Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024
alert-–-british-climber,-60,-falls-to-her-death-–-and-guide-is-dragged-to-his-doom-trying-to-save-her-–-after-slipping-on-ice-while-descending-mount-kenyaAlert – British climber, 60, falls to her death – and guide is dragged to his doom trying to save her – after slipping on ice while descending Mount Kenya

A British woman has died after she slipped on a patch of ice while descending Mount Kenya and fell hundreds of feet off the edge of the rock face.

Shilpa Shah, 60, from London, lost her footing while scrambling back down from a successful hike to the mountain’s third highest summit, Point Lenana, on Thursday. 

Tragedy compounded when her guide, a Kenyan man named Kelvin Muriuki Mwithi, valiantly lunged to grab her – only to be pulled along with her over the edge and sent tumbling into the abyss. 

The rest of the climbing group, seven women and their guides, could only watch on in horror as their friend and colleague disappeared down the side of Africa’s second-highest mountain.

Their bodies were recovered on Friday afternoon after rescue teams were forced to make several attempts due to bad weather conditions. 

Shilpa Shah, 60, from London, lost her footing while scrambling back down Mount Kenya (pictured) last week

Mount Kenya is the second-highest mountain in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, standing an impressive 5,200m (17,050ft). October falls within the short rainy season in East Africa, and stretches of the Naro Moru route can be rendered increasingly difficult when rainfall makes part of the trails muddy, or slippery when the water frosts over

Kelvin’s colleagues have set up a fund to provide support to his wife and their young child.

Robert Kamura, who was close to Kelvin and helped organise the fund, shared his grief on Facebook, saying: ‘My friend has rested. Our hearts are broken.’

‘May his soul transition to the afterlife peacefully,’ he wrote, before adding: ‘(Kelvin) always wore a smile and was an incredibly kind and positive human.’

‘Kelvin, a renowned Mount Kenya guide, passed away on [Friday, October 20] while assisting a hiker on a slippery slope,’ a tribute to the guide read.

‘Both slid down the ridge and perished. The hiker is identified as Shilpa Shah, a UK national.

‘Our prayers go out to both families during this difficult time of mourning and beyond.

‘Kevin leaves behind a young family (wife and toddler). We are joining hands to support the family in various ways.

‘Go well, Kevin. Continue smiling gracefully in the afterlife.’

Kelvin’s body was returned to a hospital in central Kenya to be collected by his family, while Shilpa’s remains were flown to Nairobi. 

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: ‘We are supporting the family of a British woman who has died in Kenya and are in contact with local authorities.’ 

Peaks Lenana (left) and Batian (right) are seen in Mount Kenya National Park, Kenya

Mount Kenya is the second-highest mountain in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, standing an impressive 5,200m (17,050ft).

The route on which Shilpa and Kelvin lost their lives, the Naro Moru, is not considered a particularly challenging path and does not require technical climbing experience to complete.

But October falls within the short rainy season in East Africa, and stretches of the Naro Moru route can be rendered increasingly difficult when rainfall makes part of the trails muddy, or slippery when the water frosts over. 

The fatal descent on Thursday saw the climbing group tackle large patches of ice and considerable snowfall.  

Despite being located just a few miles from the equator, Mount Kenya is home to some 11 glaciers, providing rock and ice climbing that offers a different challenge to the much-loved Mount Kilimanjaro. 

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