Mount Kenya Batian Peak
Climb of Mount Kenya's Batian Peak
This is a tough but rewarding climb to Batian Peak, the true summit of the spectacular Mount Kenya. Batian is atop a soaring pinnacle of volcanic rock reminiscent of those in Patagonia. After the trek in and acclimitisation, the technical climb is completed in one long day as a series of up to 21 individual pitches. We offer private climbs with dates to suit. See below for a detailed explanation of the route. We also have a comprehensive kit list for a climb on Mount Kenya.
Previous experience of outdoor multi-pitch rock climbing is a must for this trip, we provide a technically qualified and experienced guide but the route is committing and long and participants would need to be familiar with leading long runouts, long abseils/rappels and putting in safe protection.
The risks associated with the hazards on this climb cannot be entirely removed by our planning or the decision making of the guide. Controlling these risks relies on your own skills and experience as well as those of the guide. Therefore it is important that you fully understand the hazards and are confident that you have the relevant skills and experience to help control the risks.
When to climb
The North Face routes on Mount Kenya are usually climbed during the northern hemisphere's summer (July, August). As the mountain is on the equator the sun will be slightly to the North of the mountain during these months. This means that there is less snow and ice, making climbing easier, with some sun on you and warmer rock.
The rainy seasons in Kenya are usually April, May and October/November. Therefore the normal times for a climb of Batian via the North Face are June to August with September and October a possibility too. If you would like to climb in the December - March season then please see our page for climbs of Nelion via the South East Face.
|1||Transfer from Naro Moru town to the National Park Gate and trek to Met Station on the Naro Moru route|
|2||Trek from Met Station to MacKinders Hut|
|3||Trek from MacKinders Hut - Tyndal Glacier - Hausberg Col and on to Shiptons Camp|
|4||Trek from Shiptons to Point Lenana and back to Shiptons Camp - transfer to base of route for bivi|
|5||Climb Day: Early start to climb Batian and back to Shiptons Camp|
|7||Trek from Shiptons Camp to the Sirimon Park Gate and transfer to Naro Moru town|
Batian Peak difficulty
The summit climb is long, usually around 11 to 13 hours to complete with the base of the route at 4600m and topping out at 5199m. Good acclimatisation and fitness is essential, as well as the right kit for exposed conditions including mist, rain and snow and cold rock.
Trek Phase approaches the peaks from the west or north on the Naro Moru or Sirimon route on good paths. Terrain is forested initially, entering moorland and high alpine desert and eventually onto rocky glaciated landscape. A visit to Point Lenana for acclimatisation involves some scrambling on snow and ice.
The rock climb is usually between 16 and 21 pitches depending on rope length and confidence, group size and local conditions. Pitches vary from sections of low grade scramble to around grade UIAA IV+ (UK V.Diff-Mild Severe, US 5.5) but with most being at around UIAA II (UKDiff, US5.3). This assumes we take the West side variation at Firmin's Tower.
The rock is Nepheline Syenite which is similar to granite, blocky and abrasive with weathered fissures running vertically and horizontally offering good holds and friction. However, there are loose boulders, rocks and sandy scree in the amphitheatres and easy-angled couloirs. Helmets are essential.
Almost all the standard belay points are made with slings around rock spikes and boulders. A couple have pitons in place and one or two have a drilled bolt. Protection between belays is almost exclusively trad with self-placed nuts & cams placed and a few pitons along the way too.
The first and most obvious is the length of the climb. An average rope-pair will take around 11 hours for the ascent and rappel back down. Stamina at a fairly consistent grade will take energy, efficiency and concentration. Good past experience of similar routes will definitely help.
A second consideration is the altitude. Weight of bags and ropes and racks will appear much heavier at over 4000 metres. We do have a good acclimatisation programme for the walk-in, but it will be important to keep hydrated and fit and well rested.
Further considerations are the cold and weather. Choose the right season and include a spare day for bad weather. It is common to have low visibility with thick mist, wet rock and a cold wind. This route does not get the sun until well into the day.
Route finding is an issue, not just because of low visibility. The upper section in particular is not at all obvious and the abseil descent requires concentration and care. There is a small bivi hut enroute and it's very useful if the weather comes in and you find the climbing too slow. But you will need to take bivi kit with you, since there is nothing in the hut.
Remoteness is a consideration too; although Shipton's Hut is close by the base of the route, once on the climb there are almost no other people to rely on. There is quite poor communications on the mountain, except in the huts, and no official rescue team. There is the possibility of a helicopter for evacs down at the camps but this is not to be counted on at all.
High section in challenging conditions
The itinerary is based on starting the journey from and finishing in Naro Moru town on the western side of Mount Kenya but all our Mount Kenya climbs have lots of optional extras if needed, including private transport from Nairobi, accommodation arranged in Nairobi, Naro Moru or Embu, extra nights on the mountain, tailor made safari's or visits to our Moving Mountains projects on the lower slopes of Mount Kenya or even the opportunity to sponsor a Moving Mountains Kenya beneficiary to join you on the climb.
Batian Peak cost £1795.00
The advertised price is the per person cost based on a minimum group of 2 pax (the single person supplement is currently £595.00) and is based on camping on the mountain.
We can help with airport transfers, accommodation in Nairobi, transfers to Naro Moru and from Embu, hut upgrades, etc. Full details of the current prices and the extra's that we can provide can be found in the More Information section under 'Mount Kenya optional extra costs'.
- Full ground price for the climb based on 2 people
- Transport from Naro Moru to the trek start and back to Naro Moru from the Sirimon Gate after the climb
- Park fees, camping fees (6 nights) and park rescue fees
- Park certified trek guide (ratio of 1:4)
- Experienced local technical climbing guide*
- Porters and cooks, plus equipment for them
- All group camping equipment including sleeping tents
- All meals on the mountain - fresh food, 3 meals per day
- Hot drinks on the trek (water is provided by Mount Kenya)
*The fee for the technical climbing guide includes four days - one day walk in, two days climbing & one day walk out. The Adventure Alternative trek guide will call the climbing guide in when the weather is looking good for the proposed summit day. If the weather deteriorates and an extra day is required an extra fee will be payable. This will of course be discussed and agreed with you on the ground before committing you to payment.
- International airfare to Nairobi Airport
- Kenyan Visa
- Vaccinations and malaria tablets
- Personal expenses
- Travel & Climbing insurance
- Personal Climbing Gear
- Upgrade to Mountain Hut accommodation
Please note that you will need insurance in place to include technical guided climbing with ropes to 5199m including search, rescue and helicopter evacuation. Not many companies will offer coverage for technical climbing so you may have to go to more specialist providers such as the BMC or the Austrian Alpine Club.
You can book your Adventure Alternative holiday for as little as £100.00 and pay the balance in as many instalments as you like. Choose a scheduled date or contact us for private dates, a bespoke itinerary or more trip details.
- Duration 7 days
- Numbers 2
- Altitude 5199m
- Comfort Camping
- Challenge Demanding & Technical