Mt Kenya
Mountain Medicine

There is no better way to learn expedition medicine than to take part in an expedition, and no better place to learn mountaineering than on a mountain. 

 

Combining the two concepts, WildMedix presents a Mountain Medicine Expedition on Mount Kenya, Africa’s second highest peak, home to the highest alpine climbing on the continent, and the highest via ferrata in the world. 

13 - 25 MARCH 2022

Introduction

A lofty wilderness of volcanic spires, beautiful tarns, hidden valleys and high glaciers, Mt Kenya is an excellent place to gain personal and professional insight into high altitude medicine: it features an ‘easy’ trekking peak (Point Lenana, 4985 m) which does not of require for technical mountaineering to gain the summit, but also offers the opportunity to learn safe movement on rock and glaciers, and an option of a technical climb to the highest summit, Batian (5199 m).  Free of the ruthless competition between tour operators aiming for the quickest turnaround on the mountain found on Kilimanjaro, it is a true wilderness experience – wild, remote, breath-taking, and multifaceted.

Over the course of the expedition, experts in the fields of mountaineering, wilderness and expedition medicine will cover topics ranging from training and preparation to work as an expedition medic, wilderness health and hygiene, common African infectious diseases, wilderness trauma management, high altitude physiology and medicine, backcountry and mountaineering skills.

Participants should be medical professionals – although we encourage suitably skilled volunteers – with an interest in remote and wilderness medicine, especially mountain medicine.  An adequate baseline level of fitness is necessary and hiking experience is advisable, but prior mountaineering or climbing skills are not required, unless you wish to join the technical party to climb Batian.  If you are uncertain about your suitability, please contact us for advice.  We are now also offering ‘trek-or-climb-only’ option, where non-medical friends and family can join the expedition at a reduced cost.  Trek-only participants will take part in the same itinerary, but will not undergo the lecture and practical training sessions (leading to lots of time to relax or to acclimatise if your goal is to climb Batian).

Why not Kilimanjaro?  Well, because we’ve listened!  Mt Kenya is a wilder, more ‘expedition-y’ experience, offers more freedom, and, importantly, is about 40% of the cost of an expedition of similar duration and training on Kili.  However, if you really want to tick Kilimanjaro off your bucket list, speak to us about arranging a climb to follow immediately upon our descent from Mt Kenya.  It is the only time we would recommend a quick Kili itinerary, as you will be already very well acclimatised after more than 6 days above 4000 m, and less than an hour’s flight from Nairobi.

If you’d prefer something a little more sedate to relax afterwards, talk to us about the option of a short safari before you fly home.

 
About the 2022 Expedition: 13 - 25 March 2022

Preparation for the WildMedix Mountain Medicine Expedition will begin well before your departure, when you receive the required reading material and a navigation workbook. 

 

After flying into Kenya, you will be transferred by road to comfortable cabins high on the eastern flank of the mountain, where we will spend 3 nights acclimatizing at around 3000 m, with the days spent covering a wide range of topics in wilderness, mountain and expedition medicine, and sorting gear for the climb.  Early on the morning of Day 4 we will set off on the ascent, climbing the Chogoria route past some of the most spectacular scenery ro be found in the Mount Kenya National Park.

Approaching Mt Kenya from the east, we traverse a spectacular region of gorges and high alpine lakes, which are wild, remote, and frequented by wildlife.  It is a longer route than the southern and western sides, discouraging the crowds found elsewhere.  Possibile sightings include large game (eland, zebra, buffalo and even elephant are occasionally seen). 

 

The first two days hiking have been likened to the Scottish Highlands, with expansive moorland, albeit much higher, and the lakes are stocked with wild trout.  For the first four days on the mountain, we deliberately walk shorter distances than commercial groups, making a gradual ascent.  This leaves adequate time for practical skills training and simulation in the field, covering aspects of backcountry skills, mountaineering, navigation, communication, patient assessment and care.  In the evenings, we will have short lectures and discussions on wilderness and expedition medicine topics.

On the following mountain day, we climb to the Austrian Hut (~4700m), with spectacular views across the Lewis Glacier to the peaks.  Our slow ascent and acclimatisation mean that by the next morning, we are ready for an ascent of Point Lenana, taking in the via ferrata and glacier on the way.  We return to the hut for a second night, allowing movement with light packs.  The next day is spent circumnavigating the high peaks and all the famous landmarks, to reach Kami Tarn and Hut on the opposite side of the mountain.  From here, the technical climbing party will be very well acclimatised to climb Batian, while the rest of the group is able to enjoy the options of further exercises or a well-earned rest day.   After a final night at Kami, the party will descend from the mountain and return to the roadhead.  We then exit the park and travel back to the lodge for a celebratory dinner. 

 

The last morning will see heartfelt goodbyes as we return to the airport and begin travel home.
 

 
 
Costs:

For the first time, we are structuring this expedition with stratified fees for international, African and Kenyan citizens. This is a deliberate effort to cross-subsidize participation from candidates in low- to middle-income countries, and recognize the discounted fees granted to Kenyan citizens to access the National Park. If you are uncertain as to which fee is applicable, please chat to us. The full expedition fee is USD 4250/3500/2800 per person for International/African/Kenyan citizens respectfully. This includes all medical and mountaineering training, the expedition itself, and the specific items listed in the section below. Group size is limited to guarantee personal and focused attention on all participants. Please note that the camping on the mountain is in shared tents; this is not negotiable for safety reasons, but a single supplement for non-tented at Chogoria and in Nanyuki is available. The trek-or-climb-only option expedition fee is USD 3350/2340/1800 respectfully, and includes all items except the textbooks, lectures and practical/simulation exercises, and course completion certificate. Repeat WMX customers and/or Wilderness Medical Society members are eligible for a 10% discount on the applicable expedition fee. Fundamentally, we want people to be able to access wilderness medicine education and experiences, and so if you have financial challenges, please talk to us in confidence.


Course fee includes:


• Experienced expedition leader and medical director, highly trained instructors, and industry-leading local expedition company providing 

   logistics.
• Professionally rated and mountain-rescue trained technical mountaineering instructors.
• Personal and group supervision and training throughout all aspects of the course/expedition
• FAWM and CME/CPD accreditation. Letter of attendance provided on request.
• Commemorative multi-function headwear
• Prescribed textbook (Oxford Handbook of Wilderness and Expedition Medicine)
• Prescribed navigation workbook (Andrew Friedemann’s ‘Navigation Anyplace Wild’)
• Local accommodation and all meals from dinner on the evening of arrival until the course dinner on the final day before departure
• Park, nature conservation, trekking and rescue fees (required by Mt Kenya National Park)
• Guide and cook fees (guides are required, and their salaries help uplift communities)
• Porter fees (each participant will be able to have one 8 kg bag portered on the mountain)
• Tented and/or hut accommodation on the mountain
• Group equipment (tents, mattresses, cooking ad group mountaineering equipment)
• Eating utensils, plates, cups, kitchenware, etc.
• Course completion certificate
• Transport to and from Nairobi (Jomo Kenyatta International Airport) to Mt Kenya

 

You need pay your own:


• Flights to and from Kenya, and any required COVID screening costs. We strongly advise full vaccination prior to travel; some countries

  will require other vaccinations as well.
• Travel and medical insurance (compulsory – we will provide recommendations)
• Soft and alcoholic drinks
• Tips for guides and porters. (Budget to pay USD 100 – 300. This might sounds steep now, but rather bring along sufficient funds and make a decision after meeting and working with the incredible people who will look after you on the mountain. Please note that tipping the Wild Medix staff is neither required nor requested; if you try, we will pass it on to the local staff with your gratitude.)