Thankfully managing to get a few more hours sleep before sunrise was possible after smoke episode..
Luckily we didn't have to take any bags up with us to the summit as we come down via Chistepoe hut. We headed off with our German friend.
To begin with all was well, much like previous days, although slightly steeper. A few breaks were needed on the way. Stage 2 involved some seriously dangerous stuff. Paths an steps soon disapeared and sheer rock faces at ridiculous angles appeared, we ha ti traverse and climb up these!! Due to the rain and dew that early in the morning this was almost impossible. Thinking that any step could result in a slip which was certain broken leg territory since we were so high and on such an angle there would be no stopping yourself! Getting worse and worse, clinging to any piece of grass tuft like it was going to save your life, which it indeed could have.
Almost event free, we made it too stage 3. Almost event free because at one stage our guide Simon slipped and lay as flat as he could to the rock but due to poor footwear carried on slipping down past me, I managed to grab him and stop his momentum enough for him to grab onto a tuft if grass beneath me.
Stage three was much more fun. Just as steep but more
Like rock climbing at the beach, choosing your own route, jumping, scrabbling and rock climbing up things you would usually think twice about. Much more enjoyable, for me anyway.
Finally we reached the summit SEPITWA 3004m, in 2 hours! Felt like it was a new record.
Stunning! On top of the mountain looking down in the whole of southern Africa (felt like it anyway). I made it to the top first with a jog to the raised piece of concrete donning the official mountain plaque.
Few photos later and after some celebratory nuts, we started out decent. By the time we made it back to the dangerous area the sun had dried the rocks enough to give slightly better grip. Some bum shuffling later we made it back to the hut. After having no breakfast that morning except nuts at summit we ate the last of our supplies and ate bread and peanut butter and drank plenty of stream water which was back to it's clear colour again.
Poor German chap was having real problems with his knees and took a lot longer than us to get to the hut with his separate guide. He didn't even stop for lunch since he knew how long it would take him to get down with his knees in this state and he also needed to catch a bus by late afternoon.
We set off 30-40 mins after and soon caught him up. We steamed on past after a shake and bye's.
Mt Mulanje was apparently where Tolkein got his inspiration for lord of the rings from, even the hobbits, there used to be small people whom lived up on the mountains plateau. This place was amazing so many different landscapes in such a relatively small area. Grassy planes, rocky hillsides, luscious oasis's, thick ancient forests, swamps and even acres and acres of dry burnt landscape.... Amazing really.
Up until now I had been pleased with Toms lack of winging and moaning. Admittedly I thought he would be a lot worse and apart from the occasional rant it moan from behind as we've been making slow progress up a steep slope or two.
On the way down, admittedly it was very painful on the knees, something nether of us had anticipated, but he didn't stop grunting, cursing and moaning the whole way down!! Aahhhhh
We made it to Likibula pools on the way down, huge waterfall and lovely plunge pools. I hadn't got any swim shorts and loads of locals around so couldn't go in birthday suit so just watched Tom have a paddle around.
Once we made it to the bottom we settled up with Simon, then headed back to collect rucksack, worry about money, eat then sleep..