Stage 9

14 Nov - 14 Dec

start & end: Cape Town

Hot Rock Africa 2010:
rock climbing in South Africa

South Africa

 

Table Mountain from the waterfront bars, Cape Town

After a week or more rock climbing in Cape Town we’ll be ready to hit the road again.

This section is a 4-week loop of the Western Cape taking in 4 of the most spectacular destinations in the world – Cape Town itself, plus the rock climbing of Rocklands, Wolfberg and Montagu.

We’ll first head north to the Cedarberg National Park, and to the world-renowned Rocklands sports climbing and bouldering area. As Nigel Shepard described somewhat poetically in 'On the Edge' about his visit:

"Rocklands is an ancient landscape beyond the realms of imagination, carved and sculpted by the elements over countless millennia, this wondrous place is a paradise of boulders, towers and crags. There is hectare upon hectare upon hectare of the most wondrous sandstone, solid and alluringly reddened. Wandering about its labyrinth ways each corner turned, each passageway explored yields yet more rock, perfectly arranged to climb. In its solitude and silences it is enough simply to be there and gaze in wonder at the legacy of the earth's creator".

After Todd Skinner's visit for a month bouldering to Rocklands he commented that this one area alone would be enough to swallow up 400 Hueco Tank! We will meet up with some local climbers for a braai (BBQ) and a boulder as we explore the boulder fields until folks can't climb any more. And then ... we will go and climb some more!

World class bouldering at rocklands

Orange Plasma, Rocklands

100km south lies the Wolfberg and Tafelberg ranges, which boast some of the best mid-grade multi-pitch routes in Africa. Based at the beautiful Kromriver campsite / vineyard next to the river we will have plenty of time in the area. Paul Williams described this area:

"Imagine a valley about 30km long, cover its floor with thousands of weirdly eroded pinnacles and boulders (a sort of a mega Brimham), put a few 200-300m cliffs of impeccable rock on the hilltops, sire a vineyard selling cheap wine within a mile of the campsite, arrange for the sun to shine every day and enjoy Braais every night - that sums up the Cederbergs."

Some of the classic rock climbing routes such as 'Energy Crisis' (E2 5.10d - featured on 'The Face' TV series), 'Celestial Journey' (E3) 'Knobless Robot' (HVS) or 'Lost in Space' (E3) can all be reached easily from the campsite. As can the single pitch crack and face climbs like 'Human Highway' (E1) or the 8 pitch 'Tafelberg Frontal' (HS, 5.5) not to mention the vineyard for those wanting a more sedate day!

From the Cedarberg region, we drive east (past more sky-diving opportunities at Citrusdal) to Montagu, probably the most developed of all South African climbing areas. It lies on the Garden Route, which winds its way through the scenic villages and vineyards or South Africa's wine growing regions.

Sarah following "Energy Crisis", Wolfberg

Em & Penny enjoying the technical climbing at Montagu

We will base ourselves in Montagu village, nestled at the base of the valley carved out by the Hex River. In keeping with the rest of the garden route, the village is home to a very good vineyard, and is also home to 'De Bos', a true climbers campsite complete with horse-riding school, some pet ostriches, a bouldering wall and a pool.

If you can drag yourself away from the pool, or out of the nearby hot springs, a world of climbing awaits on the hard metamorphic sandstone. The climbing is mainly intricate face climbing like that found at Smiths Rocks in the USA; technical, balancy climbing on square cut and sloping holds. The valley is probably most famous for its hundreds of single-pitch bolted routes that range from f3(!) to f8s, but there are also multi-pitch routes to go at, and trad routes such as 'November Afternoon' or 'Stealing'.

What a great final venue on our trans-continental climbing adventure, to finish those projects and tick the grades we’ve been chasing. Sadly though, all things must end and we’ll have to turn our truck south to Cape Town once more, for the grand finale – see the previous stage for effervescent description of the climbing here.

We will enjoy a huge last night meal, celebrating making some friends for life over the past 10 months of climbing on some truly stunning crags and mountains, putting up new lines, seeing some of the world's most amazing places, and collecting many tales and experiences to be recounted to mates back home over that post-climb pint.

Dan, Lucy & Monika loving it!

For loads more photos of all these climbing areas, click on "News and Current location" and scroll through the trip reports...

Africa 2010 expedition:
expedition overview

Wadi Rum to Cairo
Cairo to Addis Ababa
Addis to Nairobi
Kenya loop
nairobi - lilongwe
lilongwe - harare
harare - windhoek
windhoek - cape town
south africa loop
further information
dates and prices
budget planner
joining instructions

 
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