Mount Kenya sits near the equator, about 200 km northeast of Kenya’s capital Nairobi. This extinct volcano massif is Africa’s second hight mountain. But unlike its taller neighbor Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya’s highest summits can only be reached by technical means.
Bation, Mt. Kenya’s highest summit (17,057 feet) is most often climbed from the north. The North Face Standard route is best climbed Aug. through Sept. This is a serious route requiring 12 hours of technical climbing, with the most difficult pitch at 5.9. Given the alpine nature of this route and difficulty of climbing technical rock up to 17,000 feet, this route is only recommended for fit climbers with experience on long technical routes and be solid 5.9 followers.
Nelion, at (17,021 feet) is only slightly lower and is usually climbed from the South. The best time for climbing on the south side is Dec.- Feb. for the greatest amount of sun. We climb the McKinders route, which is easier than the North Face Standard Route. We can expect to belay 15-18 pitches of technical climbing up to 5.7. This route is on a solid, sunny rock and has the feeling of a long rock route, as opposed to the more alpine feel of the North route.
Bation can also be reached from the south via the “Gates of the Mists”. This is a very cool option; traversing from the summit of Nelion by way of steep snow slopes and rappels. This extension to the McKinders route adds significantly to the effort, requiring us to carry crampons, boots and for all the very fastest climbers, an overnight kit.
Beginning at one of the park entrances, we do between 2 and 5 days trekking to the Shipton or Austrian hut, depending on the season and desired pace. We will often also summit Lenana, the trekking, and 3rd highest summit of Kenya for acclimatization.
Because of the technical nature and commitment of these routes, we do a maximum ratio of 2 to 1 client to guide ratio. We do welcome friends or family to join in this beautiful trek.
"I recommend a family climb with Winslow and Todd Passey. Our family went up the Middle Teton with the two of them as guides. Todd sacrificed himself to the gods of hail the night before to check the route. The dawn broke clear, and we headed up the long gully to the crux pitch. One by one each of us linked the moves. A short time later we were looking down on all of Idaho and Wyoming. Climbing doesn't have to separate families. It can unite them."