When I first climbing Mount Kenya in 2003 I solo climbed the SW-ridge to Batian (5199m), crossed the Gate of Mists to Nelion (5189m), rappelled and descended in a 7 hours round trip from Mac Kinder´s hut (4200m). I did not speed climb taking rests in-between but probably managed the 500 meters of altitude and 1km distance of the SW-ridge in about 2 hours. This time in 2009 my goal was to see how fast I could climb the main peaks summits. In preparation I volunteered to train the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) Rescue team rangers at Mac Kinders´s for 4 days. The beginner´s learned how to set up safe belays, multi-pitch rappelling and jummaring. With the advanced I revised the rope and rescue skills and then focused on showing them new terrain of Mount Kenya. In three consecutive days we climbed Migiot Peak Normalroute, Point John SE-ridge, Batain SW-ridge with traverse and descent from Nelion. After a day of theoretical praxis the rangers went down and I headed up alone.
I considered climbing the normal route to Nelion and then crossing to Batian. The route starts at 4850m ascending the last 350m altitude on 700m of climbing along the SE-ridge. Knowing this route from ascents in 2003 and 2006, I felt confident to find the right way and started at 6:15 from the hut to slowly reach the base of Nelion at shortly after 8:30. I prepared and waited a bit for the sun to rise and the wind to ease. At 8:55 I steeped on the rock finding a good pace up the first slabs and easy traverses. On the Rabbit Hole traverse slightly down climbing (UIAA 3) I was a bit shaky so slowed, toke a deep breath, then continued highly concentrated and safe. Past the most awkward move on the route (UIAA 4+) I reached the one-a-clock gully speeding up it a bit too fast, having to take speed out and then found my pace to and passed Baily´s Bivay (about half-way). I climbed the De Graf variation (UIAA4) at a steady speed and then continued up the SE-ridge. I got the right traverse a bit to late ending to traverse steeped exposed terrain to reach the final summit gully. Past the small steep chimney (UIAA3/4) I speeded over the last summit blocks (UIAA 2) to reach the summit plateau, jumped over the three high points to measure my time on the last: 9:51; Nelion in 56 Minutes.
After a few minutes break I headed on the Batian. Never have done this part, I had to search for the rappel point a little bit, fixed and left the rope there and rappelled into the Gate of Mists. I crossed the ice jumping with my climbing shoes from rock to rock. Aware of having to down climb I slowly climbed up the final ridge to Batian hesitating at one slab for a little while, but the climbing was fairly easy (UIAA3). I reached the summit at 10:12, just 1 hour and 17 Minutes after leaving the ground. After a little rest I headed back down very slowly and carful as I was tired. Back at Mac Kinder´s the rangers and some of the porters and local guides coming from Point Lenana (the trekking peak) awaited me. I had won a bet with them to do Nelion in under one hour and with some disbelief, even though they watched the ascent, they titled the speed climb the craziest thing they have seen on the mountain.