Welcome to the Mountain Club of Kenya

The Mountain Club of Kenya is a non-profit members club for people enjoying the outdoors in Kenya and beyond. Members get together to hike, rock climb, and scale mountains.

Join us for a tips outdoors, or to one of our social events on the second and last Tuesdays of the month in Nairobi.

Running on Mount Kenya: Old Moses-Lenana-Chogoria

In December 2017, Mickael Asser and I decided to run on Mount Kenya. One of our challenge was to find a good reference article or video online to guide our planning. We watched a couple of videos online but they lack details in terms of training requirements, what was the challenge and providing tips for others.

In order to prepare ourselves for the high altitude and steep run on Mount Kenya, we started training on other mountains every Saturday for four weeks. We run on Mt. Longonot, Mt. Suswa , Elephant Hill and Mt. Satima. On our last training on Mt. Satima, we completed the 12km run in 1 hour 50m. This was a good indication for us to set a date for the big run.

Looking at Batian on our way to Shipton Camp

On Feb 17, We arrived at Mt. Kenya National Park (Sirimon Gate) at 6:30am. Once done with registration, we drove up to Old Moses camp and started running up to Lenana. The highlight of our run up to Shipton was the expression on the Park’s staff, guides and hikers when they saw us running up to the summit. The common word was “You guys are crazy!”

We reached Shipton Camp, 4,200masl, in less than 3 hours covering 14kms.  After two minutes water break, we set off towards the summit in an easy pace. The most difficult part of Mt Kenya is the 3km between Shipton camp and Lenana, which is very steep with lose rocks and scree slopes. We summited Lenana in 4 hours and 48 minutes.

Mickael at Point Lenana

Tewodros going up to Point Lenana

 

Old Moses to Lenana

On our way down, we missed our trail and struggled to get back on the right track towards Shipton. After two hours into our decent, we found a trail that led us to a camping site situated at 3,900masl. The guides at the camp informed us that we are running towards Chogoria gate rather than Old Moses.  Exausted but determined to complete the run, we had to climb back to 4,400m and descend towards the gate. Despite the set back, we finished our run at Chogoria Roadhead camp site covering a total of 29.5kms in 8 hours 49 minutes.

Lessons Learnt

Mickael and Tewodros at Chogoria Roadhead Camp

Proper planning of the trail before hand and packing right for the challenge is critical. Missing our trail after the summit and looking for a way back took our energy. We also run out of water 7 hours into our decent due to our ultra light pack.

On the bright side, Chogoria route is the most scenic and breathtakingly beautiful. We enjoyed every bit of it and if we do it again, I think this will be the route we will take to the summit.

By Tewodros and Mickael.

The Kendal Mountain Festival is in Kenya – Friday 2nd February

Kendal Mountain Festival in Kenya

Sign up here!

 

TREE PLANTING ON MOUNT KENYA

2nd December 2017 –

Day well spent in Mt National Park,Sirimon area rehabilitating the degraded forest.

1500 hagenia abyssinica seedlings planted. The balance of 500 seedlings will be planted the weekend of 9th December.

There were 23 members from the Sirimon community, Kenya Forest Service Staff and 10 Kenya Wildlife Service Rangers

plus the Senior Warden of Mount Kenya National Park Mr Isaac Mugo and The Mountain Conservation Area Assistant Director Mr Simon Gitau.

 – Nikunj Shah

Learning Trad Climbing in Lukenya

Report from the third trad training weekend at Lukenya

The vast majority of climbing in Kenya is traditional climbing, where climbers place their own removable protection as they climb. Traditional climbing offers incredible freedom and flexibility to climbers, but can be much more daunting that gym and sport climbing, because of the amount of technical knowledge required. So how do we encourage new climbers to get out and experience all of the amazing routes that Kenya has to offer? Well, we meet up and have a party of course!

This past weekend, a group of experienced trad climbers and eager students got together in Lukenya to learn about gear, anchors, fall factors, rope management, lead belay and lead climbing technique.

Protection

We started off the weekend by learning about the types of protection available in trad climbing (active, passive, and natural pro) and got hands on experience placing gear and getting feedback from experienced climbers. The broken boulders at the base of Cakewalk crag provide an ideal playground for practicing gear placements from the comfort of the ground.

Explaining how to place nuts

Anchors

Once we understood the nuts and bolts (and cams and hexes) of climbing pro, we moved on to anchors. In essence, a climbing anchor just a way of linking multiple pieces of protection together so that they all share the load equally and provide a strong base for your climbing team. Participants tried their hands at making SERENEA anchors, using different types of rigging and arrangements of protection.

Mital and Vytas showing off a two-piece, self-equalizing anchor

 

 

Nick, Liz, and Katie demonstrating belaying off of a three-piece pre-equalized anchor

 

Leading

By now people were itching to put their skills to the test by actually getting off the ground, so we headed down to Boulder Crag and Jacob’s Ladder to talk about the whole safety system (harness, belay device, rope, pro, slings, biners, rope, harness),lead belay techinque, and the choreography of lead climbing. In supervised groups, teams practiced placing gear on lead, or mock-lead, depending on experience levels.

Denis on the sharp end, thinking about tricams

 

All in all, about a half dozen people logged their first trad leads and the stoke was high! It was really great to see so much enthusiasm for climbing in Kenya and to meet so many new, keen trad climbers!

The next day, everyone went out in teams to practice their skills, some getting their first taste of true Kenyan climbing…

Because no Kenyan climb is complete without a belly traverse through bird guano?

 

Join us!

We’ve been running these informal trainings for new trad climbers about once every six months, and topics have included:

  • Types of protection and placements
  • Building Trad anchors
  • Lead belay for trad and handling twin ropes
  • Mock leading
  • Managing climbing lines and rope drag for leaders
  • How to fall and catch falls on lead
  • Multipitch techniques
  • Belaying from above
  • Rappelling/Abseiling
  • Self-rescue skills
  • Aid climbing technique

So what would you like to see at the next trad training clinic?

Links to more information:

More info on getting in to climbing in Kenya.

A list of our favorite picks for trad leads of all levels.

Climb on!

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