> Hiking atop Mt Kenya in Kenya during October <
Everyone knows Kilimanjaro, a mountain that’s climbed by many thousand trekkers each year. Just a few hundred kilometers north of Kilimanjaro the dormant volcano Kïrï Nyaga, or Mount Kenya, lies as the second highest peak on the African continent. Somewhat lying in the "shadow” of Kilimanjaro, much fewer people visit Kenya to challenge the Mt Kenya traverse and climb.
Standing at 5.199m, Mt Kenya is roughly circular and about 60km across. It's surrounded by fertile farmlands from where steep hills rise out of the gentler slopes. At the center of the massif, the main peaks rise sharply from around 4.500m to the main summits of Batian, Nelion and Lenana (+5,000m). Mt Kenya includes many distinct vegetation and geological zones, including rainforest, bamboo, moorland grasses, alpine Lobelia plant forests, tarns and meadows, and, at the uppermost elevation, rock, glaciers, and ice.
We did the Chogoria Route, starting from east, which is also one of the longest, but also the most spectacular and picturesque trail on the mountain. As we combined this route with a descend towards northwest to reach Nanuyki village, we got to traverse the complete Mt Kenya massif during a very long and tough trek. When reaching the higher parts in the central and rocky massif, we had both time and energy for an inclusion of the wild Summit Circuit Route to circle around the main peaks. This allowed us to have enough time on the high rocky parts of the mountain to acclimatize, and we had magnificent views to glaciers, deep gorges, and the many tarns (glacial lakes).
The Mt Kenya-traverse and climb is an enduring and tough trek. 90% of visiting climbers underestimate the mountain and many fail the summit. Two key challenges are the rapid gain of altitude on all routes, where climbers run the risk of high altitude sickness, and the long and strenuous daily treks of up to 10-16 hours depending on the route and number of stops. The mountain has very unpredictable weather and heavy rain can be encountered (and expected) all year round. This is indeed part of the great experience of climbing Mount Kenya.
KÏRÏ NYAGA / MOUNT KENYA
Spectacular and grande volcano traverse and climb to 5.100m along the dramatic Chogoria Route
With constant rainfall and sunlight the plants at the mountain have evolved to reach epic proportions.