Roraima – To the top of the tepui

With anxious excitement we set off in a 4×4 to Paraitepui, the start of the hike to the summit of Mount Roraima. In our group were Mike, Jacopo, Ricky and Nora, plus our guide Omar and our porter Gabriel. Omar pointed us in the direction of the path and said he would meet us along the way when it was time for lunch. In the meantime he had to look for extra porters to carry our food up. It was a busy weekend being Semana Santa (Easter).

Unloading the truck at Paratepui

Unloading the truck at Paraitepui

The long road to Roraima! It was about 12km (with lots of hills!) to the first camp

The long road to Roraima! It was about 12km (with lots of hills!) to the first camp

We set off energetically, chatting enthusiastically and admiring the fantastic views of Roraima in the distance. It looked very far away! The hikers we met walking in the opposite direction were friendly but mostly looked dead tired and about to collapse. It didn’t deter us or put us off though!

Wout powers up a hill

Wout and Ricky power up a hill

View of the river and Kukenan tepui from the first camp

View of the river and Kukenan tepui from the first camp

We’d been walking for a few hours and it was way past lunch time. We were starving and asked our porter who had caught up (and was only carrying our tents and cooking equipment – no food) where the others were but he didn’t know. We carried on and eventually reached the first camp where we dropped our bags and went for a swim and a wash in the nearby river. We were surprised to find a little shack selling beers and arepas which were most welcome! A couple of hours later our guide finally arrived and cooked us a delicious dinner of fried chicken, rice and salad. Before crashing out in our little tents we got to enjoy a canopy view of the night sky with millions of stars beaming brightly from horizon to horizon, it was stunning!

Wout washing his pants!

Wout washing his pants!

Bath time!

Bath time!

Wout at the bar - cold beer was an unexpected surprise!

Wout at the bar – cold beer was an unexpected surprise!

Packing up ready for another day's hiking

Packing up ready for another day’s hiking

The next morning we were up bright and early and after breakfast of doughy empanadas with scrambled eggs, ham and veg, we set off before our guide who again said he would catch up with us. Whoever was in the lead managed to take a path that veered off to the left and after a while it became clear that we were going the wrong way. Not wanting to turn back we made a group decision to carry on and ended up spending the next hour or two wading through rivers, jumping from rock to rock and hacking through foliage up to the height of our shoulders!

Gandalf sets off with his pants hanging out to dry

Gandalf sets off with his pants hanging out to dry

Wet feet all round

Wet feet all round

Lucy and Nora on yet another hill, and finally back on the right trail again!

Lucy and Nora on yet another hill, and finally back on the right trail again!

Eventually we made it to the base camp, exhausted, and again really hungry! Our guide was relieved to see his wayward group and gave us a late lunch of tuna salad sandwiches and lots of orange squash. We hung out our wet shoes and socks to dry in the sunshine and headed down to the river to fill up our water bottles and take a bath. The water was freezing but very refreshing and it would probably be our last chance to wash for a while! That evening it poured down with rain and was getting rather chilly so we really appreciated being brought spaghetti bolognaise for dinner in our tent.

View from our tent, with shoes and socks out to dry

View from our tent, with shoes and socks out to dry

Gabriel heading to the river to do the washing up before packing his basket backpack

Gabriel heading to the river to do the washing up in the morning, before packing his basket backpack

The next morning it was clear again and time for the final big climb, after some filling cheesy arepas for breakfast. Roraima was looming before us intimidatingly and the uphill stretches left us immediately breathless! It was a long and arduous hike, scramble and climb up the mountain but we were rewarded with unbelievable views, and the satisfying feeling that we’d made it! The ascent from base camp was over 800m and included forest, rivers, so many rocks and passing through a waterfall!

A monkey swings through the jungle

A monkey swings through the jungle

Looking up at the mist covered summit

Looking up at the mist covered summit

Now we were there we could enjoy the unique environment covering this mighty tabletop mountain which stands 2700m high on the borders of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana. It covers an area of about 34 square km and is encircled by sheers cliffs of over 500m. The summit is a barren landscape of rocky labyrinths, swamps, streams, strange insects and carnivorous plants.. (to be continued)

Enjoying the views, almost there!

Enjoying the views, almost there!

Our guide taking a nap at the summit

Our guide taking a nap at the summit

For more photos click here

Costs:

The whole trip including a guide and a porter for our tents and food costs 2900 Bolívares each

(Exchange rate: 20 Bolívares to 1 US $ on the black market)

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5 Responses to Roraima – To the top of the tepui

  1. Steven says:

    Hey! Great blog! Super jealous of your epic adventure! I have a couple of questions about the Roraima trek, if that’s ok? You said here that it cost 2900 bolívares and on your other blog entry I think you said the all inclusive option was 4600, so what did you go for in the end? Did you have to register with inparques or did the tour company do that for you? Do you know if it’s possible to rent equipment in Santa Elena (without the tour) and hire a guide in Paraitepui? A nice lady from inparques said that was the cheapest way and meant the most money getting to the Pemón guides – but she’s on holiday now and the others in her office seem to have too many friends with tour companies that want 7000 bolívares!! Also, of the whole trip so far, what do you think has been your favourite bit? Cheers! Steven

    • yesmads says:

      Hi Steven,

      We love questions, so no problem there!
      We opted for the all inclusive option.

      It is possible to just rent equipment in Santa Elena (or bring it yourself) and hire a guide in Paraitepui. The way we did it, Inparques taxes and registration were included. I would only recommend it for people who speak Spanish decent (which wasn’t the case for us) and don’t mind waiting around in Paraitepui.

      Our favourite bit was definitely when we reached the top. The views were astounding and the surroundings so surreal!

      Thanks,

      Wout and Lucy

      • Steven says:

        Hey,

        Thanks for the info! We speak Spanish, but don’t know if we have time to wait in Paraitepui – I guess we’ll have to decide if pontentially saving a few bolívares is worth it. So what was the 2900Bsf price then? I guess that’s gone up since April, but that sounds pretty good to me.

        We’re going in the rainy season, so we might not be so lucky, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that we can get some photos like your main photo at the top. I hope you’re enjoying Mexico!

        Steven

        • yesmads says:

          Hi Steven,

          For 2900Bsf you get to carry everything, including food and equipment, up to the top. You basically only pay for the guide and the park entrance.

          Good luck and have fun! Let us know how you liked it!

          Wout and Lucy

  2. Mattijs says:

    Amazing!! Enjoyed the reading, keep sharing please:)

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