Leo Houlding has led a team to successfully complete a new free climbed route on an uncharted wall in the Amazon rain forest. In a trip sponsored by Berghaus, the team of six, plus two local guides, climbed a new route overhanging Prow of Roraima in Guyana. Houlding was joined by 21-year-old fellow Berghaus ambassador Anna Taylor, who experienced her first big wall expedition.
Mount Roraima is a 2,810m high flat top mountain that sits on the border between Brazil, Venezuela and Guyana, deep in the Amazon rain forest. It is the location that inspired Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic work of fiction ‘The Lost World’ and more recently the Pixar animated movie ‘Up’. After arriving in South America and arranging a parachute drop of equipment near the base of Roraima, the team completed a 53km trek through pristine, untracked jungle before starting their attempt on the wall.
Just getting to the base of the prow involved “vertical tree wrestling” and crossing a swamp, while also trying to avoid some of the more dangerous local wildlife, such as poisonous snakes, tarantulas and scorpions. Once on the wall, the climbers lived on portaledges hanging hundreds of metres above the jungle, while the tropical climate presented regular deluges of heavy rain. The route up the overhanging wall itself was extremely challenging, with lead climbers Leo, Anna and Wilson each putting in huge shifts to forge the free route that was their main objective.
Leo Houlding comments: “Journeying through this landscape and up the Prow of Mount Roraima with our Amerindian friends was a unique, profound joy. For centuries, their ancestors have told stories of the ‘Mother of the Great Waters’, and there they were, stood atop the summit with their new friends – eight equals, sharing a journey through this sensational environment.”
Anna Taylor adds: “It’s been a wild month with highs and lows – crazy storms, spiders, snakes, scorpions, waterfalls, endless ascents, vertical mud slides, swamps, slime forests, river crossings, countless cuts and bruises, plenty of suffering, bags of exposure, and some pretty amazing pitches of rock climbing. All in all, it’s been the most incredible experience of my life.”