. A final ladder climb took them to Point Lenana and a freezing wind whipped across the rocks. They posed for photos and cheered themselves happily, as well as calling The Banda School to let them know of the successful summit! Ten minutes were enough, before the cold took over and the decent begun, all the way back to Old Moses Camp site.

A special thank you to all of the parents involved.  The children would not have made it to the top without their ‘tough love’ and encouragement. All of the Year 8s found a determination and drive they never thought they had.  Congratulations Year 8s of 2016!

 

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