Kalama Hill

  • Grade context: UK
  • Ascents: 1




Rarely visited crag that could be re-re-discovered.



Among numerous crags on the sides of this hill, and smaller ones on a facing hill, the biggest are Nzauni and Kiandili; both give routes of 200m. The rock is good quality gneiss, similar to Lukenya, but there are few crack lines and belays are scarce. Access is simple and takes 30min. on foot. At c. 1830m. the altitude ensures that temperatures rarely become oppres­sive. No good camping in the vicinity; the nearest petrol/garage is at Machakos (33 km.). Water could be obtained at the nearby village of Kali.


Access issues inherited from Around Nairobi

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From Nairobi follow the main Mombasa road and 9 km. after Lukenya turn off L to reach Machakos in 19 km. Town centre roundabout with clocktower. Turn R here and follow tarmac for 9 km. to a road forking R; ignore this. Bear L on the main road, straight down a h ill. In another 12 km. turn R at several small dukas and a hotel with a large Brooke Bond sign. The cliffs can now be seen. In 10 km. reach the village of Kali, served by public transport. Now take tracks leading R-wards towards Nzauni, a short distance away. For Kiandili, turn R up a track about one and a half km. before Kali. Kiandili is distinguished by great orange walls in its L half, with a large band of overhangs at mid-height (no climbs are described here).


Ethic inherited from Kenya

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View historical timeline

Descriptions from a guidebook written around 1970:

The President's Report for 1956, In Journal No, 41, mentions the opening up of Kalama Rocks, which were discovered by Don McCalman. Journals No. 44 and No. 50 also record that meets were held at Kalama, but there are no descriptions of the crags or any routes climbed. The older club members cannot give much information. One remembers going to a crag and seeing Hike Adams do a route, but he does not remember it as an especially big crag. If this is so, it could not be Kiandili or Nzicuni, which have boen climbed on in recent years and I suggest that it may have been the crags at the North Bast end of the hill (see map). This area was rediscovered on Juno 12th, 1966, when.Robert Chambers, Martin Harris and Colin and Judith Powell were returning from Nzaui by a roundabout route, as the crags are visible from the main Mbooni- Machackos road. The first climbs were made on Nzicuni, as from the road much of Kiandili appears to be overhanging and not very promising. Nzicuni, however, was found to be very smooth, especially in its lower section and with a distinct lack of belays, what appears to be cracks from the road are enormous black streaks which must be water courses after heavy rain. There is still scope for more routes on the main crags. To the left of the two main buttresses of Nzicuni is a vast area of unexplored rock. As already mentioned there are crags which have not been visited in recent years at the North East end of the hill. Near the col above and to the South of Kiandili is a.compact crag about 150 ft. high. Across the valley to the East on Mbanya Hill there are extensive "edge" type of outcrops. I have no doubt that eventually there will be hundreds of routes in this area which will have its own guide book. People have camped several times in this area but camping is not very satisfactory because of the dense population and intensive cult­ ivation in all but the steeper parts. One is often followed or led by groups of small boys who are only too keen to act as guides or por­ ters for a small fee and frequently run up impossible looking slabs and boulders. (See Robert Chambers' article Journal No. 65). Most of the information about these crags is from .an article by MartinHarrisinJournal No. 64,routedescriptionsinJournal 65, and an article by Ian Howell in Journal No. 66. So far as I know, only the Great Flake Route which has had about • 20 people up it, (11 on one Club Meet), has had more than one ascent.


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