Over the years, British adventure Leo Houlding has undertaken some impressive and awe inspiring expeditions. He’s summited unclimbed peaks in Queen Maud Land down in Antarctica, he’s taken on big rock walls on Baffin Island, and he’s gone up El Capitan in Yosemite. He’s even played Sandy Irvine — opposite Conrad Anker’s George Mallory — in a movie. Now, he’s gearing up for his next big project, one that will take him deep into the heart of the South American jungle, to climb a rock formation located in a place that inspired Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World.
This month, Houlding, along with fellow climbers Anna Taylor, Waldo Etherington, and Wilson Cutbirth, will travel to Guyana to attempt to climb a 600 meter (1968 feet) route up Roraima, a flat-top tepui mountain located in the Amazon rainforest. The massive rock slab sits on the border of Brazil, Venezuela, and Guyana, and remains extremely remote. So much so, that the logistics alone for reaching the place are a significant challenge. Just to get to their starting point, the team will need to trek 50km (31 miles) through the jungle, which is filled with poisonous snakes, biting insects, and oppressive heat and humidity. That hike is expected to take a week to complete with two local Amer-Indian guides leading the way.
Leo and his team hope to climb a completely new route up the Prow of Roraima, which was first climbed by a British expedition back in 1973. They expect that challenge to take roughly a month to complete, so they’ll be having quite a few of food and supplies dropped in at their base camp at the foot of the mountain. Those supply drops will come via helicopter, and the team will have to find and recover them as they get closer to that location. Those same helicopters will retrieve them from the summit once they’ve completed the climb.
Part of the goal of this expedition is to also train two locals on how to climber and use ropes to get up the mountain. If successful, those two individuals will be the first indigenous people from the region to reach the top of Roraima.
The expedition got underway when the Leo and his team left the U.K. back on November 4. On the 8th, the supply drops into the jungle started, and by this weekend, the group hopes to be in base camp. From there, they’ll start the ascent, with an eye on reaching the top by December 5. That gives them 20 days to complete their fee climb.
Stay tuned for updates!