Mount KenyaBatian Technical Peak
Mount Kenya - 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 have advertised dates or can offer private climbs with dates that suit you.
The last part of the fly-over in the video below is from North to South up to the main peaks of Nelion and Batian and goes through The Gate of The Mists between them with Batian being the right hand one. The North Face Standard Route initially ascends from the same direction as the plane in the video, then approaches the summit along the ridge from the right. However, this film was probably taken in the northern hemisphere's winter when the North Face is in shade, the North Face Routes are not generally climbed in this season.
Please note, in order to be considered for this climb you will need good previous experience of outdoor multi-pitch rock climbing and the associated skills and equipment. More information is provided under the 'Difficulty' tab, it is also worth reading through the suggested kit list for a climb on Mount Kenya.
Mount Kenya is an extinct volcano associated with the tectonic disturbance of the Great Rift Valley. Over the course of the last couple of million years it has been eroded down by glaciers and the elements to only around two thirds of its original height. These processes are what account for the topography of the mountain today. It has a circular massif with valleys and ridges emanating from the central summit peaks. The peaks are the remains of the volcanic plug where the magma left in the vent solidified underground. This hard Nepheline Syenite and Phonolite rock is much harder than the lavas around and as such has eroded much more slowly, leaving the summit spires.
Mount Kenya is also the source of the name of the country of Kenya. In British colonial times it was only the mountain that was known as 'Kenya'. Local tribes all had their own names for the peak, some of them resembling the word 'Kenya' phoenetically. Traditionally these peoples saw the mountain as the seat of their gods on earth. Mount Kenya is therefore intimately bound up with the modern and traditional culture of the area.
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.
Mount Kenya - Batian Peak itinerary
The North Face routes on Mount Kenya are usually climbed during the northern hemisphere's summer. As Mt Kenya 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 the rock easier. It also means that the rock is warmed and you have the direct sunlight on you which helps you to stay warm, especially your hands and feet.
The rainy seasons in Kenya are usually April, May and 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.
The following is a suggested itinerary to give a great overview of the mountain in general and also to promote good acclimitisation ahead of the climb. This itinerary is what the quoted price is based on and starts the climb on the Naro Moru route before crossing over to the Sirimon route for the ascent of Point Lenana. After the summit of Batian we descend using the Sirimon route. We are of course able to tailor the itinerary to your own requirements.
|1||Transfer from Naro Moru town to the National Park Gate and trek to Met Station|
|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 - Acclimatisation / R&R or transfer to base of route for bivi and final prep|
|5||Climb Day: Early start to climb Batian and back to Shiptons Camp|
|6||Climb Day: Spare day for poor weather - alternative climbs / trek if already summited|
|7||Trek from Shiptons Camp to the Sirimon Park Gate and transfer to Naro Moru town|
You are welcome to adjust the itinerary and add nights in Nairobi, Naro Moru or in Embu, please do talk to us directly to discuss options. Ol Pejeta Conservancy is very close to Naro Moru and is a great location for an optional add-on safari, both for day trips and over-nights. It is probably the only place in Kenya (aside from Masai Mara) where you have a chance of seeing the 'Big 5' in one day. It is also the only place in East Africa where you can see chimpanzee and the only place to see the remaining 'northern white rhino', there are only 3 left on the planet... all in Ol Pejeta. We can of course arrange tailor made safari's across East Africa and we're more than happy to build an itinerary to suit your budget and preferences.
Mount Kenya - Batian Peak cost from £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.
The price includes the following but 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 traverse route and technical 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 x 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
NOT ALL ABOUT MONEY
This itinerary is designed to give you a full traverse of Mount Kenya via the Naro Moru route for the ascent and the Sirimon route for the descent. The Naro Moru is known for its abundance of wildlife and the beauty of its montane and bamboo forest and the Sirimon for its quick descent.
The itinerary is also designed to give you a very good programme of acclimitisation to altitude, cutting corners with this can not only reduce your enjoment considerably, but also greatly reduce the chances of you summiting Batian and even put you at risk of the dangerous effects of Acute Mountain Sickness or High Altitude Oedema. There is no doubt that you will feel the effects of altitude most keenly when exerting during the climb and the more you can do to acclimitise during the trek the better your chances.
**Please note that you will need insurance in place to cover trekking to 4985m AND technical climbing 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.
Mount Kenya Batian Peak difficulty
To trek to Point Lenana on Mount Kenya you don't need to be a super-fit athlete nor and experienced mountaineer. The trek is accessible to anyone with good basic fitness and an ethusiasm 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.
You will enjoy the trek 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 say 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.
The technical climb is not of a particularly high grade (see below) but it is a long climb, usually taking anywhere between 8 and 13 hours to complete. It is also of course at high altitude, starting at around 4600m and topping out at 5199m. Therefore you will need to be fit and strong enough to maintain not only physical but mental strength and concentration over the full period of the climb.
Needless to say, this fitness is ideally built up over long, low grade multi-pitch climbs. However, as long as you can comfortably climb at the required grade and have good all-round endurance fitness in your upper and lower body and core it is probably within your physical capabilities. Please see below for required skills aswell though.
TYPE OF TERRAIN
The paths vary as we ascend but they go from a vehicle track lower down, to a less defined path through tussocks and bog, to a footpath over gravel and mud and then sandy and dusty scree higher up. On summit day there are a couple of sections along the ridge where we use hands aswell as feet but they are very easy and the guides will help you if you need it. There is also a steel cable along most of the final ridge which although not by any means necessary, is available for additional support. The descents from Hut Tarn and Point Lenana are over scree which can be dusty and loose. We will take our time but a trekking pole or two can be invaluable for maintaining your balance. If you have any problems with ankles, knees or hips then poles are strongly recommended as well as a well-fitted support bandage.
This part of the trip does involve some objective hazards such as rockfall and exposed technical rock climbing. The risks associated with these hazards 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. Please do speak to us directly if you have any doubt or any questions about this.
The technical climb is usually tackled in 16 to 21 pitches. The exact number depends to some extent on the rope lengths used and on what grade of terrain you are happy to move together. The 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 (UK~Diff, US~5.3). (This assumes we take the West side variation at Firmin's Tower)
The rock is Nepheline Syenite which is similar to granite and can be quite abrasive in places. The rock is quite 'blocky' with large weathered fissures running vertically and horizontally usually offering lots of obvious holds and good friction. However, there is also quite a lot of loose boulders, rocks and sandy scree in the amphitheatres and the easy-angles couloirs. It will be essential to move carefully and deliberately through these areas and avoid sending debris down on others below. It is also of course essential to wear a helmet and to give consideration to any spot where we stop to belay or rest.
Almost all the standard belay stations are made with slings/tat around rock spikes and boulders. A couple have pitons in place and one or two has a drilled bolt. Protection between belays is almost exclusively 'traditional' in the form of nuts & cams placed and cleaned by us, again there are a few pitons along the way too.
Whilst the technical grade of the individual pitches is not particularly high you need to bear in mind the other factors at play:-
The first and most obvious is the length of the climb. An average rope-pair will take around 11 hours for the complete climb and rappel back down (a 1:2 guide-client team will inevitably take longer). Therefore you need to be comfortable climbing the required grade many hours into the climb. Aside from the physical side of the climb, you also need to be able to maintain concentration and safely manage the ropes and gear for many hours. It is important to climb and also handle belay change-overs and rappels efficiently. This does require strong mental discipline and good past experience of multi-pitch climbing will make this much easier.
A second consideration is the altitude. We have a good programme of acclimitisation including a staged ascent and 'walking high, sleeping low' which will give us the best chances of being well acclimitised for the climb. However, you will certainly notice that the altitude leaves you panting a bit more than usual and you may tire more quickly than at home on the crag.
Further considerations include the cold and weather. We aim to climb at the optimum time of year and we have a spare day and a backup plan to allow us to have additional shots at the summit if we don't have good weather on the planned day. However, it can be quite cold on the climb and you are likely to be climbing in a warm jacket, hat etc. Where the rock is in the shade it can also be very cold to the touch. You will also almost certainly have a small pack on with some snacks, water, spare layer etc which also makes a bit different to what you may be used to.
A final consideration is that although Shipton's Hut is just below the climb and a ranger station on the other side of the peaks, once we are on the rock we are effectively in a very remote location without all the rescue facilities that would be available in somewhere like the European Alps for example. Therefore the implications of even a minor problem on the climb could be quite severe.
Please do speak to us to discuss any of the issues mentioned above.
If you are considering an independent climb of this route, please be aware that the route-finding is not always obvious, especially on the upper section and during descent. Due to the long nature of the climb it is important to keep an eye on the clock and be prepared to retreat especially if you are not prepared for a bivi.
With our low deposit service, 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 private itinerary.
- Duration 7 days
- Numbers 2
- Altitude 5199m
- Comfort Camping
- Challenge Demanding & Technical