Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little Karoo

New Areas. New routes. Retrobolting. Add-ons. Re-grading. etc.
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johannlanz
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Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little Karoo

Post by johannlanz » Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:08 pm

Gamkaberg, a spot I first explored in 2003, but recently returned to offers good quality, multi-pitch, trad climbing with a doddle of an approach and easy descents in beautiful, pristine surroundings, with nice, comfortable camping. A very relaxing, and family friendly venue.

Gamkaberg is a nature reserve in the Little Karoo managed by Cape Nature and is located south of the R62 between Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn, fairly near (east of) the Calitzdorp Hot Springs. The reserve offers extremely nice (but pricey) Bush camp accommodation, as well as a basic stables cottage and a small ordinary camp site. For accommodation info and a map of how to get there see: http://www.capenature.co.za/reserves.ht ... re+Reserve

The climbing is in Tierkloof on very good quality, hard sandstone similar to Montagu but with many beautiful, vertical finger cracks. Access is a short, level walk along a manicured hiking trail which runs up the kloof. Only a few routes have been opened so far, but a fair amount of potential exists for routes from single pitch to 3 or 4 pitches long. We opened 2 very nice routes recently - a single pitch 21 and a 3 pitch 17,21,19. We also established a kiddies corner with easy top ropable routes. I am posting all details and topos on the wiki - will be available soon. Pics of some offerings below.
Attachments
Purity 2a.jpg
Johann tip toe-ing the crux of Purity (21)
Purity 2a.jpg (198.97 KiB) Viewed 5973 times
Forebearance 1a.jpg
Paul following the crux 2nd pitch of Forbearance (21).
Forebearance 1a.jpg (138.23 KiB) Viewed 5973 times
Purity 1a.jpg
Johann opening Purity (21)
Purity 1a.jpg (130.54 KiB) Viewed 5973 times

Oakley
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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by Oakley » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:17 am

Ohhh... finally.

So looking forward to see some routes there. We have a holiday home close by and have been scouting around for some time now... managed to get 3 - 4 really good crags to climb during the next holiday.

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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by BradCT » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:34 am

:thumright
Looks really cool!!
Thanx for the let know and efforts! Well done.

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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by Chris F » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:16 am

That looks excellent, nice and shady too!

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tygereye
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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by tygereye » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:49 pm

Awesome find, guys! Will definitely have to go and check it out!! :thumright

Jan Viljoen
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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by Jan Viljoen » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:57 pm

Awesome!

If I'm not mistaken Derek Marshall mentioned to me about this crag some while back - looks great, and it's relatively close to Ladismith (where I live).

Nice work guys!

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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by johannlanz » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:17 pm

Jan, do you do much climbing in the area? Every time I drive through that part of the world I am amazed at the potential. I reckon in the general area (east of the Koo and Touwsriver all the way to Eastern Cape) there must be literally hundreds of high quality crags, both for sport and trad. On this recent trip I spotted some very nice looking rock off he beaten track near Touwsriver as well. There are quite a few others I have driven past over the years and plan to return to some time. Too much rock, too little time. This having to earn a living thing gets in the way of good climbing.

Oakley, where is your holiday home? Seems well placed for good climbing trips. Look forward to hearing of (and sampling) more activity in the area.

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Justin
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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by Justin » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:40 pm

johannlanz wrote:The climbing is in Tierkloof on very good quality, hard sandstone similar to Montagu but with many beautiful, vertical finger cracks. Access is a short, level walk along a manicured hiking trail
Sounds awesome!! Good find and well done.
I think there is lots of rock out that way, but probably few with such good access as the crag you found!??
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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by Jan Viljoen » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:32 pm

Hi Johann, you're right on that "earning a living thing". It's as if your boss knows when you're getting that "I'm going to resign and become a climber" ideas, so he just dumps another load of work on your desk!

I try to climb as often as possible, and we have a number of potentially good crags around here. The trad classic is of course Towerkop. (http://www.towerkopinfo.co.za) Many however are on private land with even more private owners, or the walk in will require several hours/days? of bundubashing.

Another undiscovered jewel is Seweweekspoort (the pass, not to be confused with the nearby peak, Seweweekspoort Peak - at 2325m highest in WC). A few months ago Joe Mohle opened some super long routes on one of the faces, but it's also a good single pitch trad route area, as well as bouldering.

Near Touwsberg I know of the Gecko Rock crags, and 50km from Ladismith (near Anysberg) you'll find the Outback Crag, described by some as possibly the best crag in the Western Cape. The routes are however mostly in the upper grade ranges.

This Gamkaberg crag looks pretty good, what would the access/permits, etc. be for a day visitor to the area?

Cheers!

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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by johannlanz » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:00 am

It should be easy to visit as a day visitor, I think. If you have a Wild Card it should be free, otherwise you pay a normal Cape Nature hiking day permit, and I imagine you can just arrive at the Reserve reception / office, and organise a permit to hike up the kloof. But check it out on their website (address above) or give them a call.

Interesting to know that there are climbs in Seweweeks Poort - that is a place I have also oggled at, driving through. Are these routes written up anywhere? Maybe someone should organise to put them on the climbZA wiki. There is also a wall that I once saw and swore I would go back to and check out in more detail but never have. It is on the road that runs from the northern side of the poort along north of Towerkop towards the Laingsberg road. What I remember of it is quite a big, impressive wall, very close to the road, but my memory of it is a bit dim. Have you ever checked it out?

As a long walk in venue Towerkop rules, both for the awesomeness of the place as well as the quality of the climbing.

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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by Oakley » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:39 am

@ Johann Actually it is about 40km(of which 30 is dirt) from where Jan is, in Vanwyksdorp.
Will post pics soon in December.

Jan have you seen the river valley on the road leaving Calitzdorp over the rooibergpass. about 5km out of town.

Towerkop is spectacular went up there for the first time in April.couldnt climb due to ice :(

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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by johannlanz » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:48 am

OK Oakley, I know Vanwyksdorp. And the Rooiberg certainly has a lot of potential. Jan and others might have checked it out. Huisrivier pass looks good, but maybe some questionable rock quality. Has anyone ever climbed anything there? A better looking kloof I think is the one a little way up the Rooiberg pass from the Calitzdorp hot springs side. Don't know anything about access here, but maybe worth checking out.

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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by Paul Goddard » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:22 pm

Hi Johann & all

Great find, it looks awesome. I have a house in Prince Albert. How far in KM's or hours drive is this new trad venue from Prince Albert ?
Please let me know if you do.
thanks very much

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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by johannlanz » Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:33 pm

Hi Paul

Gamkaberg is about 30 km from Oudtshoorn, on a tar, cement strip and a bit of gravel road. Less than 30 minutes drive. Prince Albert to Oudtshoorn is 58 km over the Swartberg pass on slow going gravel and about double that via Meiringspoort on the main tar road.

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Justin
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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by Justin » Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:37 pm

Hi Johann,
Please will you drop me an email - justin@climbing.co.za
Thanks,
Justin
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Jan Viljoen
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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by Jan Viljoen » Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:27 pm

Hi Johann, yes I think I know what face on the Laingsburg road you're talking about, it's close to the road and next to a small waterfall I think. On a previous outing in that direction I notices that a huge flake like part of the face has broken off, which discouraged my enthusiasm somewhat...

In Seweweekspoort nothing is officially written up, and in climbing terms relatively undiscovered. The area falls on CNC property, so while trad isn't a problem bolting might be.

I've noticed in the past that there are some good faces around the Rooiberg pass and Spa area in general. A friend of mine farms in that area and has invited me to a crag there somewhere as well. Him not being a climber I didn't think that much of it, but with your new discoveries I'll have to go check it out!

An old favourite that I'm desperate to return to is a "secret" crag in the Besemfontein area, roughly 10km NE of Seweweekspoort. We obtained entrance permission from CNC and opened the crag's FA with a beautiful 180m line on solid sandstone. (See attached picture).

Looks like Route 62 will soon be known for more than its coffee shops and wine cellars!

Cheers
Attachments
Verlorenhoek Crag.jpg
The awesome Verlorenhoek Crag (Besemfontein area). The route indicated is "Stadig maar Seker" - 20 Trad. FA: Deon Grobler, Jan Viljoen - 2001
Verlorenhoek Crag.jpg (125.42 KiB) Viewed 5513 times

johannlanz
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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by johannlanz » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:05 am

Hey Jan, very nice looking line and crag. Here's to lots more. I am itching to get out that way again. I will give you a shout when I am planning a trip.

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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by Uwe » Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:00 pm

Hi, if I am not mistaken Joe Möhle and Benjamin have opened a couple of routes in Seweweekspoort. Although his picture of the crag looks different to the one posted here.

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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by Jan Viljoen » Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:44 pm

Hi UWE

The picture posted here is of the Verlorenhoek crag in the Besemfontein area, about 10km from Seweweekspoort. I know about Joe and Benjamin's crag in the poort, awesome lines!

Cheers

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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by Sven » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:31 am

Hi Johann

I am from George, I would like to get some info exactly where the crag is in Gamkasberg. I am looking at climbing there very shortly.

Will hopefully be exploring the Prince Albert climbs next weekend with a mate. Then would like to move onto Gamkasberg, I hiked Gamkasberg few years back, but was not climbing then yet. I do remember there's a lot of rock, specially into the valley. Do you know Tom who runs the reserve?

If you ever in the area again please let know, if you keen to meet some fellow climbers in the area.

We are looking at exploring ourself's and have found some awesome spots and have tradded the side of Cracdock Peak, but thick bush to get through. The back of Cracdock Peak has huge potential, but its finding the time to climb and get a mate to go with. The climbing community is very small here in George.

We also found come awesome boulders in our area, Chaffer Station, Pepsi Pools, Gwaing River mouth (trad climbing to), Glentana Beach boulders (+ trad climbing) Outeniqua Pass (we call it the "V") and still looking...

Thank you.

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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by johannlanz » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:47 pm

Hey Sven, Thanks for the motivation to finally finish my write up of the routes and post it on the wiki. I have been intending to do that for some time. I will post in this thread when that is all complete.

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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by Sven » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:16 pm

Hi Johann

Thank you, look forward to it.

sven

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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by Sven » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:17 pm

Seweweekspoort wow what a crag!!

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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by johannlanz » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:15 am

I have eventually posted the route information on the wiki - see page on Gamkaberg.

I am heading back there soon and hope to open some more good lines. I will be spending 4 days with family at the Tierkloof bushcamp from Dec 16th to Dec 20th. But I was thinking of going up a few days earlier and staying in the basic camp or stables for a dedicated climbing mission (because dedicated climbing time will be limited during the family trip). I am looking for a climbing partner for this, so if anyone is keen to join me in opening of single and multi-pitch trad, let me know (I am looking to do grades between 16 and about 24). Or if anyone is interested to climb there themselves over that long weekend, it would be cool to link up.

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Re: Gamkaberg: New, friendly trad climbing venue in Little K

Post by johannlanz » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:39 pm

Any body in the area and keen to partner me on this Saturday, Sunday or Monday (17th - 19th)? I will be staying at Gamkaberg. There is a very good looking 3 pitch line that I am keen to give a go. Plus lots of other opportunities.

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