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Rock, rock and more rock
Over the last 14 months or so I have spent an inordinate amount of time exploring the mountains between Constantia Nek and Cape Point as part of my research to publish a new book on hiking, scrambling and easy rock climbs in the Southern Peninsula.
Truth be told, up until recently, I had only spent time climbing at Elsie’s and Muizenberg Peak and, when I was in my teens, we also frittered away many a weekend exploring the Kalk Bay Caves. So it was with quite a lot of curiosity that I set about with a varying group of friends to see what the Southern Peninsula had to offer. In a nutshell, I was impressed, to say the least – as far as hiking goes, Cape Point was the biggest surprise – really beautiful trails covering delightful coastal and mountain terrain.
We also uncovered some excellent and exciting ridge scrambles, existing routes and some new ones (I think) – with the Simon’s Town, Noordhoek and Vlakkenberg mountains offering the best. But what really amazed me was the immensity and quality of the mostly untapped rock climbing. Every time we would go hiking or scrambling I would see beautiful ridges, prows and faces, most of them completely untouched. I searched the early MCSA Journals for descriptions of old routes opened back in the day. I found some and we set about finding and climbing them. And while climbing them we would discover other unclimbed rock close by and then make plans to return. My list of intended routes just grew and grew, but we were having fun, so what the heck.
Many of the routes were of a moderate grade on excellent rock, which could be included in the book. One example is the elegant 30-metre prow we found on the eastern side of Swartkop above Simon’s Town, which gave us a 5-star grade 16 straight up the front. But there were a few crags that yielded superb climbing that was a bit hard to qualify for the book. One crag in particular gave us route after route of sublime climbing on Ledge-quality rock and gear wherever you want (well almost), with grades ranging from 17 to about 20 (topo to come soon . . . after we have opened a few more routes).
Another impressive area is the western walls of Noordhoek Peak; excellent ridges and walls, with huge potential for new routes.
The Cape Peninsula is a treasure trove of excellent rock climbing. Table Mountain, with all its incredible world-class routes on the Ledge and surrounding areas and crags, but also on the hills south of Constantia Nek. If you love exploring and climbing in new areas and new routes, do yourself a favour and spend some time exploring the Southern Peninsula – you will be astounded! Or just wait for the book to be published later this year. Be safe in the hills Tony
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