Fischer's Cliff




This is the long low cliff to the right of Fischer's Tower as one enters Hell's Gate from the Elsa gate. The best climbing on this crag is at the right end where fine crack problems exist. These climbs range from 9 m to 18 m in length and have bolted anchors (placed by the British military some years ago). The rock above these cracks deteriorates quickly. All the cracks in this area have been climbed (led) free. It is an excellent area for beginners and when the weather is unsettled.


Access issues inherited from Hell's Gate

The cliffs are located within the National Park, you need to pay entrance and abide by park rules.



Enter from Elsa's gate and the clff is hard to miss on the right. A small track leads off the main road and you can park close to the base.


Ethic inherited from Hell's Gate

No bolting unless you're doing a new route (then please check with the MCK that it is a new route beforehand).


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


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Near the left hand end of the cliff a grassy gully runs up the wall, and from its top a rampline runs right-handed up the wall. Start at a tree at the foot of a grassy gully just right of the top of the bay. Up the gully to a pale wall. Right up cracked slab onto ramp. Walk up ramp. Take top wall by crack along extension of rampline. Not a very satisfying climb.

FA: P.Snyder & K.Tungett, 1971

The section of Fischers Cliff perpendicularly opposite Fischer's Tower is probably the highest section of clean rock. Gashing this face is a long diagonal cave which The Chute follows. This climb is to the left of The Chute at an obvious crack along a break in the overhangs. Start a few feet further left at a peg crack running up then left to a niche. (Painted "S").

  1. 11 m Climb this crack to a niche.

  2. 15 m From the niche step right onto rib. Climb this until it is possible to step right across a shallow groove to another rib. Ascend this, (peg runner), then step right again and up to a belay below the overhangs.

  3. 27 m Just right of the belay is a square cut groove going through the overhangs. Climb this then left at the next overhang, over some vegetation and then easily up broken rocks to the top.

FA: Ian Howell & R.F.Higgins, 1968

Start left of The Chute where a narrow crack breaks through the bulge.

  1. 23 m Climb crack then move left and continue up crack for 12 m. Move left and up wall to belay in niche. Peg belay.

  2. 31 Just right of the belay is a square cut groove through the overhang. Climb this then left at the next overhang. Up broken rock to top.

FA: Ian Howell & Brian Thomas, 1975

Immediately opposite Fischer's Tower there is an area of clean rock, where there is a prominent diagonal cave. Below this feature there is a shallow square cut chimney at ground level. (Painted C).

  1. 21 m Up the chimney then step right by good hold. Cross left above chimney into crackline leading to bottom of chute. Up to the top of chute. Tension left from a peg to good ledge and peg belay. There is a peg in place at the end of Pitch 1, where most parties abseil off (as of the old guidebook).

  2. 34 m Step left and enter bulging crack. Up cave and exit left. Climb wall above. Severity: 5

FA: Ian Howell & R.F.Higgins, 1968

Just to the right of the crag's highest part, the cliff dips. Start at foot directly beneath the dip and to the right of a purple-coloured rock. (Arrow and painted "A"). The route ascends the groove to the left and beneath point of roof. Climb to foot of roof using one peg for aid. Now peg round right point of roof and up groove to the left. Peg belay at top of this groove. Now hard moves can be made up to the left. Peg right, where a pull up can be made to a sloping ledge. Now move up ledge and step right to good ledge. Climb easier rock above to a prominent flake and step right into vegetated crack. Now climb up to top, an etrier being used to surmount final overhang.

FA: Iain Allan & A.Walker, 1968

Start 18 m right of Arual at some large blocks just left of some bushes. Sling visible at 6 m.

  1. 18 m (Crux) From the top of the highest boulder move up and swing onto good ledges (peg runner). Gain the slab on the left and traverse left to a peg belay about 13 right of a chimney line. Peg for aid in place.

  2. 18 m Straight up behind the belay to a peg in place which is used to swing left into the chimney. Follow this for a few feet and then traverse easily right to blocks. (Just right of start).

  3. 15 m Gain the bird's nest to the right, marked white, (thread runner). Traverse horizontally left for 5 m then straight up finishing directly above start.

FA: R. Black & H. Black, 1971

Start 46 m right of the last route in a bay where the lowest half is conspicuously white and the top a crumbling overhang. Scratched "S".

  1. 11 m Climb 2 m up a yellow vertical arete, traverse 2 m right, climb groove then traverse back 2 m left and up 3 m to a good stance and thread belay.

  2. 23 m Traverse left 6 m along a ledge which is a continuation of the stance, then diagonally up and left by a bush to a shallow cave. From the cave finish to top of crag by easy but rather loose scrambling up diagonally right or on sounder but more difficult rock up to the left.

FA: I.Sandilands, J.Hull & A.Owen, 1968

Start 14 m Left of Bloodline, (chipped "S").

  1. 17 m A short crack leads to a niche on the left. Exit right to a thread runner and traverse diagonally left across slabs to below a crack which leads to a ledge and peg belay.

  2. 22 m Traverse left for 9 m until a perched block is reached. Climb straight up for 1.5 m then diagonally right until one can move back left to a ledge and belay.

  3. 6 m Easy ground.

FA: R. Black & H. Black, 1971

Start 6 m left of Bloodline on polished slabs below a jagged crack filled with sticks leading to a small hole containing a bee-hive. This route was climbed by direct aid from sticks pounded into the crack by Dorobo honey gatherers sometime late in 1971. It is awaiting its first graded ascent.

FA: Dorobo Honey Hunters

Start at a yellow wall where the cliff bulges out from a blunt rib. Painted "BO". Climb ramp to steep wall and peg up crack for 15 m to ledge in notch. Continue pegging over roof and traverse right 3 m to ledge. Belay. Now free to top, first right and then straight up.

FA: R.F.Higgins & Iain Allan, 1968

FFA: A. Fiksman, 8 Nov 2012

12 m right of Bloodline is a shallow cave, dry and quite suitable for bivouac in the rains. 30 m further right is another shallow cave, tetrahedral-shaped. Along this wall are a number of very technical boulder problems, most of which remain dry during rains and provide an interesting diversion in bad weather.

Start about 180 m right of Bloodline, below a tree at 3 m, Painted "DR". Up to tree then left to block ledge. A peg is now necessary to move up and over to the right into a crack by a flake. Move up rightwards towards broken gully and then the wall on the left end of a large grassy ledge. There is a crack above and a buttress on the left; climb this buttress to the top.

FA: Iain Allan & J.Sinclair, 1968

Start 12 m right of Desperation Row on a black ledge below a widening crack, chipped "T". Climb the crack, peg for protection. Step right across top of pillar and swing right onto block across groove. Move up left into corner groove and swing up to exit left. Up ramp to belay. Abseil from pinnacle left or finish up easily.

FA: P.Snyder & S.Thumbi, 1972

Start in a corner to the right of Trapeze, painted "O".

  1. 25 m Climb the corner and move 3 m right to a broken corner. Up this corner over a series of three short walls and through a notch onto the band of broken rock and earth. Straight up to ledge and block belay.

  2. 35 m. Traverse left along ledge 18 m to a flake chimney. Up this and scramble up gully above to finish.

FA: Members of the Mountain Rescue Team, 1972

Start 8 m left of The Tish on a large block.

  1. 8 m Up crack using 5 pegs.

  2. Move right 1.5 m then free up to large crack between main wall and loose looking boulder on block, for 4 m.

  3. From good stance on block climb up to overhang on pegs. Up dirty crack for 5 m until a scramble over loose rock can be made to belay on pinnacle. Climb direct to top for 24 m.

FA: M. Savage, 1972

Start a couple of metres right of O, by a painted "T". Climb wall on left of pillar by using a nut sling to where the rock bulges and the wall on the right has large cracks. Move up this wall by making a long leg stretch over onto a block ledge. Traverse left to foot of crack mentioned at the end of Desperation Row. Climb this to top.

FA: Iain Allan & J.Sinclair, 1968

Start 6 m right of The Tish, where a sharp-edged crack splits a south-facing wall 2 m out from a corner. Beware of loose rocks in the top of crack.

FA: S.Thumbi, 1972

FFA: P.Snyder, 1972

Start 6 m right of Linament in a shallow square cut groove, chipped "G". Climb straight up the groove to a tree at 18 m. Belay and abseil.

FA: P.Snyder & R.Black, 1971

Start just right of Grotto. Climb up some roots at 3 m. Bear left to a tree.

FA: R. Black & H. Black, 1971

Start 6 m right of Grotto in a recess behind some fallen boulders, painted "CS".

  1. 15 m Up 9 m to a ledge, then traverse right to a small tree and up to good belays on the right.

  2. 39 m Up to the left of a little tree on a small pillar above and onto broken rock; traverse diagonally right and up a short leftwards sloping groove in a little wall above.

FA: M.Savage & A.Atkinson, 1968

Up the crack/chimney on the right of Carnaby Street, which is slightly overhanging.

FA: R. Black & H. Black, 1905

Climb the cracks in the nose left of After Eight, direct to belay to 15 m. Finish as for Carnaby Street.

FA: R.Pillinger, C.Powell & S.Pillinger, 1969

The large crack turns into an overhanging hand crack that ends at two bolts.

Start in a corner crack 12 m right of Carnaby Street, scratched "AE". Climb corner crack until it is possible to move left by large blocks to join Carnaby Street, at belay.

FA: R.J.H Chambers & party, 1969

The crack just right of After Eight. Climb the arete for a few feet until a step right can be made into the crack. Follow this until a traverse left around an arete can be made into After Eight at the level of the blocks; or abseil from peg in place at top of the crack.

FA: R.Black, 1970

Start in the second shallow groove right of Tisa, scratched "Q". Climb the groove and wall for 8 m; step left and follow crack to niche. Abseil or climb down Tisa with upper belay peg in place.

FA: P.Snyder & R.Black, 1971

Start right of Queensway under hanging blocks, chipped "G". Up and slightly right under roof. Reach over block for hold and swing up hand traversing a few feet right. Mantleshelf onto ledge. Secure position with runner. Follow crackline up to jugs on the left wall which lead to polished ledge. Move up and left on polished blocks to a pinnacle belay. Abseil.

FA: P.Snyder & D.Karinga, 1972

Start in a slabby corner 6 m right of Hernia. Climb the shallow corner to good holds and the steep flake crack to finish left of the blocks at the traverse line.

FA: R. Black & H. Black, 1970

The crack 1.5 m right of Doddle is capped by an overhang at 6 m. The route follows the crack. Climb the crack to the roof which is passed on the right. Traverse left across block and round the arete until polished cracked slabs can be easily followed to the traverse line.

FA: R. Black & H. Black, 1970

Just right of Sword of Damocles, and up the left side of the twin pillars. A steep jamming crack with some protection.

FA: Phillips & I.D. Sandilands, 1969

Next right from Lot’s Mistress. The steep jamming crack between the pillars, with no resting place and no protection.

FA: R. Pillinger & T. Phillips, 1969

The bulging crack right of the pillars; strenuous but well protected with nuts.

FA: R. Pillinger & T. Phillips, 1969

Begin on a series of delicate moves on the right-hand face of the shallow corner. Use both the crack in the corner and the right-hand face and arete to move up past three hammered pitons and five aid bolts to anchors on top of arete. Micros and small nuts or clip old aid bolts

Begin in the shallow corner just right of the arete in front of #7. The groove left of the hanging gardens. Climb the left-side, hand-sized crack in the shallow double corner to a hammered pin at 6m. Continue up slightly overhanging crack to anchors at top of left-side arete.

FA: T. Phillips, J. Kelly, R. Pillinger & R. Chambers, 1969

Awesome climb with a variety of moves. Begin on the clean slab in between Flying Dutchman and BabylonThrutch. Delicate moves on tiny holds for 3 m leads to small crack. Continue up sharp finger crack that widens into a hand crack to anchor on top of arete on right. Take small stoppers and a full set of Friends.

The twin cracks right of the hanging gardens. The upper part is hard as the obviously rotten jug on the left is ignored.

FA: T. Phillips, H. Lather & J. Kelly, 1969

The next corner right. Well protected and easier than it looks. The top overhang is turned on the right, whereupon an exit left can be made.

FA: T. Phillips, H. Luther & J. Kelly, 1969

The next jamming crack with a narrowing in the middle. The narrowing is hard to pass and the top is still hard.

FA: Ian Howell & R. Pillinger, 1969

The left of twin cracks in the next square corner. Probably the easiest of the jam cracks, though awkward to start. Climbed on a rope, but has since been led.

FA: R. Pillinger, Ian Howell, R.F. Higgins & A. Walker, 1969

The shallow chimney with the guillotine blade shaped chockstone. The easiest climb of the whole group - pleasant.

FA: I.D. Sandilands & R. Pillinger, 1969

Begin in a very shallow corner in between #’s 2.5 and Guillotine Groove. Climb the needle-thin crack-line for 10m, then delicately traverse to the anchors of Guillotine Groove. Small holds, tricky moves, no protection. Toprope from anchors of Guillotine Groove.

Begin just around the left side of the arete from Bouboulinas Street. Climb the left-leaning corner up a variety of moves to a fixed pin at 5m. Move into a rightward layback and climb to 10m. Move around arete to the anchors of Bouboulinas Street on right. Poor protection; best done on toprope from Bouboulinas Street.

5 m right of Guillotine Groove is a slab which contains a crack which narrows and closes at 8 m. Climb the crack for 6 m and step right to a ledge. Climb the thin crack on the right until the peg is reached.

FA: R.J. Black, 1970

About 24 m right of Bouboulinas Street are large fallen blocks and the wall is in giant steps (Painted ’SC").

  1. 15 m Climb steps and belay on the pointed pillar below a little groove.

  2. 21 m Climb the groove to broken rock and up the flake chimney above.

Start at blocks 17 m right of Staircase. (Chipped "B"). Take blocks and a problematical crack moving left handed to join Staircase at the pointed pillar.

FA: P. Snyder, 1972

Start at cairn about 137 metres right of Guillotine Groove.

  1. 16 m Climb up and bear diagonally left until one can climb straight up to a large ledge.

  2. 6 m Traverse right over easy rock to exit.

FA: R. Black & H. Black, 1905

146 metres right of Guillotine Groove is a prominent nose of rock high up. 27 m yards further right a red slab comes down to the ground making a slight angle with the main wall. Above is a baboon cave (9 m). Climb the wall rightwards on good holds until a ledge is reached after 3 m. Move up and back left to the foot of a wall with a slight crack. Climb this until a move can be made into the cave! Traverse easily right and then straight up.

FA: R. Black & H. Black, 1970


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