Gully of despair on Exposure in F-Major

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Gully of despair on Exposure in F-Major

Post by Howard » Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:40 am

While climbing Exposure in F-Major in the DuToitskloof last weekend, I took a wrong turn while leading the second pitch after the crux.
Having clearly seen a piton in an 'easy' looking gully off to the right I decided to combine the exceedingly short pitch 7 with pitch 8. I continued onward and upward towards the piton, thereby entering the gully.
The gully however turned out to be unbelievably difficult, with 15-20 meters without a single positive grip, no protection whatsoever (except for the rusty piton) and extremly bad rock (huge chunks coming right out of the rockface).

Not only was it hard, it was completely impossible to downclimb, so once I had committed myself to this gully, there was no turning back. After some of the most scary moments of my life! I managed to reach another piton, where I could also place some gear in a crack. From there I belayed up my buddy, who then aided through the next move, after which we were able to traverse out of the gully after a total of about 30 meter of hellish climbing.

Talking about this at the climbing wall yesterday, it turns out that 2 other guys (much more experienced trad climbers than myself) made the same mistake a year back and nearly came to serious harm. They also mentioned that a lady actually died on this route while going off route into this gully.

Based on this I would like to warn any potential Exposure climbers of the gully. DO NOT GO INTO THIS GULLY! I would also like to suggest that a mention of this is placed in the RD, especially as the piton is clearly visible from the beginning of pitch 8. and can therefore be very misleading.

Furthermore I was wondering if anybody knows whether this gully has ever been graded? If not, I suggest we create a special grade for this, namely FH. The H standing for Hard, the F you guys can fill in yourselves.

Post by » Tue Dec 27, 2005 8:17 am

Don't remember anything in my RD about a large gully...
Some advice for the younger generation: Pitons are not always an indication of 'being on-route' and many times an indications of a retreat :-( I personally have done the Exposure 3-4 times and not once have I found the piton above the chimney pitch. Good luck with future endeavors...[/i]


Post by George » Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:00 pm

I recently completed my third ascent of exposure. I wandered slightly off route on the previous two ascents. Climbing it again now, I can say that the RD is very good and accurate. If you read it carefully and follow it you will not have any problems. The times I wandered slightly of route was when I did not properly read the RD.


Exposure in F

Post by Ian » Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:48 am

Climbed the route on the 17th of December by using the route guide from this webbsite as well as common sense , and never once had the inclination to climb in the scary looking gully. The guide gives an accurate description of the route. Did however find it somewhat difficult getting off the climb once weve topped out.

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