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Lower Cliffs

  • Grade context: UK
  • Ascents: 2

Seasonality

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Description

This is one of Lukenia's most accessible cliffs, being right beside the entrance road. The crag is characterised by a prominent roof which spans most of the girth of the cliff. Lower Cliffs lie between North and South Picnic Trees and form the base line of the whole hillside. The cliff is generally overhanging at the base, hence the number of aid climbs, although this usually only involves one or two moves.

Recommended routes: Nightmare—S. & A.2

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Access issues inherited from Lukenya

Lukenya is owned by the Mountain Club of Kenya and entrance is free for members. Non-members have to pay for a daily membership (KES400 for Kenyan citizens, KES800 for others, payable by Mpesa paybill no 880926. Account: guest fee). No commercial groups are allowed. Some climbs are occasionally off-limits when eagles are nesting (in particular Eagles Nest Face). If this is the case its normally communicated on a notice in the sign-on book at the gate and through a climber whatsapp group.

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Approach

This is one of Lukenia's most accessible cliffs, being right beside the entrance road. You can park at picnic tree, then walk back along the road towards the school until you see the face with a prominent overhand. Then head straight for it.

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Descent notes

Walk off the left side of the cliff or abseil off one of the trees ar the edge.

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Ethic inherited from Lukenya

Lukenya is mostly trad. No bolting is allowed without a special permission from the Mountain Club of Kenya.

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Some content has been provided under license from: © Mountain Club of Kenya (Copyright Mountain Club of Kenya)

Routes

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Grade Route

Sheer corner at right-hand end of first overhang. Start 3m to left of corner. A tricky move leads into grassy groove on left. Climb to fig tree move along ledge about 4.5m and take wall direct. Tree belay.

FA: Grading Committee, 1959

20 yards to right of sheer corner mentioned in Traverse and Wall. There is a very steep crack leading to a grassy rake.

FA: Grading Committee, 1959

This climb is at the left end of the crag and starts 4m left of Journey Into Space. It is found by locating the prominent grey-coloured flake/jug some 6m up the wall. Easily up 3m to plant-covered ledge. Move left along this until directly below the previously mentioned flake/jug. (It is worth belaying on this plant ledge to protect leader on the first hard moves). Up with difficulty and pull up overhang to reach the prominent jug. Up this leftwards to horizontal crack. Climb up to a good hold and step rightwards across steep wall (crux). Delicate moves rightwards lead to a fairly dynamic move up and across to obvious hole on wall on right. Strenuous move straight up to easier ground and top. The climb is much harder than it appears from the ground. From the first moves off ledge it is unrelenting until the finishing hard move 15m up. Keep a #7 wire ready for the crux.

FA: Iain Allan & Magnus Karlsen, 1990

Where are you now Jet Morgan? (Journey Into Space is a BBC Radio science fiction programme written by BBC producer ...... by Tacconi. The 1957 annual included a short story called Jet Morgan and the Space Castaway, written by Chilton and illustrated by Cornwell). This is a gem of a climb, with great variety of moves and superb positions. At the left end of cliff there is an overhang with a diagonal break through it. The route is directly in front of the driver at the point where the road up to Lukenia meets the road which goes along the base of the cliffs. Start below overhang where there is a flake on the ground. Climb 6m to where a rising crack goes up leftwards through the overhang. Hand-traverse up crack, and pull up through lip of overhang onto steep wall. Delicate traverse rightwards (crux), along ledges on lip of overhang, until easier ground is reached 2m right of peg. Climb wall to top bearing slightly leftwards. Bolt pro after the hand traverse.

FA: Iain Allan & Clive Ward, 1990

The toughest black hole in Kenya...." If we had a four star rating this would warrant the extra star. A beautiful exercise in precision. Start 6m right of Journey Into Space, where an awkward pull up leads to the first bolt. Delicate moves right past a second bolt leads to a difficult step down into the Black Hole. Swing out on wall on right and mantle shelf to ledge and scoop. Pull up bulging wall above to break in overhang. Strenuous moves up overhang (crux), past bolt to difficult exit rightwards. Step right to crack and up to ledge. Easily to top.

FA: Iain Allan & Andrew Pinney, 1990

A totally manky exercise, which is satisfying for the masochist but useless for the quality-seeker. Start about 15m right of Calcutta in an area obvious for its dripping greenery, beneath a bush which grows 6m up the face. Climb to stump then right via horizontal crack to good jug which enables corner to be gained. Up this then step right to ledge. Traverse left 3m and climb directly to top.

FA: Ian Howell & Iain Allan, 1978

Start up Falling-Off Tree (wide spreading fig tree growing on ledge). 4.5m to ledge then ascend tree 3m. Severe move leads to face which is easily climbed direct to finish.

Up to ledge via Falling-Off Tree. Move right to obvious groove. Move out of groove on right, climb a few feet, then back into groove. Ascend to steep wall, move right to avoid it and traverse back to left-hand crack of groove. Ascend direct to ledge. Climb to right- hand point of overhang, then climb nose of rock to belay at foot of thorn tree.

Halfway between Cannon and Falling-Off Tree there is a very large scoop about 12m up. Start just right of this at a slight corner in the overhanging base. The tree and a peg enable the wall to be gained. Move left to good holds and straight up to finish.

Start in deep gully with fig tree growing some way up. 1.5m up gully then traverse left and continue climb to recess. Take wall behind to belay at tree.

30m to the right of the gully of Cannon is a narrow crack with a small fig tree at its base. 1.5m to the left a small nose of rock leads to a flake with a hole in it. Climb to nettle tree in crack at 7m. Move slightly right-handed up face to finish on ledge with tree some way back for belay.

FA: Grading Committee, 1959

Start at Gripes. Climb diagonal crack with aid from nuts. Reach right when possible and climb wall on jugs to top.

FA: I. Allan & R. Pillinger, 1969

Start 9m left of Plinth. A skyhook enables a good channel to be placed in a horizontal slot at 3m. On to wall above on adequate holds, move left and into large scoop. Exit right and to tree belay.

FA: J. Temple & M. C. Watts, 1973

Towards the right end of Lower Cliffs, and about 15m left of The Hood, there is a bulging wall with a bolt at 3m. Climb overhang on right of bolt with difficulty (crux). Move up rightwards to second bolt and climb above with difficulty, to reach easier ground.

FA: Olivier Laborie & party, 1985

Behind the large fig tree is an obvious sentry box above the overhang. Gain this by means of a bolt and peg (both in place). Two peg moves out of the sentry box lead to easy right-handed climbing to the top.

FA: I. Allan & H. Smith, 1968

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