Mount Kenya

If you want to walk up slowly to acclimatise, I (and most people) recommend the Chogoria route: it's longer (2 days) but much the most beautiful. You can hire porters from Chogoria town. In July we went with Ashford Micheni---PO Box 461, Chogoria, T/Nithi. Ask for him at the Chogoria Guest House. We paid him KSh 300 per day plus a tip of KSh 200. He is a really really nice guy---the women on our trip wanted to take him home with them!

One scam which is worth working on is to claim to be a Kenyan resident when you get into the park. The reason is that it costs KSh 200 per day for residents (about 2 US dollars) but 20 dollars per day (7/94) for non-residents! I managed to borrow documentation from one of the guys at my girlfriend's school and it worked. Thinking that I was a resident, Ashford then managed to get someone in who had no documentation. For this reason, no-one in Chogoria knows me as Julian Hall! There are also ways of buying false documents in Nairobi but I have not needed this route.

About MCK---they are a friendly bunch who welcome visitors at their club night but usually will not give them temporary membership. The club night is Tuesday (after 20:00) which is also the only time it is worth ringing them. The two resident experts are Iain Allen and Ian Howell. I have not climbed on Mt Kenya but went up Point Lenana twice (1/94 and 7/94). I would doubt if the ice routes on the Diamond Couloir side of the mountain are in condition in December because it gets more sun in the Nothern hemisphere Winter, the reverse being true in the Northern hemisphere Summer. For example, the Lewis Glacier was dry at New Year but thick with snow (Wow!---So beautiful) in July. Whilst this general rule holds pretty well, the local conditions and weather on Mt Kenya are very unpredictable. Hence the easy-looking routes (in terms of grading) can be very much more difficult in practice. Although I have not tried any of the snow/ice routes myself I read anything I can on Mt Kenya and my girlfriend, who lived in Nairobi for two years, is a member of the Mountain Club of Kenya where I have chatted with some of the good resident climbers.

THE guide book is

"A guide to Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro" written by Iain Allen and published by the MCK.

Sources of information about Mt Kenya (in 1992) were

The Warden, Mt Kenya National Park
PO Box 69,
Naro Moru
Tel: (0171) 2575
(02) 501081

Mountain Club of Kenya,
PO Box 45741,
Tel: (02) 501747

Mark Savage,
Savage Wilderness Safaris,
PO Box 44827,
Tel&Fax: (02) 521590

Iain Allen,
Tropical Ice,
PO Box 57341,
Tel: (02) 740811
Fax: (02) 740826

Both of these are walking safari companies which also offer `technical guiding (rock and ice) on the main peaks' so should be good sources of advice.

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