A request for Lesotho Beta

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A request for Lesotho Beta

Post by merrick » Mon Mar 27, 2006 9:16 pm


This is essentially a request for beta but let me give some context.

My name is Merrick Schaefer and I am a climber who happens to be working for UNICEF in New York City. I wrote an article for Climbing magazine: (http://climbing.com/print/current/246/) last year on climbing in the Todra Gorge in Morocco and it ended up in the hands of the head of my division. This gave them some interesting ideas.

One of the major programs UNICEF is working on is trying to stem the spread of AIDS in Africa(http://www.unicef.org/uniteforchildren/) and they are always looking for ways to get media attention both locally and globally on the seriousness of the problems in Sub-saharan Africa. The heads of the division essentially see a climbing event/movie/article as a good method for doing this (another project right now has to do with the World Cup so it is not totally off the wall) and are asking me to help coordinate something. They are particularly interested in Lesotho as the AIDS epidemic there is really serious. And rumor has it that Lesotho is full of climbable rock.

Does anyone on this board know anything about the climbing there? Bouldering, sport or trad? Developed or undeveloped? High quality or local crags?

And beyond Lesotho I am interested in some more specific beta about the South African climbing scene. I hear that it is awesome. If someone would be willing to have a phone conversation with me I would greatly appreciate it. I can call you at a time that works for you.

So please post any beta here or Private Message me with a phone number and a time to call. I would greatly appreciate it.

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Post by scottnoy » Mon Mar 27, 2006 9:59 pm

I'm a SA climber that knows a fair bit about climbing in the Western Cape and more specifically Rocklands!! Not so sure about technical rock climbing in Lesotho; rock is not good?
I'm staying in Princeton for a week. Send me your e-mail address and we can get in contact...
Peace out

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Post by DBez » Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:46 am

Not so sure how you are going to get the info ...but I remember vaguely from my days in Ficksburg that there is some bolted routes close to or in Katse . The grades is about 5.12b to 5.13a . Might be a bit of help if you can get hold of Oliver Esplin (082) 5636242 . He'll be able to give you Keith Whitelock's phonenumber . This guy works in Lesotho and has done rock climbing in the area for longer than 15 years . Hpe it helps !

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Post by oOdball » Tue Mar 28, 2006 8:16 am

I've been to the Katse crag. The routes are pretty cool but if I remember right there are only about 10, not really worth a UN expedition (sorry Paul [Schlotfeldt sp?]). That said, the kids in the area thought we were a hoot :oops:
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Post by African Climber » Tue Mar 28, 2006 8:50 am

Hey Merrick,

Not too sure about climbing in Lesotho itself but I have spent loads of time up there hiking. The Drakensberg mountain range has plenty to offer when it comes to Trad(very few sport routes), the rock is not that great though.

You should be able to find some good info from the book Serpent Spires: Drakensberg's finest peaks.
You can find it on http://www.kalahari.net. The books details are as follows.

Publisher: Jonathan Ball Publishers
ISBN: 1868422003
Publication Date: 2005/4

It should retail at about R160/ $26

Regarding an event of some sort, there is the Rory Lowther Memorial Challenge held once a year in February http://www.rorylowther.za.net, this is held just outside of Harrismith which is near the northern Drakensberg.
Then there is the Roc Rally at Waterval Boven details can be found @ http://www.rocrope.com this is in Mapumalanga(North East region of the South Africa).

Hope this helps.

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Post by Gonzo » Tue Mar 28, 2006 2:10 pm

Hi There
There is some rock climbing around Maseru the capital. (I have never rock climbed there).

You can find some info on the excellent KZN section of the MCSA (Mountain Club of South Africa)


Otherwise I have ice climbed in Lesotho. The two main areas are Oxbow and Bokong. The ice seasson is short, end of June to begining of August. The climbing is really fun.

I can also give you some info about climbing in Gauteng, North West, Free State and Natal. (Never climbed in Western Cape)

Contact me on ronnathan1@hotmail.com


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Re: A request for Lesotho Beta

Post by Gadget » Wed Mar 29, 2006 11:00 am


in Lesotho you might also consider that there are some ice to climb. See the MCSA photo page at http://mcsa.org.za/cpg/ (look at the 2004 JHB ice climbing meet stuff - there are falls of up to 60m in Lesotho).

Also, you might want to cast your net a bit wider and consider Namibia, Mozambique, Madagascar, etc. Take a look at Allard's big wall climbing site for ideas at: http://www.alardsbigwallclimbing.com

Much of this (also Lesotho climbing) was written up in the MCSA Journals, but it might be a bit difficult to get hold of unless someone sends copies to you.

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Post by merrick » Thu Mar 30, 2006 10:06 pm

Thanks for the beta guys. I really appreciate it. I will probably be following up with some of you in the next few weeks. I will post something on this board if the project happens.

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Post by African Climber » Fri Mar 31, 2006 7:55 am

Cool, let us know if you need any more assistance.
Stay cool.

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Post by Carl » Fri Mar 31, 2006 1:27 pm

I saw your article on Morocco - very nice. How about swinging by Botswana too. Not as much rock as Lesotho but we have got a few small crags near the capital Gaborone where we climb regularly. As far as the main purpose of your visit goes, we have a huge AIDS problem here (I believe Botswana still has the highest infection rate in the world) and a very active research and intervention programme so it might be interesting from that point of view. My e-mail is carl.bauer@info.bw

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Re: Botswana

Post by nicojah » Tue May 03, 2016 10:05 pm


Please provide more info about how to get in contact with climbers in Gaborone. Ill be there for hte next 3 weeks and looking for climbers to share a rope with.


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