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Item #: OP669-637
FIRST ASCENT OF MOUNT KENYA Halford Mackinder 1991 1st edition DJ Fine
By Mackinder, H.J. Edited by K. Michael Barbour
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Detailed Product Description
Ohio, 1991, 1st edition. 287 pp, photos, appendices, bibliography, index. Although climbed and written in 1899, this was not published until 1991, so this is a first edition of the narrative of the first ascent of Mount Kenya. This book is starting to get hard to find. Burgundy cloth hardcover, DJ, Fine.

Halford Mackinder, Cesar Ollier and Josef Brocherel made the first ascent of Batian, the highest peak of Mount Kenya, on September 13, 1899.


On 28 July 1899, Sir Halford John Mackinder set out from the site of Nairobi on an expedition to Mount Kenya. The members of the expedition consisted of 6 Europeans, 66 Swahilis, 2 tall Masai guides and 96 Kikuyu (Gikuyu). The Europeans were Campbell B Hausberg, second in command and photographer, Douglas Saunders, botanist, C F Camburn, taxidermist, Cesar Ollier, guide, and Josef Brocherel, guide and porter.

The expedition made it as far as the mountain, but encountered many difficulties on the way. The country they passed through was full of plague and famine. Many Kikuyu porters tried to desert with women from the villages, others stole from the villages which made the chiefs very hostile towards the expedition. When they reached the base camp on 18 August, they couldn't find any food, had two of their party killed by the local people, and eventually had to send Saunders to Naivasha to get help from Captain Gorges, the Government Officer there.

Mackinder pushed on up the mountain, and established a camp at 3142 m (10,310 ft) in the Höhnel Valley. He made his first attempt on the summit on 30 August with Ollier and Brocherel up the southeast face, but they had to retreat when they were within 100 meters of the summit of Nelion due to nightfall.

On 5 September, Hausberg, Ollier and Brocherel made a circuit of the main peaks looking for an easier route to the summit. They could not find one. On September 11, 1899 Ollier and Brocherel made an ascent of the Darwin Glacier, but were forced to retreat due to a blizzard.

When Saunders returned from Naivasha with the relief party, Mackinder had another attempt at the summit with Ollier and Brocherel. They traversed the Lewis Glacier and climbed the south east face of Nelion. They spent the night near the gendarme, and traversed the snowfield at the head of the Darwin Glacier at dawn before cutting steps up the Diamond Glacier. They reached the summit of Batian at noon on September 13, and descended by the same route.

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