Ascent of Sungwi on 2018-01-22

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Adrian Rayner
Pete Ellis
Sean Casserly -- Trip Report or GPS Track
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, January 22, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
    Elevation:7549 ft / 2300 m

Ascent Trip Report

4 candidates for the ultra summit, all on Peakbagger, all within the error margins of available data sources.

We believe Sungwi (S4.73109° E38.23313° by GPS) is higher. Next summit to NNE we nicknamed One Tree Hill, (Mlomboza aka Dimoya, S4.69670° E38.25170° estimated) is clearly lower when hand levelled from Chambogo West (S4.63007° E38.24383° by GPS) which is c10m lower than Sungwi; Chambogo East (S4.62944° E38.25778° estimated) is probably 1-2m higher than West.

Sungwi is half bush whacking and half nice cool forest. With no trail, and was unknown to our guide, it's unlikely to have had many if any previous ascents, at least by westerners.

After a travel day from Shengena (main T2 highway to Mombo, then a mountain road following a river with some fine waterfalls), we stayed at Muller Mountain Lodge, Lushoto, quite upmarket compared with the last few overnights, nice cool climate. Meeting with our guide the previous evening it was apparent he knew nothing about this peak, but we were able eventually to agree a plan. Next morning he and his two young assistants met us at 6 and we travelled in his Landcruiser. Approached trailhead by a roundabout route, delayed at Viti by a busy market; the more direct approach from SE may have been quicker.

From highpoint of the dirt road, a trail led up through forest, contoured left then stopped. We bush whacked up though scrubby bracken, not too dense, then nice forest, then more bush whacking to the ridge, crossing two rocky summits, then more forest leads via a low and higher summit then a pronounced drop, to the farthest highest easternmost summit (S4.73109° E38.23313°, 2300m GPS). We fail to get a view north, had hoped to hand level the other candidates; we do so from the higher of the two rocky summits, generally supporting the view than Sungwi is probably about 10m higher than the other candidates.

Sungwi/Magambo photos

Descending, 5hr round trip, we have lunch then return to Viti and this time turn L. Short delay due to lots of dumped soil blocking the road, quickly resolved when a grader arrives! The Landcruiser is deftly manoeuvred half a mile up a narrow track saving 100m ascent. The hike up from here is lovely, past mud houses and small fields, then a brackeny ascent, crossing a false summit, then passing L of scrubby woodland to reach rocky summit above cliffs, with excellent view of the various summit candidates; conclusions as stated above. We head down 2h30 round trip, quite a few villagers collecting water at 'our trailhead'.

Back to Mullers Lodge for the night, celebrating 5 successful Tanzanian ultras. Tomorrow a 7hr bus trip back to Arusha, the first hour through impressive mountain scenery, then the main T2 highway north, with its tedious savage speed bumps, which we used on the way down, becoming very hot after mid morning. No aircon, good to have one's own window, and to be aware that Tanzanians don't like too much fresh air! Good though to follow the western edge of the two mountain ranges we've reached the highest point of over the last three days.

With eight of the eleven Tanzanian ultra prominent summits in the bag, it would be good to get the remaining three in the south, sometime.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:848 ft / 258 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 2
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:848 ft / 258 m
    Distance:4.9 mi / 7.9 km
    Start Trailhead:6701 ft / 2042 m
    Time:3 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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