An African Safari


Reflections on a new route through one of Table Mountain’s biggest walls.


Tinie [Versfeld] made me do the second ascent with him. I don’t know why. But it was great in so many ways. Right from the first pitch, you realise you’re in for a tough day. Although only graded 21, it’s a hard start with some tricky moves. The climbing is immaculate and at one point Tinie shouted up to me that I was going to have to do a very long, steep pull/dyno, or else take a wimp-out variation to the right. After a bit, I found a tiny crimp that I could only just hang onto, and that got me through. Tinie couldn’t stick the crimp but he beasted his way through off a tough hand jam.

The second pitch is pretty darn wild for something graded 20. It involves a tricky face then beautiful, positive pulling through a set of small roofs going off great rails. Best of all, this pitch puts you back at the cherry tree with tea and crumpets only minutes away!

From the cherry tree, a little connecting pitch leads up to the top of a feature that looks like a gigantic anvil. Here it gets interesting. Tinie reckons this fourth pitch is the crux. I don’t know. To me, several of the pitches seemed pretty similar in difficulty.

From the first move, one commits over the void by stepping off the tip of the anvil onto the slightly overhanging wall with a rail leading out left.

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