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Routes rebolted at Blouberg

Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 10:14 am
by ClimbZA
The two dodgy 6 mm bolts on Teddy Bear's Picnic have been replaced with stonking 10 mm stainless. This route, although seldom repeated, is one of the best on the wall. At a moderate (and now super safe!) grade 21 it should definitely get done more often.

The desperate 26, Avalon, overlooking the top pools, also got the treatment with 5 of the 6 bolts being replaced. All of the old bolts except for the top one are 6mm and badly rusted. The top bolt was inspected and looks fine. It has been left as-is, apart from the hanger being replaced. This is an awesome route in an awesome place. Do it!

No additional bolts were added to these routes, and all new bolts can be clipped from the same positions as the old. The old bolts on both routes will be removed on a subsequent trip.

(Bolting by Alan Grant and Hector Pringle, September 2005)

Did you get that other route done?

Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 12:58 pm
by Ian
Hi Hector
Did you manage to get around to that project of yours?
Roc rally was lekker if you were wondering.
ps: See you in traffic.

Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:01 pm
by Hector
Ya, we got on the project. It went really well. Looks like the route will go. Dont wanna say too much till its finished - bad karma and all.


Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:49 am
by michael_c
Alan and Hector,

Thanks for cleaning up the the metal on Avalon and the Precious Mettles pitch.

Some trivia: the latter pitch existed long before Teddy Bears as an alternate to the wide crack pitch (further left) on Something of Value. It also helped to make Tequila Sunrise into a really nice direct line.

If you use the long corner pitch of Tequila Sunrise and the Precious Mettles pitch to avoid 3 of the 4 major traverse pitches on Something of Value, then you have a pretty awesome, relatively safe and spotlessly clean 21. In addition, use the Moonshadow pitches to the grass ledge and now you are talking about something on the main wall that is short enough to do in an afternoon and not just by the speed demons (a handy thing on hot summer days).

Tell me more about your project ..

- Michael

Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 2:50 pm
by Hector
Our project is proving a bit elusive. We went up there in March sometime and literally got washed away. The river coming out of the little kloof below the cave was waste deep and easily strong enough to take you off your feet. We had to cross by swinging from tree to tree. We spent the weekend in the cave carving chess-men and walked out in the drizzle on sunday. The route is ready for a redpoint, we just need a weekend to get on it. Someday soon...
Mike is right - the Tequila Sunrise corner is one of the best pitches I've ever done, and using it in combo with SOV and precious mettles makes a ***** route with bomber gear.

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 9:59 am
by fanta
Sorry to veer from the topic slightly… but I would like to know what your thoughts are of bolting a rap route on the main wall of blouberg; mainly for rescue purposes :?: Ideally the bolts should not interfere with established routes found on the main wall…
And do you think there is a need for this to be done :?:

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:48 am
by Hector
A rap route isnt a bad idea. The big question is where? It should go up in the Last Moon Area, but there are so many routes here that it would be very difficult to avoid placing the chains directly on a route. So the question is do we want chains on the stances of a route such as Teddy Bears' Picnic or Last Moon. Would chains alter the character of these routes? I'm not sure that I'm so keen on the idea of clipping chains on Last Moon...

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:00 pm
by Marshall
How would a rap route be used in a rescue? Sure if climbers are stuck on that route or close to it they could abseil off: or rescuers could abseil too them. What if they are on a line 100m from the rap route?

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:10 pm
by Hector
There are two rescue benefits of a rap route.

The first is preventing accidents and rescues in the first place. If guys are getting spanked by a route, and things are looking epic and dangerous, and they have the option of rapping down a steel highway, the chance of an accident would be reduced. I'm not sure that this is the greatest argument, because the whole point (for me anyway) of climbing at Blouberg is the adventure, and the uncertainty of actually getting up the route. I think a wussy escape would detract from this. Also, in the Last Moon area there are a number of options. It is possible to traverse onto Last Moon at many different levels from most of the routes in the area at a reasonable grade. Last Moon then provides an easy (17) route to the top. Alternatively, if rapping is the only option, From the bivy cave on Last Moon it is 3 raps top the grass ledge. There are trees for two of these raps (although slings or cord is essential), and the third rap is off a bomber wire (number 9 BD if I remember right). I have actually used this rap route in a rescue situation and it was no problem. From the ledge there is the existing rap route to put you on the ground.

The second benefit of a rap route is getting a rescue team to an injured climber somewhere on the wall. Blouberg is a very friendly crag, with ledges at convenient 40m intervals (at least in the Moon area). A rap route would help put a resue team on a ledge from where they could walk / traverse to an injured climber. I have a fair amount of experience in being rescued off Blouberg. The biggest challenge for the team that came to fetch us when my partner broke his arm and leg on the grass ledge was the rap. Mtn rescue placed natural anchors on top and tied two ropes together. They rapped down this line for the 250m to the grass ledge. The knot pass was very difficult. They could have used the existing rap route (bushpig) but they didnt know where it started. On the way down, the rescuers also dislodged a fair amount of loose stuff. Fortunately they were a long way off to the side, so we werent in danger. A clean rap route would prevent this.

So, I reckon that if a rap route is to be placed purely for rescue purposes, then anchors should only be put right at the top (with maybe a second set 150 m down, depending on the length of ropes mtn rescue use).

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:28 pm
by Marshall
Thanks for the info.


Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 12:19 pm
by steve
Back to the subject of climbing at Blouberg:

michael_c, Hector, kms, whoever's listening? Any of you guys remember/know anything about Psycho Reptile, or have any advice? We're planning an ascent of it in September this year. Do you know if it has seen many repeats? Would be a shame if there've been none as it's rated as 5-star in the RD, and is probably in need of some cleaning. Some mates of mine tried it a few years back and were scared off the first pitch, saying it was the hardest bit of climbing they'd ever done (despite being very comfotable on routes further away from the Wall of White Light!)

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 1:08 pm
by Hector
I havent been on the route, but did hear from Steve Broc a few years ago that it was in very poor condition. Dont know where he got his info from. I'm super keen to give it a try but dont have anyone to climb it with. Who are you climbing with and would there be space for a third? The FA sounds completely epic - many, many days of cleaning!

Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 4:13 pm
by steve
Hi Hector,

Drop me an email and we can talk some more (


Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 6:45 am
by michael_c

Psycho Reptile: can't remember. Was on the first half dozen pitches with Stew. He went back with Kevin and Clive to finish it. May have been on it with Mike Slop at some later date. However, one thing is certain: it is one of Stew's best contributions at Blouberg and well worth more attention.

Rap Routes: debate is moot. Two rap routes already created about 15 years ago by yours truly. Solid stainless anchors and chains placed using a petrol generator. Judging by the complete lack of whining about these bolts I guess either they are well hidden or nobody cares.

1. Six stations in the Hey Jude area: full height. Two raps from the left end of main grass ledge to the deck. (Clive helped on this one and Bush Pig resulted by simply \"reversing\" the rap route.)
2. Four (?) stations in the Big Corner area: rap to top of \"scramble\" section. Starts on the outside face of the block that forms the chimney at the top of Big Corner. (Cathy helped on this one. We climbed Big Corner after the bolting day with the generator in a pack, into the dark ;-)

60m ropes advised for both rap routes.

It may be worth documenting them better and perhaps marking the starts/tops (cairns?) for rescue purposes. The Hey Jude rap route does not have a \"top\" anchor simply because we usually left slings there and picked them up again later in the day.

These rap routes do allow for a different style of approaching the main area though: walk to the top, drop daypack and approach shoes, rap to the base and climb without pack or approach shoes. Rinse and repeat. In theory you get a lot of mileage in a day this way. In practice, 6 raps takes a while for two people and your rap device gets warm if not water cooled at stances. Still, better than slogging around between climbs. Snort and I took this convenience one step further and got in the habit of camping at the pools at the top of Hey Jude: wake up, rap, climb, top out at your campsite: sweet.

- Michael