SA Mountain 80 | March – May 2022

SAM Issue 80

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SA Mountain Editorial – Issue 80
Do we really live in climbing paradise?

Last month I got a request from the Italian climbing magazine, UP, to write an article for them on sandstone climbing in the Western Cape of South Africa, as they were doing a ‘climbing sandstone around the world’ theme in their next issue. I always find it a privilege when given an opportunity to show off SA rock to the climbing world, ’cause I know it’s so damn good!

I sat down and started putting together a synopsis of what I thought the article should consist of, and very soon realised that doing any justice to the sandstone climbing in my province, I would need to write a book, never mind an article. So painfully, I had to decide what to include and what not to. It was an almost impossible task. Starting more or less top left of the Western Cape, there was the Cederberg, with its endless possibilities of world class trad, the beautiful and unique sport climbing at Truitjieskraal and other areas, and of course the world renowned bouldering. I decided not to include Rocklands, as there have been many articles on this wonderland, and is generally very well known around the globe. But even so – Krakadouw, Tafelberg and Wolfberg. Just these three remarkable areas overflow the parameters of your standard magazine article.

Then of course, down south, the iconic Table Mountain. The unspeakable beauty and wildness of climbing up on the Ledge. The exposure, the position, with the Atlantic coastline your ever-present backdrop 1000 metres below. Perfect quartzitic sandstone, gear friendly . . . but not always! All of this makes climbing here a very special and not to be missed experience.

Of course I also had to include Montagu, one of the Meccas of sport climbing in South Africa. Anyone visiting the Western Cape on a climbing trip has to experience the very varied and excellent single and multi-pitch sport routes on offer here, and also the charm of one of South Africa’s idyllic country towns.

I had already way surpassed my word count, and I hadn’t even touched on the many awesome country crags and mountains – Yellowwood, Du Toit’s, Klein Winterhoek, Hellfire . . . the list goes on.

Then last week I had the pleasure of climbing at the new and revamped Mossel Bay sea cliffs for the first time. Again, blown away by stellar lines on excellent sandstone above the crashing surf!

I always knew that the climbing in the Western Cape was way above average, but sitting down to write this article made me realise how unbelievably special our little corner at the tip of Africa really is.

I named my article, ‘Sandstone Paradise’ and I know, in fact we all know, that there are not many places on God’s blue planet that will come close to the near perfection we have here. And the best part is that it is our home.

Be safe in the hills


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