Mount Kenya is a composite volcano, which was created over 3 million years after the East African rift opened. It has been covered by an ice cap for thousands of years, resulting in very eroded slopes with numerous valleys radiating from the centre. Currently there are 11 glaciers, which are an important source of water for all of Kenya.
Most people who visit Kenya on safari only get to see the Mountain from a distance, albeit a spectacular view. Even from a distance the mountain is hugely impressive and it is easy to see why it dominates the lives of the people in the area in such a meaningful way - and there are the adventurous few who actually climb the mountain.
Although Mount Kenya can be climbed all year round, it is safest to climb during the dry seasons; January to february and August to September, as these months have the most reliable fine weather.
The higher up you go the more variable the weather becomes, you can encounter rain and snow at any time of the year, even during the dry months.
Far from being just one peak, Mount Kenya is a massif consisting of a multitude of spires, cliffs, ridges and peaks. These are all weathered remnants of the extinct volcano. The main summits are Batian (5199 m /17057 ft) and Nelion (5188 m /17021 ft), but these can only be reached by technical climbing via a variety of rock and ice routes. The third highest peak, Point Lenana (4985 m /16355 ft), is popular for trekking.
Mount Kenya offers superb trekking, plus with its tarns, alpine meadows, exotic high altitude and equatorial vegetation, sunbirds, hyrax and soaring eagles it makes for an amazing expedition.
There are three trekking routes: approaching from the west is the Naro Moru route; from the east is Chogoria and from the north is the Sirimon route.
Naro Moru is the fastest route, and therefore the most popular one, it can be completed over three days.
Chogoria is said to be the most scenic and interesting, as it passes tarns and looks down sheer cliffs, into magnificent gorges.
The Sirimon Route is the least used, but passes through impressive yellowwood forests and has abundant wildlife and scenery higher up. This route is also the best for acclimatisation.
There is also a summit circuit path that circumnavigates the whole mountain.