|An approach to Mount Koh

An approach to Mount Koh

Mount Koh is an iconic summit in the Cherangani Hills. It is not the highest but can be considered a proper ascension (my sources talk about some 3.211m, although I keep my personal doubt until the moment I should check this figure). Its location is so privileged, at the very first line over the wide Rift valley, that it will surely make a worthy experience. As usual, however, there is not much information available on a climbing trip to the top of Mount Koh. As a reference, I published my own trip here.

I was lodging at the Marich Pass Field Studies Centre, down in the Rift valley, in the West Pokot county. Staff there were gentle enough to ease the hiring of a local guide, Samuel, to help me reach the top of Mount Koh. A motorbike (called piki-piki or boda-boda) picked the two of us up at 6am. Three adult men in a motorbike on a bumpy dirt road (none of them wearing helmet) could be surprising to a tourist just arrived in Nairobi, but should not to anyone who has managed to get to West Pokot. It is important to start early in the morning not only because of the length of the trip but in order to avoid the most unbearable hours of sun during the climbing. The motorbike took us 14.7Km apart.

Samuel the guide seemed to know the way very well, not ever showing a sign of hesitation. That was a real fortune, given the absolute lack of any sort of indication. Besides, the multitude of tracks available would have made it really difficult to succeed without any help but my intuition. Our path was wide now, then narrow, either exposed to the harmful sun or hidden deep in the forest, but always invariably going up, and sometimes steeply going up. Tired and sore, after 1.000m of elevation gain, I decided to turn back. We had reached a small village. Incredible as it may sound, there, laying some 1.000m over the closest wheel-capable road, there was a village of corn farmers who made a living by carrying their harvest down to the market. The highlands are more fertile than the valley. At the very bottom of the colossal rock looking like the head of divine Mount Koh, at the end of the village, there was a school. If I ever try to reach the top of Mount Koh again, I will plan a two-days expedition: first day, up to that school; second day, up to the top and down to the valley.

I must warn whoever tries to follow the track I share that the last part up to the top of Mount Koh, which I could not make, did not look evident to me. However, this is rural Africa, there are always people around, and they are always willing to help –for a fair price. So, here is my advice: take the GPS track up to the school and once there ask someone for guidance to the top.

Author: Ferran Roig Tió
Images: Ferran Roig Tió

By |2019-05-22T11:52:28+00:00February 1st, 2019|