Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa, after Kilimanjaro and the highest mount in Kenya. Located in the central part of the country, Mt. Kenya is 150 kilometres (93mi) north- northeast of Kenya’s capital city Nairobi.

Mt. Kenya’s 2 highest peaks, Batian (17,058 ft. 5,199m) and Nelion (17,023 ft./5,188 m) are accessible by about 25 routes and should be attempted by experienced rock climbers due to technical climbing via a variety of rock or ice routes. Point Lenana (16,355 ft/ 4,985m) is a non-technical climb that is accessible to hikers in good condition. Point Lenana is a popular destination for trekking parties.

This magnificent mountain is located in Mount Kenya National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park receives over 16,000 visitors per year. Most of the peaks on Mount Kenya have been summited. The majority of these involve rock climbing as the easiest route, although some only require an intense walk. The majority of the 16,000 visitors to the national park each year climb this peak. Approximately 200 people summit Nelion and around 50 people summit Batian, the two highest peaks. The forested slopes of Mt. Kenya are an important source of water for much of Kenya.

Mt. Kenya is best climbed in the dry seasons. January to February is the best time to go when views are the clearest and temperatures are warmer on top. July to October is also dry but colder. Rock-climbing routes on the south side are in the best condition from late December to mid-March. Routes on the north side are best climbed from late June to mid-October.

There are 8 trekking routes up to the main peaks of Mt. Kenya; Meru, Chogoria, Kamweti, Naro Moru, Burguret, Sirimon, Timau . The three routes; Chogoria, Naro Moru and SirimonRoutesare used most frequently and therefore have staffed gates and approach the base of the technical climbing routes and the popular destination of Point Lenana.

Naro Moru - Approaches from the West
Altitude Gain: 2500m – 4200m

The Naro Moru route is the fastest and therefore also the most popular route onto the mountain, being used by many of the tour and outfitting companies guiding clients up to Point Lenana. It is not particularly scenic and the rapid ascent profile makes it unsuitable for climbers wishing to acclimatise more gradually and sensibly. The Naro Moru route also features the legendary "Vertical Bog", a steep quagmire of wet moorland that is extremely taxing and unpleasant after rains. The final climb up to the Austrian Hut tackles a long, loose and uncompromising scree slope up the side of the Teleki Valley. Basically, you don't want to do this route unless you're in a hurry to reach Point Lenana.

Chorogira Route - Approaches from the East
Altitude Gain: 3000m-4300m

The Chogoria route is said to be 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 Michaelson. The Austrian Hut is reached via Tooth Col at the head of the valley.

Sirimon Route - Aproaches from the North
Altitude Gain: 2500m-4200m
Sirimon route is the least used of the three main routes, but features the most gradual ascent profile and best acclimatisation options. The route passes through impressive Yellowwood forests in the lower reaches and features abundant wildlife and beautiful alpine scenery higher up. The Austrian Hut and Point Lenana are reached from the head of Mackinder's Valley via Simba Col.

There are several other trekking routes on the mountain such as the Timau, Meru or Burguret Routes, for various reasons these are not frequently done and require special permission to use.

Mount Kenya is home to several good ice routes, the two most famous being the Diamond Couloir and the Ice Window route. Snow and ice levels on the mountain have been retreating at an accelerated rate in recent years, making these climbs increasingly difficult and dangerous. The Diamond Couloir, once climbable in summer or winter, is now virtually un-climbable in summer conditions, and is seldom deemed in climbable condition even in winter.

There is also a Summit Circuit path that circumnavigates the whole mountain in a day or two's walking, passing along the way (in clockwise direction) the American Camp in the Teleki Valley, Two Tarns, Hausberg Col, Kami Hut / Shipton's Camp, Simba Col, Tooth Col, Austrian Hut and then back down to the Teleki Valley. The route does not require technical climbing.

Point John and some of the other subsidiary peaks also offer good rock climbing routes.