Keeping our usual hike trend, Sunday last (25/09/16) we (me and my two work colleagues, let’s name them Mr V and Mr R) set off towards Bassin Estate at 1h15pm in an attempt to hike the centre peak of the Trois Mamelles mountain. The name Trois Mamelles certainly refers to the fact that this mountain has three peaks, and only the middle one can be hiked rather easily. The two others might require advanced equipment to reach the top. After obtaining the gps track from here, we followed the virtual guide to a new adventure. The good thing was that this mountain was not so far from my place and we didn’t spend much time in travelling. Having parked the pickup somewhere closer in the cane fields near the trail we started the walk rather leisurely and luckily for us the weather was dazzling as well.
13:30 – Start of Track
After 10 minutes of walk we reached a forest area where the path continued steeper upwards following a stream-like manner. I believe this is where the water runs down the mountain when it rains. The good news was certainly that even though appearing steeper by no means was the track difficult up to where we were. We continued climbing at a leasurely pace following the well defined path, and even if we could go faster we preferred to save energy. On the other hand, one of my work colleague, Mr V who hasn’t been physically active since three weeks was having a hard time ascending, having to rest each 3 minutes. This of course slowed us quite much…but it was a fun hike afterall, so there wasn’t any need to go faster as well.
14:20 – First Ridge Viewpoint
40 Minutes later we reached a rather flat area exactly in-between the right and centre peaks, which turned out to be a magnificent window over both sides of the mountain; the West over Tamarin and the complete view from where we started at Bassin Estate spanning over Vacoas, Ebene and Quatre Bornes. We rested for some 20 minutes waiting for the slow-pacer Mr V to catch up with his breath. Somehow, seeing the next path taking a different approach and becoming steeper, Mr V decided to stop his hike at this point and wait for the other two of us at this same point as we were to complete the trail. This wasn’t the first time so there wasn’t any need for an argument.
14:40 – Steeper Pathway to Ledge Area
The remaining two of us continued the hike as we climbed a steeper wall towards the centre top through the bushes and two minutes later we reached a rather thin path area without any walls on the sides and only a vertical wall of approximately 1.5 meters in the front and a piece of metal handle fixed in the rock as a help for climbing on. Mr R hesitated to move forward, not sure how to tackle this part and requested me to attempt first. Pulling myself on the metal handle I managed to climb up rather easily but he on the other hand preferred not to venture further ahead and went back to join the other buddy as well. They would both wait for me at the Ridge Viewpoint while I would continue this trail alone… the story repeats itself similar to the Corps de Garde hike.
14:45 – Cliff Hanger
A few meters after this point I reached a high part which seemed impossible to climb unequipped to the top of it, but then later realised that the path didn’t require climbing on top of it but rather moving on the side of it on a very narrow pathway alongside the cliff, trees below and a rock wall on the other side. I proceeded with caution along this path, with my back leaned firmly against the rock wall on my right side. Somehow, I also noticed another pathway, much safer among the trees below. For those who do not want to move along the wall can make use of the other pathway below, which both leads to the same point, the latter being easier.
14:55 – Narrow Pathway to Summit
10 minutes later I reached a point similar to the ledge area with the metal handle bar but without any steep climbs at all. Instead, it was just a narrow path without anything on the side but complete emptiness. The best way I could use to cross this part was to concentrate on the path alone, looking only in the front as to where to put my feet and proceed as quickly as I can. If you feel you are at ease and there isn’t any strong winds you can go at a slower pace and admire the views on both sides. I preferred to do that once on the other side.
15:00 – The Centre Peak Summit
Minutes later I reached a very wide flat space which I could only deduct was the top most and complete summit. The joy of having reached the final top brought a big smile to my face and I took some time to rest and snap some pictures in all directions. The view was astounding and I spent some 15 minutes contemplating the work of nature. From the complete opposite edge of the centre peak I could see the last peak as well, which appeared very challenging to conquer. I could also see my friends back at the Ridge Viewpoint.
15:20 – The Way Back
After some 20 minutes I started climbing back even though it was still early as the guys would have waited too much. The way down was much easier and quicker too and another 20 minutes later I was already at the first viewpoint together with the guys. Rested a while and related to them what was ahead and what they had missed before proceeding further down. 30 minutes later we were already at the complete bottom and back to the van.
At the end of the day it was a great hike. I would say that this mountain is relatively easy to conquer if you can manage these narrow crossings. The good thing I liked was the fact that this track was rather short but steep, which makes you reach ends quicker even though more effort was required. My movement statistics on the gps mentioned 1 hour 15 minutes… so, if you have the stamina you can climb up and down this mountain in 1h15, without stopping for rest of course. We wasted a lot of time waiting for each others.
From the efforts required for this hike I would rate this mountain Medium/Easy, medium only because of these two narrow paths.