Fear and Loathing on Mt. Kenya – with Hyenas!

The beast sauntered away while we stood there stunned. And then, 20 yards out, the eyes reappeared. And then another pair. And another. And another. A row of yellow eyes looked at us, single file, shoulder to shoulder. Without thinking I picked up a rock and threw it at the eyes.

by Jason Haas, ClimbingZine.com

“Hey, wake up. Wake up!” Brian whispered harshly. “There’s someone out there.”

I half opened an eye and begrudgingly listened to the deafening silence. “I don’t hear anything man, I’m sure it’s nothing.”

“SHHHHH!!!!” Brian’s face was pressed against the mesh fabric of the tent, as he peered out into the darkness. I thought of making a smart-ass comment, then thought better of it. I closed my eyes and started to roll over as the cacophony of falling pots and pans bolted me out of my sleeping bag. “I told you!”

“Get the zipper!” I barked back. Clad in nothing more than shorts, we tore out of the tent and into the moonlight. Our packs were gone.

Brian Young and I were graduating college from the flatlands of Michigan and in dire need of an adventure. We had been sport climbing for about two years and just started to learn how to trad climb. While pitching ideas to each other, Brian suggested clipping bolts on the shores of Thailand.

A Narrow Escape on Mt. Kenya by Jason Haas
FEB 6 • UNCATEGORIZED • 494 VIEWS • NO COMMENTS ON A NARROW ESCAPE ON MT. KENYA BY JASON HAAS
“Hey, wake up. Wake up!” Brian whispered harshly. “There’s someone out there.”

I half opened an eye and begrudgingly listened to the deafening silence. “I don’t hear anything man, I’m sure it’s nothing.”

“SHHHHH!!!!” Brian’s face was pressed against the mesh fabric of the tent, as he peered out into the darkness. I thought of making a smart-ass comment, then thought better of it. I closed my eyes and started to roll over as the cacophony of falling pots and pans bolted me out of my sleeping bag. “I told you!”

by Jason Haas

Spoiler altert: This piece is an excerpt from Volume 7. Get your own here.

“Get the zipper!” I barked back. Clad in nothing more than shorts, we tore out of the tent and into the moonlight. Our packs were gone.

Brian Young and I were graduating college from the flatlands of Michigan and in dire need of an adventure. We had been sport climbing for about two years and just started to learn how to trad climb. While pitching ideas to each other, Brian suggested clipping bolts on the shores of Thailand.

I countered with a fading ice runnel up Mt. Kenya in Africa. I don’t remember how we decided, but somehow I won. Brian had never been out of the country before and was nervous about going to a third-world country. I did my best to calm his fears, but my carefree “The Dude abides” attitude was no match for Murphy’s Law. The airlines lost our bags, forcing us to roam the streets of Nairobi for several days before boarding the bus to the mountain.

Being days behind schedule, even as the sweltering equatorial heat broiled the flesh on all eighteen of the oily, unbathed, musty people crammed into the passenger van jostling down dusty, pothole-riddled roads, our excitement remained high. But just as the heat and smell from our human jambalaya became too much, the van would pull over to the side of the road, the stifling air would stagnate from a lack of motion, and another person would literally shove their way into the van. This went on for hours until finally, like an overstuffed burrito, we split at the seams and oozed out of the van. Like leaving a greasy spoon diner, the stench stayed with us long after we’d been dropped off at the park gate to the mountain.

We filed the necessary paperwork, paid our fees, shouldered our packs, and looked to the north – the mountain was socked in with bad weather and ominous clouds threatened to rain down in a torrential furry. It wasn’t the kind of rain where you get soaked and are annoyed at how wet your stuff gets. It was the kind of rain where the evaporating oasis mud pools flood into great lakes and rivers and villages are swept away. We had ten miles to hike through the jungle before reaching camp. Our enthusiasm drained and without words, we disappeared into the jungle. As the miles slowly ticked by, the clouds darkened and a clap of thunder nearly knocked us off our feet. Dead serious, I turned to Brian and said, “If it starts raining, we’re making camp right here.”

“Hell no we are not! Things live in the jungle, man. I mean big things. Look at that!”

Source: A Narrow Escape on Mt. Kenya by Jason Haas | The Climbing ZineThe Climbing Zine | Celebrating A Climbing Existence

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