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Chockstone Forum - Crag & Route Beta

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Author
Question re South African climbing
naturalenigma
11-Jul-2011
10:56:41 AM
Wondering if anyone knows the best places to Climb in South Africa?

Particularly interested to boulder the Rocklands but unsure whether I'll be able to hire a crash mat there? Not looking forward to carrying mine through several international airports.

Thanks Guys

nmonteith
11-Jul-2011
3:09:57 PM
I doubt you can hire a crashmat in Rocklands - when I was there a few years ago I didn't see any local climbing shops in the area. You could possibly hire one in Cape Town (3 hours away?). There were several good outdoor shops there.

Personal safety is a big problem in SA, so make sure you do some research before randomly climbing at areas recommend on the internet. Talk to some locals before venturing off into the bush. We had a few instances of guys attempting to rob us, and had locals several times warn us to stay away from areas. It's not uncommon to get held up at knife or gunpoint. A couple of guys at our hostel in Cape Town got knifed one night when we were there. Camping without a guard is not recommended. Luckily most campgrounds have one for hire. Don't drive after dark. On a more happy note..

Other spots in SA that I can recommend...

Watervall Boven - beautiful orange sandstone walls and one of the most popular areas in SA. A bit like the Blue Mountains in shape but with rock quality like Arapiles. Mostly single pitch sport. A bit unsafe for many of the crags with lots of dodgy thieves and muggers. I got harrassed and threatened quite a few times - twice whilst attempting to withdraw money from ATMs. Hiring a guard is useful.

Montagu - single pitch sport climbing on Arapiles like bulgy rock. This place is popular but I didn't think it was very good. A limited number of great routes. Felt mostly safe although I had one run in with a couple of dodgy youths when I was out by myself.

Oudtshoorn - good limestone climbing but a VERY small area. Only worth it for 2 days max. Fantastic long tufa stuff. Safe from muggers.

Drakensburg - huge bigwalls of sandstone. I didn't climb anything here - just went hiking. I think there is good adventure multipitch stuff. Mostly safe from muggers - but watch for drug runners.

Mnt Everest - soft sandstone sport and trad climbing. Not great but certainly worth a few days. Single pitch mostly. Very safe due to the fact its part of a gated game reserve with guards.
pete_w
12-Jul-2011
8:58:42 PM
I second Neil, I hauled a heap of stuff over there to go climbing with my wife a couple of years ago when we went to see some family, but I really would have been better off taking a surfboard instead.

Only place my wife felt safeish was Montagu (mostly because we climbed with a brit and she was never on the ground on her own). The rest of the time we climbed she was very uncomfortable - so much so it wasn't worth the effort. Unfortunately we went in summer and it was 40C so we could only climb in the shade and even then it was pretty unpleasant and slimy. Nearly everywhere else (except WB) we didnt see any other climbers.

The brit had just spent a bunch of time at rocklands and wasn't overly impressed with the place, I think he was a little disapointed that it was more spread out and in accessible than it appears in videos / mags. He was travelling on his own and struggled to find people to climb with which didnt help.

Honestly, of all the crags we visited (Montagu, Oudshoorn, a few places around the Cape, and Watervall Boven) I didn't any of them were that fantastic and I certainly wouldn't rush back to go climbing.

In addition to rapey, staby, shooty issues we also found baboons to be quite intimidating - those buggers are quite big and nasty looking up close - we went to another place called hogs back for climbing - but didnt get out due to the baboon population.

Pete.

nmonteith
13-Jul-2011
9:42:15 AM
I was there in winter and conditions were generally freakn cold in the Cape Town area. It was POURING rain at Rocklands and about 5'c, Table Mountain was snowing, Montagu was lightly snowing. Waterval Boven was primo conditions though and blue skies. I think Cape Town is like Melbourne in winter, and JBurg is like Brisbane in winter. I loved the climbing at Waterval Boven - i thought it was world class - but that was at the end of my month in SA and I was a lot more used to the personal security issues by then.

There was only one day where I felt comfortable walking in the bush by myself at a place called St Lucia.... until I saw the sign that said 'beware leopards, hippos and crocodiles'. Fark.

Baboons have bigger canines than lions apparently. They scared the shit out of me as well. They started throwing large rocks at us when we were hiking in the Drakensburg.

shortman
13-Jul-2011
11:01:19 AM
I've travelled through 12 countries in southern africa without too many troubles, camping most of the way. The babboon problem has a simple solution. Get a shot gun in joburg and when baboons hassle ya, shoot the first one and his mates will come and eat him and leave u alone. If ur traveling by car, just gaffa tape it to the underside when doing border crossings and they will never look for it. My advive with the not so pleasant locals - hold your ground, show no fear, explain that your a poor climber and invite them to eat with you. Ask them questions about their country and themselves, engage them as much as you can and they will probably leave. Worst comes to the worst, tell them your money is in the car, and that you will have to go get it. Right next to your loaded baboon controller!

Sabu
13-Jul-2011
11:30:19 AM
A better way to deal with baboons is to hold your pack above your head to make yourself look bigger.

Shortman surely you can't be serious about the shotgun...

shortman
13-Jul-2011
12:08:06 PM
On 13/07/2011 Sabu wrote:
>A better way to deal with baboons is to hold your pack above your head
>to make yourself look bigger.
>
>Shortman surely you can't be serious about the shotgun...

Deadly! Only time we needed it was bivvying on the edge of the kalahari desert in botswana. Way too many hungry hyeenas for our fire to scare them off. Was a cramped and scary night in the bacci.

Sabu
13-Jul-2011
12:26:34 PM
It makes perfect sense for warding off animals, but i was alluding to the suggestion to threaten with a deadly weapon in the event of a confrontation with locals. Even if its a last resort.

nmonteith
13-Jul-2011
12:56:49 PM
On 13/07/2011 Sabu wrote:
>It makes perfect sense for warding off animals, but i was alluding to the
>suggestion to threaten with a deadly weapon in the event of a confrontation
>with locals. Even if its a last resort.

If a tourist can buy a shotgun then so can the locals! Hand over everything you have as meekly as possible is my suggestion!

shortman
13-Jul-2011
12:59:55 PM
On 13/07/2011 Sabu wrote:
>It makes perfect sense for warding off animals, but i was alluding to the
>suggestion to threaten with a deadly weapon in the event of a confrontation
>with locals. Even if its a last resort.

Who said anything about threaten?

I've had a person try and stab me in the face, been lynched by mobs, pulled matrix like moves to avoid injury, run like buggery and sometimes been left in a bloody mess. Sometimes I felt like it was a real posibillity that death might have come. In all honesty I dont know what I would have done with a shotty in hand. Probably nothin, but fear can bring on strange things.

nmonteith
13-Jul-2011
1:02:56 PM
South Africa appears to be the sort of place where muggers expect their victims to also be armed - so it's best to stab/shoot first then ask for money afterwards. Scary as f---.

Sabu
13-Jul-2011
1:19:57 PM
Yup, hence my thinking that assuming you're a mild mannered tourist with no experience in military/policing/security, producing a weapon is a sure way to end up dead.
costa
13-Jul-2011
3:22:59 PM
Id quiet possibly rather be dead than looking at the inside of their prison cells for trying to smuggle a shotty accross a border.

StuckNut
13-Jul-2011
4:01:11 PM
On 13/07/2011 shortman wrote:

>I've had a person try and stab me in the face, been lynched by mobs, pulled
>matrix like moves to avoid injury, run like buggery and sometimes been
>left in a bloody mess. Sometimes I felt like it was a real posibillity
>that death might have come.

Yeah, but thats just an average week day in Melbourne for you Dan.


shortman
13-Jul-2011
7:11:24 PM
On 13/07/2011 StuckNut wrote:

>Yeah, but thats just an average week day in Melbourne for you Dan.
>
Its funny you say that Jase. Was thinkin that when i wrote it. I've traveled enough to realise that if troubles and trials wanna find ya, then find you they will. Toorak, Castle Crag, Soweto, Footscray, Stuttgart, Hobart, Pretoria...you get the drift....but also on the flip side - I've made life long friends in some of the poorest/corrupt places on earth, and I suppose I have a soft spot in my heart for a crook who understands honor. To the man who seeks to take, give him more than he bargained for. I've come closer to death by violence here in Melbourne and in Singapore much more so than anywhere across Africa. Maybe one day I'll die by the sword, who knows? But I aint gonna let you take my dignity first. You want my money? Then come and get it mother fusher!


There are 15 messages in this topic.

 

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