Towerkop Conditions Mid-winter

Swop tips on moves, route conditions, etc.
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Towerkop Conditions Mid-winter

Post by Ray » Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:42 pm

We are heading to Towerkop over the long weekend, and seems like there is quite a bit of snow up there, probably more on the way today/tomorrow.

What are the rock-climbing conditions this time of year? Has anyone had any epics/routes to avoid when there is snow/maybe even ice? Is Neftd's route likely to be go-able?

Any other advice for mid-winter climbing there?



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Re: Towerkop Conditions Mid-winter

Post by Q20 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:15 pm


Try giving Jan a ring, got his info from the TOwerkop RD section on the wiki. He is kinda a local and has climbed Towerkop like 50 times, probably your best bet....

Cell: 083 698 2973

have fun, pack your feathers.

One life, one body. Use them well.

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Re: Towerkop Conditions Mid-winter

Post by d0nK3y » Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:45 pm

Hey Ray!

I have been there in Mid-winter... albeit a LONG time ago... All I can say is: It was @$%#%@$%%@#$#ing cold! You'd do well take all the warm stuff you have! (We pitched tents in the cave, not sure why we had tents with us in the first place though)

As for the climbing, I suspect most of the routes in the main gully between the two halves of the mountain will be pretty tricky to climb... (they were when we were there over Easter, just because of the cold) and I suspect they will now be even colder, and perhaps be icy too! This time of year those routes don't see an inch of sunlight all day. This unfortunately includes Nefdt's route.... But its still worth a try!

The routes on the Northern side should be alright, as they see as much of the sun as there is during the day, and there are some stellar routes that side!

Getting up the scree slope on the walk in could also be pretty interesting if its snowy/slippery!

Enjoy it! Its such a rad place!

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Re: Towerkop Conditions Mid-winter

Post by Oakley » Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:02 pm

We were there in April and it was iced, ie no climbing

It is a truly amazing place.

keith james
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Re: Towerkop Conditions Mid-winter

Post by keith james » Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:24 pm


I've been to Towerkop quite a few times in July and August over the last 30 years, and based on that experience I can say that it is highly unlikely you will get up anything on the south side of anything. But on the north and north-east side, the routes are brilliant in winter (I'm thinking of the 'Space Captain' and 'Keen's Block' sectors) if the wind isn't cranking. Plus, on that side, the rock seems more wirednuts-and-small-cam-friendly, so you can leave the big cams behind and go for the skimpy-rack option.

It is a stunningly fine time to go. The walk in feels easy in the cold. There is plenty of water. The drip in the cave will be strong (if it's not iced!). There may be icicles in the cave itself (take a bivibag). There will be ice and snow on all the terraces, probably including the terraces on the approach from the Gates up. Big boots rather than approach shoes are probably better for the walk.
Unfortunately you wont be tanning on the sunslabs near the cave.

I'm suddenly rather envious ...

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Re: Towerkop Conditions Mid-winter

Post by Ray » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:38 pm

thanks guys!

One of the most difficult climbing moves I've had to do was the blockage at the bottom of the Angus Leppan Route on Sentinel (it's not even graded on the climb) because it was so frikken cold in mid-winter Drakensburg! So maybe the north-facing routes are the way to go on towerkop!


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Re: Towerkop Conditions Mid-winter

Post by Jan Viljoen » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:58 pm

Hi Ray

I agree with what Keith has said, and can confirm that Nefdt's and all other south facing routes will be covered in ice/snow. Routes on the northern faces might just be climbable after a few days of consistent sunshine, but do take a pair of gloves and warm clothing along to belay in.

Avoid the large scree on the approach if it's covered in snow and use a vague path just to the right (east) of it. Bivi or survival bags will be useful in the cave (also south facing) since you'll probably only find about 4 completely dry sleeping spots, another 4 or so will have drips from above, but anything else will be rather muddy!

Attached is a picture of what the section just below Nel's Cave might look like to a greater or lesser degree.

Enjoy the climb!
Towerkop winter.jpg
Towerkop winter.jpg (109.53 KiB) Viewed 2618 times

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