In 1941, Italian Felice Benuzzi was imprisoned by the British in a prisoner-of-war camp, his cell facing the vast, icy face of 5200m Mount Kenya, the second highest peak in Africa. Like many prisoners, as the months passed he dreamed of escape. Months later he managed it – his goal not to try and return home but to reach the summit of Mount Kenya. Using ice-climbing equipment made from barbed wire and a map of the mountain taken from a picture on the side of tin of canned food, he scaled the steep, dangerous, technically-challenging mountain. Weeks later, having successfully reached the summit, he sneaked back into prison, content with his achievement, to write a classic book about his journey – “No Picnic on Mount Kenya”.
In his book Benuzzi described travelling through an improbable landscape of snow and ice at the equator, climbing up mighty rivers of ice like the Lewis and Gregory glaciers. Unfortunately for our 25zero team, (Nick Rowe, Bryan Adkins and Brendan Hill) 75 years later, the book is all we’ll know of the landscape as it once was, because the Gregory has gone and the Lewis is a tiny fraction of what it once was due to climate change.