Page 1 of 1

Castle Rock, Ceres

Posted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:04 pm
by Uwe

There's supposed to be some climbing on Castle Rock close to Ceres, Western Cape.
Has anybody got some more info on that? Directions, access, routes, topos, RDs, ...?

Thank You!

Re: Castle Rock, Ceres

Posted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 3:16 pm
by Hilton
Uwe, Castle Rocks is fantastic.
I've only done Via Centrale and Apollo. Via Centrale is good and Apollo is one of the very best routes in South Africa. I think the original Apollo RD is in the 1969 Journal and then Adele McCann did a very good topo which I think was in the '92 Journal.
Chris Lomax keeps telling me to do Space Shuttle which he made with Greg Lacey. He reckons it's excellent. There are a lot of very good routes up there. It was a big destination for the better climbers in the '50s, '60s and '70s. Mike Mamacos took his only ever fall on Castle Rocks - Via Normale I think - while climbing with Les Schaff in the '50s (Mike made Jacob's Ladder, Atlantic Crag, Cable Way Crag, Northwest Frontal etc - all basically solo as he led everything with no gear).
The place is very dry on the way up but while abseiling down the descent gully there is a very good little waterfall and pools.

Re: Castle Rock, Ceres

Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:31 am
by Uwe
Thanks Hilton, I'll try Apollo on the weekend.
I found some RDs in AdKs Western Cape Rock guide.

Re: Castle Rock, Ceres

Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:16 am
by Hilton
Uwe when you are at the base of the amphitheatre you need to go to the extreme right and cilmb up easy ground to a bunch of small trees. At this point you do the first long traverse (a rope-length to the left). This is P2 in the pictures attached. If you take these two pictures they will get you onto the right line. It can be a bit tricky to find otherwise.
The vegetation is pretty bad on the walk-in. Dark Horse and I were there in January. Wear long pants and anklets/gaiters if you can.

Re: Castle Rock, Ceres

Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:42 pm
by Uwe
How long do you think the walk in is? And how much time shall I plan for the decent?

Re: Castle Rock, Ceres

Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:53 pm
by Q20
We did Apollo recently - Adele's topo was the best but we kinda mix and matched them all. The rock quality on the second last pitch is not the best so take care. The rest is pretty good.

Apparently some guys have ended up bivvying there unexpectedly. If I were there then I would feel compelled to tell you that some suitable basic kit for a night in the fynbos would have been a very smart idea.....I would also tell you that that breakfast at the restaurant in the morning after said night in the bundu is very pleasant, and that making a blanket of spiky grass type stuff is not quite as pleasant....

Have fun!

[In theory walk in is about 2 hrs. However the descent also involves two long abseils through much rope snagging vegetation before you get back to your bags]

Re: Castle Rock, Ceres

Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:53 pm
by paddy
A great way to do Apollo is to walk in the night before. Probably need to know the way to do this and the sleeping spot is not the most comfortable but the early morning views are stunning. Only thing is I'm not sure what you'd do with your car these days.

While we're on the topic of Apollo it would be interesting to hear about Apollo epics. I heard a story about a climbing party that decided it would be quicker to walk back to Ceres after topping out instead of going back down the mountain. I believe they had a longer climbing day than planned.

Re: Castle Rock, Ceres

Posted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:20 am
by pierre.joubert
That lokks rather nice. How long is Apollo? Grade?

@Uwe - where can I get hold of AdK's Western Cape Rock guide? Is it still in print?
@Q20 - where can I get hold of Adele's topo?

Thanks in advance dudes

Re: Castle Rock, Ceres

Posted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:57 am
by Uwe
As far as I know it's not in print anymore - but not sure.
I am happy to share my copy but don't want to upset author or printer, after all a lot of work goes into climbing guide books and we should support that by buying them.

Adele's topo would be nice to have too :-)

Re: Castle Rock, Ceres

Posted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:41 pm
by Hilton
See if this scan works
Adele's topo is on page 94 of the 1992 Mountain Club journal
The parking story has changed in recent years. You can park in a siding opposite the turn-off down to the Witels River. This is the most convenient but risky if you're going to leave the car there overnight. A few kilometres back towards Wolseley in the White Bridge that goes over the river and a restaurant nearby. Leave the car where the restaurant people advise and pay them the fee of R30 or something. Walk or hitch hike back to the start.

Re: Castle Rock, Ceres

Posted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:28 am
by ant
Someone lost a rope just after the descent abseils not too long ago. Q20 picked it up and carried it down the hill - unfortunately it's in a state that is just beyond safe, but eveidently hadn't been there too long.

Any takers?

There is a particularly low tight squeeze through some bushes and trees and it must have fallen off someones back here.

About the approach and descent. The best approach is from the junction of the Witels river, up and on the right, then crossing into the obvious gulley that makes the divide between the centre and the right piece of the crag, and into the ridge in the centre bit. Esy enough but there are lots of rock bands - in the day its fine, but coming down at night I'd reccommend going straight down the gulley. A lot more bushy but you can't really go wrong.


Re: Castle Rock, Ceres

Posted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:32 am
by Hilton
Uwe I concur with Ant regarding the walk.

Richard well done on carrying that rope down. Dark and I also came across it in the bush but I couldn't face the extra burden so left it for a strong, young man - like you!

Ant some years ago Ulrike Kiefer organised an international climbing meet based in Du Toits Kloof. Tony Dick and Dave Davies took a bunch of brits up Apollo. The best of them was tradding in the 30s but couldn't do that grade 19 seventh pitch that goes unprotected round the corner and up into a green recess. Eventually he did something much harder and unprotected straight up. The group lost a lot of time and finished in the dark. They had a bad time getting down and I suspect it was one of them who lost the rope in the dark. The rope has probably been exposed to the elements for about six years. Shred it!