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.
I rarely look for adventure. Adventure finds me. The years of scouring maps and magazines for interesting places are gone. I’m extremely lucky to have wonderful friends across the world who share my passion for travel, as we love to share our experiences. Sibusiso Vilane and myself met many years ago, climbing Carstensz Pyramid in Iran Jaya. Since that day, we have been great friends. Sibusiso has had some wonderful ideas, including cross the Drakensburgs and trekking the Otter Trail. So when he said ‘how about climbing in the Mountains of the Moon in Uganda..?’ I leapt at the chance. The Rwenzori’s were extensively explored during the colonial era and even starred in Rider Haggard adventure books. The Idi Amin era saw much change, but people are back. I have to admit however being surprised when asked to bring Wellington’s as well as an ice axe, crampons and mountain boots..! Continue reading “Uganda 2017 – To the the Mountains of the Moon, and Back… Part 1”