kenyan climber THE
ROCK CLIMBING AS A TOOL FOR SOCIAL IMPACT
WILDLIFE ON THE ROCKS CLIMBING LIFE KENYA 2020 ANNUAL REPORT - HIGHLIGHTS
APR 2021 ISSUE 03
PHOTOS: Cover: Silas Mugo at Baboon Cliff - Lukenya // 2,3: Participants at Climbing Life Kenya events // 4,5: Liz Ndindi atop Nemesis crag // 6,7,10-13: Participants at Climbing Life Kenya events // 14: Nyamzy Giati at Lukenya Cliffs // 15: Nyamzy Giati at Baboon Face - Laikipia, & at the 2019 Havoc MTB competition in Naivasha // 16,17: Participants at Climbing Life Kenya events // 18: Climbing Life Kenya team at Jamrock Climbing Competition, Hetal Shah and Hemal Haria at Point Batian, Mt. Kenya, : Domen Škofic climbs on the Trbovlje Chimney in Trbovlje, Slovenia on October 13, 2020 // All photo credits: Climbing Life Kenya; Others - Danny Skilton, Hetal Shah, Jakob Schweighofer/Red Bull Content Pool
The smiles have it! Climbing Life Kenya events and activities leave all participants with a sense of belonging and togetherness. People are open and available to others - challenging, uplifting, celebrating and affirming each other to the end. Laughter, conversation and energies flow beyond societal differences. As we climb together, the crag becomes our home and we are all family. In this issue of The Kenyan Climber, we highlight the strides made by Climbing Life Kenya through our mission of connecting Kenyans with rock climbing; steadily impacting our community - one climb at a time. Let us climb more, laugh more and smile more! Happy reading!
rock climbing and social impact 06 wildlife on the rocks
growth in action
Climbing Life Kenya is because we are. Pamoja,
Climbinglifekenya the kenyan climber 03
To progress through a climbing route is like progressing in life. Sometimes you stumble. Sometimes you fall. Sometimes you ace it. And sometimes you just don’t know what to do next. But like life, it is not about where you end up. Whether or not you find yourself at the peak of whatever route is possible, it’s about how much you enjoy getting there, what lessons you learn about yourself along the way and what special people you surround yourself with, who can help you get to the right place.
DAVID HWAN PARTICIPANT, CLIMBING LIFE KENYA
rock climbing as a tool for
social impact When asked, Climbing Life Kenya’s
they have been exposed to at the crag.
participants cited active participation by women, social interaction and mutual
Rock climbing holds the potential for:
support forged with others as what stood out
Advancing gender equity by promoting
most from their rock climbing experiences.
equal opportunity participation for girls and boys, promoting female leadership
Beyond the physical and mental benefits of
and encouraging respectful attitudes.
rock climbing, participants are left with the far reaching social and cultural impact that 06 the kenyan climber
Promoting intercultural dialogues and
and social inclusion by providing
The potential for rock climbing as a tool for
opportunities where people from
social impact in Kenya can be harnessed
different backgrounds interact, integrate
through creation of effective programs that
and establish mutual trust.
are designed to be inclusive and to prioritise social impact for the community.
Fostering youth development and experiential learning by creating
opportunities for participation, encouraging critical thinking and informed decision making, encouraging application of skills and knowledge for community and career development. Rock itself does not bring about nor is it a factor in social impact. It simply holds the
Rock climbing holds the potential for advancing gender equity, promoting social inclusion, fostering youth development
Visit climbinglifekenya.org to learn how Climbing Life Kenya using rock climbing to impact the community.
potential to serve as a tool. the kenyan climber 07
Common Zebra Scarlet-chested Sunbird African Dung Beetle
mendepundamilia wa kinyesi Blue Wilderbeest
ON THE ROCKS
Rock climbing in Kenya makes for a memorable experience. You get to climb in amazing locations with stunning views and intimately experience Kenyan wildlife and outdoors. Here are some of the animals we had memorable encounters with in 2020.
TORTOISE Spiny orb weaver / Kite spider
2020 annual report HIGHLIGHTS 2020 was an exceptional year for Climbing Life Kenya. Our work in 2020 enabled us to further centre on our mission to connect Kenyans with rock climbing by increasing visibility, building awareness and creating opportunities. We achieved significant milestones. To name a few; we launched our website, held our first slideshow presentation, hosted rock climbing sessions for beginners, took part in industry forums, undertook a study on local participation in rock climbing, and launched our newsletter, The Kenyan Climber. Many thanks to our volunteers and supporters who share their time, resources and knowledge with us. As we celebrate our accomplishments, we remain tied-in and chalked up as much remains to be done. Climbing Life Kenya is because we are. Pamoja,
Climbinglifekenya Equity Participation & Social Inclusion
74% KENYAN PARTICIPANTS
PARTICIPANTS HAD NO PRIOR ROCK CLIMBING EXPERIENCE
14% of our volunteers were participants in past Climbing Life Kenya events
of our volunteers are of African descent. Youth
87% PARTICIPANTS DID NOT OWN ANY CLIMBING GEAR*
85% of our participants are youth
OF OUR VOLUNTEERS ARE WOMEN
of our participants are women
of our participants took part in more than one event
*9% of them purchased an item of personal climbing gear by the end of 2020.
Climbing Life Kenya is a local female-led non-profit initiative in Nairobi, Kenya that
exists to connect Kenyans with rock climbing. Our interventions focus on increasing visibility, building awareness and creating rock climbing opportunities with the local Kenyan in mind.
Our programming approach engages rock climbing as a tool for positive social impact particularly amongst the youth and women. "As a first timer, I was very skeptical because I've heard stories of people falling and dying during rock climbing expeditions. I was already making excuses to not do the climbs. However, the belayers really encouraged me and guided me in the tricky areas of the climb. There's a satisfactory feeling one gets when they reach at the top of the climb which they really helped me achieve. We were even given basic training on how to do rock climbing and understand the jargon used with rock climbers. I'd definitely want to climb again with Climbing Life Kenya."
Climbing Life Kenya www.climbinglifekenya.org firstname.lastname@example.org +254 (0) 758 823 838 @climbinglifekenya
of the readers are based in Kenya
highlights Study: Factors affecting Local Kenyans’ Participation in Rock Climbing. Covid-19: An Opportunity For Action Towards More Inclusivity We Train Together: Training for climbing with Rémi Samyn Climbing Advocacy Conference: The State of JEDI in Climbing
Growth in readership in Issue 02
OF OUR WEBSITE VISITORS ARE BASED IN KENYA
We gave Kenyans access to locally curated rock climbing information and resources to enrich their rock climbing experiences.
summary of activities Amidst the COVID-19 related constraints experienced in 2020, we held 53 events in total - a 89% increase from the 28 held in 2019.
JANUARY 08 New Climbing Life Kenya Logo 08 New climbinglifekenya.org Website 11, 28 Indoor Climbing Meetup 30 Trad & Sport Climbing
APRIL 03 Buildering Fun 06 Climbing Life - Sport for Peace and Development
FEBRUARY 09 Family Climb (Kids) 18 Buildering Fun 27 Slideshow Presentation
07 Amateur Indoor Climbing Competition 08 Women in the Outdoors Forum
04 Circumspectacles Interview 26 15 Hours of Hell on Mt. Kenya 26-29 TCI Climbing Community Highlight on Kenya
15, 20 Sport Climbing 22, 27 Outdoor Bouldering
14 Outdoor Bouldering 27 Trad Climbing 29 Rock Climbing for Beginners
01 We Train Together Training Program starts (Episode 01) 06-08 Women Uprising Takeover 10 Rock Climbing for Beginners 12 Family Rock Climbing Excursion 23 Trad climbing 24 Rock Climbing for Beginners 31 Rock Climbing Excursion (OL)
02 We Train Together Episode 02 07 Rock Climbing for Beginners 13 Rock Climbing Excursion (KH) 15 Panelist - Climbing Advocacy Conference 16 Indoor Rock Climbing Training 21 Rock Climbing for Beginners 22 Family Rock Climbing Excursion 26 Trad climbing
EVENTS 89% MORE IN 2020
WITH ROCK CLIMBING
02 Solidarity 25 climbinglifekenya.org/blog
SEPTEMBER 05 Women Uprising Training 11 Launch of The Kenyan Climber (Issue 01) 11 Opinion Piece on the Impact of Covid-19 on Local Kenyans' Participation in Rock Climbing 17 Trad Climbing 18,19 Sport Climbing 24 Trad Climbing
DECEMBER 5&6 Sport Lead Climbing Training 09 We Train Together Episode 03 10 Panelist - A Seat at The Table: Future of BIPOC Storytelling 12 Rock Climbing for Beginners 19 The Kenyan Climber Issue 02 19 Study on Factors Affecting Local Kenyans' Participation in Rock Climbing
meet nyamzy Nyambura “Nyamzy” Giati has embraced the outdoors as an integral part of her lifestyle. Now, as the Director of Operations and an instructor at Climbing Life Kenya, she’s helping other Kenyans experience the outdoors and nature. The Kenyan Climber caught up with her to discuss life and her relationship with the outdoors.
How would you describe your relationship
incredible, having rained only once (we had
When and how did you start rock
with the outdoors?
already arrived at the camp) and a beautiful
My relationship with the outdoors has and
sunny summit day, with spectacular views of
Having been an avid hiker for over 5 years,
still is a journey of self-discovery, growth and
Bujuku lake below and the surrounding
my partner Victor and I wanted to climb to
enlightment. I grew up in Nairobi, with my
the highest peak of Mt Kenya, Point Batian. Our curiosity led to us to discover the world of
I also have to mention my experience of an
rock climbing. I’ve been rock climbing for
unforgettable day spent at Ngare Ndare
about 3 years now, and I'm in no particular
Forest, where I first encountered elephants
rush to get to Point Batian.
while hiking and swimming in the beautiful blue waters at the waterfalls. A truly magical
What’s your favorite climbing destination?
I have to say that Lukenya would be my favourite, not just because of the plethora of
What challenges have you faced in your
crags, but the bird diversity and serenity it
outdoor life? How did you overcome
offers just 45 mins from Nairobi.
I had lived a rather sedentary lifestyle before
Do you have any specific climbing goals for
my friend Sarah introduced me to hiking.
Making the change in my journey to be able
My goal is to just enjoy climbing and taking on
to enjoy the outdoors came with a few
opportunities for personal growth. I’m pretty
bumps on the road. I lost friends, but quickly
optimistic for the year.
made new ones that have been true friends.
first experience with nature was catching tadpoles in the rain and transferring them into an old tyre in our little garden. I watched them swim and grow into frogs that would later escape out of the old tyre and into the
Engaging in outdoor activities does come at
If you could travel anywhere or climb
a cost, including financial, and a switch in
anything, what’s one climb or place you
lifestyle helps alot in being able to bear the
would want to explore?
I enjoy driving and exploring places I’ve never
"It is these anthropogenic activities that are a major contributor to biodiversity loss."
garden. My love for reptiles grew, and with
I had a pretty seamless entry into hiking,
more exposure to nature thanks to my
triathlons and mountain biking in Nairobi.
mother taking us on numerous game drives
There are numerous events organised for
during the school holidays, my relationship
these activities throughout the year, all with
grew 10-fold. I fell in love with birds and had
open information and training readily
a thirst to spot and identify as many birds as I available. It wasn't as easy to get into rock could.
climbing. Part of my work at Climbing Life Kenya is to ensure there is ease of entry into
I found a new way to relate with the
rock climbing for others who may be
outdoors when I was introduced to hiking in
January 2015. I found a serenity and a calm that I can only describe as divine. This
Are there issues surrounding the outdoors
opened my eyes to participating in other
in Kenyan that you are passionate about?
outdoor activities that I later came to love
Why do they matter to you?
such as mountain biking, participating in
I’m passionate about the conservation of our
triathlons and, of course, rock climbing.
natural ecosystems. The fast-paced conversion of land from ‘rural’ to ‘urban’ areas
What is your favourite adventure so far
is of great concern as it is these
and why does it stand out from the
anthropogenic activities that are a major
contributor to biodiversity loss. The
My favourite expedition would have to be
conservation of biodiversity matters to me
hiking up to Margarita Peak in the Rwenzoris. because I would want future generations to The Rwenzoris are notorious for constant rain enjoy it and benefit from it the same way or most of the year, making it difficult to summit. My experience however was
better than we do today.
been to. I’d certainly love to spend more time doing so in Kenya. I would also love to visit, explore and climb in New Zealand. What do you do when you’re not rock climbing?
When I’m not rock climbing, I’m likely to be working at Climbing Life Kenya, enjoying morning bike rides in Karura Forest, hiking, birding or working on my organic farm. What are some of your past accomplishments in the outdoors?
I have been lucky to climb most of the highest peaks in East Africa. I also participated in and won a triathlon once! Most importantly, being a part of Climbing Life Kenya and the impact it has made in Kenyans' experiences in the outdoors.
CLIMBING LIFE KENYA
CONNECTING KENYANS WITH ROCK CLIMBING
FOR UPCOMING ACTIV VISIT climbinglifekeny
ns with rock climbing
INFO@CLIMBINGLIFEKENYA.ORG +254 (0) 758 823 838
climbing world Domen Škofic climbs on the Trbovlje Chimney in Trbovlje, Slovenia on October 13, 2020
AMATEUR ROCK CLIMBING COMPETITION Climbing Life Kenya volunteers and participants take part in the 2021 Jamrock climbing competition by Climb Blue Sky. // Mar 2021
© HETAL SHAH/ HEMAL HARIA
CONQUERING MOUNTAINS "To summit Batian peak of Mt Kenya." That was Hetal Shah's response to The Kenyan Climber when asked about her specific climbing goals for 2021. // Feb 2021
© JAKOB SCHWEIGHOFER/RED BULL CONTENT POOL
GARNBRET AND ŠKOFIC 360 ASCENT Janja Garnnret and Domen Škofic climbed the tallest chimney (360m) in Europe (Trbovlje Chimney in Trbovlje, Slovenia) in 13 pitches. // Oct 2020
GITONGA The Mountain Club of Kenya hosted a screening for the Gitonga documentary in Nairobi. // Feb 2021 18 the kenyan climber
in case you missed it
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SPORT FOR DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE BEST PRACTICES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF ROCK CLIMBING
The IDSDP will be marked on April 6 in “recognizing the transformative power of sport and its great potential in advancing positive social change.” // April6.org
Later this year, The Climbing Initiative will debut a Best Practices guide for the Development of Rock Climbing Worldwide. // climbinginitiative.org
CLIMBING TRAVEL GUIDE
A 200 page illustrated guidebook of the world's best
Look out for new rock climbing and training opportunities by
climbing spots and their local communities is due
Climbing Life Kenya this year. // climbinglifekenya.org
to be published this year. // mapotapo.com
what to look out for
SPORT CLIMBING IN THE OLYMPIC GAMES Sport Climbing makes its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020. Scheduled to take place 3-6 Aug 2021, this event will feature speed climbing, bouldering and lead climbing. // tokyo2020.org
COLD FEET Ash Mulama film featuring Peter Naituli's first barefoot free solo ascent of Point John, Mt. Kenya is scheduled for release in 2021. // pnaituli10.wixsite.com/website the kenyan climber 19
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