Monday, June 22, 2009

The Maxidash

Last week it was announced that AAI Guide Tim Connelly and Lucas Gonzales will team up to compete in the Mountain Club of Kenya's Maxidash race, the premier and only race of it's kind in East Africa.

Lucas getting familiar with the Ndeiya site

For the uninitiated, the “Maxi-Dash” is an annual event for the rock climbers of the Club and for ‘climbing guests’ who would wish to participate. The idea is to gather as many points as possible by climbing set climbs at five different crags around Nairobi. These are Lukenya, Embaribal, Frog, Ndeiya and Hell’s Gate National Park.

The Maxidash has been held for over 20 years and many colourful characters and stories have been engaged in its history. This year however the 2 newcomers have seen to it to challenge the locals and mainly a set of 3 or 4 climbers that have consistently won the competition in the last 10 years. 'We shall see them really DASH this year!!' barked Connelly at the weekly MCK meeting where he announced his participation and threw down the proverbial gauntlet to those few climbers attending.

Tim working out the intricacies of Hell's gate's Main wall

The official rules state there is to be no sabotaging of vehicles, brought about after a particularly competitive year found wheels flying off vehicles at high speed. But they continue to not ban activities of route sabotaging such as banana smearing or baboon baiting (whatever that might be!!)

Finding the descents, strategy of which routes to climb, when and general motoring skills on African roads is as important as efficient climbing ability. (Tim racing down so that he can climb up another route)

Spare wheel, food, plenty of petrol, liquids and good shock absorbers will see competitors through the whole day. There will be at least 3 hours of driving between sites, probably closer to 4 or 5, and Kenya is not known for it's great roads!! (one of the sites, Frog. a good hour from Nairobi and probably an hour and a half from the next site)

The next week will be filled with lots of preparation . Luckily this team is fitted out with a few pairs of 5ten shoes for both the climbing and approach/descent, a Toyota 4runner and lots of energy for this 'rumble in the jungle'!!!

--Tim Connelly, AAI Guide

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