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Second ascent of African Light, Mlema3, Mozambique

 

By Mike Mason

After two weeks of travel, dodging anti-Check Republic red tape, a small Japanese car designed as a moms taxi pulled off a ‘gravel highway’ just outside Malema town in Northern Mozambique. Fillip, David and myself unfolded ourselves to take in an eyeful of Alard and Mark’s route, African Light. 

Fillip Silhan and David Stastny had come all the way from the Check Republic to attempt a new route up Mlema 3, after having seen pictures of the rock face on the Internet. I had met them in Johannesburg and they asked me if I would like to join them on their trip. 

Standing at the base of Mlema 3 the giant roof system crossing the 700m east face inspired us to start sorting gear immediately. By that evening we were ready to climb- beer, food, cigarettes and some gear.

The first day was thin climbing on vegetated slabs and corners to bundu ledge. We had enough daylight left to fix ropes up the next 2 pitches, past the spectacular Clean Crack.

The dinner of pilchards and shmoodles (a mixture of smash and 2 minute noodles) was not a good idea. We all greeted the morning with food poisoning.(the pilchards were off) It took us 3 hours to haul the pigs up our two fixed pitches. After a nap on walk the plank ledge, we grabbed a litre of water each and ran up the last 7 pitches of dreamy slabs to the summit, leaving the haul bags on the ledge.

We made it back to the haul bags by sunset and were in the bar by midday the next day. Big fat rain clouds signalling the rainy season chased us back across the plains to Malawi, forcing us to leave hundreds of unclimbed domes behind and all the joys of African immigration bylaws to look forward to.

 

David Stastny (Chech Republic) , Mike Mason (South African) and Fillip Silhan (Czech Republic) on summit of Mlema3 after completing 2nd ascent of African Light. 

 

 

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