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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:14 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:27 pm
Posts: 4
I'm visiting South Africa in April and staying with friends in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Are there any big trad routes up to about 15 near Johannesburg and Cape Town which I shouldn't miss?

I've found this list: http://www.climbing.co.za/wiki/Trad_Hit_List, but everything seems a bit tough. Jacob's Ladder on Table Mountain also sounds great, but I wouldn't mind having a couple of grades in hand in case my conversion's incorrect.

Also I'd be up for single-pitch trad around 15-17 and sport 16-18 if there are any good spots.

Thanks for any tips,


PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:47 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:09 pm
Posts: 262
The following uber-classics are all under grade 15 /VS / 5.7
And this is just what I could think of in the Western Cape in about 49 seconds.

Africa Crag
Arrow Frontal
Fader's Frontal
India Giver

Jacobs is only 16

Belly-Button slabs

Quite Something


Little Red Rooster
Tafelberg Frontal
Maiden's Prayer

There are plenty spots you can open new good routes at these grades too, you just have to know where to look...

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:10 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:27 pm
Posts: 4
Thanks ant - that should keep me going for a while.

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 6:58 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:27 pm
Posts: 4
Managed to get hold of the Cape Peninsula Select guidebook, which was very helpful for planning climbing. I wanted to share my experiences because the climbing was great and the positions superb, but also some of the grading felt inconsistent.

Ended up climbing 3 routes:

1. Huegenot Wall, 15 (Lion's Head granite)

I thought this would be a nice warm-up to work out grading, as it looked much less committing than Lion's Head proper & Table Mountain. Start of the first pitch had a pillar in the first ~8m, which my leader used for a runner. I'm a bit heavier than her and noticed that the pillar is not actually attached to anything. Makes it a little trickier if you don't use it for handholds & foot jams! I think I could have trundled this if I'd given it a big heave, so possibly it's a hazard.

I thought the crux of the route was the move off the half-way ledge on P1 (14). P2 (14) & P3 (15) had much easier climbing with poorer protection.

2. Atlantic Wall (13) on Lion's Head

We dropped a couple of grades here because we'd never climbed on sandstone before. Very glad we did! The whole route felt harder than Huegenot Wall. The final part of P2 (11) felt harder than all of P1 (13), with the final moves using hollow flakes for hands. The traverse on P3 took a bit of time to work out, and was very reachy for me (going across the face - I'm very tall), and I think my second crawled along with head and shoulders in the gap under the roof (shorter than me). This bit felt more like 16 to me! P4 (13) was a scramble, and I didn't really protect it.

Despite the grading, this climb was great - the technical highlight of the trip. P3 especially was great, varied climbing.

3. Arrow Final (11) on Africa Ledge, Table Mountain

Grading felt right for this, although some parts were quite run-out. Fantastic exposure and of course views!

The sandstone was very unfamiliar for me, and it took time to get used to the good friction it gives for feet. It didn't feel very reassuring for cam placements, either - lots of places to put them, but I wasn't convinced the rock would hold!

Anyone got any thouhts on the grading of the first 2 routes? And how well does Table Mountain sandstone stand up to falls on gear? Also in 3 days we didn't see any other climbers - where are you all?!

In all, we had a great trip and barely touched on the climbing available - I hope we'll be back one day.

PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 3:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:26 am
Posts: 86
Location: London, United Kingdom
Real Name: Stephen Martindale
Muizenburg Crag Direct

+1 for Eclipse and Staircase and the Belly Button Slab

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