Mt Kenya – Glacial Travel


Mt Kenya’s Glaciers are rapidly receding, and it has been estimated that they will no longer exist in as little as 30 years. However, with only a few Glaciers le ft on the Mountain there is a lot of fun to be had. The Lewis Glacier is Mt Kenya’s largest Glacier and must be crossed when attempting the technical summit of Nelion (5,188m). African Ascents has the necessary qualifications, experience and equipment to take small groups on to the glacier and teach the technical skills to move across the ice on the equator. Groups will learn the use of crampons, ice axes and other technical rope work skills. This is an opportunity not to be missed as time is running out.

Below is an itinerary for a glacial ascent of point Lenana (4,985m), Mt Kenya’s highest trekking peak via the Naro Moru Route. The focus of the climb is to summit Point Lenana via the Lewis glacier using skills learnt about glacial travel.

Route Name- Glacial Travel via the Naro Moru Route

Distance to Summit – 34km 

Altitude at Start- 2500m, 8,200 ft

Altitude at Summit- 4985m, 16,355 ft

Summit- Point Lenana

This is your sample itinerary for Glacial Travel:

Transfer from the comfort of your accommodation in the Nanyuki area to the Naro Moru Park gate and start of the Naro Moro route.

Start the 4 hour hike at 2500 meters above sea level deep in the Montane Forest of the southern slopes of Mt Kenya. The landscape changes through the day as you hike pass giant Cedar and Podo trees and then into the bamboo zone. These areas of flora contain some wildlife with a high chance of seeing the wonderful Colobus Monkey and the more common Sykes Monkey.

Distance: 9km

Hours walking: 4hrs

Altitude gain: 550m, 1,805 ft

Overnight at Met Station Camp (3050m, 10,000 ft)

Depart after a hearty breakfast and walk out of the forest and on to the moorland to an area known as the vertical bog. This steep ascent through the moorland brings you to the Teleki Valley with some of the best views of the main peaks and an abundance of rare plant life endemic to Mount Kenya, the Giant Groundsel.

Arrive in Camp at the very top of the Teleki Valley below the massifs of Batian, Nelion and Point John. The area is famous as a base camp for climbers attempting one of the many rock faces on the mountain. The camp is set up near to the Mountain Club of Kenya MCK hut.

Distance: 12km

Hours walking: 4hrs

Altitude gain: 1,150m, 3,775 ft

Overnight at Mackinder’s Camp (4200m, 13,780 ft)

Having had a good look at all the equipment that will be used over the next 2 days the group will head up to an area called “American camp”; the technical guide will cover all the rope work skills required for the glacial ascent. Once skills have been leant and practiced on flat ground the group will head up using the roped techniques through a steep boulder field to the base of Point John and the awesome Diamond Couloir.

This day can also be considered an acclimatisation day as the group will return to Mackinder’s camp for another night.

Distance: 5km

Hours walking: 5hrs

Altitude gain: 400m, 1,315 ft

Altitude loss: 400m, 1,315 ft

Overnight at Mackinder’s camp (4200m, 13,780 ft)

An early start after breakfast will see the group start the summit bid. From the Lewis tarn at the base of the Lewis Glacier the group will prepare for the ice, using crampons and ice axes as well the rope work skills practiced the day the before. The summit of Point Lenana (4,985m) should be reached by lunch time. The descent from the summit is via Austrian hut.

Enjoy a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate and reflect on your achievement and this magnificent view.

Distance: 8km

Hours walking: 8hrs

Altitude gain: 785m, 2,575 ft

Overnight at Mackinder’s Camp (4200m, 13,780 ft)

The group will continue to descend the Mountain and will meet the transport at the Naro Moro park gate (2600m) for transfer back to Barneys Restaurant, at the Nanyuki Airstrip, for lunch.


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