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Scale the Heights:  Rock and Mountain Climbing for Beginners in Kenya

Article by Maureen Kasuku
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Posted: August 24, 2021  

Always wanted to go climbing, but don’t know where to start? It may seem a bit daunting if you do a risk analysis but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere.  Chances are, you’ve been to—or at the very least, heard about—an indoor climbing gym. In Nairobi, Climb Blue Sky in Parklands is arguably the most popular indoor climbing gym. 

Indoor climbing gyms attempt to replicate outdoor climbing experiences through the use of artificial walls, handholds, and footholds. At each gym, different “routes” up the wall are set at varying levels of difficulty. Routes are typically color-coded by holds, and their difficulty is marked at the start with a plastic card designating its name and grade. The higher the number, the more difficult the route.

Indoor climbing is typically divided into three disciplines. Bouldering, top roping, and lead climbing. Each of these vary in technique, but the objectives are all the same: get to the top.

Once you’ve decided you like climbing, getting outside onto real rocks will be the next step! Climbing outdoors is a lot more varied than indoor climbing and many/most climbers think it’s a lot more fun. Plus, you’re outside!

The most popular crags in Kenya are found in: Lukenya, Laikipia, Hells Gate Naivasha and Tsavo National park. You can read more about them here. READ MORE

If you’re ready to scale the heights, you’re going to need all the help you can get. Good thing is, there’s already a community of experts in Kenya- The Mountain Club of Kenya, (MCK).

The Mountain Club of Kenya organises beginner and intermediate climbing courses once or twice a year.This is a non-profit members club, so people volunteer their time to help others get into climbing. That means you can also volunteer your time.

The MCK operates a really great climbing crag in Lukenya. Registered members of  MCK can access the crag for free, otherwise you need to get a daily membership, which is 800 shillings per day. The MCK also sells two guidebooks for the crag which you can buy HERE. All routes in the country are progressively being added to https://www.thecrag.com/climbing/kenya
Contact MCK here to get started.

*Images: Courtesy

About the author

Maureen Kasuku

Maureen is our resident cat lady and Beyoncé stan. She writes about spas, brunch and ballet recitals but has never been to any. Moonlights as a social justice activist in her spare time. She knows things and is obnoxiously opinionated on the internet but not in real life

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