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Chockstone Forum - Trip Reports

Tells Us About Your Latest Trip!

Topic Date User
Hot Rock - South Africa 8-Sep-2007 At 9:59:41 PM MartinR
Message
Mark (Ashy) Ashmore and I left these sunny shores in December for a little climbing adventure from Nairobi Kenya to Cape Town South Africa on the Hot Rock truck BiRT (Big Red Truck). I was planning to keep you chockstoners updated on our progress, but the internet proved to be quite horrible, not helped by the fact that we managed to pull down a few telegraphs poles in our own rite.

So returning after 7 months on the road to this western decadence of flushing toilets, soft couches and high speed internet I can give you the run down. I would bore you all stupid in one post, so included is update from South Africa:


HOT ROCK SOUTH AFRICA

The local South African climbers had warned that if you fall off the crux of 'Energy Crisis' (20) you would hit the deck. This made me feel tentative, but I negotiated the tricky entry to the layback crack with no problem and the sharp edge provided a solid grip, as I reached the crux, the edge rounded slightly as the foot holds slickened, a split second later I was plummeting toward the ground.


Energy Crisis (20), Wolfberg, South Africa

The long drive south out of Namibia had us first spending a few days in Swakermon, a very pretty German town on the coast surrounded by huge sand dunes. Where we snowboard down sand dunes, quad biked around sand dunes and jumped out of perfectly serviceable airplanes over sand dunes. South to watch the sun set, then rise at Sesriem Park, which has the largest dunes in the world that rise 400 meters above the rocky plain. Further South to Fish River George, which is only second in size to the Grand Canyon.


Hotrockers on Sand, Sesriem, Namibia

These 5 long days of travel are very dry & dusty, with dirt roads most of the way. Dust into everything, thick in lockers, hair like wire, skin dry, lips chaffed. But BiRT plods on with only a single flat tire to slow us down for a few minutes. Finally after days of travelling the sand thins into Rocky Mountains and lush valleys. As we cross over the boarder into South Africa the valleys are irrigated and we find that it is very western, modern, convenient, this is not the real wild Africa we have got to know over the last 6 months!


Tom, Bouldering, Rocklands, South Africa

We have travelled so far south in these few days that we have driven into winter, with days much shorter, colder and we even start to get rained off climbing days, the first for the entire trip. Our first climbing in South Africa is at the hard sandstone crag of Rocklandís. The rock has excellent friction, great features, bouldering and well-bolted sports routes. We camp at the closed campground among huge pine trees, many fallen so we have massive supply of firewood for a change. We throw huge logs on the fire that burns continuous for 4 days, until the rain chases us off.


Shona, Legoland, Montaqu, South Africa

Escaping the rain we head to Montague, which is a mixture of Hunter Valley and Blackheath. Great climbing, wine country, with excellent local produce, great cheese, olives, wine. To us the land of milk and honey after the simple food of the north. Here there are thousands of well-bolted sports routes, on many small crags. The rock is fractured sandstone, but slick, so that you must watch where you put your feet, unlike Rocklandís where you can smear anywhere and walk up the wall like Spiderman. My foot blows off the rock several times, but I manage to hang onto the good crimping holds. We spend 3 days climbing excellent sport routes, grade 17 to 25's.

From Montague we head back north to Wolfberg to climb on the classic big trad routes. Wolfberg is in the spectacular Cedarburg Mountains in the north west of South Africa. BiRT climbs up the steep passes to the high valley plain and we even see some snow on the high peaks in the distance. It's now very cold and the morning sees all the tents frozen and with everyone slow to rise out of their warm sleeping bags. The climbing if fantastic with Brent, Sarah and me doing 'Quite Something' (17) a 5-pitch classic on the first day. With great gear, moves, exposure, rock and belay ledges.


Martin, Jacob's Ladder (16), Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

Second day we spend at the local sports crag which is 30 meters of 5 start classic lines from grade 19 to 24, where we tick almost the entire wall in a day. The final day has us on Energy Crisis (20) the classic route up a dramatic prow. Brent leads the first pitch in style moving through the crux with no problems. Sarah & I being on second had little chance in hitting the deck. As I fell from the crux my 8mm lifeline stretched and brought me safely to a halt 3 meters above the ground. Embarrassed I only had to swing back to the wall and climb it all again.


Dan, Silvermine, Cape Town, South Africa

From Wolfberg we spend two days at Paarl on its bolted granite domes, and then onto Cape Town, which is only 100km from as far south as you can go in Africa. We sports climb at Silvermine, close to our campground at Minzberg then onto to classic trad routes on Table Mountain. I lead the 3 pitch classic 'Jacobs Ladder' (16), with Heather and Peter following quickly behind. It has great exposure and you can see all the way down the coast to Cape of Good Hope.

END OF NOTE


After such a trip we had photo overload (over 30,000 photos taken). Here is a tiny selection for your viewing pleasure:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=11202&l=a07fc&id=569675986

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=11197&l=6256f&id=569675986

If you are interested in Hot Rock, I can highly recommend it. Suggest you quit your job, leave your partner (or better take them along) and get your arse on the truck for heaps of fun and climbing adventure.

Cheers,

Martin

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