Trip report: Ilpoloi climbing a return to rock
Updated: Sep 27
Ive been a few times to this crag but with groups from RVA and had always been keen to get to the top but my climbing has been through some bumpy periods over the last few years due to personal issues which I am not going to go into. But its back and its wonderful to be back on the crag again. Through hard times where climbing wasn't working very well the mountains where always there whether it was a walk in the hills a scramble or a climb its been something which has always kept me going. Instructing and delivering courses I am hugely passionate about about, it was always more about a passion for the mountains and wild places. Getting off the bus in Chamonix many years ago for the season where life really only revolved around climbing and mountaineering the excitement that I had then has returned once again. Exploring new venues and areas is something which is something really thrive off. I have recently watched 'A Life in Adaptation' by Andy Parkin one of the UK's best Alpinists but experienced some trauma in his life but returned to climbing which although he is on another level in climbing terms his passion and drive is something I hugely identify with. I remember my father buying a painting of Andy's which I picked up at the start of a Chamonix season and had a this painting at the end of the tent for the season, the best decorated two man tent on camp. I have put the trailer on the blog and would urge you to watch the full version. For me that distraction became Kenya and Africa as a whole. The adventure continued but I always noticed crags and mountains and wanted to be back in them.
To rack up and tie in was a mix of nerves and excitement but once underway that old feeling of movement on rock soon dissipated into enjoyment. The rock at the crag was very thin and bold climbing but climbing with someone who is understanding and also very good gave a great boost to confidence.
The climbing was on very good granite although in places very sparsely protected but overall very good rock. The granite in Kenya can sometimes be exfoliating granite a bit like the layers of on onion which means taking care and tapping and checking before pulling on things. As a venue though its stunning with views across Laikipia and riding the motorbikes through the bush you get to see wildlife along the way. I would recommend taking big cams and tiny cams and then be prepared for some slabby but very sticky rock. It takes only an hour and half from Nanyuki on a bike but a worthwhile day out.
So another venue explored and the potential for climbing in Kenya is untapped access really being the issue but look investigate and there are places that are easy access and possible to use. But for me after the last few years dipping my hands in a chalk bag racking up and steadily working up a piece of rock is something which is a huge and impactful feeling. To be back in the game again and being in a place where its new routes and exploration is really where I am at home. I shall leave you with the wise words of Andy Parkin, the passion never dies despite what life may throw at you.