The table I gave previously was based on information for Iain Howell's "Guide to Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro", but I agree that the translation to rock grades seemed to be a bit out. I have edited this based on my own experience on Mount Kenya, but keep in mind that these translations are always difficult, especially for alpine grades.
For example, the Normal Route on Nelion is given IV- in East African grade, and the hardest rock moves were about 5.8 (American) or 5 (French). An overall alpine grade of AD+ or D seemed appropriate.
Thanks for pointing out this discrepancy.
I've updated the Mt Kenya coordinates based on both the Google interactive map, and on Mike Savage's 1:50000 Mt Kenya map that has a UTM / WGS-84 grid.
If you look on the Google interactive map now the relative positions of Mt Kenya (i.e. Nelion and Batian) and Point Lenana are correct, but there is still a problem with Point Lenana and it doesn't end up being anywhere near the correct position. It's too far to the south-east.
Where did you get your coordinates from? I get for Lenana:
P.S. I've updated the Mount Kenya page so that all references to Point Lenana hyperlink though to your Summitpost page. Maybe you can do the same in reverse, since these pages are closely related?
you're right that the grade conversions shown here don't correspond to those in the literature.
See my previous comments below for the rationale.
As mentioned before, the edited table is a rough guideline based on my own experience on Mt Kenya. The hardest moves on the Normal Route on Nelion are on the De Graafs variation pitch and there is no way that these are 5.5. A grade of 5.7 to 5.8 seems fair. The majority of the other pitches are, however, much easier and a confident party will move really fast on these.
There are in fact only 3 pitches with any significant technical challenges:
1. Pitch 4: Mackinder's Chimney or the "Rabbit hole" variation.
2. Pitch 12: The De Graafs variation - best pitch of the route!
3. Pitch 14: Tricky crossing of the Amphitheater.
Bear in mind also that this is an alpine scale mountain and you need to factor in not only the difficulty of the individual climbing moves, but also the fact that you're climbing at altitude, possibly in big boots and wearing a pack, and will be having quite a long day out.
Hope you have a good one on the mountain!
now that you've successfully been up the route, can you give some feedback on the grades?
How would you assess the technical difficulty of the crux De Graaf's variation pitch in YDS grades?
I felt that the technical crux of the climb was the traverse, which I'd call YDS 5.7 or so (I followed the pins & slings I saw along the way; Gordon took a slightly different line & found a slightly easier way, I think). deGraaf's variation & the crack leading up to the ledge below the One O'Clock Gully were slightly easier, maybe 5.6. I would not call the cruxes of the climb 5.5.
Great, well protected climbing, at any rate!
I think that your translation chart is not accurate.
I haven't been to mt. Kenya but then I've Benn climbing the franch alps quite often and for example a typical rock grade for D/D+ route is around 5.10 American scale = (6a franch scale) witch is far above the grades you mention in your chart.
There are several comparison charts in the web that can help you with a more accurate chart.
I think you may want to check the summit coordinates of Mt Kenya. They seem to be a bit off. Lenana ends up to the east of Mt. Kenya if you look at the interactive map.
From what I can tell, the conversions shown here do not correspond to those given in Cameron Burns' guide ('Kilimanjaro & Mt. Kenya, A Climging and Trekking Guide, P. 56), the one advertised on this page/site) as well as Iain Allan's (The Mountain Club of Kenya Guide to Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro, P. 49).
For instance, both of the guides seem to suggest that East African grade I corresponds to 5.1-5.2 YDS, & East African IV corresponds to 5.5 YDS. As your chart shows East African IV (difficulty of the normal route up Nelion) to be equivalent to YDS 5.8, this is a major difference in difficulty!
Wanting to do this route in less than 2 months, I want to make sure I know the difficulty of what I'll be attempting! Have you climbed in the US enough to have a feel for the difficulties in the YDS system?
Coordinates are slightly off - missing by 0.12 miles
I saw there were links to various guides for climbing Mt. Kenya. I wanted to contribute the link to the guides at TrekMtKenya.com. They do various Montains in Kenya as well as, Kilimanjaro. We climbed with them in February 2015 and found them to do a good job and be well respected among their other guides.
I've added the link to the "Guides, Outfitters and Porters" section on the Mt Kenya page.