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The first Kenyan to conquer the Everest launches book

The Kenyan who made history by climbing Mount Everest has launched a book narrating his experience at the peak of the highest mountain in the world.

In his 87-pages book titled The journey to Everest, 63-year old James Kagambi popularly known as “KG” shares the preparations leading up to the 40 days climb including his determination to raise Sh10 million to help him realize his dream of becoming the first Kenyan to reach the mountain’s peak which stands at a dizzying 8,849 metres above sea level.

In an interview with KNA during the launch of his book in Nyeri, Kagambi says that the motivation to write his first book was the avalanche of questions and the many invitations he has been receiving both locally and internationally to give talks about his expedition to Mount Everest.

“Having summited many mountains before, reaching the peak of the Everest felt like a normal thing. But upon coming down from the mountain, the number of followers and people asking me how I did it was overwhelming. I felt that I owed the people this information so I decided to write a book,” said Kagambi.

The retired teacher made history in May last year when he became the oldest and the first Kenyan to reach the top of Mount Everest. He is not new to such achievements as he was among five people who made it to Mount Kenya’s point Batian, the second highest point in Africa, to hoist the Kenyan flag to mark 50 years of independence.

Among his other notable accomplishments include being the first black African to summit the Denali, North America’s highest mountain peak in 1989. In 1992, he represented Africa in the United Nations Peace Climb for the world on the Eiger one of the world’s most famous peaks in the Swiss Alps. He is also the first black African to summit the Aconcagua, the highest summit in the Americas in 1994.

The book which is set to be launched in Nairobi on Wednesday at the Utalii Hotel (tomorrow) also gives readers a glimpse into Kagambi’s career as a mountaineer after switching from teaching. He also says he hopes to use his achievement to champion the inclusion of outdoor education for learners into the Kenyan Curriculum as well as the recognition of mountaineering as a sport in the country.

“The book is encouraging up-coming mountaineers and it talks about outdoor education and its advantages. It is a book that is also talking about us all enhancing outdoor education and recognizing that you do not have to sit in a class to learn. Mountain climbing is an underrated sport in our nation and it was proven that one can make history if one believes and fights for their goal,” says Kagambi.

By Wangari Mwangi and Hellen Ndirangu

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