Unlike other mountains, to Climb Mount Kenya holds a special place for many Kenyans. It’s the mountain under which the country is named.
Some consider the mountain Sacred, while others wish to ascend to the highest point there is, in the country.
In this Post I’ll address what an amatuer hiker who has ‘Climbing Mount Kenya’ on their bucket list needs to know.
Getting Your Body Ready to Climb Mount Kenya
Mount Kenya rises to 5,199 Meters above sealevel. At such height, oxygen becomes scarce and one therefore needs to be in good health.
Three months to Summit, you need to start eating balanced diet with nutrient dense foods, mostly from the farmers market as oppossed to processed and packaged
Two Months to summit, you need to maintain your health diet and incorporate drinking adequate water throughout the day, whether you feel thirsty or not.
You also need to start moderate execises like Walking, jogging, cycling, strength and endurance training.’
During this period you need to go for atleast one day hike to Mount Kenya though Sirimon Route in Nanyuki upto camp David or through the NaroMoru route upto the Met station.
The day hike plays two part: One you farmilialise yourself to the mountain up close and personal.. you also test your endurance for a day segment of hiking and trailing. The feedback you get will inform your goals towards the big day of summit
One Month to Summit, you need to sustain good diet, breathing exercises, taking adequate water and persistent exercises like walking, jogging, cycling and a lot of stretching. If you miss out on exercises, don’t miss out on stretching for the day.
Mount Kenya has three peaks Lenana, Nelion and Batian.
It’s Lenana that you want to train your mind on.. it’s a trail and hiking route that doesnt require technical climbing with rope, cord and webbing.
Mount Kenya is a Cold weather hike, for most part. You start with rainforest and bamboo on on the lower part, then head for the moorlands and towards the top it’s rocky with glaciers.
So you want to have the proper gear for each level of hiking.
- Insulated hiking boots (one pair good quality that fits is enough)
- Woolen socks (a pair a day or atleast two pairs)
- High gaiters (optional)
- Lightweight fleece or wool hat (for lower and middle levels)
- Heavyweight fleece or wool hat (for summit day)
- Lightweight fleece or wool gloves (for lower and middle mountain levels)
- Waterproof shell mitts or gloves, with insulated liners (for summit day)
- Puffy insulated jacket with attached hood
- Rain Poncho (rain proof jacket)
- Hard shell pants that are waterproof and windproof with full-length zippers along the sides (for summit day)
- Softshell pants or light waterproof track suit
- Mid-Layer Insulation
- Fleece jacket, fleece pullover, fleece vest, insulated vest or softshell jacket (at least one, possibly several)
- Base-Layer Insulation
- Long sleeve jersey
- Long underwear
- Boxer jock underwear to prevent chafing
- Spare Clothing
- Long sleeve jersey
- Long underwear
- Extra pair of socks
- Water Bottles
- Two or three 1-liter wide-mouth water bottles (hydration system hoses freeze up and should be avoided)
- Water bottle insulation, if bottles are stored outside your backpack
- 35-45 liter rucksack bag to be carried by porters and a backpack with essentials.
- Extra webbing straps as needed for attaching more gear
- 10 Essentials
- Map (optional with guide)
- Compass (optional with guide)
- Headlamp (needed for summit day)
- Personal first aid kit (in you have chronic illness consult your doctor first, some pills may relax your muscles and nerves which will be counterproductive in climbing, and you fall asleep on the trail)
- Fire starting materials (optional, if you have guide)
- Small knife or multi-tool (in group hikes, only guides are allowed to carry)
- High energy snacks (you need this, as official meals are at designated places)
- Sun glasses and sun screen (optional, any moisturiser works)
- Toilet paper
- Survival Gear – Guides and porters will help organise or carry:
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Lightweight bivy sack or tent body without tent poles
- White gas stove, fuel, pot, stove base
- Group first aid kit
- easy to cook food
The above list seems like too much, and quite an investment, that’s why we encourage Adventurers to join smaller day hikes and see how other hikers improvise. There is a lot to learn, even by relating with others who have hiked before you.
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