My time in South Africa is over and I’m a bit sad about that fact! It’s a long time ago that I was that psyched to climb nearly every day like I have been for the past six weeks. As I wrote in this blog before, nearly everything is just perfect for climbing in Rocklands. The high quality rock has the most beautiful colors and is situated in an overwhelming countryside.
In the second half of the trip the weather changed from cold and rainy to really warm (25°) but it’s still possible to find good grip. In my home area when it’s warm like that it comes always along with a tropical climate but not in Africa. The air is dry and usually there is a strong wind blowing that keeps your skin cool. The variety of the single areas is huge and each one has its own characteristic. There is rock which looks like granite with a lot of pebbles on the surface and mainly round features, pockets, crimps, a few slopers and easy top outs on nearly every problem. In Font nothing is done until you stand on the boulder, in the Rocklands you can celebrate your ascent while climbing the last moves to the top. It’s a pleasure to finish climbs in that way!
Above: Amphitheater 8A+
After my crappy preparation for the trip caused by a shoulder and a finger injury I only had the intention: “Don’t make the things worse than they already are and climb as many boulders as possible on every grade!” Therefore the first three weeks were more or less testing how strong I can strain my finger and I was very happy that it felt better day-by-day. Overall I’m very pleased with my performance and due to the fact that nearly everything is a high quality climb it’s not possible for me to name “the best” problem I did. There have been so many notable moments for me when I topped out boulders I knew from videos or photos for at least five years, therefore it’s hard for me to mention only a handful of them but let’s have a try:
Above: Caroline 7C+
Caroline 7C+: The beauty of this boulder is overwhelming and I found it not that easy but enjoyed the climb a lot. The features looking like a bark of a big tree and the grey color seems not to fit in the orange boulders at the Roadside sector
Barracuda 8A: For me this is one of the most outstanding lines I saw in the Rocklands. The huge ships prow is colored with orange grey and black stripes and has obvious features to climb on. Unfortunately it looks much better than it climbs. The first move of the stand is a kind of a balance experience where you position your hip and after you’ve done the move you have to crimp sharp and small razor edges – autsch!
Nutsa: 8A/+ This problem is so famous that I doesn’t need a long description! If you’re are in the Rocklands and you’re able to climb it, than you have to do it.
Above: Black Shadow 8A+
Black Shadow 8A+: Unbelievably good! Black Shadow is situated at the shady part of a huge overhanging boulder with a perfect stone slab landing. If you climb there at the right time you’ll find perfect windy conditions even if it’s like 30 ° hot! Sometimes the wind blows to strong that’s not possible to climb there because of your pads flying away all the time. At this spot I had the pleasure to witness the most amazing sunsets I’ve seen in my life. The climb itself consists of burly moves on big and rounded holds with a powerful foothook finish sequence. Respect to Ethan Pringle for this flash!
Above: The Vice 8B
The Vice 8B: As I walked the first time to the Fortress and I came around the corner I felt like a little child at Christmas! “The Vice” is definitely made for climbing. The problem is steep and very powerful. It has nice big holds and the right length. Hmm, maybe it’s a bit too long that’s why it is more an endurance climb. This was also the crux for me. The single moves are not that hard for the grade but to built up the necessary power endurance gave me a proper challenge. The landing is like you climb at the beach and there is usually a cool wind blowing. It was such fun to try the boulder, making progress on it and finally having done an ascent of another king line. Flashed by Adam Ondra! Crazy!
Above: The Vice 8B
Beside the things above I’ve done tons of problems and we nearly filmed every single boulder that we hopefully have edited soon and can put on our Vimeo account.
Fortunately I’ve left so many things undone that I have to visit the Rocklands again. Not only for the established boulders, but also for the tons of untouched rock. I cleaned a few things and tried them a bit but six weeks are not enough when there are boulders like I mentioned above.
Apart from all the climbing I really enjoyed meeting a lot of very nice people including my English friends - I wish we could have done more climbs together guys! It was also quite interesting to experience a culture and a lifestyle that’s so far apart from the way of living I’m used to. It seems that most of things are not taken as seriously as the Germans would do! For example our accommodation: If there is a problem than they will find a solution. Maybe not the same or the next day, but some day. So it was quite normal that we had no electricity or water at all (I don’t speak about the warm water supply). When it was raining outside it was also raining inside. Comment: “You’re a lucky man if you have only two holes in the roof! I’ve got many!”
Above: Our Rocklands accomodation
Also at the culinary sector of South Africa was a satisfying experience. For example the prices of excellent meat are ridiculous. You can get 1kg beef filet for 12 Euros! If you go into a restaurant you can get a 500g T-Bone for 8 Euros or if you visit Lambertsbay (60km away) you can swim in the sea, witness a perfect sunset again and afterwards get a lobster, hake, calamari or whatever on the cheap, hmm!
I just arrived home five days ago but the plans for the next summer are already made: “We are going the Cederberg Mountains again.”