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Chambe’s East Face: Rock Climbs

Continuing with a current Mulanje theme…

I am not a rock climbing person. If you are and you are reading this post then please bear that in mind. Mulanje Mountain certainly looks, to the uninitiated, like a rock climbers paradise. I am sure that it is.

Ruth on a little bridge near Chambe Hut with the rock climbs in the background. I remember this stream being surrounded by pine forest.

One of the pleasures of staying at France’s Cottage or Chambe Hut is the morning view of the sunshine on Chambe’s East Face. (The West Face on the opposite side has the longest rock climb in Africa). With Frank Eastwood’s Guide to the Mulanje Massif you can sit on a rock and examine clearly the eight rock climbs on the East Face that his guide book covers (the book is a general guide to the Mulanje Massif but has a rock-climbing section). I thought while sitting there that I would compare what I see in his book with the rock face and take photos of each of the climbs. Here is the result.

Of course you will need to get the book, available in all good Malawi bookshops, if you want the details of the climbs.

Left to right while facing the East face you first have South Monolith Route (SM). 1,000 ft (300m). Grade 5.

South Monolith. Check the following picture for the route.

Hopefully you can see the route here and on the clearer photo above. When you arrive in Malawi get Frank Eastwood's book for the climb details.

Secondly there is Gordon’s Gully (GG). 1,000 ft (300m). Grade 5.

Gordon's Gully is a thin 'crack' that you can see about one third of the way from the far left of the photo. You can just see it's start above the vegetation. Relationship to the trees below is clearer in the photo in the book (below).

Gordon's Gully is the 'GG' on the left of the picture.

Next across is Big Monolith (BM). 2,000 ft (600 m). Grade 4 sup. In the middle is Chambe Direct (CD). 2,000 ft (600 m). Grade 5 sup. Also in the middle is Chambe Direction (CDN). 2,000 ft (600 m). Grade 6 inf. Slightly to the right is Devil’s Staircase (DS). 2,000 ft (600 m). Grade 6 inf. Second last is Beacon Route (BR). 2,000 ft (600 m). Grade 6.

L to R: Big Monolith, Chambe Direction, Chambe Direct, Devil's Staircase and Beacon Route. See below for routes.

Finally, on the far right for those of you climbing with your granny is Easy Street. 900 ft (280m). Grade 4 inf. On the French scale that is only Difficile (yawn). I am sure you can do it with your eyes closed.

Just walk straight along a level off that shoulder. Yawn.

Easy Street. Now remember, it is good to help old ladies to cross the road. Whether they would thank you for helping them over this one I'm not sure.

All of these routes were first climbed in the 1970’s. My guess is that they are not climbed very often these days. You can read a little bit more about this on another post I wrote about on an Introduction to Mulanje.

If you want to come to Malawi to do these and other climbs then get in touch. We may be able to help you to organise your trip.


3 responses

  1. Pingback: Chambe East Face Rock Climbs « Destination Malawi | Rock Climbing

  2. Steven Harris

    Hi. I found this post very interesting. I’m on my way from Kenya to South Africa trying to find a few interesting places to climb along the way. I was searching for rock climbs in Tanzania (where I am just now) and for some reason this came up. The longest climb in Africa immediately grabbed my attention.

    Did you organise your trip to the mountain with a tour company or did you do it yourself? I’m definately interested in getting more info on doing one of the climbs on Chambe.


    October 3, 2011 at 8:29 am

    • Douglas


      Thank you for this. I am going to send you an email.


      October 3, 2011 at 12:13 pm

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