rock-climbing-rocklands-sa

Not only football, but rock climbing too…

There are other things you can do besides watching football in South Africa !!! It is quite possible that you are now becoming slightly weary of it all, isn’t it? Certainly weary of the dreaded trademark trumpet, the Vuvuzela!

If you’re looking for an escape and some peace and quiet I have the answer. Rock climbing. Almost wherever you are in this beautiful country you will find somewhere to climb. Just take a look at this map:

From South Africa Rock Climbing Routes Wiki

There’s a wealth of stuff out there.

Oudtshoorn crags are limestone with hanging stalactites and tufas. The Cederberg is compact sandstone with ledges that offer solid gear placements. There is great sport climbing in Montagu, a small Klein Karoo town, where it is almost always dry, and there are loads and loads of bolted routes (about 400) of all grades. Waterval Boven is probably the most developed sport climbing area in the county with about 600 routes in a most beautiful setting. In the Free State, Mt Everest and Swinburne offer sport and trad climbing and awesome bouldering. The famous Wave Cave at Shongweni is just outside of Durban and has hard overhanging sport routes. You can do seaside cliff climbing at Morgan Bay. There is world class bouldering at Rocklands  in the Cederberg, remote multi-pitch trad climbing at Magaliesberg and the Drakensberg Mountains.

Need I go on?

And the beauty of climbing in this country is that you can be sure there wont be enormous crowds of climbers everywhere…

Since I’ve begun a series on bouldering I shall investigate what South Africa has to offer in this field.

We’ll start at Rocklands and thank Chuck Fryburger (Dhaulagiri247) for the great video:

First thing you need to know is that daily permits are required to go anywhere at Rocklands as it is a World Heritage site with a very fragile eco-system.

Rocklands was first established in 1997 and development still continues – so successfully I might add that there are in excess of 1,500 problems here. In 2005 Klem Loskot and friends opened up a whole series of problems. The ‘Champagne area’ was discovered in 2008 by Nalle Hakkataival and established in 2009 with Chuck Fryberger. Also in 2009 new areas included ‘De Hagen aka The South African area’ established by Guy Holwill,  ‘Lorraine’ and ‘Ernies’ established by Walker Emerson, Jesse Brown, Simon Fitting, Collin Horvat and Anthony Chertudi as well as ‘Hoeksonderkoffie’ established by Scott Noy.

In just a few years Rocklands bouldering has achieved world class status and every year top international boulderers visit or revisit this bouldering mecca. The huge choice of developed problems are quite enough to unravel any football frustation. It offers the quantity, quality and variation of bouldering that will suit any style or grade.

When asked what his favourite bouldering problem was at Rocklands, Scott Noy said “Very hard to say but Maniac 7B at Fields of Joy has everything a good line should have”.

There is currently no guidebook for climbing at Rocklands so it’s quite hard to find your way around and a lot of the climbs you will never hear of except by word of mouth. However, Noy is currently working on a book which he hopes will communicate the history and culture of Rocklands and provide information on codes of conduct and access as well as showing you how and where to find the wealth of problems.

The Red Hill mountains overlooking False Bay is another much loved bouldering area and easily accessible to all Capetonians.

Some of the problems to be found here are Panic Room 7C+ and Pandemonium – an 8A with possibly the best problem of the grade in the entire country. Elfen Lied another 8A, and Tears of a Rapper 7C+, Flaming Pig 7C, and Chaos 8A.  Storefront Cemetery 8A, No Room for Authority, a burly one move 7C.  A hanging prow called The Pursuit of Happiness is there. It took climber, Marijus Šmigelskis, about a week’s worth of effort over two months to unlock the complex 13 move compression sequence on this climb and he reckons the problem’s difficulty lies somewhere between Black Shadow and The Vice, both classic 8B’s Rocklands of a similar style. High Maintenance, Flaming Pig, and  Queen of the West are all 7C’s.

That’s enough on Redhill. How’s about Topside’s Echo Valley?

The signature problem here is called Captain Graffiti 8A. It received it’s fastest ascent to date when Benjamin de Charmoy sent the line on just his second session in two months! This marks the 4th ascent of the problem and Benj rates it his hardest send yet despite the grade.

The popular Ponder 7B is also here. It received it’s first female ascent in February this year.The climber was Julia Chen . She fell off the final move on her first session working the line, but climbed it easily after a rest day and a few more tries.  Low Flow and Two Stroke both 7A’s are here.  Powerlines is a 7B. This classic roof test piece has spat off many dedicated male boulderers and is widely regarded as a sandbag for the grade, making Julia’s first female ascent of this problem too all the more noteworthy.

If you’re only visiting South Africa, I think I’ve given you enough to think about even though I haven’t even touched on the awesome bouldering in the Free State for example. If you live there, well then… perhaps you’d like to feed me with some more climbing information?! Might I be cheeky and say thank you in advance?

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