Indigenous men create history by climbing Mt. Roraima
DPI, Guyana, Friday, December 20, 2019
Speaking in his native Akawaio, 38-year-old Troy Henry of Phillipai, Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region 7) recounted his experience climbing Mount Roraima.
Henry is one of two Indigenous men who created history after their successful ascent of the majestic Roraima. Fifty-six-year-old Edward Jameson was the other climber. The duo was awarded the opportunity after international mountain climber, Leo Houlding and his team requested assistance from the village to guide them to the base of the mountain.
On Wednesday last, the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) hosted a press conference at the Guyana Marriott Hotel in honour of the great feat. With the help of translator Loraine George, Henry expressed his pride at being able to stand before the audience and share his experience.
“I am thankful to them for giving us the opportunity so I can be able to stand here and speak about the experience.”
When asked about fears while climbing the mountain, the 38-year-old remarked that when he looked over at his teammate, he was filled with determination.
“He is a human and I am a human too. If he could do it, I could do it too.”
Also, at the press conference were Minister of State, Hon. Dawn Hastings-Williams and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Hon. Sydney Allicock who congratulated the team on their tremendous feat.
In her remarks, Minister Hastings-Williams recognised the private sector whose partnership contributed to the significant accomplishment and noted her pride and satisfaction with Guyana’s First People creating history.
Meanwhile, Minister Allicock said there will be similar expeditions in the future since it can boost the growth of eco-tourism in Guyana. “The knowledge of the Indigenous people is key to any venture of this kind, the forest is our backyard the ecosystem demands our respect and that is how we treat it,” Minister Allicock remarked.
On November 9, 2019, the team’s journey began from Philipai and ventured into “pristine, untracked jungle” where a total of 42 days was spent in the forest preparing for the climb and conducting the actual climb.
Following the same route as the British expedition of 1973 led by Joe Brown and Don Whillans, the team reached “Tarantula Terrace” (aptly named) and forged a new route along virgin territory.
Mount Roraima straddles Guyana, Venezuela and Brazil, and is the highest of the Pakaraima chain of flat-topped mountains in South America, reaching a height of about 9,222 feet.