We offer guided ascents of the South East Face standard route to the summit of Nelion (5188m), the second highest of Mount Kenya and only around 10m lower than the highest peak of Batian. After the trek in and acclimitisation on the Naro Moru or Sirimon route, the technical climb is normally completed in one long day as a series of 18 - 20 pitches, although it is possible to bivouac on the summit in the Howell Hut and descend the next day.
The best months to summit Nelion are generally December - March when the sun will be on the route and it will be relatively dry, although it's wise to always anticipate and prepare for rain, snow and wind. Always take a lightweight warm sleeping bag and bivi bag with snacks just in case.
THE GATES OF MIST - CROSSING FROM NELION TO BATIAN
For strong climbers t is possible to cross the 'Gates of Mist' from Nelion Peak to Batian Peak but climbers must be prepared to bivouac in Howell's Hut; also the route across (a down climb followed by a short steep climb up) can often be full of snow, especially around December time).The route is quite demanding, especially at altitude and being already tired and with the pressure of a descent before dark ahead of you. Best only attempted in great conditions and with plenty of time.
The last part of the fly-over in the video below is from North to South up to the main peaks of Nelion and Batian and goes through 'The Gate of The Mists' between the summits (with Nelion being the left hand summit). The South East Face Standard Route climbs a face to the left side of the shot as it flies in.
ROUTE DESCRIPTION OF NELION SE FACE
To trek to the third peak of Point Lenana on Mount Kenya is accessible to anyone with good basic fitness. Four days hike on a variety of terrain taking in the beautiful surroundings and unique flora and fauna is a lovely experience, and you can camp or stay in huts on the way. Initially on a dirt track through bamboo forest and then forest and onto heathland as you gain height. Plenty of wildlife to see including colobus monkey, elephant and buffalo (round the camps), bushbuck, Sykes monkey and rock and tree hyrax. The Teleki valley has wonderful giant lobelia and, tree and cabbage groundsels and gladioli.
The summit day begins from Austrian Hut which is about a 45 minute hike across the Lewis Glacier to the base of the route at 4800m. This used to need crampons and an axe but nowadays the reduction of the glacier means you can manage in boots and being careful of mini mud slides and moving scree, especially coming back down potentially in the dark and exhausted.
Day 1: Transfer from Naro Moru town to the Sirimon National Park Gate and trek to Old Moses Camp
Day 2: Trek from Old Moses Camp to Shipton's Camp
Day 3: Acclimatisation hikes / R&R and second night at Shipton's Camp
Day 4: Trek Shipton's - Point Lenana - Austrian Hut
Day 5: Climb Day: Austrian Hut - Nelion Peak - Austrian Hut
Day 6: 2nd Climb Day
Day 7: Trek from Austrian Hut to Lake Ellis and on to Nithi Falls
Day 8: Trek from Nithi Falls to Meru Bandas for 4x4 transfer to Chogoria town and transfer to Embu