My climbing in 2020

Now that 2020 is almost over, I find myself looking back and taking stock of its ups and downs.
Somehow, this year felt both empty and eventful. Weeks and months seemed to fly and to drag along at the same time. There would be a lot to say about how all aspects of life, but here I will focus on my rock climbing activity throughout the year, which is often a good reflection of my state of mind anyways.

Me on Tyrannos on F14s (22/6c), Umgeni Valley, belayed by Isla. Picture by Iain Rennie.
Continue reading

The Lebowski Line: a new climbing route on the granite domes of iSithumbe

On September 11th Chris Kleynhans and I finished bolting and free-climbed a new three-pitch route at Old Baldy/Isitumbe which we named “The Lebowski Line”. We propose the South African grades 19 (French 6a+), 14, and 15 for the three pitches, followed by a short scramble that leads to the top (where we placed another set of chains). The route is about 100-m-long and fully bolted. It can be climbed with a single 60-m rope, 12 quickdraws, and some slings and carabiners for the stances.

Continue reading

One hundred routes: my climbing in 2019 in numbers and pictures.

The year 2019 was the centenary of the foundation of the KwaZulu-Natal branch of the Mountain Club of South Africa (hereafter MCSA-KZN). To celebrate the occurrence, my climbing partner Neil came up with a challenge: to climb 100 different routes within the year. Sixteen people took up the challenge; of those, six of them reached the targeted number. Some would claim that climbing is all about the experience but, deep down, we all know that it is all about the numbers. Here are some.

Flashing “One step from the Earth” (17 trad), Morgan Bay. Gavin Raubenheimer at the belay. Picture by Anthony van Tonder.
Continue reading