The Best Bouldering Area in Natal!!

New Areas. New routes. Retrobolting. Add-ons. Re-grading. etc.
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Nic Gear
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Location: Natal, peacevale

The Best Bouldering Area in Natal!!

Postby Nic Gear » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:30 am

On Sunday 14 June. A Group of us decided to explore the boulders at the bottom of Umgeni valley. We were distracted on the way down with boulders and boulder problems, V0 – V8 possibility for harder but I’m not on that level.

Towards the end of our days climbing (about 8 boulders and 20 problems), we stumbled across an area, by pure luck as you cant see it from the road. WOW is all I can say, it leaves Swinburn in Harrismith. About 30+ boulders in an area the size of a school hall. Features like I’ve never scene, overhangs, long caves, face, edges, rails, pockets, sloppers, crimps, dynos and much more. I felt like a little kid. I am going back ASAP to route some RDs.

Let me know if you want to join me.
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illona
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Re: The Best Bouldering Area in Natal!!

Postby illona » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:04 am

haha, that should read the ONLY bouldering area in natal. How is the access/walk in?

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Dogleg
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Re: The Best Bouldering Area in Natal!!

Postby Dogleg » Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:50 am

Really upset I missed it Nic, however, the path to the Wave Cave needed a trim and some steps built.
Very keen to boulder at Umgeni soon- did you take any photos? Please post them if you did!
I'm not here for a long time,
I'm here for a good time!

andrew p
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Re: The Best Bouldering Area in Natal!!

Postby andrew p » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:07 am

Sounds rad Nic. I am actually writing this from Umgeni Reverve and we are going to take a walk down the valley today for our rest day. I did notoce lots of good looking boulders from the top. But, have you spoken to the park office... i think that climbing was on a trial here following lengthy and careful negotiation by locals (Roger I presume). Bouldering should also be discussed with them as it does have an impact, it would need permission and a small plan, like the crags. I was suprised to find bits of paper and the odd bit of finger tape at the crag base..really this is stupid, its the sort of thing hikers could complain about then the place shut down. On a positive note, what a great crag Umgeni is, really really sweet, enough for a mini road trip. Cheers, Andrew.

kyle
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Re: The Best Bouldering Area in Natal!!

Postby kyle » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:31 am

I have to agree with Andrewp. I grew up in Howick and climbed lots of trad lines in Umgeni Valley but only after lengthy negotiations with the Nature Reserve and on the understanding that we be the only people who were allowed to climb there. Its great that Roger has negotiated access but knowing how the reserve works it is definitely not a sure thing that access will continue. Umgeni is actually a very biologically sensitive area and I am not sure the management would look kindly on crash pads and the like in the forest. Just run it by them first before access compromised for everyone.

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ScottS
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Re: The Best Bouldering Area in Natal!!

Postby ScottS » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:38 am

It's really awesome to hear that there is actually bouldering in KZN, but andrew p and kyle are quite right to raise their concern. Umgeni Valley is a nature reserve and climbing is currently restricted outside of the designated areas (the crags above the Dwarves Dawdle trail are the designated area). It would be wise to chat to Roger to find out what the current state of play is. The reserve manager is a great chap with an open mind, but he is not a climber and will be understandably concerned with the impacts of climbing in the reserve.

To the folks leaving tendon tape at the base of the crag... naughty naughty :pukel:
At the chaaaaains boet!!

Who_has_a_Bighead
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Re: The Best Bouldering Area in Natal!!

Postby Who_has_a_Bighead » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:55 pm

Agreed, Litter is ridiculous, be it a climber or hiker. Judging by the steel ladder structures the reserve has erected on the boulders for commercial purposes, I do not think bouldering will do much worse damage, especially considering it tiny following, compared to sport climbers. Last I was there the tourists were doing far worse damage in there vehicles (yes in the valley). I have bouldered there, I informed reception and had a brief chat with a guide on an excursion with no upsets. Great to see climbing expanding. What we need, is to have experienced climbers participating in taking out junior climbers for mentoring, instead of trying to keep climbing a niche clicky sport. Those of us with a passion for the environment and ecosystems can only protect our resources through education and guidance.

This is a great addition to climbing in KZN, lets make it work.
Keep it clean guys

illona
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Re: The Best Bouldering Area in Natal!!

Postby illona » Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:44 am

Well if you're keen on getting the kids involved then I hope you will join us in our next mentor session. We've had 2 very succesful mentor days already this year and the next one is scheduled for 26 July. The location has not been decided just yet but we can keep you informed of that.

kyle
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Re: The Best Bouldering Area in Natal!!

Postby kyle » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:19 am

@who has a big head

Just because the valley gets used in different ways by other people who do damage, does not mean that it is automatically ok to boulder. Yes there are two boulders that have had steel structures attached to them but there are many 10s of more boulders that are untouched. I am a boulderer myself so please don't take this as an anti boulder rant. One just has to look at how access was comprimised in Newlands Forest because people thought that the "mattress jumpers" were doing damage. I agree that bouldering is niched and has limited impact but the way it is percieved by others can have a big impact on where we are allowed to climb. All I am saying is that someone needs to officially approach the reserve (no just talk to a guide) and like Andrewp says get some sort of bouldering management plan going and then yes - we might have the best bouldering area in Natal. What we have at the moment is potential for the best bouldering area in Natal to be shut down before it is even open.

pixie44
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Re: The Best Bouldering Area in Natal!!

Postby pixie44 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:05 pm

thanx nic i am ceen 2 go wiht u let me know wen u gowing agen ther is 6 of us that r ceen thanx agen :jocolor:

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Skyjuggler
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Re: The Best Bouldering Area in Natal!!

Postby Skyjuggler » Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:27 am

Sigh... It always frustrates me when things like this turn into a bit of a mudslinging match for no reason. While I appreciate what everyone has said about permission and red tape and the rest... Guys, someone has to find the spot first. The original post was made the morning after and clearly showed a climber excited by what he'd found. Well done for that! I hope communication with the park goes swiftly so we can get these great Natal boulders up and climbable.
I'm not a complete idiot... There're some parts missing!

lukewijn
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Re: The Best Bouldering Area in Natal!!

Postby lukewijn » Wed Jun 17, 2009 1:21 pm

I had a chat with Dave Drummond and by the offshoot to Roger. I was super keen to put a rough guide together so we don't undo/redo each others work but Roger says we should put the brakes on full stop for this area so we don't jeopardize future access. This is in place I think so the officials can quantify the possible damage that pads, chalk, etc. will cause. I really think we should hang back a bit and let the negotiations take place. This place is just way too good to throw away.

DaveD
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Re: The Best Bouldering Area in Natal!!

Postby DaveD » Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:21 pm

Good job on the scouting Nic and Luke.

I think a little patience can go a long way here.
Let's get the reserve managers involved before rushing out.
Once we have their input we can move forward.
We will keep you posted. :thumleft:
Feel the Qui

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Nic Gear
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Re: The Best Bouldering Area in Natal!!

Postby Nic Gear » Sat Oct 24, 2009 7:22 am

Lets go bouldering!!! :thumleft:

"Had a meeting with the umgeni management - they are happy for you to boulder where ever you wish in the reserve! They will monitor the impact and step in if things become problematic re impact. Tread lightly and have a blast. Keep a record... vol 2 will include bouldering.
Roger"

Thanks again to Roger N, Dave D, Luke W, and others.
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SMEG
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Re: The Best Bouldering Area in Natal!!

Postby SMEG » Sat Oct 24, 2009 10:21 am

haha, congrats :thumleft:
please post some pics, im so ampd to see the wonderfoolness....
the excitement in your first post was palpable


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