Find us on Facebook
A new route on the Castle, Chess Pieces, Du Toits Kloof
FA: Rob Zippley and Malcolm Gowans. October 2009.
A large rack is recommended. Small, micro wires and 00 cams are essential.
The route follows a line up the left-hand side of the the Castle, the grey tower immediately right of Smalblaar Ridge.
Start: Off the left-hand end of the obvious large ledge, a quarter of the height up the tower, adjacent to the pleasantly cool descent gully. There are two obvious corner systems. In Your Honour takes the prominent right-hand recess. Start at the base of the right-trending grey corner that has a large floating shield halfway up.
Pitch 1: 22 m (19) Step into the layback corner and climb up past a small roof to stance in a scoop below the floating-shield. The gear is slim at the stance!
Pitch 2: 33 m (17) Step 1 m right out of the scoop and continue up the layback/corner. Climb up past the right-hand side of the floating shield and into the steepening grove above. Balance over the ramp and then climb the chimney that splits a large block, to the ledge above. Note: If you have 60 m ropes, it is possible to combine the first two pitches to create a 55 m pitch. It is also possible to retreat from here via: (1) an abseil prong on the left-hand side of the base of the chimney, or (2) it looks possible to traverse left along the ledge into the descent gully.
Pitch 3: 16 m (21) Step down and rail out right until directly under a peapod groove. Pull up into the groove (exciting) and exit right at the top. Round the corner, move 1 m right then crank up on edges to access a small ledge below a roof. Stance here.
Pitch 4: 23 m (23) Climb the crack on the right-hand edge of the roof and pull up into the left facing corner above (crux.) A swing left on the face above allows you access to the steepening corner. Climb up to stance on a large vegetated ledge.
Pitch 5: 40 m (24) Note: Small wires are essential here! Step left off the large ledge and back into the groove. Climb up and then balance left moving into the left of the two corners above. Climb up and left across the blank face and then back right and up under the small triangular roof. Pull over the roof and onto the apron. Hard and thin! Climb up and to the right of a brown water streak/scoop. Below the large roofs, traverse left with feet at the level of the brown water scoop. Delicate footwork! Move left to stance on a large ledge, left of the big roofs. Note: The water-scoop might be wet after heavy rains!
Pitch 6: 20 m (17) This final pitch starts a block below a layback/water-worn groove. Step off the block and climb the rib, then the face to the top.
A new route on the Castle, Chess Pieces, Du Toit’s Kloof
FA: Malcolm Gowans and Rob Zippley. June 2009.
Start: 50 m to the right of No More Bells and about 6 m left of a massive block lying below a series of brown overhangs. The route starts below a small, vegetated left-facing corner.
Pitch 1: 35 m (22) Climb up 2 m and where it starts getting vegetated, move right, over the arête, onto the slab and via some thin moves up to a downward-facing prong. Climb up and slightly left through the break in the roof (crux). Climb the grey face above and into the arching line of weakness then up to a big ledge.
Pitch 2: 35 m (22) Climb the hard layback crack in the left-facing corner for about 8 m and pull into the open book below a triangular roof. Climb through the right-hand side of the roof and up. Move left and onto a knobbly face and then up to a triangular vegetated ledge.
Pitch 3: 25 m (17) Move 2 m up and slightly left onto another small ledge. Pull directly up past a small loose flake onto a second ledge in front of some large stacked flakes just left of a left-facing corner. Move right on the ledge and then climb up the flakes, moving left toward the top of the upper flake. Traverse left and stance on the left-hand side of the ledge, below a long narrow roof.
Pitch 4: 45 m (20) Pull through the middle of three breaks in the small roof and climb straight up to another small roof and pull through into a flaring crack. Continue up to a third roof, move 1 m left and up a juggy break. Trending slightly right, climb up the centre of the grey wall to a left-facing corner and as that crack closes out traverse out a few metres right and up a sloping crack to a little belay ledge.
Pitch 5: 45 m (18) Climb up leftwards (a little thin on gear) and up towards a narrow roof. Traverse right to access twin cracks and climb these up the grey face. Trend leftwards until you reach a big ledge. Climb the face just left of a left-facing corner trending left and then straight up through the open book above. Pull up onto a small ledge and then move higher to stance on a block about 5 m below the massive rectangular overhang.
Pitch 6: 15 m (22) Climb up the left-facing open book up to the large roof. Using hand/fist jams, rail right around the corner until below an off-width crack. Getting up into the crack is strenuous. Crank the last few exposed and strenuous moves to the top.