Important things to have before going mountain climbing

It is one thing to think about conquering the heights and a whole other dimension to actually get ready for a mountain climbing trip. Don’t be caught off guard, on top of world’s summits, realizing you’ve just forgot a handkerchief… Like seriously! Here’s a list of important things to bring on your next climbing trip.

For the head and face

Pile or Wool hat: Bring one that covers ears — a balaclava type is excellent.

Shade Hat: Visor hats with good brims are essential for protection from the equatorial sun.

Sunglasses: Essential for eye protection in the tropics and at altitude. Bring a good quality pair, preferably with an IREX protection rating of 100. Attachable side shields are necessary, or bring glacier glasses.

Sunscreen: Bring plenty of complete sun block with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more. Unless you have spent time in equatorial sun you will probably underestimate the amount necessary, so bring lots. Sunscreen is difficult to find in Tanzania.

Lip Balm: With SPF rating of 15 or higher.

Bandanas: Tied around the neck, they give good sun protection. Can also be used for cleaning glasses, as wash cloths, etc. They dry very quickly.

For the upper body

T- Shirts: Two T- shirts that you don¹t mind getting dirty while on the mountain. Synthetic is best — no cotton on summit day.

Upper Body Layers: For climbing the mountain we recommend you have three warm layers for the upper body. Items must be made of wool, synthetic or pile. Make sure all layers fit comfortably over each other and supply good insulation. A good combination is a long underwear top, a sweater, and a pile jacket or heavy wool shirt. Cotton items do not provide adequate insulation and are completely

useless when damp.

Rain Parka: Afternoon showers are common in East Africa, especially on the mountain. Bring a good parka of Gore- Tex or waterproof nylon that has been “seam sealed”.

Wind Shirt: (optional if you have Gore- Tex rain gear) A nylon wind shell (not waterproof), roomy enough to fit comfortably over all upper body layers. Gore- Tex is good for both this wind shirt and for the rain coat.

Poncho: (Optional) Quick and handy protection for body and rucksack. Poor protection in windy rain.

Gloves or Mittens: Wool or pile. One pair of heavy mittens and a light pair of gloves work well.

Mitten Shells: One pair to go over your mittens. These are for use against the winds sometimes encountered in the crater and on the way to the summit.

For the legs

Quick Dry Hiking Shorts: 1 pair. Good for hiking at lower elevations on the mountain.

Long Underwear Bottoms: One pair. Wool or synthetic.

Wool, Bunting or Pile Pants: One pair that fit loosely and is comfortable. These are essential to be worn over the long john bottoms.

Rain Pants: Bring a good pair of rain pants of Gore- Tex or waterproof nylon that has been “seam sealed”.

Wind Pants: (optional if you have Gore- Tex rain pants.) One pair. These are used often on the mountain for protection against wind. They should be breathable nylon and roomy enough to fit comfortably over wool or pile pants.

Tights: Lycra types are best. These are comfortable to hike in, help prevent nettle stings, provide good warmth on cool misty days, dry fast and prevent sunburn.

Undergarments: Enough for the duration of the trek.

For the feet

Thin Socks: Two pair of synthetic socks to wear under heavy wool socks. These help prevent blisters and keep feet dry.

Thick Socks: Six pair of heavy wool or synthetic socks to wear for warmth with hiking boots.

Hiking Boots: One pair medium weight hiking boots large enough to be comfortable with one liner sock and one heavy wool or synthetic sock.

Gaiters: One pair of either high or low gaiters made of breathable material to keep dirt and snow out of your boots.

Tevas, Sandles: These are to wear in camp after a day of hiking.

For sleeping

Sleeping Bag and Stuff Sac: On the mountain temperatures can get down to zero degrees Fahrenheit at night so bring a warm bag.

Sleeping pad: A closed cell foam camping mattress is OK. An inflatable Thermal Rest type is more comfortable.


Water Bottle: Two, one liter wide- mouthed plastic bottles.

Water Treatment: This is very important. The water in East Africa is not unhealthy although its flora content is different from what you are used to. To keep your system running normally we recommend you bring two bottles of “Potable Aqua” or “Polar Pure”, crystal iodine in a bottle, to treat drinking water. Filtration pumps are also effective, but costly and rather bulky.

Water Flavoring: Wyle’s lemonade, Tang, Gatorade, etc. These mixes are hard to come by in Tanzania and make treated water taste much better. Double bag these.

For carrying your gear

Frameless Pack: A medium size comfortable pack is adequate to carry personal gear. The pack should fit properly and have a good waist belt. Side pockets are recommended for soft packs. Personal loads with camera gear, water for the day and warm clothes are often between 18 and 25 pounds.

Pack Cover: Something waterproof to cover your pack when hiking in the rain. Otherwise bring a large plastic bag to line the inside.

Duffle Bag: Medium size with lock for mountain gear. This will go into our mountain bag that the porters will carry.

Duffle Bag: Large enough to hold your non- mountain gear. This will meet you at the hotel after the climb.

Plastic Bags: Several, to double bag your sleeping bag and clothes on the mountain. It can rain every afternoon.

For Personal health and comfort

Toiletries: Bring enough for entire trip. Keep simple and light. Few toiletries are available in Tanzania, however, so bring enough for all your needs.

Ear Plugs: To block out snoring and hut noise, to insure peaceful rest.

Flashlight and/or Headlamp: Important on summit day and just plain handy in camp. Plenty of batteries.

Pocket Knife: Simple Swiss Army type with scissors.

Personal First Aid and drug Kit: Please see recommended list below.

Trail Munchies: Although plenty of snack food is provided, trekkers like that taste of home in their pack. Touted as an important accessory by those who have brought them in the past!

Hot Drink Mixes: We will provide plenty of coffee, cocoa and tea, but non- caffeinated drinks are not readily available here. Bring a supply of your favorite herbal teas.

Towel: For washing up in camp, a small one is fine, or you can use a bandana.

Towelettes: Such as “Wash’n’Dries” for general hygiene.

Spare Glasses: For contact wearers in dusty conditions and any eyeglass wearer while on vacation.

Umbrella: Very useful against rain and sun. Most guides use one


Mount Kenya Trekking Routes

Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa, towering to up to 5,199m above sea level. It is believed it was higher but due to continuous mass wasting and erosion, losing some height. Its beautiful peaks are covered by equatorial snow. The mountain offers a variety of scenery and topography including undulating valleys and stunning lakes and tarns, and cols. Vegetation consists of alpine moorlands, bamboo belts and tropical rain forest. Here are a few routes when conquering the mountain.

Best times to Climb mount Kenya

Best times for climbing Mount Kenya from any of the trekking routes are January to March and June to October but it can be climbed year-round. The rainy seasons typically occur in April, May and November.

1. Sirimon – Naromoru Route (6 Days/ 5 nights)

DAY 1: Departure from Nairobi at 09:00 hrs to Nanyuki. A brief stop over at the EQUATOR CROSSING LINE. Proceed to Nanyuki town where you check in your Hotel. Lunch, dinner and overnight at Nanyuki Hotel

DAY 2: After breakfast in the Hotel, food shopping in town with the assistance of the Chef. Then transfer to Sirimon-Gate where you will have your lunch. The hike continues to Oldmoses camp [Judimier camp 3300m] and takes 3-4 hrs through a tropical forest. Dinner and overnight at the camp.

Travellers in a previous trek, at Sirimon Gate

DAY 3: After Breakfast at 6:30 am the hike continues through a heath and moorland to Shipton’s camp (4200m). Packed lunch is taken en route. The hike to Shipton’s camp takes 7-8hrs. Evening tea, dinner and overnight at the camp.

DAY 4: After Breakfast at 8:00 am we start a peak circuit. That takes 5 hrs via Simba-core and ends up to Top Hut/ Austrian Hut (4790m). Hot lunch, evening tea, dinner and overnight in the hut after a nice view of the peaks.

DAY 5: After breakfast at 5;30 am start ascent to the Summit (Point Lenana 4895m) at 6;00 am the hike takes 1.5 hrs. After summit, the descent continues to Mackinder’s camp 4200m, where you have breakfast.
Then after a break the descend continues to Met-station where you will have hot-lunch, evening tea, dinner and overnight.

DAY 6: After breakfast at 7;30 am the descend continues to Narumoru Gate, where your vehicle will be ready waiting to take you back to Nanyuki hotel where you will have lunch and hot shower, Then depart to your destination (Nairobi).

2. Sirimon-Chogoria Route (5 nights/ 4 Days)

Day 1: After Breakfast in Nairobi,  drive 250 kms to central Kenya and arrive in Nanyuki town, the climbing base in 3hrs. Food shopping is done is done at Nanyuki by Chef. Then transfer to Sirimon-Gate where you will have your lunch. The hike continues to Oldmoses camp (Judimier camp 3300m) and takes 3-4 hrs through a tropical forest. Dinner and overnight at the camp.

Day 2: After Breakfast at 6:30 am the hike continues through a heath and moorland to Shipton’s camp (4200m). This day is the longest day but manageable. Packed lunch is taken en route. The hike to Shipton’s camp takes 7-8hrs. Evening tea, dinner and overnight at the camp.

Day 3: After breakfast at 2;30 am start ascent to the Summit (Point Lenana 4895m). at 3;00am  the hike takes 3-4 hrs. After summit, the descent continues to Minto hut 4200 m, where you have  breakfast and a few minutes break. Thereafter  the descent continues to Chogoria gate, hot lunch is taken at Road head 3300m. Trekking distance  this day is longer going down hill 22kms so be prepared. Hot shower ,dinner and overnight at Chogoria bandas.

Day 4: After breakfast at 6:30 am the vehicle will pick you and continues to Chogoria town through a bamboo rain forest, lunch taken in of the t hotel in town, as your vehicle awaits and the proceed to your destination (Nairobi).

3. Naromoru – Chogoria (3 Nights / 4 Days Trip)

Day 1: Nairobi 1600m–Meteorological Station 3080m.

Leave Nairobi after breakfast and drive to central Kenya and arrive in Narumoru town after 3 hours drive, you will the meet the Team and after food shopping, together we proceed to Narumoru Park gate 2600m for lunch. You will then register after which you will keep the track which follows a crest of a board ridge between the Northern and Southern Narumoru Valleys. The going is easy and Mt.Kenya is a pleasant walk through the forest. About 2/3 of the way up after the bridge,there are good views to the left into the Northern Narumoru Valley. The trek takes 3/4 hrs to Arrive Met-Station where you will have dinner and overnight as we arrange for the next day plan.

Day 2: Met- Station – Mackinders Camp 4200m

Heads uphill on the track to pass the radio tower must be on your right after half an hour. The track runs into a path and after another 30 mins, you will reach the end of the forest belt. And enter the Moorland.
This is the vertical bog condition range for the day to glutinous depending on when it last rained. Here you continue through until the going improves and you reach a fork overlooking the Teleki Valley to reach Mackinders camp 4200m. The trek takes 4/5hrs. Lunch is taken enroute. Diner and overnight at Mackinders camp.

Day 3: Mackinders Camp To Point Lenana 4985m-Mintos Hut 4200m

After a pre-dawn breakfast at 2:30 am, the ascent to the summit starts at 3:00 am. It takes 4hrs to the summit. After summiting Pt. Lenana 4895m, you descend to Mintos Hut 4200m for breakfast. After a long break in tent, you will be taken around Mintos camp,remember this is the most scenic route and spending a night here will give you enough chance to explore, you will see so many features like The great gorges valley, Lake Michaelson, The Temple, The Hanging tarns, other technical peaks etc. It takes 2.5 hrs from Pt.Lenana to Mintos Hut. Dinner and Overnight will be spent here.

Day 4: Mintos Hut- Chogoria Gate -Nairobi

You will wake up to a beautiful mass of Mt. Kenya gleaming with the sun rays. After breakfast at 6:30am, the descent continues to Chogoria gate 2600m where you will have lunch while your vehicle is waiting to transfer you back to your destination after a memorable trek. Here you will say goodbye to your team because they will take a different cars to their destination.

4. Sirimon Via Sirimon (3 Nights/ 4 Days Trip)

DAY 1: Leave Nairobi after breakfast and drive to central Kenya. Arrive in Nanyuki town the climbing base in 3 hrs drive. Do food shopping with the assistance of the chef, Then proceed to Sirimon gate 2650m. After lunch break, the hike continues though a tropical rain forest to Oldmoses / Judimier camp 3300m. The hike takes 3 hrs and you are likely to see game on the way. Dinner and overnight in the camp.

DAY 2: After breakfast at 6:00 am, the hike continues through a health and moorland to Shipton’s camp 4200m. Lunch is taken enroute. The treks takes 7-8 hrs. Dinner and overnight at the camp.

DAY 3: After a pre-dawn breakfast at 2:30 am, the ascent to the summit starts at 3:00 am. It takes 4 hrs to the summit. After summiting Pt. Lenana 4895m, you descend back via same route to Shipton’s camp, where you will have breakfast and then proceed to Oldmoses camp. Hot lunch, dinner and overnight at the camp.

DAY 4:  After breakfast at 7:00 am, the descend continues to Sirimon gate 2650m, where your vehicle will be waiting to take you back to your destination.

5. Kamweti route – Chogoria gate (5 Days/ 4 nights)

The journey up the adventurous Kamweti route commences at Castle Forest Lodge on the southern slopes of Mount Kenya. The trail up is fairly challenging: rough underfoot, with dense montane forest, lush stands of giant bamboo, muddy when wet, no huts and a forest track more used by wild animals than humans. At Mackinder’s camp 4,300m you might, for the first time, meet other trekkers since Kamweti route connects with the more commonly used trails at the Teleki Valley en-route to the hiker’s summit (Lenana peak – 4,985m). On the average you will be walking for 5-7 hours per day. The crew will set our overnight camps in the wild campsites or in the neighbourhood of available cabins located along our trail.

Day 1: Nairobi –Kamweti Old forest campsite 2650m
Transfer from Nairobi to Castle Forest Lodge (2,081m.), on the northern slopes of Mt Kenya. After sorting mountain gears and enjoying lunch at Castle Lodge, we commence a 3 hours hike through the natural forest to the Kamweti’s old forest station (2,650m) and spend the night in pitched tents.
Early breakfast at camp then hike about 15kms in 5-6hrs through dense stands of towering bamboo to Sagana River camp at an altitude of 3,150m. Today we’ll slip deeper into the dense virgin bamboo forest which marks the true beginning of the actual mountain trek. Picnic lunch en-route and dinner and overnight at Sagana campsite.

Day 2 Sagana (3,150m)

The luxuriant bamboo thicket yields to the Hagenia rosewood zone which, in turn, yields to heather zone as our climb get steeper approaching the moorland. The edge of the moorlands marks our lunch spot before heading up through unique endemic mountain vegetation of giant lobelia and groundsels. Today’s hike is about 7kms and takes us about 6hrs to arrive at Thegu River camp (3,750m). Our overnight spot offers exhilarating peak views. Dinner and overnight again in tents at Thegu

Day 3: Thegu Camp (3,750m)
We continues steeply up for about 3 hours to lake Hornell trekking through beautiful tropical alpine vegetation dotted with Senecio and Lobelia plants. At this scenic lake we stop for lunch before a farther two hours hike through undulating terrain to reach Mackinder’s Camp (4,300m) within the Teleki Valley. Overnight will be at the campsite in close proximity to the mountain hut. (If you wish you may alter your accommodation tonight and utilize the hut at a small fee). Early dinner and good rest in readiness for an early start the next day.

Day 4: Mackinders Camp – Point Lenana – Chogoria track head or Sirimon’s Oldmoses camp (4,300m – 4,985M – 3000m)
Pre-dawn start (3am) to attempt conquer the hikers summit. After an early light breakfast, we go up steep scree and a bare rocky track for about 3/4 hours to reach Austrian Hut. Then, an exhilarating 45 minutes to reach the hiker’s summit, Lenana peak at 4,985m in time for sunrise – Kilimanjaro is usually visible 340kms to the south. Though tired after this demanding conquest we’ll be absolutely ecstatic that we’ve made it to the top. After celebrations at the top, we shall proceed to Mintos hut for breakfast and 45 minutes break and then proceed to Mt.Kenya Bandas which is 22kms from Mintos Hut.
On arrival here you will have hot shower, dinner and overnight in the Lodge.

Day 5: After breakfast at the Lodge at 6:30am,you will picked by a van and transfered back to Nairobi through Bamboo rain forest.

Timau Route (7 days / 6 nights)

Timau route, the main access route on the north side of the mountain, lies in a major rain shadow. Because of this there is a very little forest on this side of the mountain. However since you are inside a low rainfall zone it generally makes for a drier safari and a more pleasant trek.

The slope is gentle and because the peaks on Mount Kenya line up east to west the views from the north give you the impression you are trekking into a whole mountain range.

Day 1: Morning spent organizing and sorting equipment for your trek to Pt. Lenana (16,355 ft.), the third highest peak of Mt. Kenya. Lunch at the lodge (this is an extra charge for those not on full board the previous night). In the afternoon, you will be transported to the Timau road head where you will begin your trek up Mt. Kenya from the north. (Overnight in high altitude mountains tents – Timau road head).

Day 2: Hiking across beautiful northern moorland of Mt. Kenya with its unique flora and possibly seeing some of the wildlife which wander up those northern slopes – zebra, eland, etc. Camp near the Western Marania River.

Day 3: Continue your trek over rolling moorland country to camp at the headwaters of the Kathita East drainage.

Day 4: Hike up to the spectacular Hall Tarns where the beautiful rock formation known as the Temple stands guard over Lake Michelson 1000 vertical feet below.

Day 5: Penetrate the defenses of the Temple and descend to Lake Michelson. Truly a trekker’s paradise.

Day 6: An early start to ensure a successful summit bid for our main objective Pt. Lenana (16,355 ft.) Descend to MacKinders Camp on the Naro Moru Track.

Day 7: Descend the mountain via the Naro Moru Route completing a fine circuit of Mt. Kenya, to the Naro Moru River Lodge for a well-earned rest/ other destination.

Chogoria-Sirimon Route (5 Days / 4 nights)

Day 1: After break in Nairobi,drive 250kms to Central Kenya arrive in Chogoria the climbing base in 3.5 hrs.Shopping to be done by chef at Chogoria town.After lunch in one of the hotel,you will be transfered to Chogoria gate 2,650m through a bamboo tropical rain forest.It 32km from Chogoria town to the gate where only 4WD can manage to get there due to road conditions.Here, you will have dinner and overnight in the Mt.Kenya logde.

Day 2: After breakfast at 6:30am, the hike continues through heath and Moorland to Lake Ellis camp 3300m,here you will have hot lunch, and also spent overnight in tents.
It takes 4/5hrs
You also have time to walk around and see other sorrounding peaks being Mugi hills and others.

Day 3: After breakfast 7:30am at Camp Ellis, you will then proceed through a gradual steep area to Mintos Camp 4200M,where you will have lunch on the way.
This takes around 5-6hrs.Here you will spent a night in the tent because the hut provided here is only enough to cook in and accomondate porter.

Day 4:  a pre-dawn breakfast at 2:30 am, the ascent to the summit starts at 3:00 am. It takes 4hrs to the summit. After summiting Pt. Lenana 4895m, you descend to Shipton’s camp, where you will have breakfast and then proceed to Oldmoses camp.Hot lunch, dinner and overnight at the camp

Day 5: After breakfast at 7:00 am, the descend continues to Sirimon gate 2650m, where your vehicle will be waiting to take you back to your destination