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Mt Kenya Rock Climb Normal route to Batian summit

he standard route to climb Mt Kenya’s highest peak - Batian - requires ice climbing gear including ice axes and crampons. A true technical mountain ascent the route includes the tricky traverse of the Gates of Mist which joins the two peaks of Nelion and Batian. It is best climbed in the late summer months of December to February. Taking four days to hike up to base camp you then have two days of rope work to get to the top. Whilst the grades of the climbing section are not extreme, you will need a good level of climbing stamina to complete the route. The weather conditions can also be variable in the extreme providing an added challenge.


  • Summit Africa’s second highest peak , Batian at 5199m
  • Traverse the Gates of Mist between Nelion and Batian
  • Conquer one of Africa’s most technical high altitude climbs
  • Enjoy spectacular scenery on Mt Kenya’s slopes

Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Depart from Nairobi at 08h00 and drive approximately four hours to Nanyuki. Arriving at approximately midday you proceed to the Sirimon gate at Mt Kenya National Park where you’ll enjoy a picnic lunch. Taking some time to check your gear after lunch you start out on the trek. The day’s hike takes you up the track for 10kms, forking left at the junction you reach Old Moses camp which is situated at 3,300m. The ascent from Sirimon gate up to Old Moses camp is 690m.

Day 2: After breakfast depart from Old Moses Camp, following the track over the ridge and down into the Mackinders Valley. From there you follow the trail up to Shipton camp where you’ll stay overnight. Altitude is 4,250m.

Day 4: Today’s trail takes you up the ascent to Simba Col. It is a steep ridge via Simba Tarn which takes approximately an hour to climb. Approaching Delamere Peaks you then hike down to Austrian hut at 4790m which will serve as your base camp for the technical climb up to Batian.

Day 5: Waking up at 04h00 you have tea and biscuits before setting out. The trail takes you across the Lewis glacier and up to the base of the climbing section. The hike to this point takes approximately two 2 hours. From the base, the first section of the climb is relatively easy with the first three pitches being scrambles using a running belay. This takes you up to Mackinders Chimney where the route starts to get more technical. As an alternative you can choose the slightly easier route via the rabbit hole. Both pitches are grade IV. From there you come to the 1 o'clock gully and then to another four easy pitches bring you to the Bailles Bivy.

Day 6: Another early day, the route starts out on the Mackinders Gendarme. This pitch will lead you to the De Graph Variation which is the most difficult part of the climb graded as a IV +. Whilst there are few good holds the rock is quite rough which helps you move a little easier. This is followed by an easy grade III section which leads onto a short but tricky 20m traverse. With that behind you, you have just two easy pitches which take you up to Nelion, Mt Kenya’s second highest peak. To cross to Batian you scramble for 50 meters to an anchor where you fix a rope to cross the Gate of Mist. You then climb two short pitches of 25 meters which takes you to the summit of Batian at an altitude of 5,199m. Once there, you abseil back down off the peak. Once off the technical section you walk down to Shipton camp.

Day 7: After breakfast set out for the day’s trek. The path takes you up Simba col and then down through the Georges Valley to the Meru Mount Kenya Bandas above Chogoria. The hike takes approximately seven hours.

Day 8: The last day’s hike takes you down through the bamboo and indigenous forest to reach Bairunyi. There you meet up with your transport which will take you back to Nairobi.


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