EWP Newsletter
July 2000

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Sadly there is little change in the situation in Uganda. There are still reports of marauding armed gangs wandering in the area of the Rwenzori mountains. The Ugandan Army has made big efforts to ensure the free movement of traffic on roads but the mountain trails and remote villages are more difficult to protect. Recently a group of tourists did enter the National Park accompanied by a substantial army escort.

It is now fairly safe to visit the mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Forest. All tourist groups are accompanied at all times by armed escorts and the whole region is well patrolled.

Mount Elgon
Groups have been visiting the mountain on a regular basis and it appears to be a trouble free area.

Mount Kenya

Glacial recession continues to take its toll on the receding glaciers. Despite this a Warren Miller skiing film was shot with EWP support on the Lewis Glacier in early April. The middle of the long rains was chosen in order to have a good, fresh snow cover. Although some fresh snow was still present on the glacier the group encountered a two-week period of perfect weather. This has now become a more and more common event in the "long rains" which many locals no longer rely on to provide a badly needed respite from the long dry period of January to mid-March. In April this year the same group went to the Samburu Game reserve to discover no water in the Eweso Nyiru River - a very rare occurrence.

In the early 1980's two events transformed life in Chogoria Town which previously was only famous for its superb mission run hospital. Firstly a tarmac road, involving the construction of numerous bridges and the blasting of many cuttings, reduced the journey time from Nairobi to Chogoria by about 5 hours. The second event was the decision of Meru Council to develop a track up the Mount Kenya to the so called "Parklands", an area of outstanding beauty at about 3000m, abounding in wildlife. The track followed the alignment of "Carr's Route" which used to be a motorable track in first half of the 20th Century but deteriorated to an overgrown but very beautiful forest trail.

The present day track is often incredibly muddy and often only just passable. Local drivers pride themselves in their ability to negotiate it in any conditions although often they have to fix chains to their 4WD vehicles to accomplish this.

Ithanguni Route In order that visitors can enjoy the splendours of walking in the forests on the Chogoria side a new routes have been explored and used to the north of Carr's alignment. The one passing through "Spa Camp" then past Baringo Clearing to Ithanguni (an outlying summit. almost 4000m high) provides some of the best forest walking on the mountain. The resulting walk in does take 2 days longer than the standard Chogoria Route but the resulting extra acclimatisation gained is of great benefit higher up on the mountain.

It is possible to drive to Spa Camp (ca 2600m) but the track is little used and pleasant to walk. At present the only facilities at Spa Camp are piped water, a toilet and to simple shelters. From here elephant and buffalo trails lead through forest then bamboo to Baringo Clearing and a heathery campsite by a stream. In another hour the bamboo is again replaced by a forest mainly of podocarpus and haganeas interspersed with clearings, it is possible to camp in this area (at about 3300m). From here the steep slopes of Ithanguni are tackled to reach a fine campsite by a lake not far from the summit. From here Lake Ellis may be reached in about 4 to 5 hours. A detour to Lake Alice would add an hour to the journey.

The route has recently been used by two EWP groups - a combined Llandovery College / Lancing College group and then by the Warren Miller ski filming group.

Two major routes have been climbed here in the last few months. On the north face the obvious corner line on the left side has been climbed by Pat Littlejohn and John Barry using only natural protection. It provided about 18 pitches of very hard climbing with many sections of 6a. The overall grade was E5 and 5 days were spent on the face with only a cupful of water left per person for the last day!

On the left side of the East Face a longer climb, leading diagonally right, was first descended, bolts were placed and finally climbed. The climbers established a camp on the summit as their base! No doubt many more routes could be established by this top to bottom method which is such a contrast to the pure approach adopted on all previous ASCENTS.


Caucasus and Mount Elbrus
The Chechen war has attracted much media attention this year and as a result much more strongly worded warnings to foreigners planning to visit the Caucasus. In the Baksan Valley. two Republics away, the war has had virtually no effect on life or tourism. As a result we are happy to run trips to the area although we do inform all our clients of the warnings in place.

The beaurocracy surrounding visa applications is increasing and great care must be taken in following the precise instructions laid down. It is advisable to allow at least one month for the complete process.



Slowly the situation here appears to be deteriorating as regards interstate politics, border crossings are becoming more tightly controlled and now each country visited is requiring a visa to be obtained prior to the visit. In the past Uzbekistan would issue transit visas for those going to Kyrgyzstan or Tadjikistan now a full visa is required. In general Tadjik visas are obtained from the Russian Embassy on the basis of a formal invitation and Ministry of Foreign Affairs approval.


We are giving away free maps - well not quite - the first correct set of replies to this months quiz will receive a free map. Only one submission is accepted from a given person so think hard before replying! QUIZ ENDED

  1. What is the second highest mountain in the world? look on an atlas - or follow the blue buttons
  2. Which volcano in Tanzania erupts at regular intervals and is considered to be a sacred mountain? follow me
  3. What type of transport was the Kon Tiki? getting the drift?
  4. Who was the first person recorded to have run the mile in under four minutes?
  5. What type of weather is associated with cumulo-nimbus clouds? tough?
  6. Which town is Count Dracula's castle located in?
  7. What must players ride during a game of Quidditch?
  8. What is the height of Khan Tengri?
  9. What is the mountain Kiry Nyaga more commonly known as?
  10. On which mountain is found the Lemosho Route?
  11. What is the chemical name for the salt which crystallises out in Lake Natron and Lake Magadi?
  12. Kitum Caves are associated with which virus?
  13. Killar made the first ascent of which peak in Europe - be precise?
  14. Which country is Gerlach located in?
  15. What is the correct, scientific, name for Fly Agaric, the famous red mushroom with white spots?
  16. What was the capital of Tamerlane's empire?
  17. Kilimanjaro.cc is the ewp mountain information web site - what does the cc stand for?
  18. Which ski resort was developed around King Boris' mountain lodge? seek and ye shall find - it is on our site, and in Europe!
  19. What is de Graff's variation?
  20. Which map would you like?

ALW 13/04/02