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Home News Newsflashes Rocklands - South Africa

Rocklands - South Africa

About a month ago I returned from what may just be the greatest bouldering location on earth: The Cerderberg Mountains in South Africa, also known as the Rocklands.

The impressions and experiences were so diverse, so intense that I will for sure also make a separate trip report including more pictures, links to many videos and some useful hints and infos for those of you who are also considering to travel to this magic place.

So what did I do down there? We were a group of 7 boulderers from Austria, all with different abilities and styles of climbing but one goal: To have as much fun at the boulders as possible and push each other to pull hard!

As simple as the task might seem, it was quite difficult achieving it due to the unusual weather conditions. The local farmers talked about the hottest summer in 200 years. The blue skies and temperatures up to 30 degrees Celsius kept us fantasizing about snow-covered boulders and brisk air. Ok, friction was not the best, but on the other hand we hardly had any rain, meaning that we could climb as long as our skin was good enough.

And what does that mean? It was hard for me to focus on one single project, knowing that “the prefect cold day” might not come during our stay. Also, it was my first time at the Rocklands and I wanted to try as many different lines as possible. Let me put it in numbers - here is an outline of my ticklist:

  • 20 problems between 8a and 8b
  • 60 problems between 7b and 7c+
  • Flash ascents up to 8a+

I was able to send all these problems within one day each, usually within a few tries except for 2 or 3 problems that needed a second session. Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of what I did down there:

After having gotten sooooo close at the flash-attempt of the original Leopardcave, 8a+ and Au bord de l'eau, (after breakage now 8a+/8b according to Fred Nicole) it finally worked! Above, a picture of Kal El, 8a+ that I was able to flash just after having done The Amphitheatre, 8a+ (picture below), Joseph Malbos, 7c+(flash) and Technicolor Dreamcoat, 7c (flash). (I will put up videos of the sends within the next days!)

Another flash attempt that went really well was Baracuda, 8a the 8 Day Rain sector. A perfect, overhanging prow that was made famous by the recent climbing movies. Isn't this just a great piece of rock?

Due to the hot temperatures I was forced to look for shady caves and steep roof prolems (which I prefer to crimpy low-angle stuff anyway...) I found something like this in the Roadcrew sector. The locals told me that the left line in that cave is called Umbuli and after an undercling broke it is now considered 8a. This was totally my kind of style and the flash attempt went just perfect:

If you start at Umbuli but traverse all the way right out of the cave you get the Cave Combo, 8a/8a+ which I did 2nd go, just like Royksopp, 8a also just round the Corner. (Videos coming soon!) That makes 3 8as in one afternoon. I was quite happy about that.

What else? Oh, there are so many good lines! Like Caroline, one of the best 7c+ problems I've done in my life! Of course, you always like the problems you flash more than the ones you can't do... But objectively looking at it, this piece of rock is just amazing:

Speaking of the problems you I could do and therefore - of course - really liked... I'll sum up the flashes an on sights:

But some problems threw me off at the very end. The superclassic Pendragon, 8a for example! I did what is supposed to be the hard part on the first go, got to the lip and then my toehook came out!

The same thing happened to me at the Leopardcave, 8a+, where I got within half a meter of the finishing holds on the flash attemp when my toehook suddenly greased off. Finally I did the extension to it Leopard Cave (low start), now graded 8b.

And last but not least the already mentioned Nicole problem Au bord de l'eau. The problem is located at the Riverside sector and when we got there I still thought it was 8a. On the flash attempt my left foot popped on the very last move. The same thing happened again on the second go, so I decided to use another foothold and then it worked right away! Later that day I met Cody Roth and he told me that Fred Nicole himself tried the problem again and said that it is now 8a+/8b. I am still a little bummed I gave away the flash...

Of course, there are tons of moderate and easy problems that I haven't mentioned. I will feature some of them in my detailed trip report, that will also cover parts of the famous Gardenroute. I'm hoping to get it done by the end of November 2010. Further more, I got more than 40 videos waiting for you!

Until then, enjoy the cold temps and let's pray for less rain in Austria!





Umfrage: your vision!