SA Mountain 87 | Dec 2023 – February 2024


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With up-to-date news coverage, training articles, gear reviews, celebrity profiles, technical tips covering a wide variety of subjects, event reports, big glossy pics and enthralling articles.


Who’s on the end of your rope?

I try to find a reasonably comfortable place to plant my butt as I fumble through my pack to find my stove and tea paraphernalia. I light the cooker, sit back and look up at the steep wall above, where just moments ago we had been hanging out – sitting in our harnesses on exposed stances, railing out over the bowel-sucking void and jamming up immaculate cracks.

I lean over and pass a cup of tea to my gubba and offer the obligatory rusk. Our muscles wonderfully tired, the skin on our hands parched and still covered with chalk and mountain grit, our minds still swimming in the intoxication of that post-climb euphoria.
“Jusssiss, how was that move leaving the stance on pitch three? That crimpy barndoor move to gain the crack system?” and “My donner! That layback on the final pitch! What a beauty, with such perfect gear.” And so it goes on. One never tires of talking about the routes you have just done. Or indeed the routes you are yet to do.

But it goes much deeper than that. It is about who you share these moments with; about the bond you have with your climbing partner. The years and years of climbing together, getting to know each other. Learning each other’s body language, feeling the emotions of your partner through the rope. Words aren’t even necessary. Just that knowing glance, which is meaningless to others, but carries a string of messages to you – watch me here, I’m shaky, I’m scared, I’m gonna go for it, and many other subtle messages.

When I’m up there, with my ‘old April poutin like a goodun’, I want to know that my gubba down below has my back. My life is in their hands. And I know that when the roles are reversed, that feeling is one hundred percent mutual.

If you are reading this, chances are you love climbing as much as I do, but the love for climbing goes far beyond the actual act of climbing – the moves, the situation, the grandeur, etc. Climbing also brings with it a multitude of emotions – a heady mixture of fear, excitement, doubt, trust, the unknown, love, joy, elation, a sense of belonging, contentment, and a few more, I’m sure. These passionate emotions are wholly instrumental in forming that powerful bond between you and your climbing partner. A bond that grows stronger every time you tie on to the rope together. A bond that grows stronger every time you sit at the base of a route just climbed and relive those emotions. A bond so strong, that it inextricably ties you together for a lifetime.

I have always felt that who you share your climbing experiences with is as important, if not more important than what you climb. We all climb with a multitude of people, but when it comes to the business, we need our gubba. We need that person on the other end of the rope that you know that they know, and they know that you know – that person who knows your mind sometimes even better than you know yourself.

Be safe in the hills


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by ollie esplin

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by Colin McCoy

An instant of joy
by Andy de Klerk


RAW Exposure

Off the Wall
Climbing injuries and rehab: Elbow Injuries
by Brenda Marx


Back page story
The Centipede Effect
by Terence Livingston

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