So this post starts off where Kaddi’s (Rusk Rodeo) finishes… and as the name suggests, there is a lot of rock to explore around Cape Town, besides Rocklands… but, as we all know, it is probably still the best 🙂
A bit of background to my South Africa trip is that in April I managed to pick up a pulley tendon injury but refused to accept it until June while climbing at Gastlosen. There it became clear that if I do not start looking after this injury my trip, which was booked for the end of July, would be a complete right-off! So, the 2 months before leaving I had spent mostly doing maintainance exercises which avoided my finger and no ‘real’ climbing to speak of. It was actually nice to arrive with no expectations or motivation for hard boulders but more the mindset of just having fun, whatever that would entail?!
8hrs after dropping Kaddi at the airport for her flight back I picked up Thorsten & Josef, two friends from Germany, who were there for their 1st climbing trip and up for anything & everything!
The first day I showed the boys around the unique venue of Paarl Rocks, a world class climbing destination on 3 large granite domes. We warmed up on Sands of Time, a 4 pitch route that my brother & I bolted a decade ago, and still one of my favorites! Next we walked around to the Parklife Wall where we all did the seldom climbed 45m long Children of a Lesser God (photo). This route is 5 stars not only because of the proud line & classy climbing but also because of the commitment needed to run-it-out between the 5 bolts & ‘chicken heads’ protected with slings. photo: Josef Weis
Next on the road-trip was Ceres, where over the last few years there has been a lot of talk of new development. With the help of some locals we explored some remote areas of extreme beauty. Two lines stood out from the rest, a beautiful arête I called The Metronome (photo), because of the scary ‘darndoor’ move at the very top. In another area, only 5mins from the road, I opened Hold the Elevator which I found special as I was focused to do a dynamic move from a very coiled position and ended up going horizontal while holding the swing, just felt incredible! photo: Jaco Loots
No climbing trip to South Africa is complete without seeing Rocklands so we spent 1o days enjoying the many different aspects of what makes Rocklands one of the best venues in the world! The finger injury kept me away from the hard boulders and instead I focused on opening some new trad climbs including White Knuckle Ride, Shot in the dark and many more easier lines up at Fields of Joy. In reality, people have been putting up hard trad around Pakhuis Pass since the 80’s but within the last 5 years has seen a resurgence with the likes of Joe Mohle climbing the crack of Sibamba Ngazibini (one of the best pitches I have ever climbed!) and Cody Roth putting up The Goddess of 1969, a new school bouldery route which has a huge dyno (photo) – I got “close but no cigar”. This year also saw James & Caroline adding some great new lines to the ever growing list of amazing routes in Rocklands! photo: Marinus Coetzee
When I left Paarl at the beginning of the trip the line of Parklife never stopped burning in my mind! So we left Rocklands with a few days to spare and made it back and try this impeccable line! A black water streak splitting a 45m blank orange-lichened grey wall. Mid-october is not the time to try this route, at least not in the midday sun… we got burned off the wall with each of us only being able to endure one attempt. The hardest part about climbing this route is not the climbing itself but the immense focus you have to maintain while trying to find an efficient way of linking the sea of tiny holds. One missed foothold or slight miscalculation of body position and you’re off. “I’ll be back!” photo: Josef Weis
I cannot remember the last time I was on Table Mountain… and for this reason I was very glad when Thorsen came up with the idea of spending our last day up there. Standing at the base of our intended climb we decided to change lines and go for the slightly harder but more aesthetic line of Oddshouter’s Outing. After the 1st 2 pitches we arrived at a huge ledge that splits the main Africa face. From this vantage point, as a climber, you cannot help but notice the out standing line of Africa Arête! Referring to the guide we discovered that it is a 3 pitch Dave Burket route from 1998 that has a reputation for being bold. That is all we needed to hear and 4 hrs later we were standing on top, I managed to onsight all the pitches with Thorsten following without any falls! One of my best days of climbing ever and a perfect way to end the trip! photo: Thosten Brink
Thx again to all those who we met along the way and who helped to make this trip special!
Also to Black Diamond and La Sportiva!