The Kenyan Climber Issue #04

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kenyan climber THE








JUL 2021 ISSUE 04

karibu It’s an exciting time for Climbing Life Kenya. As you read this fourth issue of our newsletter, we invite you to applaud the outstanding work of our team of volunteers during the first half of 2021. From making our non-profit status official to revamping our website, we have also succeeded in unveiling a series of programs developed with partners who have also trained our instructors. We have also designed and initiated youth and community centric outreach programs in line with our social impact goals for 2021. And yes! We also found a place to call home! The Inkajijik, a name inspired by the maasai word "inkajijik" which means “a home built by hand by women” aptly pays homage to our female leadership and our dedication to building a community, a home, where everyone derives a sense of belonging. The second half of the year beckons and we are excited by the promise it holds in propelling our vision to greater heights! As always, we remain tied in and chalked up as much remains to be done. Pamoja,


PHOTOS: Cover: Nyamzy Giati leading Climbing Life Kenya’s Panda Session climbing competition // 12,13: Participan Others - Danny Skilton, Joshua Kimkung

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on Arthur’s Horror - Lukenya // 2,3: Nyamzy Giati on Leap of Faith - Lukenya // 4,5: Participants at Climbing Life Kenya’s Entry Session for Beginners - Baboon Cliff, Lukenya // 5: Participants at The Inkajijik // 6,7: Routesetting at The Inkajijik // 8,9: Credo Kasemiire at the IFSC Africa - Continental Championships, Dec 2020 // 10,11: Climbing Life Kenya team at the 2021 Jamrock amateur s at Climbing Life Kenya events // 14,15: Silvanous Imbugui belaying on Arthur’s Horror - Lukenya // 18,19: Climbing Life Kenya team at Fischer’s Cliffs - Hells // All photo credits: Climbing Life Kenya; James Muhia, Western Cape Climbing

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it takes a village why a unified vision is critical for growth of rock climbing in Kenya

“There's need for the different players in the

So how do organisations come together and

rock climbing scene to come together and


work towards creating a community that







addresses these barriers* with a genuine desire to include more local Kenyans in rock climbing.”

1. Recognise




interdependencies within the community and how each player uniquely contributes

This was one of recommendations given on

to the shared ecosystem.

how to best address the challenges affecting

2. Look past present contextual issues and

local Kenyans’ participation in rock climbing

open up to new possibilities that exist in

during a study* carried out by Climbing Life Kenya in 2020. What does “come together and work” mean and why is it important?

e exist in an interdependent ecosystem where the actions and


inactions of others directly or indirectly affect the success of our

efforts. Fragmentation in a community is therefore one of the greatest challenges that undermine the successful achievement of an organisation’s mission and also threaten the attainment of collective progress within a community. New challenges such as COVID-19 and the drive towards more inclusivity heighten the need for organisations to collaborate and coordinate their efforts in working towards a shared vision that leads to sustained growth of rock climbing in Kenya.

working with others in the community. 3. Think






arching vision that is shared by the different actors in the community. The shared vision would need to be so clear and compelling that the different actors are willing to look beyond their differences to achieve it. 4. Break down the unified vision into realistic steps and executable plans that provide clear purpose for the team and offer a roadmap to accomplishing common goals. 5. Leverage on unique strengths and adapt synergistic approaches to realise greater impact in the community. As the climbing industry continues to permeate the world, collaboration within the community is imperative. Collaboration will bring about new ideas and creativity and help build a concerted effort that is critical for the growth and development of rock climbing in Kenya. * Visit for Summary of Findings on Factors Affecting Local Kenyans' Participation in Rock Climbing

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inkajijik / Maasai / a home built by hand by women.




When and how did you start rock climbing?

I have been a sports and outdoor enthusiast for as long as I can remember. In 2018, I was looking on Facebook for more outdoor activities to keep fit, when I discovered an organization called Mountain Club of Uganda (MCU). I was intrigued to find that they held rock climbing events close to where I lived, I thought it sounded cool, and went to try it out. By the time I had sent a 17m route at the quarry, I was hooked and I have been climbing with the club ever since. Tell us more about climbing in Uganda

Rock climbing in Uganda is in its infancy with a handful of very passionate climbers. Unfortunately, they do not have many

In December 2020, Credo Kasemiire, a 31-year-old Ugandan environmental engineer, took part in the IFSC Africa - Continental Championships. In this interview, Credo breaks down how she stood against all odds to represent her country in an international sport climbing competition.

opportunities or events because the club is based in Kampala. Having said that, there is potential for sport climbing here especially with the first MCU bouldering wall being put up recently. Further investment in the form of a rock climbing gym with a speed wall, bouldering

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walls, and lead climbing walls, would help to give some much needed structure to the sport in Uganda, and increase the possibility of recruiting more climbers. How did you get ready for the 2020 IFSC Africa-Continental Championships?

The opportunity came along in early November of 2020 when I got a call from the Vice President of MCU about representing Uganda in the IFSC Africa - Continental Championships in December; these were also Olympic qualifiers for Tokyo 2020. At the time, my only experience was with toproping outdoors for about 1 year, so I had zero experience in sport climbing. In spite of


this, it was a challenge I was willing to accept because I was proud to be able to represent

zone. Get up, go up (That’s what I told myself

my country. It made me feel a bit like I was in

during the Olympic qualifiers). Just do it.

the movie “Cool Runnings”.

Also, try to exercise and find friends that share a love for climbing because friends can

We only had a few weeks to prepare yet we

help when you do not have the motivation to

lacked facilities for training in any of the

go out. Do not be afraid to join a sports club

three sport climbing disciplines (speed


climbing, bouldering, and lead climbing). The MCU provided myself and my male

And to remember that climbing helps grow

counterpart (Simon Ofoyuru) exclusive

your resilience, self-confidence, problem-

access to the climbing quarry and the 3.5m

solving, and teamwork skills. It’s a fantastic

bouldering wall (which they had installed

sport to take up.

only a month prior). We would make the most of what we had. MCU also supported us with climbing gear, while the Uganda Climbing Committee (UCC) covered our travel, accommodation, and food costs. When we arrived in South Africa, three days before the competitions, we went to the climbing gym to get a feel for the speed climbing, bouldering, and lead climbing walls. It was an exhilarating experience. In every way, we were out of our depth, but we were focused on the opportunity to make ourselves and our country proud. I am grateful for everyone who encouraged us

For competitive climbing, I would wish for an African world champion who becomes a role model such that it gains more recognition and ground. It always works like that. Like when Boris Becker won Wimbledon, tennis became so popular in Germany for over 20 years. It can be a rocket boost for sport climbing when you have a champion. What are your plans for climbing?

With the pandemic, it is difficult to make concrete plans. However, I am looking for more strategic opportunities to train both

"At the time, my only experience was with toproping outdoors for about 1 year, so I had zero experience in sport climbing. In spite of this, it was a challenge I was willing to accept because I was proud to be able to represent my country."

locally and internationally. What are your other interests?

I run an organization called Earthcare Innovations which implements green technologies for grassroots farmers for climate change resilience. Any parting words?

I am grateful to Climbing Life Kenya and The Kenyan Climber for spreading the word about climbing. Shout out to fellow climbers; I would be happy to meet with athletes from other countries and share experiences to help

every step of the way. How do envision the future of sport

All in all, given the short notice and the

climbing in Africa?

limited training facilities, we had nothing to

Climbing in Africa is in its early stages but it is

lose and everything to gain. Uganda was the

getting more popular and can be done by

only other African country represented

just about anyone. The championship

besides South Africa, so I was immensely

showed me that there are many people

proud to represent my country.

interested in climbing and hence it is

bring climbing forward in Africa.

important to create a strong foundation for What would you advise young people in

the sport to grow. There needs to be people

Africa hoping to take on sport climbing?

to build awareness in the right way and who

Do not be afraid to get out of your comfort

can start local clubs to help the sport evolve.


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we've made it official

• SI


Climbing Life Kenya is now an officially registered non-profit! This milestone enables us to expand our youth and community programming and make climbing more accessible to Kenyans as we live out our mission through action. | +254 (0) 758 823 838 | @climbinglifekenya










I had such a lovely time as well. The planning of the event was very well done, the team was super friendly and encouraging and knew their stuff and equally even impressed that the team had a lot of females which is super cool. N. MOVINE PARTICIPANT, CLIMBING LIFE KENYA


When you climb with us you help support our youth, community and outreach programs as you build


climbing skills and techniques necessary for your personal recreation!

TUPATANE KWA MAWE OUTDOOR CLIMBING ENTRY SESSIONS FOR BEGINNERS: Equips you with the basics needed to get started in rock climbing. Ideal for those who have never rock climbed before or have very little rock climbing experience. FUNDAMENTALS OF CLIMBING: Focuses on the fundamental knowledge, skills and techniques necessary to start climbing on the sharp edge. Ideal for climbers looking to take their climbing to the next level by concentrating on the skills required to lead.

TUPANDE PAMOJA TRAINING FOR CLIMBING Focuses on improving performance by developing technique and movement skills. Ideal for those with basic experience in rock climbing and are ready to refine their knowledge and advance their skills.



Young climbers are motivated to learn essential rock climbing skills and techniques through fun, enjoyment

This perfect introduction to rock

and challenge in age-appropriate

climbing allows the complete

programs within a safe environment.

beginner to have a go at climbing before committing to one of our formal courses.

Open to ages 3-17

PAMOJA OUTREACH ROGRAM Are you an organisation

Offers climbing opportunities to nonprofits and institutions working with vulnerable kids and youth.

working with vulnerable kids and youth? Would you like them to give climbing a go? Can’t come to us? No problem.

An excellent way to introduce climbing

Inquire about our portable wall

as a recreational activity and also share


the physical and cognitive benefits

Get in touch

embodied in the climbing activities. 13 the kenyan climber

student? interested in rock climbing? not able to afford to pay?


student volunteer program *

visit for more details *T+Cs Apply

Visit for information on Kenyan crags and the latest on new routes and problems.

MINI DASH The Mountain Club of Kenya held the Mini Dash where teams of two competed by climbing as many trad climbs (graded by difficulty and length) as possible. // Jun 2021

in case you missed it


1-DAY LENANA ASCENT 12 Year-old Joshua Kimkung successfully summitted Mt. Kenya's


Lenana Peak (4985m) in one day. // July 2021

The Climbing Life Kenya community got together to share foods from our different cultures over some climbing, games and a screening of the film Cold Feet at our Climb and Chill event. // Jun 2021


AMA DABLAM ASCENT At 1615h on 29th Apr. James Muhia stood at the summit of Nepal's Ama Dablam (6,812m). // Apr 2021 16 the kenyan climber

what to look out for OLYMPICS Sport Climbing

BEST PRACTICES Later this year, The Climbing Initiative will debut a Best Practices guide to the Development of Rock 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. //

COLD FEET This must-watch Kenyan film is now available for viewing in Nairobi on 6th August 2021. //

ROCK CLIMBING The calendar for upcoming rock climbing events and activities by Climbing Life Kenya is available on our website. //


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Jamii community

Climbing Life Kenya Is Because We Are *T+Cs Apply



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