We left the Bujuku Hut at 4am in our attempt to summit Mt. Speke 4890m (16.042ft). Initially the terrain was thick bog and undergrowth, but this gave way to more open ground as the sun tried to break through the dense clouds. We ascended a large scree field suffering faltering disability, reaching the ridge early morning. This is where our problems began. Thick rime ice had plastered the rocks, making what should have been a challenging scramble, impassable. The only way we could summit was to circumnavigate the peak and approach it from the opposite side. It’s all sounds so easy to read it here, but what followed was a two-hour slog up and down scree scattered boulders and exposed edges. At least the clouds broke occasionally and allowed extensive views over the range and the tongue of the Ruwenzori Glacier. This ice used to allow easy access to Ruwenzori Peak, but its retreat has made any ascent of the mountain a real challenge. Few ever venture there now because of the loose rock and unstable ridge.
The finale of 2014 was, for me a difficult time. I was exhausted, both physically and mentally to a level where I felt truly lost. I had recently been reported missing in the avalanches of Annapurna, but as with most major disasters, I coped well enough. It was the pace of my day-to-day life which had ground me down. 2015 had to be better… Continue reading “2015 – A Year for Europe…”
Mountaineering and Speaking come together in many different ways. Usually we climb mountains, have adventures, then go and speak about them. We write books, sign photos and give media interviews, but the strangest combinations can exist…
The British countryside is suffering a major problem – congestion. This ‘green and pleasant land‘ as William Blake put it, is becoming more Goretex than grass, more litter than landscape and more car park than copse. The major problem is not only the sheer number of people (UK – 609 per sq mile against Poland at 328 and Spain at 210), but also because of their desire to use the outdoors. Though we all have a right to go out and enjoy ourselves, we have no right to cause damage. As a Leave No Trace Trainer, I do everything I can to protect the countryside I live in and enjoy. One of the seven principles of Leave No Trace is ‘travel and camp on durable surfaces‘.