Routes up Mt Kenya
Arguably the most spectacular route on Mt Kenya, you will take in the vertical cliffs of the Gorges Valley, and the high altitude tarns of Lake Elice and Lake Michaelson.
Enjoying the unique mountain habitat, this route gives the opportunity to sleep high up on the mountain at Austrian Hut, by the Lewis Glacier.
The fastest route on the mountain, really only suitable for those on a tight schedule and wanting to “bag” the Lenana summit.
Being a more rapid ascent means that there is little time for acclimatization (unless you factor in an “acclimatization day”: at which point you might as well use one of the more scenic routes).
In wet weather, this route can be pretty miserable, taking in the infamous “Vertical Bog” which is a steep and muddy quagmire. Descent via this route is fine, so long as you don’t mind muddy boots.
This northern route is situated on the drier side of the mountain and although the distance covered is a little farther than the other routes, the gradual ascent allows plenty of time for acclimatization.
Much more scenic than Naro Moru, Sirimon route offers fantastic trekking through the forest to a wide ridge approach to the summit.
Accommodation is usually in huts, although depending on your operator, you may be able to camp.
What to Pack
Assuming you are not hiking Mount Kenya on your own, if you are planning to go with a tour operator then they will mostly be taking care of your camping equipment.
What you’ll need to bring with you is your clothes and your sleeping bag (and possibly a sleeping mat)
Here’s a quick checklist for what you’ll need for climbing Mt Kenya (I’m assuming you’re not climbing either of the technical peaks):
- Hiking boots with good ankle support – make sure you’ve broken these in! Blisters are a nightmare when climbing.
- Hiking socks, sock-liners and thermal socks for summit day
- Good size Backpack or Daypack if you have a personal porter
- Waterproof stuff-sacks to keep your gear dry in your backpack – at the very least use garbage bags.
- Layers: a good base layer is essential for keeping you dry – no cotton!
- Breathable t-shirts (not cotton) for the warmer days
- Warm, fleece insulating layer to go over your base layer
- Softshell jacket (water resistant) for those chilly dry days
- Down jacket – for those freezing cold nights (just don’t get it wet!)
- Hardshell jacket (optional) or another fleece layer combined with your waterproofs
- WATERPROOFS! Both trousers and jacket, keep them handy in your backpack
- Hiking pants – convertibles are best, so you can wear them as shorts on the lower slopes, combine them with a base layer for higher altitudes
- Warm hat or beanie. Personally I enjoy the balaclava look.
- Good winter sleeping bag rated to 0F
- Sleeping bag liner to keep your sleeping bag clean
- Personal medications and toiletries:
- A good sense of humor and an adventurous spirit.