Mount Kenya Climbing Safaris | Climbing
Mount Kenya expeditions
Mount Kenya Natural History
Mount Kenya is Africaís
second highest mountain at 5,199m (17,058
feet) 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 main peaks (Batian, Lenana and
Nelion), only point Lenana can be reached by trekkers and the other two
being only for technical climbers.
Mount Kenya is the second highest peak in Africa and stands somewhat
unjustly in the shadow of it's taller neighbour Kilimanjaro, which lies
some 320km away in the south and is visible on a clear day. Kili may see
much more traffic - due to the possibility of summitting via several
non-technical trekking routes and due to the sometimes dubious honour of
being one of the Seven Summits - but Mount Kenya offers a wealth of
excellent and diverse climbing possibilities on rock, snow and ice.
The rock on Mount Kenya can be of variable quality but is at it's best
high on the mountain where the syenite rock is similar to granite -
rough, hard and well endowed with features.
Apart from the superb climbing potential on Mount Kenya, its tarns and
alpine meadows; exotic, equatorial, high-altitude vegetation; sunbirds,
hyrax and soaring eagles make the walk around the peaks one of the most
beautiful expeditions in the East African mountains.
the cultivated farmlands on the lower slopes 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 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. Itís 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
Getting to Mount Kenya
Mount Kenya is approximately 200km
north of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, and is comfortably accessible
by road using a variety of transport options - buses, mini buses, taxi
cab or a car hire will get you close to the mountain on the tarred
roads to the nearest town: Naromoru town for Naro Moru route, Nanyuki
town for Sirimon route and Chogoria town for Chogoria route.
The last stretch from the nearest town to the various trailheads
(typically +/- 25km) will be on dirt roads and these can be in poor
condition (especially in wet weather) and require a 4WD, or an
approach on foot.
to Trek Mount Kenya
Although, Mount Kenya
can be climbed all year round,
the highest rainfall occurs between late March and the middle of May,
and slightly less between late October and mid December. Maximum
rainfall occurs in the forest belt and on the south-east side of the
mountain where it reaches 2500mm. per year at 3000m. Rain and, higher
up, snow can however be encountered at any time of year - even in the
driest periods (January and February). Normally the drier seasons are
associated with clear, dry weather which can last for many days on end.
The best weather is generally in the mornings, and convectional
rainfall, if any, tends to come in the mid-afternoon.
Temperatures vary considerably with height and with time of day. At
3000m. frosts can be encountered at night while day temperatures range
from 5 to 15įC. Night time temperatures on the summit are well below
freezing. The south-facing side of Mount Kenya receives more sunshine in
the December to March period. During this time rock climbs are
"in-condition" and snow and ice climbs gradually deteriorate. In the
June to October period the north-facing rock climbs and south-facing ice
climbs are best.
It's safest to climb Mt.
Kenya during the dry seasons: 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. Itís best
to avoid the two rainy seasons from mid March until June and from late
October to the end of December.
Mount Kenya is home to some fascinating high-altitude alpine vegetation
including giant groundsels and lobelias.
In the lower-altitude forest zone trekkers may come across some rather
large and uncompromising African wildlife such as elephants and buffalo
- fortunately these are mostly active only at night. Lions, leopard,
rock hyrax, various antelope species and a wide range of other creatures
large and small occur in the park.
Mount Kenya Forest Vegetation And
Coverage In Percentage:
Bamboo - 10%
Bamboo and Forest Mix - 23%
Forest - 32%
Bushy Forest - 11%
Grassland - 8.5%
Plantation - 9%
Other - 6.5%
Mount Kenya climbing Routes/Itineraries
There are three main
routes, which penetrate the forest and the moorland. The routes are
Naromoru route, Sirimon route and Chogoria route and each of which has
something different to offer.
Climbing Mount Kenya Naromoru route - The fastest route to
point Lenana but not as scenic as the other two. It is often overcrowded
with many climbers since it's the most popular route compared to
Chogoria route and Sirimon route.
Chogoria route - The most scenic
and interesting of the three main routes on the mountain.
The route passes the enchanting Hall Tarns and looks down sheer cliffs
into the spectacular Gorges Valley and onto the beautiful Lake
Climbing Mount Kenya
Sirimon route - The
least used of the three main routes, but features the most gradual
ascent profile and best acclimatisation options and above all the most
interesting since its on the drier side on the mountain. The route
passes through impressive Yellowwood forests in the lower reaches and
features abundant wildlife and beautiful alpine scenery higher up.
There are other four routes up Point Lenana
but are least known and used. These are: Burguret Route, Timau Route,
Meru Route and Kamweti Route
Note: The normal pattern of weather on
Mount Kenya is
for clear mornings with mist closing in from 10:00am although this can
clear by evening. Therefore, early morning starts are the order of the
day with a 2am start for the final ascent to point Lenana, if you want
to catch the sunrise.
MKC 401: 4
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MKC 501: 5
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Chogoria Route Down
5 Days Mount Kenya Sirimon
Route Down Chogoria
MKC 601: 6
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Sirimon - Naro Moru with peak circuit route
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