Tororo & Sipi

By Charlie Langan, July 2012

The Club set out for Tororo rock having heard of its potential as a climbing spot. Tororo is approx 4 hrs along the main road to Kenya and the rock is quickly visible on the approach into the town. The rock is reached by heading into the centre of town and then turning right at the central roundabout, and about a 1 km later another right turn is taken towards the golf course. The rock has an old cable car for servicing the radio towers on the top of the rock, however it was out of order when the Club visited.

The rock is approached beside the golf course next to a large cave, which has some good bouldering. To climb the rock, a steep path leads up from the cave. Entry is negotiable, apparently official permits from the local council are 20 k, but you can discuss this with the askari. The climb takes approx 45 mins, finishing with a few metal ladders to yield great views of the surrounding area, up to Elgon in the north and there is a metal shelter to escape storms that roll in off the plains. The rock has a number of climbing routes the club explored in 90s, but these were not attempted this time.

The road between Tororo and Mbale is pretty bad with more potholes than tarmac. However the road was beginning to be upgraded and it takes about 3 hrs with a slight detour. Sipi sits on top of a large cliff face that the road bends around with the waterfall in the middle. There are all types of places to stay along the road from the up-market Sipi River Lodge to a number of camping and budget traveller options. The Club has favoured a place called Twightlight; is super cheap, has a few nice bandas to stay in if people don’t have tents and has some of the best views of the falls. It is off to the left as you come into Sipi and Crows Nest next door. All these places do food of sorts- phone ahead if you are arrive late or close to a meal time as food takes a while and they will need to go out and shop.

The bolted climbing area is a short 10 min walk down through the cliff. From Crows Nest and Twightlight, walk along the tarmac road towards the falls, until a big bouldering rock on the left hand side right beside the road is reached. Go behind this rock and there is a small path passing down through the cliff. Toll men will pop up and try to get money from you. Once through the cliff, veer right in the direction of the falls and dropping down to a stream after a few mins, cross this a start heading up the other side. Take a small path to the right up to the end of the spur then a smaller, steeper path on the right directly uphill to the foot of the cliff face. The climbing face looks NE and there are approx. 14 nicely bolted routes with easiest routes to the left. The routes can’t be top roped but once you lead the first, then there is a handrail along the top of the routes that can use to fix a top rope above other routes.