As some of you may know, one of our instructors is spending the summer in Kenya and Tanzania. James is working with local African guides, porters, and rangers shooting a short documentary film about what it's like to work on the big East African mountains like Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya. Last week James shot us an e-mail with a quick update and some great photos that we want to share with our community. We'll let James take it from here:
The fortuitous side effect of this [documenting local African guides, porters, and rangers] is that I get to spend a lot of my time exploring wild and remote climbing areas, getting to know the men that work out there, and putting up some (potential) first ascents.
The Dragon's Teeth are a bunch of crazy spires jutting up out of the equatorial alpine in the Aberdares National Park. It takes a two and a half hour slog through a unnavigable swamp to find them, but once you're there, it's like proper cragging. The climbing is fairly easy but exposed and exciting with long runouts, giant horns to sling and (if you're lucky) one cam per pitch. I definitely pulled off some face-sized blocks, so helmets required!
I put up one particularly rad pitch, about 90 ft. tall, that followed an arete with bizarre tufas and horns up to a crazy move off a freestanding prow with a spectacular view of the landscape in three directions. I had to ditch some slings to get down, but it was worth it. We'll call it The Incisor, and it probably went at about 5.9.
On that trip, a game ranger named Sergeant Tom (for real) hiked out with us to keep any potentially dangerous wildlife away. The Aberdares are famous for the ornery cape buffalo wandering the forest. Tom has been a game ranger all over the country, including working for Kenya's elite anti-poaching team, but he had never seen proper rock climbing and had never been to the Dragon's Teeth before, so we all got lost together.