Hot Rock Update

Over the last month and a half we have had such an amazing time I find it hard to put it into words. To save your time and mine I shall list what we have done interspersed with the odd anecdote.May 30 entered into Malawi: Chitimba beach on the side of lake malawi. New routing on 40m Cliffs at the top of a 160m waterfall 4hour walk from the beach. This you had to access by walking behind the falls through a cave system. “The mist hung 50m of from the wall throwing rainbows about the walls, shrouded only occaisionally by lush vegetation.Cape Maclear at the soutern tip of lake malawi: The beach and coast line was perfect and it was hard to rip your self away from it to climb on the unclimbed crags a few km back down the road. Mumbo Island is an hour boat ride from the mainland. We explored its cliffs and inlets by sea kayaks and discoverd perfect high ball deep water bouldering. ” I made it to the top of the route and looked back into the water to find the best spot to jump into. The water although 6m deep only looked a couple of feet as the water was so clear. I was just about to launch when I caught sight of a large animal swimming past my landing area. it was a lizard like animal about three foot long. First making sure that it wasnt a croc I jumped in mask in hand to chase after it. SPLOOSH, the lizard took off obviously greatly alarmed, I tried to keep up. Bollocks lost it. I dipped my head under the water to look around. there I found that the boulder I had just climbed and jumped from had a 5m cave running underneith it, and there its body outlined in clear contrast to the sumlight filtering down from the surface behind it was the lizard! I dived under and into the cave. It took a few swishes of its tail towards me to get a better a look at the aquatic baboon chasing it, not liking what it saw it darted off between rocks.” We developed a total of two crags and Mumbo Island. Also any completed their Padi Diving courses before venturing south towards the Mt Mulanji Massive.Mt Mulanji West Face of Chambe. Some of you may not want to read the next bit, but it happens and it makes things in life sort off slot into quite a different order of importance: ” Steve was ahead of me and we were about 200m from the foot of the head wall. The guide book told us that it was 1100m high but realising the guide books error of calling it meters and not feet was anoying, as we had dragged up with us a stupid amount of kit so as to put a new big route up. The approach slabs we were walking up had great friction and the tussucks stuck onto the surface were as hard as the rock its self. The rock started to steepen and climbing with the sacks was getting hard. It happened in slow motion but the tussuck I was holding hinged out away from the rock. My feet slipped and I started to slip down the face. I couldnt believe what was happening. As the adrenaline bagan to flow I was compltely unaware of the holes being grated into my hands. My feet punched through the first tussock, then hitting a solid one below my heavey pack pulled me off and launched me into space. Looking back i think I fell 6m untill i made contact with the rock again. Landing pack first on my back all air was forced from my lungs. I then started to bounce/roll, going by the number of cuts on my elbow I bounced three times each time landing on my back. I suddenly came to a stop, not really having a clue what had happened I tried to get some air into my lungs. Ste, Stev, still with not enough air in my lungs to shout I waited. I took adeep breath, STEVE I have taken a bit of a tumble. He replied and was on his way down. My hands were frantically tracing the lines of my limbs trying to find the enevitable broken bone, but I found nothing. I Felt for cuts, and with only finding a few a wondered where all the blood was coming from. My face was numb but could feel no cuts. Then my fingers found the culprit a big flap under my chin. Feeling exceptionally lucky I straitend my limbs into some sort of familier pattern and walked to the edge of the slab slumped to the floor and looked back at my 20m tumble, and wandered why I had stopped where I did. The result of all this was a few cuts and grazes and I think a couple of broken ribs. We slept out under the stars at the foot of the main wall and walked back down the next day.While this was happening the others had been busy on the East face putting up a new 550m E2. Steve now without a climbing partner packed again and put up a new 600m E3 done solo taking two days with a night on the portaledge.21 June All feeling very happy we decided to have a bit of a party at Blantyre before heading across Mozambique into Zimbabwe. after we left a week later a friend of ours over heard a conversation while drinking at the same bar…. ” Had this group of climbers in the other week, what a great bunch best lot we have had in here since I can remember.” Makes me feel very proud when you here feed back like this.23 JuneWe rough camped off the side of the road as it was now dark. The day had been long we had crossed Mozambique and were now in Zimbabwe. Knowing the area was full of rock we thought it best to stop in case we drove past hidden gems of unclimbed crags. The morning brought with it an incredable view. There was unclimbed granite domes and walls as far as the eye could see, all we had to do was take our pick!Mt Dema is a 120m high dome with imaculate granite walls and cracks, we decided to stay there for the next week putting up 15 routes varying from VS to E4 with a fantastic 115m sport line taking afeatured wall that went at F7a. While we were climbing one of us had their bag stolen. It amazingly turned up as a local was seen and caught cutting wood wearing a fleece a rip curl watch and fancy new pair of sun glasses, he looked a bit out of place. I went in to complete a statement at the local police station. Hitching a ride in with two police and the two crooks, and having to pay for their bus fares all seemed a bit strange. We left the station and had to return back to the tiny village we were based in. The evening was capped off perfectly with the following….The akward silence was broken.”You can get a girl in there for the whole night” Exclaimed the head of the police pointing to the bar accross the road. Not really knowing the response he was after and not wanting to come across rude I extended the conversation. “Oh, how much would it cost?” He replied waith a broad smile accross his face, obviously very proud. “700 Zim Dollars” If you are unaware of the economic state that Mugabe has put Zimbabwe in, then perhaps this will help. For the same price of pint in a london Bar you would be able to get two of head of police´s girls, two pieces of chicken and a couple of beers to wash it down with. As we drove off in the bus the head of police shouted to me. ” Alice (his favourite) is also very good to change money with on the black market” Not really seeing his advise to be that wise, girl or money, we decided it best to stay clear of Zimbabwe´s police force as much as we can.1st July Shamu: A small crag 70km East of harare again saw more new route being completed this time raning all the way up to E5.The total as it stands now is over 70 new routes that we have completed on the trip, Not Bad really.Have to go as we are now in Harare and the cinema is showing a 12:30 showing of “Kiss of the Dragon”, Fantastic.Dave