Climbing Mount Kenya:
We climbed Mount Kenya via Sirimon - Chogoria Traverse route.
There are also other possible routes. Naro Moro route is the shortest one and Chogoria - Sirimon route is the same we did in the opposite direction.
First day - from Sirimon gate (2635 m) up to Old Moses Camp (also called Judmeier Camp) (3340 m) 6-8 hours.
Second day - from Old Moses Camp to Shipton's Camp (4230 m) - 6-7 hours
Third day - climbing at night from Old Moses Camp to Pt. Lenana (4985 m) via Harris Tarn, down from Pt. Lenana to Hall Tarns (4300 m) and from Hall Tarns down to Chogoria gate (3017 m)
|Schematic map of the peak region||Topographical map of the peak region|
Books and maps:
Guide and porters: We hired one guide and one porter from Nanyuki.
The guide: Captain Joe, Captainjoe@gmc.africaonline.com, could be found at Joskaki Hotel in Nanyuki. The guide was reliable and we recommend his services.
Carrying your own stuff or hiring porter: due to a very fast climb from 2000 m up to 5000 m it is advisable to hire porters. Going in the middle of the night from Shipton's Camp to Pt. Lenana should not be attempted alone without a guide.
Equipment: There are lodges and camps along this trek. First night can be spend in the lodge in Judmeier Camp and the second night in the hut in Shipton's Camp. Yu can also stay in tents there. You will anyway need a good sleeping bag, warm clothes (especially for the night climb to Pt. Lenana). Walking polls are highly recommended. Your guide and porters can cook for your. Alternatively, you can buy your own food and cook for yourself.
Weather and seasons: The best season to climb is December and January. July - September is also good. Starting from mid October it gets rainy again.
Park fees: as for September 2001 the prices were: 10US$ per day for park entrance fee for climbers (2 days or more), 8$ per night for camping. Check the current prices online. You pay at the park entrance.
It is advisable to pay at the entrance gate for the minimal amount of days you plan (2 or 3 days) and if you stay longer - you will be able to pay the rest at the exit. If you pay all in advance - do not expect to get a refund if you stay less.
Huts: if you want to sleep in huts and not to camp, you can pay for huts in advance. In such a case you won't need to pay for camping. Hut costs 500 shilling per person per night if paid in advance, or 800 if paid in the hut itself.
Guide and porters: I don't remember how much we paid for the guide.
Getting there and back:
The trek starts at the Sirimon gate
The trek ends at the Chogoria gate
Alternative routes: Naro Moro route is shorter, but it is more difficult then the Sirimon route, since it is more muddy and the climb is steeper. On the climb night, you need to climb from Mackinder camp, for 4 hours to Pt. Lenana and not 3 as from Shipton (although Mackinder camp is higher- 4300 m).
On the trek:
On the first day: From Nanyuki we have been taken by a 4 wheel drive to the Sirimon gate (1500 shiling). It is also possible to take matatu to Meru, get off at the Sirimon junction and from the junction there is a 9 km dirty way to the gate. The way is not difficult, but could be muddy and dirty at some places. If you did not start early at the morning, its better to hire a car to take you to the gate. You can possibly camp near the gate, but the guards might demand payment for this night as well, since gate is already considered a part of the park. We walked up to the Old Moses camp and stayed in our tent, although there is also a hut there.
On the second day:
From the Old Moses camp you can see 2 peaks next to each other. These are Nelion and Bation, which can be climbed only by professional alpinists. Pt. Lenana cannot be seen from the Old Moses camp. On your left you will be able to see 2 additional lower peaks - Sendeyo and Tereri. A line of electricity polls goes from Old Moses camp to the meteorological station at 3500 m. From the camp start going towards the meteorological station, while the lines of polls is on your left and Nelion and Bation are on your right. The trails is sometimes muddy with bushes on the sides. After 45 min you will arrive to the meteorological station and from there continue right and up so that the peaks will always stay in front of you and on your right.
After the station the vegetation turns into grass almost without any bushes, so you walk from now on in the open area (if there is a sunny day it could even be hot). After 15 min from the station you get to the junction of two trails, marked by 2 wooden sticks in the ground. The trail going straight up is to the Liki camp - camp for professional alpinists that want to acclimatize to the attitude before climbing Bation. We continue with the right trail towards the valley. The trail descends a little bit and after 20 min we arrive to the Ontuloly valley - it is actually a medium size stream between two ridges. You can see from there the meteorological station, unless it is heavily clouded. Unless you run out of water - do not take a water from here, since there will be cleaner water source later. From here the trail gradually ascends along the mountain ridge on your left. You will slowly climb to the ridge while you will be able to see the Old Moses camp behind you. Along the trail you will see polls with red-white stripes - there are your trail marks. After 30 min of the climb you will pass the ridge and will see below the Liki valley. From the Liki valley you will be able to see a trail that ascends the opposite ridge and behind it another ridge with a big rock - this is the ridge from the other side of the Mackinder valley. The ridge is of 3700 meter. You will also see on your left the Sendeyo and Tereri peak - the ones that were seen from the Old Moses camp. You will descend from the ridge in 10 min to the Liki valley - this is the Liki river (be careful not to slip on the way down). You can fill in the water here.
From the Liki river there will be a steep ascend of half an hour up to the opposite ridge and from the top you will see the Mackinder ridge and a stream inside it (there is no need to climb up the the steep rocks at the top of the ridge - when you see the stream in the Mackinder valley it the sigh that you have arrived). Up in the valley you will see a number of peaks - the last one is Pt. Lenana. We are now at 3900 m altitude. From here the trail descends a little bit and continues at 2/3 of the ridge height while the valley is on your right. Till now we have passed half way to the Shipton camp. We continue with the trail while the valley gradually raises and the trail joins the river again. We descend to 2/3 height of the ridge and continue with the trail while big rocks are on our left and the stream is down on the right. 20 min later you will arrive to the flat and dry place under a rock. It is possible to place a tent there and there is also a fire place. But it is not advisable to stay here. Continue on the ridge with a pleasant walk while the valley gradually raises and the trail joins the river after one hour. You can fill in the water here and continue up the valley. We are now at 3950 m. The trail takes some distance from the stream and ascends with the valley towards the peaks. After half an hour the trail from the Liki camp joins our trail. It is a bit difficult to recognize this junction without a guide. If it is not cloudy, you will be able to recognize at this point the Tereri and Sendeyo peaks in front of you and Lenana and Batyon on your right. 20 min later and you will cross a pretty strong stream (river).
At this point, if you consider the direction in which the valley raises up as 00 (zero degrees), then Tereri is at 2700 and Lenana at 200-300. Continue a bit and you will see in front of you the Shipton caves. Above the caves is our camp. We are now at 4100 m. You can see the Giant Ground Cells trees - trees that look like giant cactus. Continue with the trail. On your left you will see a big rock with cubic shape. After it we start climbing up the ridge, while the trail surrounds the caves cliff and ascends on it. The climb is pretty difficult for 20 min. On the top of the cliff you will see the roof of the Shipton camp hut. From here 20 min walk that ends with a short climb and you are at 4228 m at Shipton camp. The whole day was about 6-7 hours.
On the third day: Harris Tarn - 4750m, ~2 km from Shipton and it takes around 2 hours. From there another hour to Lenana. Going at night should not be attempted without a guide. It is frozen and slippery and you can easily loose your way. From Pt. Lenana we descended all the way to Chogoria gate in one long day.
Interesting information about Kenya:
Savanna - below 2500 m
Equatorial forest - 2500-3000 m
Hagenia zone - 3000-3200 m
Alpine - 3200-3500 m
Molad - 3500 m (vegetation that does not exist below 3500 m)
Zona - 4500 m - no vegetation at all. Snow can start at 4500 m or even 4000 m.
Vegetation and animals:
Lobiria plants - there are 2 kinds: one kind can be seen at lower altitude. There is a water inside the plant and when it blooms it has a sort of cactus (without thorns) inside. The second kind - its flower is bigger.
Giant Ground Cells trees - trees that look like giant cactus
Bantu tribes - live in the center of Kenya and engage in agriculture. They are also divided in to smaller sub groups. They traded with Arabs from Mombasa.
Kushites tribe - the Masai tribe, live in the north, in the dry regiosn. Do not engage in agriculture, and only raise animals.
Nilrotes tribes - live near Victoria and Torkana lakes and engage in fishing.
Last updated 18-01-2008