Mount Kenya advice
This page pertains to advise about the trekking peak up Mount Kenya, with some information about the climbing peaks. For specific inquiries please contact us.
How much will you carry?
We run trips of different types on Mount Kenya. The general format is one where you carry virtually all of your own equipment in a true expedition style. In this situation, we will take only a handful of porters who will be available to carry items in an emergency and to act as additional support to the mountain guides. In this format, you will be carrying tents, sleeping bags & mats, food and personal clothing. This may add up to 10-15kg at first until you have eaten some of the food. Carrying all your own gear can be a tiring experience but it can greatly enhance the experience and the sense of achievement. We will keep the amount of equipment that we carry to an absolute (safe) minimum, we will arrange for secure storage of all other travel baggage in Naro Moru ready for your return.
A look at camp along the Naru Maru Route of Mount Kenya.
In a second trip format, we can arrange to use porters to carry more of the gear. When using porters they will carry the bags and the gear and the food, but you will be expected to carry a day sack with some of your own personal equipment which you need for the day such as water, spare clothes, camera and waterproofs. This is normally about 5 or 6 kilogrammes. Every person will have their own porter carrying their bag so nothing ever gets lost. We do not allow porters to carry more than 20kgs so please do not overfill your bags. They often carry bags on their heads, even rucksacks. We will also put your bags into waterproof sacks in case of rain.
If you have any concerns regarding the amount that you are able to carry please do speak to us. On any trip, we are able to arrange for additional porters to cater for personal requirements or preferences. The use of additional porters will incur a small supplemental fee.
Keeping in Touch with Home
Your mobile phone may work on parts of the mountain with a good line of sight to the towns below (slightly dependant on which network you are using) as long as you have roaming access. Please note you cannot charge batteries anywhere on the mountain. You may need to walk a little distance to find a spot with a signal. Also, do not expect to get 3G connection, mostly you will find it is text only.
Keeping Dry and Warm
There is little doubt that you will have some rain, and it is likely to be in the lower regions around the montane or forest level. Waterproofs are necessary; remember that on the equator the rainy season is traditionally April and September/October.
Expect short-term extreme conditions, i.e. sharp showers of rain, hot sun, gusts of wind, snow and low night temperatures. Clear nights will be colder but more beautiful, and generally, the cloud builds up mid-morning, only to dissipate again with the setting sun.
Up higher it will be colder and windier so the shell jacket is really vital; temperatures can drop dramatically, and there may be snow. Summit morning can be icy underfoot, and very cold (minus 10°C) so good boots with hats and gloves are important.
A snowy camp along the Mt Kenya Sirmon Route.
Work on a ‘wet and dry’ system so that if your T-shirt gets wet during the day, you always have a dry T-shirt and warm top to change into the moment you get to camp. This is really important for morale if nothing else. Don't let people keep wet clothes on. It's such an obvious point but commonly ignored.
Generally, breakfast is between 7.30am and 8.00am, and departure from camp is at 9.00am. There is a lunch at midday, tea and biscuits around 4 pm and dinner at 7 pm. Summit morning is different; tea and biscuits at 11.30pm and start hiking at midnight or sometimes 1 am.
The pace is slow and not forced at all. There is a rest at least once every hour and plenty of time to take photos, enjoy the view and chat. When you arrive at the huts you will find your bags ready to collect. In the morning please have your bags packed before breakfast.
Adventure Alternative is proud to pay excellent salaries. We are members of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project, the Ethical Tour Operators Group and the AITO Sustainable Tourism Committee. We also fulfil and exceed the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG) guidelines on porter safety. For more information about tipping see our tipping cheat sheet.
Mount Kenya - Terrain and Fitness
GENERAL FITNESS REQUIRED
To climb to Point Lenana on Mount Kenya you don't need to be a super-fit athlete or experienced mountaineer. The trek is accessible to anyone with good basic fitness and an enthusiasm for the outdoors. It will be an advantage to have good previous hill-walking experience and therefore be familiar with walking in the countryside for many hours at a time and there is no doubt that using Chogoria route on the ascent or descent is a more challenging option than the likes of Sirimon or Naro Moru.
You will enjoy the trip all the more if you do have good fitness and experience. Therefore we do advise that on the lead up to the trip you do spend time checking and working on the kind of fitness that you need for the trek. The ideal preparation is spending a good number of hours walking on rolling terrain with a small pack of about 5kg on your back. Other forms of cardio-vascular exercise such as running, cycling and swimming will also of course help with the right kinds of fitness, though especially if they focus mainly on the legs.
All of our staff have climbed Mt Kenya many times so if you have any doubts or questions, do give us a call or email to discuss.
TYPE OF TERRAIN
The first day tends to involve a drive up to the National Park Gate (this could be by 4x4 if you are using the Chogoria route) and then a trek, through the dense hardwood forest (you will not see much evidence of the forest on the Sirimon route as it is still recovering from a bad forest fire from a number of years ago) but this will be on a good vehicle track so the going is generally easy underfoot, unless there has been a lot of rain when it can be a bit muddy. Above the first camp, the forest opens out to the alpine heath. The path can at times be more indistinct, the terrain is open and tussocky and can be a bit harder than the path below, but still fairly straight forward on all of the routes.
Higher up, the heathland thins and the way is over more bare, rocky tracks following ridges and rivers to reach the 2nd camp. From here you are up close and personal with the jagged rocky peaks and remaining glaciers which feed numerous small lakes and tarns dotted around the peaks. Summiting Mount Kenya will involve tackling a scree slope before the summit attempt.