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Mount Kenya Impact Survey

January 9 2015
Attempting to gauge the impact of tourism in the Mount Kenya park. Specific areas of inquiry are foot traffic erosion, campsites and waste disposal, and any pollution sources of the upper watersheds.

January 9 2015


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Mission Underway

The BRIC is working well at Shipton Camp, pulling in a weak SafariCom Signal and ampliflying it enough to give us a wi-fi hotspot . Now the only thing I have to do is figure out the APN settings on my phone!


Such a fantastic shot. @whiteafrican can you share some pointers on setting up the BRCK on iPhone?

What an amazing photo! Very cool to see the BRCK in action.

I'm curious about the type of trash you found/were looking for. Was it primary tourism garbage like granola bar wrappers etc? or more industrial/household waste?

We were very pleasantly surprised by the lack of litter items we were able to collect on the trek from Old Moses Camp to Shipton Camp. We were only able to collect a quart ziplock bag of trash items during a 6 hour hike. The items were small plastic wrappers for gum and candies, cigarette butts, Popsicle sticks, water bottle plastic seals, parts of shoe soles, and wet wipes. Kinarro our guide told us that the Guides and Porters organize a bi-annual clean up day, where the members collect trash and debris for removal. It's working.


This is fantastic news. Still a bummer that were bags of trash at all, but I'm glad it was less than you expected. What kind of elevation change and distance did you travel in six hours? I'm interested in how long you take scanning the ground, etc. Is this a pretty slow and methodical process or are you scanning at normal walking pace and picking up trash just if it jumps out.

I think this is fantastic, I've never been to Kenya but I feel a little bit like I'm there with you!

One of the first things that we noticed at the park was the construction of a new EU financed Tarmac road from the Simiron Gate to the Old Moses Camp. Why the road was being constructed through the park was a bit of a mystery. Was it just because the funds were available from a foreign source? Our guide Kinarro told us that the road was not supported by the Guides and Porters Association, they feel like it is an unnecessary intrusion into the Park. Sometimes Aid money can have unintended consequences.


We travelled to the park on the 11th January from Narobi, meeting our guide, porters, and cook in Nanyuki.
The local Kikuyu People who live in the areas surrounding the park have developed an organization of certified guides, cooks and porters. This system provides much needed employment for the locals in the area of the park and provides a sense of value and local ownership to the park system that is noticeable amongst the local people.

My plan to use the "BRIC" device and an i phone to record some of our findings in real time fell afoul of my poor technological skill set, I wasn't able to set the APN settings on my iPhone to allow it to talk to the BRIC before we left. However we did bring the device with us to test its signal reception in the remote areas of the park, and found it able to pick up weak signals and amplify them in areas where there was no available cell phone reception.

The fee for non residents entering the park was 255 US dollars, and the fee for residents was 6000 Kenyan shillings. It's a two tiered scheme but we understand the need for revenue to run the park, and the rational that foreigners have a greater ability to pay. The 6000 shilling fee for residents excludes a great many lower income Kenyans, as evidenced by the mix of climbers and tourists we encountered in the park


Very cool! Excited to see if you are able to "wire up" on the Mountain!

Can't wait to see photos from inside the park! Have any rough estimates on how many people enter each year?

We also picked up a very cool Router and Portable wifi hotspot that is designed here in Nairobi, called the "BRCK" it can take a very weak cell phone signal, amplify it and allow us to get internet access in remote areas. if you are interested in learning more about these people and their amazing device.
We were hoping to take it into the park with us to allow real time posting of observations

When last I posted we were Looking all over Nairobi for white gas for the stove, no luck at all. However we did find that premium gasoline works well, so we will be using that as a substitute. A bit smelly, but gives great BTU's

Preparation Stage

Planning and preparations have begun here in Nairobi, with Makuhei arraigning for transport and employing local porters and a guide. Brian is arrainging gear and supplies here in Nairobi while we wait for Curtis to arrive from New Hampshire in the USA . Makuhei will be making her second trip to the park, and will be a great member to have onboard as a native Kikuyu speaker and experienced climber. Curtis brings many years of technical climbing experience and wilderness Paramedic qualifications. We have brought of our gear and equipment from the States, and will be sourcing food and locally available stove fuel here.

We plan to get information from park officials and the local guides as to the visitor traffic numbers, and to estimate the number of local citizens who are employed as guides, cooks and porters.

Very cool, so it sounds like you'll be doing some serious climbing! I'm curious what the local stove fuel would be, white gas?

Very interesting and important information to be collected during your expedition. I'll enjoy seeing what a trek up mount Kenya entails.

Yes, white gas, the old standard Coleman fluid. Generates better heat than the butane canisters at altitude. Here in Nairobi there are a lot of Butane canisters available, still looking for White gas, will try the Nakumatt Supermarket next. Cheers!

I'm not sure why, but it looks like your posts aren't geo locating. Are you interested in adding coordinates to your posts? That kind of metadata around each post is fantastic for us to feel like we're right next to you on expedition. Looking forward to following along to what's next.

Wow, what a great expedition. Interesting to explore the intersection of conservation/preservation and tourism in national parks. I'm very curious to see what you discover!

Expedition Background

On a trip to Mount Kenya January 9th through the 17th we will be trying to survey the impact of our and fellow tourists visits on the land and water resources of the park. We plan to concentrate on foot traffic erosion, waste disposal, and water pollution from tourism activities.

Interesting! Excited to follow along.