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Africa, Kenya, Ndoto Mountains, Poi, Doing A Dirty Eastern Groove

Ndoto Mountains, Poi, Doing A Dirty Eastern Groove. During July of 2003, we climbed a new 17-pitch route up the east face of Mt. Poi in the Ndoto Mountains of northern Kenya. Our team consisted of four university students from around the world: Felix Berg from Germany, Peter Horsey and myself from Kenya, and James Nutter from England.

The route follows a groove line for most of its length up the cliff. The rock quality varies from excellent to frankly dangerous. The route was climbed in a mostly traditional style with bolts being placed at the belays and in areas where the rock quality was too poor for regular gear or run-out climbing. The climbing is extremely atmospheric, with 17-pitches carrying you high above the desert floor. There are plenty of vultures flying back and forth along the cliff to check on the state of their prospective meal.

We named the route Doing a Dirty Eastern Groove. The hardest traditional pitch is graded English E4 6a and the hardest sport pitch goes at about French 7c (5.12d). [For a route-line photo, logistics on climbing in the Ndotos, and survey of Kenyan climbing, see the feature articles earlier in this Journal.]

Marnix Buonajuti, Kenya Mountain Club