Mount Kenya Climbing
Mount Kenya Natural History
Mount Kenya is Africa’s second highest mountain at 5,199m and the highest of all Kenya Mountains. Mount Kenya is roughly circular, about 60km across at the 200mm contour, where the steep font hills rise out of the gentler slopes of the centered highlands. At the centre of the massif, the main peaks rise sharply from around 4,500m to the main summit of Batian 5,199m, Nelion 5,188m and point Lenana 4,985m.
Other major summits on the mountain include:-Point Piggott 4,957m, Point Dutton 4,885 and Point John 4,883m.
Of the three Mt. Kenya main peaks (Batian, Lenana and Nelion), only point Lenana can be reached by trekkers and the other two being only for technical climbers.
After the cultivated farmlands on the lower slopes of Mt Kenya, the trails pass through the rain forest, rich in trees of many species but noticeably camphors, then onto a bamboo zone growing to heights of more than 12m or more up through open moor land before reaching the moonscape of higher slopes. The forests on Mount Kenya are rich in wildlife including elephant, buffalo and monkeys with even the moor lands offering a long list of mammals including the rock hyrax, the nearest living relative of the elephant.
Mt. Kenya is an ancient volcanic mountain much older than Mt. Kilimanjaro. Hiking Mount Kenya is believed to have once reached well above 600m. What is left today is volcanic plug which erosion has fashioned into the complex jagged outline of the central peaks.
When to Trek Mount Kenya
Although, Mount Kenya can be climbed all year round, it’s best and safest to climb Mt. Kenya during the dry seasons: months of January-February and August to September off the most reliably fine weather. The main routes are likely to be more crowded at this time of the year. If you favor complete solitude over the sunny skies, try going slightly off the peak season. It’s best to avoid the two rainy seasons from mid March until June and from late October to the end of December.
Mount Kenya climbing Routes/Itineraries
There are three main Mount Kenya climbing routes, which penetrate the forest and the moorland. The Mount Kenya trekking routes are Naromoru, Sirimon and Chogoria and each of which has something different to offer. Naromoru is the fastest route to point Lenana but not as scenic as the other two. Mount Kenya Chogoria Route is the most scenic and Sirimon the most interesting because it is on the drier side of the mountain.
4 Days Narumoru route
Distance: 40 km | Difficulty: Demanding | Start/Finish: Nairobi
Day 1: Nairobi-Meteorological Station
A 3-4 hrs, 10km, 400m ascent
Transfer to Naromoru Park Gate for registration and where the hike starts, 2600m From the gate, keep to the park track, which follows the crest of a board ridge between the Northern and Southern Naromoru valleys. The going is easy and it’s a pleasant walking through the forest. About two thirds of the way up after the bridge there are good views to the left north down into the Northern Naromoru valley. The trek ends at Met station 3,000m where dinner and overnight rest
Day 2: Met Station-Mackinders Camp
A 5-6 hrs, 10km, 1200m ascent
Head uphill on the track to pass the radio must on your right after about half an hour. The trek runs into a path and after another 30 minutes, you will reach the end of the forest belt and enter the moorland. This is the vertical bog conditions range from damp to glutinous depending on when it last rained. Continue through until the going improves and you reach a fork overlooking Teleki Valley to reach Mackinders Camp, 4,200m. Dinner and overnight at Mackinders Camp.
Day 3: Mackinders Camp-Point Lenana-Met Station
A 8-10 hrs, 11km, 785m ascent
The normal approach is to start at 2 am in order to reach point Lenana taking about 4 hr walk by sunrise at 6:30am. After sunrise, descend down to Mackinders Camp for breakfast, 2hrs and walk further 4hrs, way back to Met Station for dinner and overnight, B, L, D
Day 4: Met Station-Naromoru-Nairobi
A 3hrs, 9km, 400m Descend
After breakfast, descend through the rainforest which is 9km to Naromoru Park Gate at 2,600m where you will connect with your transport back to Nairobi to arrive at approximately 1400-1500 hrs,
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4 Days Sirimon Route
Distance: 53 km | Difficulty: Moderate
Much more scenic than Naromoru and it is on the dry side of the mountain which offers some of the finest walking. Climb up through forest into a wide ridge approach to the summit area. The route starts on the northwest side of the mountain near Nanyuki. Access is adequate and the bunk house facilities are the best on this side of the mountain.
Day 1: Nairobi-Sirimon-Judmier Camp (Old Moses Camp)
A 3-4 hrs, 9km, 860m ascent
Leave Nairobi at 8 am to Nanyuki town for lunch, taking about 4 hours. Proceed to Sirimon Gate, 1 hr, 2440m. From the gate follow the track as it winds uphill though the forest which becomes heath land after about 3 hrs. About 3½ hours from the gate the track veers right to Judmier Camp, 3300m for dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Judmier Camp-Shipton Camp
A 6-7hrs, 14km, 900m ascent
After breakfast, follow the track uphill, forking left at the junction. After one hour from Old Moses Camp, the track crosses Ontulili River. Go right contouring through the Moorland and crossing Liki North and continue uphill to Mackinders Valley from where there are panoramic views up the valley towards the main peaks. Dinner and overnight at Shipton Camp, 4200m
Day 3: Shipton Camp-Point Lenana-Judmaier Camp (Old Moses Camp)
A 9-10hrs, 21km Ascend / descent
Leave at 3am up a steep stony quarry that cuts through a cliff clearing visible part towards lower Hall Tarns arriving point Lenana at around 6:30am, taking about 3hrs. After the sunrise, descend down to Shipton Camp, 2hrs, for breakfast and further, 4hrs, down to Old Moses Camp for dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Judamaier Camp-Sirimon-Nairobi
A 2-3hrs, 9km Descent
After breakfast, walk down through the rainforest for 2 hours to connect with your transport vehicle back to Nairobi to arrive at approximately 1400-1500hrs
5 Days Chogoria Route
Day 1: Nairobi-Chogoria
Leave Nairobi at 0800hrs to Chogoria town for lunch and afternoon leisure walk in the town to acclimatize. Dinner and overnight at Chogoria Transit Motel, 2000m..
Day 2: Chogoria-Mount Meru Bandas
A 5-6hrs, 32km, 950m ascent
This is a long day along dirt road through the forest although the conditions under foot aren’t strenuous. You may opt to use a 4x4 to reach the bandas as sometimes the road is impassable, 2950m. Dinner and overnight at Mt. Meru Bandas,
Day 3: Chogoria Bandas-Mintos Hut
A 6-7 hrs, 21km, 1,280m ascent
After breakfast follow the track through giant heather and forest up to Chogoria road head from where the path drops to cross a stream then follows the broad ridge to the east of the gorges valley to reach Mintos Hut, 4200m. Dinner and overnight at Mintos Hut.
Day 4: Mintos-Point Lenana-Met Station
A 11-12 hrs, 29km, 785m ascent/1985m descent
Leave shortly after midnight at 0200hrs towards the main peaks and divide after an hour, above a flat green area at the head of the valley known as temple fields, arriving at point Lenana at 6:30am. After taking photographs, descend to Mackinders for breakfast and continue down to Met Station at 3000m for dinner and overnight rest
Day 5: Met Station/Naromoru/Nairobi
A 3hrs, 9km, 400m descent
After breakfast, descend through the rainforest which is 9km to Naromoru Park Gate at 2,600m where you will connect with your transport back to Nairobi to arrive at approximately 1400-1500 hrs
You may opt to spend the night at Mackinders Camp and then on to Met station and lastly descend for a transfer back to Nairobi. This will require an extra day to complete.