Mount Kenya is the Kenya’s biggest mountain ranging between 1600-5199m above sea level and second after Mt Kilimanjaro and is an extinct volcano at the equator located in Central province. It is a national icon and nations namesake.

Mount Kenya is not a single peak, it is consisted of ridges and peaks. These are the weathered remnants of a large extinct volcano that was active several million years ago. Mount Kenya straddles the equator but is sufficiently high to receive significant snowfall and to be circled with several glaciers.

Climbing Mount Kenya

There are many peaks on Mount Kenya that require rock climbing. 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 a scramble or a walk. The highest peak that can be ascended without climbing is Point Lenana, 4,985 m (16,355 ft).

When ascended directly, Batian is usually climbed via the North Face Standard Route, UIAA grade IV+ (or 5.6+ YDS). The route is usually climbed in two days. The Normal Route is the most climbed route up Nelion, and thence across to Batian. It is possible to traverse between the two peaks, via the Gates of Mist, but this often involves spending a night in the Howell hut on top of Nelion. There is a bolted abseil descent route off Nelion.

When to climb?

Mount Kenya’s climbing seasons are a result of its location only 20 km from the equator. During the northern summer the rock routes on the north side of the peak are in good summer condition, while at the same time the ice routes on the south side of the peak are prime shape.

The situation is reversed during the southern summer. The two seasons are separated by several months of rainy season before and after, during which climbing conditions are generally unfavorable. 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 satellite peaks around the mountain also provide good climbs. These can be climbed in Alpine style and vary in difficulty from a scramble to climbing at UIAA grade VI. They are useful for acclimatisation before climbing the higher peaks and as ascents in their own right