Day 4 : Exploring the karst forest!

Today, we left a little late this morning, at around 9.30am, after removing the dirt and plastic from the camp to make it more or less presentable.

We then did a section of the crossing, which wasn’t necessarily easy, as we had to find the route, which our guide sometimes had a bit of trouble finding.

First we reached a small river, then a second, which we were told was called Torombeo, but is in fact the Latoma, the main affluent that splits in two as if creating an island, then the watercourse ends a little later.

We landed at this camp, left Ime and all our heavier gear, and set off in a small group of 8, carrying smaller bags. The idea is to climb to an advanced camp at around 1200-1400 metres altitude, so that we can attempt the summit of Tangkelemboke the following day.

But things didn’t work out that way…
We set off down this river, got a bit lost, talked and negotiated, and then realised that the famous river we were going up was coming out of the ground and that there was no more water up there, so we shouldn’t have taken it. So we took another option and thought we’d shoot straight up the slope to try and reach the top of the Latoma.

Trek

That’s whar we did. We found a nice little stream with concretions on the slope, so it was a steep climb, a bit of mud, a bit of concretions, a bit of forest that prickled, so it wasn’t always very easy, and above all it was a really steep climb, but it went up quickly…

Then we came to a flat spot a little late, and here we began to realise that the terrain wasn’t easy and that we’d really entered the karstic massif. As a result, this flat area wasn’t passable, so we had a lot of trouble finding our way around. Until we reach the so-called Latoma river, which doesn’t exist because it’s underground, as we feared it might be at this altitude (950m).

As we had almost run out of water and felt that the summit was no longer attainable, we decided to turn back, taking an even more complicated route, which took us back to more or less where we started, in the same little river with the concretions. Once we were back at the bottom, we followed the stream so as not to risk getting lost.

Entrance to the karstic massif

We reached Ime at 8pm. It’s dark earlier under the forest canopy. The walk was really tough all the way up and down, and we even did a bit of climbing, but no one broke anything or got hurt. Everything’s fine.

We had a shower and a meal, and Ime was happy to have us back. We’ve got a great camp here, and tomorrow morning it’s back to the pass!

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