The second of three posts about climbing Mount Roraima: Hike up Roraima, Top of Roraima, Hike down Roraima
Once we’d reached the summit there was barely a pause for breath or photos as we made the painful 40 minute walk to the camp site.
Contrary to our expectations the top was far from flat, with strange shapes eroded by both wind and water forming peaks and troughs, the latter occasionally filled to become streams. The single narrow path over the soft rock was clearly marked by lines of sand worn away by years of weary hikers. Much unwanted walking and climbing later we reached the camp-site, a cave system in the side of a smaller peak.
Tents and beds sorted we heard the porters call us for dinner. Our celebration of climbing a mountain was somewhat tempered by receiving a thin soup of pasta and onions. Assuming this was a starter I limited myself to one small bowl only to discover that that was the entire meal. Time to break out the emergency snack supplies: a pack of Oreos between the six of us and the three porters was only a couple each, but still enough to bring us back to the land of the living. Revitalised we walked to the edge of the mountain to dangle our legs over the 2km sheer face and watch the sunset over Venezuela.
Finding our way back across the uneven ground was somewhat trickier in the dark and with little else to do most people turned in at 7pm. This left me alone with the porters who talked me through the spectacularly clear view of the stars.
An early start the following morning saw us split into two groups. Those who wanted to walk 9 hours to the tri-point, the meeting place of Brazil, Venezuela and Guyana, and those of us, myself included who wanted to see everything else the mountain had to offer.
Over the next nine hours we saw a number of spectacles:
The Crystal Valley – pretty, but not the expected 6ft shards of crystal we’d seen in films like The Lost World or Journey to The Centre Of The Earth
The Rivers and Lakes – being way above the clouds the water reflected the clear blue sky
The Jacuzzis – bath shaped holes in the river bed, filled with crystals. We stopped here to wash in near freezing water and dry off in the sun.
Carnivorous Pitcher Plants – these trap insects in their wells and slowly digest them for food
Tiny black frogs – in such isolation these have evolved away from frogs and now run about on all four legs rather than hop.
The Window – more of a ledge than a window, this spectacular spot made the whole climb worthwhile. From here it was possible to lay on the edge and look down a 2000m drop to the jungle below. Ledges on both sides of the outcrop let you feel you were hovering over the jungles of either Brazil or Guyana, all the while providing views above the clouds of the next three tepuys.