Obituary: Jack Botha: Sports writer and sportsman

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Obituary: Jack Botha: Sports writer and sportsman

Post by Justin » Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:52 pm

Jack Botha, who has died in Prince Albert in the Karoo at the age of 98, was a sports writer for the Sunday Times for 61 years. He was also a legendary rock climber, opening several of the most famous routes in the Drakensberg.

'While writing about everyone else's exploits, Botha was very unassuming about his own. What few people outside climbing circles knew was that he was one of South Africa's most accomplished rock climbers.

He opened a number of the most famous and difficult climbs in the Drakensberg, including, in 1941, Monk's Cowl. The year before, South Africa's greatest climber of the day, Dick Barry, had died in the attempt.

He was also one of the first to "ring" the Bell. The popular Hooper's route to the top was actually led by Botha, although he kept quiet about it for years. The opening of Mponjwan was in fact summitted by him, solo, prior to the "official" opening summit party years later.

Climbers in those days had none of the equipment they have now. Botha would wear boots until he reached the really tricky stuff, at which point he would swap them for takkies.

At the age of 80 he climbed Champagne Castle so that he could look down, one last time, on Monk's Cowl below.

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Re: Obituary: Jack Botha: Sports writer and sportsman

Post by mokganjetsi » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:03 am

what a legend! guys like him gives us something to applaud: humble, capable and on the cutting edge. hope we can step into his proud boots.

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