This peak needs no introduction! Standing at 5199 metres, Mt . Kenya is a real mountaineer’s peak.
|Click on image to enlarge||Mount Kenya|
|It rises to over five thousand meters in a remote area of east Africa. By any standards it is a very rugged and wild area with high crags and hanging glaciers. The massif consists of four distinct summits. The highest summit is named Batian and stands at 5199 meters. Second is Nelion at 5188 meters, third is Point Lenana at 4985 meters and fourth is Point John, 4883 meters.
Batian, Nelion and Pt. John require technical climbing to reach their summits, while Point Lenana a trekking peak.
All routes on Batian and Nelion are usually climbed as 2-day routes with one night being spent on the mountain and for this reason there is a small metal hut (box) on the summit of Nelion. This is called the Howell Hut, named after Alan Howell, a local climber, who erected it.
Due to the mountain being on the equator there are two climbing seasons. The southern side experiences winter from June till August while the northern side is having “summer” climbing during this period. These seasons are reversed from November till March.
Guided ascents can be done of any route depending on the clients’ previous experience. However as an introduction to the peaks, it is best to try for an ascent of the Normal Route on Nelion via the east face. Once reaching the summit of Nelion one can then cross the “Gate of Mists” to summit Batian.
This route is best done during December to March and sometimes can be climbed during the other season if not much snow has fallen. The other route worth doing is the North Face Standard Route, best climbed in the northern hemisphere’s summer, namely June to August. Both routes are easy to moderate in grade and are very long. Most of the pitches are roped scrambles with a few pitches of about South African grade 15 or USA 5.6 or UK technical grade 4a.
Mt. Kenya has fantastic trekking routes and is worth a visit simply for this reason. Unlike Kilimanjaro, the trails are not overcrowded or badly littered. There are a few dozen routes to follow in the region, each with it’s own charm. Of particular interest is the Chogoria and the Sirimon Routes. An ascent of Point Lenana can also be incorporated into a trekking holiday. Often trekkers join up with a climbing party for a slightly reduced fee. Porters are available when hiking to a climb or on a trek.