for over six years every summer something went "wrong" - but this summer i finally made it down to south africa to visit the "new" boulder-paradise: "rocklands".
at first it seemed all the promises were true: most of you know the stunning pics of the "rocklands" but you have to witness it with your own eyes. driving direction clanwilliam and over the pakhuis-pass, i could just not believe what i saw: the landscape, the rock and the never ending horizon of africa just blew me away and it never stopped to amaze me during my over four weeks stay. it happened for about ten times a day that i was just standing out there, glancing into the landscape in pure disbelief of its beauty and solitude...
but there was not just "gold" down there. here is the "dark-side" of rocklands:
you have to pay to go climbing, climbing is sharp like hell and you will look out for gloves the first day you arrive (if you have not the skin of an olifant), everything looks super cool, but the climbing can be really tweaky, painful, morpho and just not nearly as good as its looking, it can be so windy and cold you think you arrived at the southpol instead of africa, it's crowded like your home-town climbing gym on a tuesday evening in february and you have to queue up for a classic problem more then once, people scream around not just while climbing (what I do sometimes as well, and I feel (sometimes) sorry for that) but also just while "chilling" at the rocks... boulderers shit in front of boulders - WTF???!!!
everywhere you can see some teens with earplugs, running around with sponsorship-stickers on their trousers (I felt lucky I have a "sponsor" myself since a year, otherwise I would have felt like a total exotic.... but at least, with close to 35 and a lovely girlfriend on my side, I do not have to pretend to be outsch so cool, for 24/7 ;), people checking and updating facebook and XX.nu real-time on rock - out in the nowhere in africa..., daily (hourly) never ending chitchat about who has done what in how many tries in which sector today and having competition not just on rock (the quicky "2min", "flash", "soft", "that felt EASY (-I am SO strong-) dude!") but also while chilling (I know an even better joke, I can drink more beer...), after a one hour hike from "out in the nowhere" to "even further away out in the nowhere" you can stumble over a laptop and a little surround system spraying music all over the little (once) peaceful area - for everybody... at least for free. and try this: while watching an immaculate sunset on a rocky plateau, the total tranquility, you can hear a single bee flying over the place, watching over the endless and fast african landscape - and some guys have to take out their I-phone to make some music for all the audience.... ???!!!
in consequence we ended up nearly quitting our trip after some 10days but finally extended it for two more weeks then planned.... crazy? no, i just needed some time to adjust and to find a way to deal with the "dark side". finally i found "my way" around the annoying parts (more or less) and what made that trip in the end to one of the best i ever had were the moments i shared with the nice people i met. like meeting jesse (bonin) (check jesse's blog; excellent writing up of his epic fights!!!) at the fireplace after his epic and successful battle with "the arch", see him getting a full champaign-shower from shannon (well done shannon!!!) and then see him jump into the freezing cold pool at 11pm was priceless.... watching dave graham on his first day ever in the rocklands - you should have seen his eyes... - like he had won the 10billion-lottery ;) getting the second ascent from michele caminati's latest FA "how tall are you" (with my own totally crazy beta), watching andy sending his first 7A, witness johanna "i don't climb higher up then two meters" climbing an 8m highball... and having a nice breakfast and drinking coffee and tee at the legendary "hen-house" with my lovely girlfriend was just the best!
no need to say i could have easily spent some more weeks down there, on the bright side of rocklands... ;)
I am still not a machoking
working the moves of amphitheatre