Kenya ‘spiderman’ conquers ancient hills of Lukenya

Sunday October 13 2019

A climber at the Lukenya Rock.

A climber at the Lukenya Rock. PHOTO | RUPI MANGAT | NMG 

RUPI MANGAT
By RUPI MANGAT
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From where I am standing it looks like “spiderman” is inching his way up a gigantic cliff.

He’s spread eagle and through my camera zoom l see his get a foothold in a tiny cervix in the rock as his hand grips another to move up.

It’s tense but the climber is secured to a harness for safety. Finally, he reaches the top. A few minutes later, he rappels down in seconds.

We’re on the foothills of the prehistoric hill of Lukenya on the edge of Nairobi where our cave-ancestors once lived and left behind a trail of ancient tools and rock art as evidence.

It’s the third Sunday of the month and l am on a potluck with Nature Kenya, a day out for nature lovers. Turning into the murram road to the iconic rock that is clearly visible from the Nairobi-Athi road, we stop by a water pan in the arid grassland dotted with euphorbias, commiphora and acacia trees.

Sabastian Mutiso walking past, introduces himself. He’s from the Mountain Club of Kenya where “spiderman” has just conquered the rock.

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He invites us to the cliff that belongs to the Mountain Club of Kenya. A few more rock climbers have arrived to conquer the cliffs.

“Lukenya is a favourite with rock climbers for a number of reasons,” says George Grayson of MSK, adding, “For starters, It’s close to Nairobi, a 45-minute drive if there is not much traffic, and there are some 300 documented routes for climbers on Lukenya.

“There is a wide range of climbing styles and Lukenya has everything from difficult to easy climbing. And the landscape around is beautiful,” says Grayson.

MCK has a “Climb and Curry” night on the first Wednesday of every month at Diamond Plaza.

There are more climbing routes in national parks like Tsavo West and the Aberdares and remote locations like the Ndoto Mountains with plenty of cliffs waiting to be explored.