Mt Kenya 'Namesake of a Nation: The Actual Climb - Africa Point Blog
Failing to plan is failing to plan. In the previous article we discussed about PREPARING FOR YOUR CLIMB. Mount Kenya climbs require months of planning and getting yourself in to a psyched mode, physically and mentally. Climbing is a social process, even the pros do
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Home  >  Blog  >  Mt Kenya 'Namesake of a Nation: The Actual Climb

Mt Kenya 'Namesake of a Nation: The Actual Climb

Published 23rd February 2013
Modified 15th June 2015
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Travel Planning & Tips, Kenya, Trekking, Mount Kenya

Failing to plan is failing to plan. In the previous article we discussed about PREPARING FOR YOUR CLIMB. Mount Kenya climbs require months of planning and getting yourself in to a psyched mode, physically and mentally. Climbing is a social process, even the pros do not go it alone. Make time to know and create friendships during your climb.


Remember it is not all about getting to the top or who gets in record time but enjoying the process and giving a helping hand to those in need of such. Your ascent will mostly lead to meeting new friends and who knows, maybe a business deal or lead can be formed; make the most out of it.


Mt Kenya Trek

Climbing as a group makes the trek more enjoyable.


The climbs are always accompanied by experienced guides and porters no matter the route you chose for your climb. They are experienced and thus they are a little bit quicker and so you should not try to keep up with them as they carry heavy loads with them.


You should walk slowly resting a lot and taking photos abundantly. A hurried ascent means your body does not get the chance to acclimatize and hence your chances of conquering the tower are minimized. Acclimatization plays a major role in the success of your ascent.


Acclimatization is the process by which an individual organism adjusts to a gradual change in its environment such as a change in humidity, temperature and such. So crucial is the process in that it ensures an optimal and sustained performance across a range of environmental conditions. On your Mt. Kenya climb, acclimatization will take place in a brief duration of time from a few days.


Mt Kenya Routes

Slow and steady climbing pace should be maintained.


If you rush your climb you risk the possibility of altitude sickness due to lesser time for your body to acclimatize. Altitude sickness better known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) altitude is the pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude. It commonly occurs above 2,400 metres (8,000 feet).


The symptoms presented are non specific but resemble a case of ' a hangover, carbon monoxide poisoning or flu. Even harder is the fact that it's not possible to predict who is likely to be affected by altitude sickness, as there are no specific indicators and factors correlating with a susceptibility to altitude sickness. However, most people can ascend to 2,400 metres (8,000 ft) without difficulty.


High altitude 1,500 to 3,500 metres (4,900 to 11,500 ft) is where physiological effects of diminished inspiratory oxygen pressure maybe seen including decreased exercise performance and increased ventilation.


Mountain Landscape.

The higher you go the cooler it becomes and the thinner the air becomes.


At very high altitude 3,500 to 5,500 metres (11,500 to 18,000 ft) - extreme hypoxemia (deficiency of oxygen in arterial blood) may occur during exercise, during sleep, and in the presence of high altitude pulmonary edema or other acute lung conditions. The major symptom used to diagnose altitude sickness is headaches.


Its imperative to note that headache is also a symptom of dehydration therefore adequate hydration is advised. For altitude sickness to be indicated a headache has to occur in combination with the following: peripheral oedema (swelling of hands, feet, and face), general malaise (feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness), drowsiness, persistent rapid pulse, nosebleed, shortness of breath upon exertion, pins and needles, insomnia, dizziness or lightheadedness, fatigue or weakness, nausea or vomiting and lack of appetite.


Mountain Sunset

The sunset as seen from Mt Kenya Summit.


The best way to avoid altitude sickness is by ascending and descending slowly. Also, stay clear of tiring activity such as hiking and skiing in the first 24 hours at high altitude as this decreases the symptoms of altitude sickness. Also, avoid alcohol as it leads to dehydration which worsens altitude sickness. The ideal strategy is to 'climb-high, sleep-low'.


This means you climb slowly to high altitudes during the day and sleep at a lower altitude at night. This process should be repeated a few times, each time extending the time spent at higher altitudes to let the body adjust to the oxygen level there, a process that involves the production of additional red blood cells.


This is very important as statistics indicate that the major cause of climbers death is altitude sickness. Remember that the rate of ascension is important and not the height, therefore, climb slowly and your body will have ample time to acclimatize.


Australian Hut and Nellion Peak

Australian Hut - one of the many resting points on your climb.


Slow but sure is the pace and do not forget to be on the look out for injuries on your feet, ankles, knees, pelvis, spine, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and body. Most of these might occur together with the overusing of your musculature. Protect yourself always by resting a lot in between different circuits so as to replenish your energy levels and prevent burnouts, taking it easy, one step, one circuit at a time; this is not a relay race, and finally, know when to quit especially when it becomes painful.


Do not push yourself: the far you have come is the farthest your body can take and that is really what matters. Remember Mt. Kenya is a bit difficult to climb in comparison to Mt. Kilimanjaro and you require rock climbing skills. Most climbers have returned for a second even third time to attempt a summit.


Mt Kenya Peaks

It's a humbling experience to summit the Mountain of God!


Lastly remember to stretch and warm up before every climb and double, no, triple check your anchors, belay setup, your knots, and gears. All the best in your quest to summit the 'Namesake of a Nation' in the beautiful land of Kenya. Now that you everything about the actual climb, check the next article on CHOGORIA ROUTE


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