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The Lost Mountain: Expedition to Northern Mozambique

Author: Sarah Garlick

November 19, 2012

When non-climbers ask why I climb, I often give them what I think of as my Zen answer, essentially that climbing is way to experience perfect alignment of body, mind, and nature. It sounds totally flakey, I know. But it’s also true.

But another truth about why I climb has less to do with actual climbing and more to do with adventure. For me, climbing is a tool—a mechanism—for exploring the wild corners of the planet. Last year it brought me to an unpronounceable island on the southern tip of Greenland. We only climbed four days in four weeks, but we still managed to establish a new free route on a beautiful wall. Now I’m heading out once again to Boston’s Logan Airport with a van full of enormous expedition duffels. Next stop: Mozambique.

My friend Majka Burhardt and I are setting out on a reconnaissance expedition to Mount Namuli, a 900-meter granite dome in the wildlands of northern Mozambique. Joining us is our friend Paul Yoo, a documentary filmmaker from Los Angeles, and Werner Conradie, a biologist from South Africa. Our mission is twofold: to scout the wall for climbing potential and to help scientists survey the cracks and recesses of Namuli’s massive granite face for new species of life.

The months of research and planning are over. Now it’s time to put the wheels in motion and see where this adventure leads. Will we find the new species of Forest Viper that is believed to be lurking in the rainforest along Namuli’s base? If we do, I sure hope it’s on Werner’s watch and not mine. Will we find a free-climbable route up the steep expanse of granite? Here’s hoping…

Their website, The Lost Mountain Film

Sarah Garlick

Sarah Garlick got her start bouldering in Lincoln Woods, Rhode Island in the late ’90s, and has since gone on to explore mountains and crags around the world. She’s put up first ascents in Newfoundland, Greenland and Jordan, and has climbed alpine rock peaks in Patagonia, Peru and the Canadian Rockies. Still, the traditional granite climbing at her home cliffs in New Hampshire is her favorite. Trained as a geologist and writer, Sarah’s book, Flakes, Jugs & Splitters: A Rock Climber’s Guide to Geology, won the 2009 Banff Mountain Book Award. Sarah currently serves as the Northeast Regional Coordinator for the American Alpine Club. She lives in North Conway with her husband, climber and filmmaker Jim Surette, and their son Oliver.