Mount Kenya Technical Climbing
Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya. It straddles the equator and the entire mountain contour forms the Mt. Kenya National Park. This hiking adventure is for those who are not content to simply enjoy the view of the mountain from the foothills it’s rather meant for the strong and those willing to take the challenge of climbing the mountain to the top while enjoying various breathtaking vistas.
Scaling the mountain’s heights is a feat that takes plenty of perseverance and it’s important to under go acclimatization before climbing the mountain to reduce the risk of altitude sickness. Our hiking trail takes the sirimon route while ascending and descending as well. Our climbing expedition can be under taken privately accompanied by the mountain guide and porters or in group subject to availability.
We will spend the nights in mountain huts. We buy fresh produce and other food locally, and to ensure high standards of hygiene the food is prepared by our own staff. We can cater for special dietary requirements with advance notice at no extra charge. You only require bottled water on the first and last day. The other days we will boil water or add purifying tablets then filter using MSR water filtering pump before refilling in your water bottles in the morning.
Nairobi – Old Moses camp
A representative from goshawk tours will meet you at your hotel or pick you up from the airport and he or she will introduce you to mountain guide. The guide will brief you on what to expect and the day’s activities. Depart Nairobi and travel to Nanyuki town through the countryside to the slopes of Mt. Kenya arriving in time for an early lunch.
You will be introduced to the porters and the cook and together proceed to Sirimon Park Gate [2650m] where your guide will assist in park formalities and registration; after this start hiking through the forest which paves way to heather and after climbing for about three hours you will arrive at Old Moses Camp [3300m] for dinner and over night.
[Time: 3 to 4 hours] Covering nine kilometres.
Old Moses – Shipton Camp
After breakfast begin the day’s hike to shimpton camp with packed lunch. Follow the track up hill to a junction and turn left; climb for an hour where you will cross the Ontulili River turn right contouring the moor lands to liki north and proceed uphill to Mackinders valley where there are panoramic views of Tereri and Sendeo peaks, Nanyuki town and the beautiful terrain.
Proceed hiking to Shimpton camp [4200m] for dinner and over night. Shimpton camp also has an excellent setting with the north faces of Nelion peak and Batian peak visible from the camp.
[Time: 6 to 7 hours] Covering seventeen kilometres.
Shipton Camp – Mackinder’s Camp
After breakfast we begin the days hike with preparation of summiting the peak circuit and better acclimatizing. We will hike anticloc kwise through Hausberg Col [4591m] and then pass between Oblong and Hausberg tarns.
Hot lunch en route. Ascend to two tarns and begin the descend to Mackinder’s Camp [4200m] on the South Western side of the peak where you will have your dinner and spend the night.
[Time: 6 to 7 hours] Covering seventeen kilometres.
Mackinder’s Camp – Point Lenana – Shipton’s Camp
Wake up very early at 3:00am and have a light breakfast; coffee or tea with some biscuits, depart camp and start your ascend to top hut [Austrian Hut – 4800m]. From this point we will summit point lenana.
Most climbers of Mount Kenya summit point lenana [4985m]. Depart point lenana after a short while and descend down to the North west side of Mt. Kenya to shipton camp [4200m] for dinner and over night.
[Time: 9 to 10 hours] Covering twenty one kilometres.
Today we spend the day at shipton camp acclimatizing in preparation of summiting Batian Peak. We will make a short climb on either Point Peter or Point Dutton. All meals and over night at camp.
Summit Day [Batian Peak]
We will wake up at four in the morning and after breakfast begin hiking to batian peak via the North face standard route. The route initially follows a wide couloir which you ascend for some 7 pitches, never harder than 5.7. You’ll then descend via the same route hopefully arriving Shipton’s Camp before dusk for dinner and overnight.
Shipton’s Camp – Chogoria Bandas
After breakfast begin the days hike following the Scenic Chogoria Route. Climb up to Simba Col then descent to the halls Tarns.
From here we follow the backbone of a ridge, overlooking the spectacular Gorges Valley. Loosing elevation fast you leave the high moorlands and enter into the forest belt that surrounds Mount Kenya arriving mount kenya bandas for dinner and over night.
Chogoria – Nairobi
The home stretch is here, after breakfast descend down through thick bamboo and rainforest untill the forest clears. Transfer to chogoria town using a 4×4 jeep for lunch and later travel back to Nairobi arriving late afternoon. Drop off at a hotel in Nairobi or the airport to board a flight to your next destination.
- Transport to and from the base of the mountain.
- Park entrance fees.
- Accommodation in mountain huts.
- Meals as described in the itinerary.
- Services of a mountain guide, porters & a cook.
- Rescue fee.
- H.F Radio communication for backup in case of an emergency.
- All government taxes.
- International airfares.
- Climbing equipments.
- All expenditure of personal nature such as telephone calls, hard drinks, soft drinks and laundry.
- Travel Insurance.
Judmaier Camp which is also known as Old Moses Camp is built at an altitude of 3300 meters on Mount Kenya. At the Old Moses you have the option of sleeping in dormitory like bunkers or camping in the spacious grounds surrounding it. The hut has a kitchen and dining area plus a clean and well maintained bathroom. Old Moses Mountain Hut is where most hikers spend their first night of the trek.
Liki north hut is located on the liki valley on mount Kenya at an altitude of 3990m. The hut is of basic structure and offers little more than shelter from the weather.
The Shiptons Camp is located at an altitude of 4200m just below the main peaks of Mount Kenya. Here you can sleep in bunkers within the mountain hut and it is used by most hikers on their final day before summiting Pt. Lenana. The hut has a kitchen and dining area plus a clean and well maintained bathroom.
MacKinder’s Camp is located at an elevation of 4200m on Mount Kenya. Accommodation at Mackinder’s camp is in form of huts which are clean. Facilities include a kitchen and a common dining area. If you prefer pitching tents on the ground you can access facilities of the lodge. MacKinder’s Camp is where most climbers spend the night on preparation of the summit attempt.
Chogoria bandas are located on Mount Kenya at an elevation of 3000m. The accommodation is basic with dormitory-style huts. Each hut (banda) provides beds with clean sheets, blankets and towels. We will spend the last night on the mountain at chogoria bandas.
Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro located 175 km north east of Nairobi in central and eastern province of Kenya. The mountain is surrounded by a forest reserve and together they make up the Mount Kenya National Park which was gazetted in the year 1949 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Mount Kenya is the source of the name of the Republic of Kenya.
Mount Kenya stands at 5199 meters (17,057 ft) and the park covers an area of 750km2. Mount Kenya was once a volcano created 3 million years ago. It is estimated to have been 23,000 ft tall but has since eroded to 17,000 ft. Glaciation has coursed erosion of the slopes creating glaciers (small lakes). The lower slopes of the mountain have been glaciated and are now cultivated or forested, they are distinguished by V shaped valleys. The higher part of the mountain which is now moorland is distinguished by U shaped valleys. There are about 11 small glacier on the mountain. Mount Kenya has three major peaks namely Batian at 5199 meters, Nelion at 5188 meters and Lenana at 4,985 meters. Batian and Nelion are only 250 meters apart separated by the “Gates of Mist”.
Mount Kenya is one of the five most significant water towers in Kenya that the country depends on for her water supply. It provides water for about 50% of the country’s population and produces 70% of Kenya’s hydroelectric power. There are two major rivers that originate from this water catchment namely Tana River and Ewaso Ng’iro River. Mount Kenya has different zones depending on the altitude.
The base of the mountain is characterized by fertile farmland, followed by montane forest. Above the forest is a belt of bamboo. This zone is almost continuous, but is restricted to small isolated bunches in the north because of low rainfall. Above the bamboo is the timberline forest. The trees here are often smaller than the trees in the forests lower down the mountain. At around 3000m the vegetation turns to heath land and chaparral which paves way for Afro-alpine zone which begins at 3500m, the air here is drier and thinner.
Many of the species here are endemic, with adaptations to the cold and fluctuating temperatures. Typical plants here include giant groundsels (senecios) and giant lobelias. At 4500m we have the nival zone which is characterized by an area that has minimal or no vegetation whatsoever and has been glaciated.
There are eight walking routes up to the main peaks. Starting clockwise from the north these are the: Meru, Chogoria, Kamweti, Naro Moru, Burguret, Sirimon and Timau Routes.Of these Chogoria, Naro Moru and Sirimon and used most frequently and therefore have staffed gates. The other routes require special permission from the Kenya Wildlife Service to use.
MOUNT KENYA ROUTES
The Chogoria route leads from Chogoria town up to the peaks circuit path. It heads through the forest to the south-east of the mountain to the moorland, with views over areas such as Ithanguni and the Giant’s Billiards Table before following the Gorges Valley past the Temple and up to Simba Col below Point Lenana. The Mountain Club of Kenya claims that Ithanguni and the Giant’s Billards Table offer some of the best hillwalking in Kenya.
The Naro Moru route is taken by many of the trekkers who try to reach Point Lenana. It can be ascended in only 3 days and has bunkhouses at each camp. The route starts at Naro Moru town to the west of the mountain and climbs towards Mackinder’s Camp on the Peak Circuit Path. The terrain is usually good, although one section is called the Vertical Bog.
The Sirimon route approaches Mount Kenya from the north-west. The path splits on the moorlands, with the more frequently used fork following the Mackinder Valley and the quieter route traversing into the Liki North Valley. The paths rejoin at Shipton’s Cave just below Shipton’s Camp on the Peak Circuit Path.
CLIMBING GEAR & EQUIPMENTS
- Walking trousers synthetic material is recommended.
- Long Underwear Tops – Light synthetic.
- Women’s sports bras Synthetic material.
- Light fleece with a warm layer.
- Long sleeve polypropylene shirt.
- Medium weight polypropylene/thermal leggings.
- Wind – waterproof – breathable jacket.
- Gloves- light weight.
- Warm Hat or Balaclava Sun hat – wool or synthetic.
- Face mask or neck gaiter.
- Medium or large duffel bag to pack your town clothes with a lock, this can be left at the hotel or we can store them for you.
- Medium duffel bag to pack your hiking stuff with a lock. [ The porter will carry this bag. ]
- A day pack to store your essentials with a capacity of about 25 to 35 liters is recommended.
- Walking/hiking shoes – comfortable and waterproof.
- Socks – Fitting socks one thick and one thin pair.
- Head lamp with extra batteries & bulbs.
- Adjustable trekking poles.
- Sleeping bag – Rated 3 – season.
- Gaiters – make sure they will fit over boots.
- Purification tablets or filters – water for drinking is fetched from mountain streams.
- Water bottle preferably one litre.
- Female or male hygiene supplies.
- Hand wipes and camp towel.
- Personal toiletry kit.
- Lip balm.
- Sun glasses.
- Camera & extra battries.
- Passport, flight ticket, travel insurance, visa, cash & credit card.
- Basecamp entertainment i.e books, board games, playing cards or ipod.
- Favorite Snacks, candy bars or protein bars.
Kindly don’t forget your patience, have an open mind, positive and relaxed attitude as things in this part of the world may be very different to what you are accustomed to but in the end the experience is price less and will always be memorable.