7 Day Mt Kenya Rock climbing via the North Face Standard Route.
The Northface standard route starts from Shiptons Camp or from Kami Hut at 0330 hrs – 2 hrs hike to the base of climbing. The start is Grade IV+. The first two pitches are easy for scrambling, Another Grade III then Grade 11 and a Grade IV to get to the amphitheatre. From there an easy donkey walk to the base of Firmin Tower. Two routes emerge here. One up the Tower quite tricky about Grade V in a small gully not enough to fit in. The other is around the tower, easier but longer.
After that you come to the knife edge you do a Grade IV+ pitch and another Grade IV pitch before you come to a traverse that leads you to the Shiptons notch. At the Shiptons notch rocks are quite lose and need to be handled with care. After you are through with Shiptons notch, then reach Batian 5,199m. After reaching carefully the top, then abseil down; you do a lot of down climbing. This is the longest climb. It’s 23 pitches.
Best done from June to early October.
All the routes are Graded IV and V most of the pitches.
For the climbing equipment, you have to bring your own harness, climbing boot, crampons, ice axe, warm sleeping bag, bivy bag and light tent. The other climbing equipment like friends, figure of eight, stopper, ropes will be provided.Our Mountain guides are well experienced on technical knowledge, having being trained by N.O.L.S (The American National Outdoor Leadership School)and working with Kenya Wildlife Service (K.W.S) helping them with the mountain rescues in Mount Kenya National Park.
Day 1: Nairobi- Mt Kenya Bandas (2,900m)
Depart from Nairobi at 0800hrs, driving through agricultural country up to Chogoria town for lunch. After lunch, we take 4×4 and drive up to the edge of the bamboo forest where we start our trekking through the dense bamboo forest for distance of 10 km up to the Mt Kenya Bandas.
Dinner and overnight at the Mount Kenya Bandas.
Day 2: Mt Kenya Bandas – Lake Ellis Campsite ( 3,600m) .
After breakfast and sorting of porter loads we set off up the mountain at a nice and easy pace A slightly longer walk via Lake Ellis gives scenic views of Mugi, Ithanguni and the Giants Billiards Table, whilst if we follow the river near road head, upstream for about 3 km, the foreground scenery and flora is particularly beautiful.
Lunch on the banks of a stream, then it`s time to cut up the left hand hillside to our camp at about 3,600m, well away from any of the more touristy areas.
Day 3: Lake Ellis- Minto`s Camp. ( 4,200m) .
Similar early start. Again well off the beaten track to follow a ridge up the mountain for about 3 hours to eventually join the tourist track on the normal Chogoria route at an altitude of about 4,100m. Breath taking views over the Gorges Valley and back over towards Ithanguni and the Northern Moorland
Lunch is served at a small stream crossing, before continuing for a further hour to the Mintos Hut area at 4200m and our night rest.
Afternoon is spent relaxing at camp, though a 10 minute walk to the Temple is well worth the effort. This is a 150 meters vertical cliff that gets its name from the position visitors often adopt when peering over the edge they look as if they are praying.
Day 4: Minto`s -Shipton Camp (4,200m)
You rise early and continue your trek up to Top Hut (Austrian Hut) 4800m. From this Hut you make a final short ascent of Point Lenana, 4985m,. Point Lenana is the common trekkers Mount Kenya Summit. From this summit you then go straight down the Northwest side to Shipton`s Camp, passing Harris Tarn.
Day 5: Shipton – Batian (5199m) – Shipton (Climbing Day)
Ascent of Batian by the North Face Standard Route. Starting in the early morning dark, usually between 4 and 5 am, you may climb the first couple of pitches by headlamp.
The route initially follows a wide couloir which you ascend for some 7 pitches, never harder than 5.7. A bit of easy scrambling brings us to the Amphitheater, a small basin of easy rock part way up the route. Ideally we arrive here by about 7:30 or so, enjoying a short break. Above this is the crux of the route, Firmin’s Tower. There are about 3 difficult pitches, all fairly short, but all in the V grade. Above this, easier terrain leads to a few more pitches and, finally, the west ridge. From this point, we continue on easy, but still exposed, rock to Shipton’s Notch, a prominent gash in the summit ridge. Another pitch, then mixed 4th and easy 5th class rock leads to the airy summit of Batian.
You’ll then descend via the same route hopefully hitting Shipton’s Camp before evening dusk for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Shipton camp- Old Moses Camp (3,300m)
After breakfast descend to Shiptons camp via Simba col after which you begin a 5 hour descent via Mackinder`s valley to the Old Moses camp. The descent is gentle and it offers ample time to enjoy fascinating scenery which includes the moorlands before reaching the camp.
Dinner and overnight at the Old Moses camp
Day 7: Old Moses – Nairobi.
After early morning breakfast, descend for 3 hours to the Sirimon Park gate to catch a vehicle and transfer back to Nairobi arriving by 16:00 Hrs.
The following items are included in the above prices:
- All transportation to/from the mountain(private)
- All Park fees.
- All food while on the Mountain.
- Accommodation in mountaineering tents
- All guiding services
- Porter support for the climb.