Help

Nzaui

  • Grade context: UK
  • Photos: 2
  • Ascents: 3

Seasonality

J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D

Summary

A big piece of rock that probably still has potential for more climbs.

©

Description

This prominent peak can be seen clearly from the Nairobi-Mombasa road on the north-east side. Its cliffs are 300m high and stretch for well over one km. At the south end they form a nose. The climb described goes up slabs left of the nose to a large vegetated terrace, then takes the exposed nose proper to the summit. Here superb views extend across the plains and Kibo can be seen on clear days. The whole summit area is covered with fine mature pine forest managed by the Forestry Department through whom a guest house near the summit (intermittent water supply) may also be booked. It is also possible to camp on the summit or near the guest house with no prior permission. For driving to the guest house or the summit a 4WD vehicle is essential. Though the climb itself is not outstanding it has a unique atmosphere, and coupled with the drive it makes a first class expedition. The nearest garage facilities, water and petrol are at Emali (47km). (source: Andrew Wielochowski)

Huge potential for difficult routes up the bigger sections of the wall, but the climbing is very exposed, the cracks very dirty, and the approach extremely difficult. Would likely require bolts, pegs, and aiding to get up much of the wall, but the opportunity for new FAs is big. (Max Weiner, visited 04/2019)

©

Access issues inherited from Around Nairobi

Please be considerate of locals and do not pay for climbing (outside of National Parks) without first consulting the Mountain Club of Kenya.

©

Approach

From Nairobi, the main Mombasa road to Emali. Turn left here and drive on a good dirt road north-east. After 15km a village with a roadside market is passed (Matiliku); in another 14km cross a watercourse; 700m beyond this, on right-hand side of road, take a sharp turn right onto a small track signposted: Kyenza Highway. If this turn-off is missed then in exactly 1.6km the centre of Nziu village is reached. From this turn-off continue along track for 11km to a fork. The left branch goes to the guest house; the right continues for a short distance to the summit. Allow at least 4h from Nairobi. Matatus go only as far as the start of the Kyenza Highway. (Source: Andrew Wielochowski)

Other than the Nose, most of the approach to the wall has become very overgrown in recent years. Few man made trails or game trails exist to access the base of the higher parts of the wall. Leave plenty of time for scrambling through the bush and bring extra water if you try to access these parts of the cliff, where climbs like mandarin are. - Max Weiner, April 2019

©

Ethic inherited from Kenya

If you want to open new climbs in Kenya, kindly contact the Mountain Club of Kenya (www.mck.or.ke). We'll be happy to help!

Here is our bolting policy, please abide by it: http://mountainclubkenya.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Bolting-Policy.pdf

©

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

Routes

Add route(s) Add topo Reorder Bulk edit Convert grades
Grade Route

Climbs the crack which splits the two sheer faces to the left of the main buttress of Nzaui.

FA: Barry Cliff & Mike Pardoe, 1963

FA: Ian Howell & Iain Allan, 1972

The obvious massive corner to the left of Kingdom Come. The base of the corner begins at a terrace about 20m from the ground. The terrace can be reached from the right where a prominent palm grows at its base.

The first three pitches were likely climbed by Ian Howell but no written record of this exists as far as we can tell. An old rivet and sling with I.F.H. initials (removed) were found on P3.

  1. 30m 17 R. Climb the poorly protected slab to the left of the corner avoiding thick vegetation. Belay at the tree on the right.

  2. 65m 15. Enter the corner and climb around the right side of the protruding boulder. Continue up an easy vegetated gully to the base of an intimidating chimney.

  3. 40m 19. The gorgeous pitch: up the left side of the chimney, and then right along the "Hidden Walkway" to an old protruding rivet (bring your own hanger). Up further through a squeeze left of the chockstone and belay in the large cave. Note: retreat from beyond this point would be very difficult.

  4. 30m 18. Up scoop 8m (unprotected, mudrock) to ledge below overhanging chimney/crack. Up right and continue straight up a steep corner-crack to a small ledge. Belay here on poor rock(?) thread, placing a high piton and anything else that adds confidence (tree roots, faith in a higher purpose etc.)

  5. 30m 20 X. The deal-breaker: continue up the corner, placing gear for purely ornamental reasons. At the top of the corner, traverse right to a solid-looking tree which swings. Up past the tree, another five metres to better tree and belay.

  6. 40m 18. Scramble to the cave and move right into the chimney which is traversed right to the end. From here up to where a step left can be made. Continue straight up through ferns and thorns to the base of a 5 metre pinnacle.

  7. 20m scramble. Left and up through ferns and thorns to the top.

FA: Alex Fiksman & Alex Anderson, 10 Jul 2021

Devious.

The climb is best reached by abseil from the summit. Scramble down the nose to an easy slab. A short piece of rope attached to the lowest tree can provide an abseil point above a vertical drop. Thus a long abseil from the bottom of the easy slab lands on a vegetated terrace. Walk 50m, south turn right and go down to the lowest tree above an overhanging wall; thus a long abseil can be made to slabs below. 2 more long abseils bearing slightly north lead to bottom. Equipment left in place for abseiling might hopefully be retrieved on the way up, or you may be lucky and find Ian Howell's wire cable and sling abseil points. The bottom can be reached by a less pleasant gully south of the vegetated terrace, followed by a long traverse along foot of the cliff. Continue north below a prominent great red overhang and after a grassy bay the foot of the slabs is reached.

An easy slab near tree, then a short bulge to a wide grassy terrace. The slabs proper start above (30m). A hard move is made to get up a short steep wall to gain a ledge by a difficult step right. Move across ledge right-wards to a small tree; now climb straight up past a small ledge to excellent gargoyle belays on the wall above; semi-hanging stance (40m), rope sling. Either traverse steeply down and right, or go down to a tiny ledge and hence gain a sweep of undulating slabs to right. Go up these, first trending right, then left. Finally move left and up to tiny trees on a ledge system above; a totally unprotected pitch (45m, IV), wire cable. Aim diagonally right to gain a tree belay below an overhanging red wall (40m).

Traverse left then gain with difficulty a higher slab level. Climb to a tiny corner just left of the overhanging wall, at top of the slab. Take corner to finish awkwardly on grass left (40m), wire cable.

A scramble follows to the vegetated final step on the nose. Climb a left-trending line of weakness, then straight up to reach 2 bolt belays; do not trend right on any part of this pitch (30m). Now go up diagonally right over a very steep wall to easy slab finish (25m).

Hardly any equipment need be carried on this climb as there is little opportunity to use it. Pegs are of no assistance.

(source Andrew Wielochowski)

FA: Ian Howell & Iain Allan, 1973

100meters of bliss on the left side of Nzaui - the big orange corner.

Scramble up the initial slabs on the far right for about 40m to get to below the headwall. From here climb up a short steep wall for 3m on the left end and move left and drop down onto a big grassy platform.

  1. 40m 14 Traverse upwards and rightwards to the base of the orange corner. Protection maybe be found by digging under grass.

  2. 50m 18 Go up the crack using all techniques you like. Belay at ledge and tree.

  3. 50m 18 Continue up the crack in the same way, moving out onto the slab at the first corner and then back in. Belay round the second corner at the tree.

Great protection which just appears where needed. Standard Kenyan bush climbing rack up to DMM No4, less the panga and doom.

Descent - First party walked to further up to the base of the slabs above and traversed (climbers) left to a gully where a short (in height) game path leads to a bigger path down the gully.

A better option might be to either -

Abseil off the belay trees.

or

Climb/scramble/bushwack directly to the left of the final tree onto the top of the orange face and move left and abseil down the obvious chimney left of the climb.

FA: A. Fiksman (fiks) & climbingfish, 27 Feb 2022

Did you know?

Did you know that you can create an account to record, track and share your climbing ascents? Thousands of climbers are already doing this.

Share this

Activity

Check out what is happening in Nzaui.

Deutsch English Español Français Italiano 한국어 Português 中文