We tried for Batian/Nelion via the Sirimon route. I had a stomach upset and altitude sickness, only made it to Shiptons hut (with a side visit to the Kami hut).
We had no luck with the weather, lots of snow. We were the only climbing team in the Austrian Hut. The summit day started off with sunny skies, but this soon turned into white-out and snow. The second half of the climb was on wet rock, I could wring water out of my gloves, and became fairly hypothermic. Spent the night in the Howell Hut at the summit of Nelion, it snowed all night long! The night in the bivvy hut was also freezing cold and we had no sleeping bag. The next day we decided to skip the summit of Batian (the skies didn't spell any good either), and abseiled down over snow-covered rocks. By the time we reached the base of the SE face, it was snowing again.
We hiked in via the Sirimon route, and out via the Chogoria route - this is really a very beautiful combination. Visiting the remote Liki North Valley on the Sirimon route is worth an effort, it's a very tranquil place to camp.
March 1, 2015
Boda boda from Nanyuki to Sirimon Gate the previous night and early start walking from the gate to the Austrian hut.
March 2, 2015
Started around 7am from Austrian hut, climbed the normal route on Nelion and traversed to Batian. Walk back to Mackinder Camp. Weather was great and the route was in great condition. During abseil, ropes got stuck one time but it was a trivial matter to climb back and fix the snag.
March 3, 2015
Hike out from Mackinder Camp to Naro Moru gate.
Awesome time on Mt Kenya overall - SOOOO different than Kili. Bagged Lenana as acclimatization for Batian North Face Standard route. Got about halfway up the route to the "amphitheater" but was moving too slowly considering the objective hazards (got hit by small rockfall, narrowly dodged large rockfall, lots of ice up higher) so I turned us around. No incidents on the way down (all rappelling). I went guided as I was traveling alone and ended up very happy with KG Expeditions (http://www.kenyaexpeditions.com/). Loved my hiking guide, Ruben, who had a WFR (rare among trekking guides) and also loved my climbing guide, David, who was safe, even keeled, and experienced (climbing Mt Kenya since 1998 and member of the mtn rescue unit). Guess I'll have to add this to the short list of big peaks I have to try a second time. :-)
Lots and lots of fresh snow at this time of the year. Snowed in from the beginning of the scree slope on the Naro Moru route. Didn't want to risk making it past Top Hut without crampons and ice axe.
Had a great time traversing the mountain east to west starting with the Chogoria route and finishing in Naro Moru. Spent a few days waiting out bad weather in Austrian Hut and one sleepless night in Howell Hut. I would recommend the traverse. It takes a little longer but you get to see the whole mountain.
With my pal Daniele Pioli.
Great fast trip - used Mt kenya as Acclimatization for Kilimanjaro
Meet some cool people from South Africa, can't wait to meet them again
Sirimon route was quite boggy. Standard Route up Batian started out well, lots of wind and fog followed by snow as we climbed. The tower was coated in ice. Climbed the rap route behind, which was the crux. There's an old tin and a small empty bottle on the summit. Hairy climbing out of Shipton's notch. Napped for several hours before starting the majority of rappels. Rapped through a lightning storm below the ampitheater. 32 hours hut to hut in miserable weather. Need a technical guide? Call Duncan +254 721 925 984 firstname.lastname@example.org. He's strong and easy going.
Just got back from our unsupported trek/climb on Mt Kenya and the North Standard Route of Batian! Amazing! Feel free to contact me with any questions!
Finally successful on Batian by the North Face Standard Route after attempting the mountain by the Shipton Route 2-1/2 years earlier and being stopped at the top of Nelion (33 feet short of the true summit!) by inadecuate equipment to safely cross the iced-up Gate of Mists. We also climbed Point Lenana and Point John in 2003, and Point Peter and Point Dutton in 2005.
A great mountain!
Climbed as part of www.3peaksafrica.co.uk
Normal Route up Nelion - lovely climbing, absorbing route finding. Slowed by a guided party at De Graaf's variation. The 'guide' was climbing badly, belaying dangerously and generally being a tit. I would be very careful if I were hiring a guide on Mt.Kenya, if he is typical of the local talent. He mucked around for an hour or two, half his gear fell out, and then he abbed off from halfway up the pitch when his charges sensibly decided to call a retreat. Admittedly it was a tricky pitch with iced up cracks and snow on the (little) ledges, but if even I managed it OK then a guide worthy of the name ought to have had few problems.
Thanks to that and our general slowness we enjoyed an unplanned night in the Howell Hut (many thanks to Mr Howell for putting it there!), no sleeping bags, food or water. Very cold next day, and Gate of Mists was in full-on wintry nick. I abbed in for a closer look, but it wasn't a goer in our state and I was slurring my words from the cold by the time I'd jugged back up to the ridge. We retreated, and had to settle for a summit tick of Nelion.
Long complicated abseil descent: For your information, the bolted ab stations are NOT placed at regular 25m intervals (as we had been told), and they are not all easy to find. Even the very first ab off over the steep wall is a little more than 25m, so to reach it on one rope requires a bit of stretch - quite a gripping position for mucking about in! To get down as quickly and safely as possible you will need a doubled 50m line a lot of the time; sorry, I can't say with any degree of accuracy when this is necessary, and when not. Once back at Baillie's Bivvy keep abbing on a slight diagonal leftwards course (that's your left if facing into the rock) and you should keep finding bolts and/or bits of tat.
My first attempt was in June 94. We got to the 2nd pitch of the Firmin Tower before being hit by a big snowstorm.
4 years later I returned and summitted.
Not my highest Mtn, but my first 5,000 metere peak and still my favourite.
I've hiked the Sirimon trail twice in one direction and once by return. I've also hiked the Chogoria route out and done the Naro Moru route in both directions. I've completed the circuit of the central peaks and summitted Lenana twice.
I hope to take my kids there should they ever get the climbing bug!!
Shut down by weather. Climbed 4 pitches before we decided to bail. Still a great trip - the traveling alone was very cool.
Achieved the summit of Batian (& Nelion) w/ good friend Gordon. This was the biggest reason I came to Africa, & am f%$#ing stoked we made it!!
Climbing inefficiencies, consistent rope useage, and routefinding issues ensured we didn’t make it to the top of Nelion until the day before at 17.44. Climbing for the most part was great, however. Rock was as solid as one could hope for (& far more solid than I would have ever guessed any volcano could be, the volcanoes I’d climbed prior being primarily the glaciated slag heaps in the Cascades), mountain was big & steep!! Mount Kenya impressed me with the consistency of its steepness & difficulty- 4th class to easy/mid 5th for the large majority of the route. Met up w/ (S. African party) Mark & Rog’ at the Howell Hut on Nelion, they having just returned from the summit of Batian.
Crashed after eating dinner & setting up for morrow, this term being used in the loosest sense, as I (we) was (were) up half of the night coughing, spreading germs, & making noise (the Mt. Kenya Cough, assuming the illness wasn’t a remnant from Kilimanjaro, also a possibility)- sorry guys (or at least Rog, as Mark jumped ship early on, taking his chances bivying at 17,000’).
Got a somewhat late start the next morning, leaving Nelion @ 8.51 (around the same time Rog & Mark left to descend from Nelion). Despite the short distance between the 2 summits, the terrain is by & large (easy) technical, & the time required to navigate between Nelion & Batian is correspondingly lengthy. Summited Batian at 10.43. Enjoyed the temporarily clear views (obscured by the daily clouds by the time we’d started the descent from Batian), signed the summit register, took hero shots, & hung out for ~ 1 hr before turning back. Got back to the top of Nelion slightly less than 4 hrs after departing that morning.
Got our stuff together & started the descent. Rappels (well, those we found) went smoothly for the most part, but I would definitely not call the standard rappel route straightforward- despite intense searching, we could not find the ring at/near Bailey’s Bivy, as well as 2 or 3 further down. At any rate, we finally made it down, getting to the further side of the Lewis Glacier around sundown.
Very glad we both made this trip, extremely happy to have had Gordon as a climbing partner (being able to get along is key, & this worked out great for the most part), & feel extremely fortunate to have seen (imho) one of the more beautiful spots on this Earth (not to mention summiting this magnificent peak).
Asante Sana to Peter (you da man!), Wilson, Robert, John, & Paul- we couldn’t have done it w/o you, guys! Hakuna matiti.
With Dirk (Diggler) we climbed Nelion via the normal route on 7th, shared the Howell Hut bivy on Nelion with a South African party, then traversed to Batian on the morning of 8th. This was the most physically challenging climb I've ever done, although technically the climbing was easy (crux was 5.6 or so). Fortunately the weather cooperated and we were able to complete the climb in two full days. Mt Kenya is one of the most beautiful places on earth IMO, and the exposure on the Nelion-Batian traverse was extremely intense.
We found the most accurate topo was on the Mt Kenya climbing map Dirk purchased online. On descent we weren't able to find several rap stations, and the 11th rappell described on SP's "Nelion Descent" page was quite a struggle for me, as my heavy pack pulled me away from the landing while the rappell went free-hanging. The most enjoyable climbing was the 3 pitches from Gate of the Mists to the summit of Batian, with fun bouldering and face climbing at 17000 feet. Coming back to Nelion was the scariest as we scrambled over steep snow steps interrupted by a few rocks, with big air only 10-15 feet away down a short snow slide (absolutely no room for error!)
A wonderful hike and would love to go back one day and climb to the peak after spending a couple of years climbing and in the gym. Pt lenana was dissapointing due to terrible weather, with high winds and ice growing on our jackets. Im quite a cynical traveller but the descent via the chongria route would be one of my most treasured outdoor/travel experienced i have had. The vertical bog was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be and my quick ascent through there probably contributed to my ams at Naro Moru lodge. I spent an extra day here feeling sorry for myself and taking some Diamox before departing 3 am the following morning. Perhaps the Diamox and tingling contributed to my euphoric descent.
Absolutely amazing mountain. I'll probably never have the skills to climb to Nelion or Batian but Point Lenana was incredible by itself. We had fairly clear skies and light wind on the summit and hung out for about 30 minutes before heading down the other side to the Austrian Hut.
All in all I think this mountain is a lot more scenic (and a lot more fun) than Kilimanjaro.
An enjoyable introduction to 'high' altitude trekking! My guide was good company but I have to point out the following:
Although a 'trekking' route, my guide should have been better equipped. He was wearing jeans and trainers for the summit day, and carried no first aid kit or waterproofs. This included passing over snow slopes where a serious fall hazard existed.
It's very well that this kind of unofficial 'guiding' for the popular Point Lenana assists the local economy, and 99% of trips are a safe success. Hikers should however be aware of the limitations of such guides and not expect the level of competency of a European guide (for example).