Type: Sport, 1450 ft (439 m), 7 pitches, Grade III
FA: James Garrett and Richard Ford, 28 November 2018
Page Views: 1,152 total · 36/month
Shared By: James Garrett on Dec 2, 2018

You & This Route

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The NW Face of Chambe in the Mulanje Massiv is impressive on all counts to say the least. High quality granite mostly devoid of crack systems typical for a lot of African granite abounds. Chambe is two Half Domes stacked on top of each other with a massive ledged exotic wooded forest in the middle.
Two very hard sparsely bolted routes were put up by a French team in 2014 and were repeated by  a strong South African Team.
Active American climber Joe Forrester and partner Jeremy accomplished a trad ascent of the lower and upper walls with a bivy on the midway ledge in 2010.
Prior to these climbs, local Frank Eastwood has a plethora of long trad first ascents throughout Malawi and in the Mulanje area. His Guidebook (now out of print, but still available in some Blantyre book shops)  can be helpful for researching climbs and hikes from the 70s and 80s. None are bolted and few have been repeated.
We set out during a short weather window at the beginning of the rainy season to put up a long, well protected, moderately rated climb that might match the popularity potential of similar climbs in Namibia and Madagascar.

Find a large pointed triangular rock feature at the base of this broad wall. A local porter/ Guide named Witness knows it well and will lead you directly to it. Ruth, the owner of the Hikers Nest Hostel ( a great bivy with excellent meals, btw) can contact him and handle all of your logistical needs.

The people of Malawi are wonderful and welcoming. Mulanje is a mere 60km from Blantyre and when I go next time, I won’t even bother with a rental car.

Find a line of bolts following a white streak to the right of the pointy rock.

Pitch #1: Climb the Slab up delightful rock on the white streak with great movement to a nice ledge and two bolt belay. 5.7, 60m, 14 bolts.

Pitch #2: Follow the bolts straight up the compact slab between the grass tufts to another two-bolt belay. 5.7+, 55m, 14 bolts.

Pitch #3: Continue up the obvious swath passing some tricky bulges to a two bolt belay. 5.8, 60m, 13 bolts.

Pitch #4: Climb past about 7 bolts to a lower angle run out section and pass a nice ledge to some thin crimpy moves on black granite with nice quartz bands to another two bolt semi hanging belay. 5.8, 60m, 13 bolts.

Pitch #5: Steep crimpy slab straight up, then trend right back to the white water groove. Sustained quality climbing for this crux pitch to a two bolt belay. 5.9 (+?), 60m, 17 bolts.

Pitch #6: Continue straight up the White Streak impeccable granite. Two bolt belay. 5.9, 60m, 13 bolts.

Pitch #7: Follow the bolts to a huge tree and an awaiting oasis like alcove above. Good pitch on excellent rock ending at a two bolt belay at the “oasis”.... a cool shady spot at the base of a vegetated steep headwall. Wall Register left here.... spray away! 5.8, 52m, 6 bolts.

Pitch #8: Surge straight up from the belay Climbing delightful Patina features to an interesting ramp up a corner. Turn the corner to an easy clean slab. Pass a rap station midway and Continue up more slab dotted with tufa-like features to a two-bolt Belay on a rounded ledge. 5.7, 50m, 7 bolts.

As of August 2019, the Rappels are possible with one 60m rope and 30m low drag pitches may be climbed. If this was anywhere else in the climbing world, it would be climbed every day.

Rappel the route with one 60m rope.


Park your vehicle or have Ruth shuttle you over to Vicky’s Seed shop. Catherine, Victor’s sister, generally runs the store and also sells bottled water and an assortment of snacks.

The route is clearly visible from here. Plan for approximately a 1 hour approach on a nice trail passing some of the nicest boulders you may have ever seen!!!... see Ben Rueck’s video!!


Dozen QDs and 6-8 alpine runners/draws/slings. No trad gear placements. One x 60m rope for 14 Rappels. Or with two ropes can be a rappelled in 7.
Drilled on lead.