Along the Nelion Route, the Austrian chalet is the starting point for this path, which is located on the southern slope of Mt Kenya. Climbing for 8 hours, 18 pitches, 1 overnight camp, and a 3-hour descent are all part of the walk. The Lewis Glacier is traversed with headlights before daylight until you reach the foot of the ascent.
As you proceed through the “1-o’clock gully,” “The Amphitheatre,” and “De Graf’s Variation,” which feature sections of varying technical difficulties, the views become increasingly magnificent. Climbers can prolong their adventure by resting overnight in the Howell Hut and then crossing over to Batian via the “Gates of Mist.” Nelion is normally summited in roughly 7 hours.
This alternative adds 3-4 hours to the trip and is depending on ice levels in the Gates of Mist. Otherwise, following a night in the Howell Hut, the descent can begin first thing in the morning.
The MacKinders path is the preferred way on Nelion. This is a 5.8-difficulty rock route in the 5th class. There are some simpler areas where the group may travel together, but most pitches are 17 or more. The descent follows the same path as the ascent, with a few rappels choosing more direct courses down the cleaner rock. This is a pleasant route that is mostly on excellent rock and is sunny. Rock shoes are a good choice.
The approach boots can be left at the route’s base. This path is believed to be simpler than the North Face Standard Route on Batian, despite its length. It’s also more enjoyable with better rock and a sunny location.
The best climbing season is from November to March, when the southeast face of the Nelion mountain is mostly snow-free and climbing conditions are optimal.
Nelion Hike Itinerary
Day 1: Naro Moru town to National Park Gate and hike to Met Station
Day 2: Hike from Met Station to MacKinder’s Hut
Day 3: Hike from MacKinder’s Hut to Shipton’s Hut via Tyndall Glacier and Hausberg Col
Day 4: Hike from Shipton’s Hut to Point Lenana and back to Austrian Hut
Day 5: Climb from Austrian Hut up Nelion Peak and back down again
Day 6: Insurance day (in case of bad weather)
Day 7: Hike from Austrian Hut to Nithi Falls via Lake Ellis
Day 8: Hike from Nithi Falls to Meru Bandas for transfer out to Chogoria