Following my first two weeks climbing in Waterfall Boven and exploring areas in and around Johannesburg, South Africa, including Kruger National Park, Arjan, Keith, and I flew to Cape Town for the third week of our South Africa tour. Cape Town is easily one of, if not THE, most beautiful cities I have ever been to.
This is Africa Part Two - Sasha DiGiulian
Flourishing with lush rolling mountain ranges, a crashing crystal-aqua Ocean, and towering sandstone cliffs, Cape Town is any outdoor sports enthusiasts’ dream. I can easily see months passing like weeks in Cape Town, and for me, my week there passed by like an exhilarating day.
I spent the entire week climbing in Montagu and staying at Arjan’s baller mountain-top house. While in Montagu, Arjan and I worked on a new line – an unclimbed project originally bolted by Sean Marsh about a decade ago. While sandstone like Waterfall Boven, the style of climbing in Montagu is quite different. The lines are more physical rather than technical, and much steeper.
This “Pipedream Project” overlooks the canyon, as it is situated at the top of a mountain. The climb itself is not too long and has fairly straightforward, core-tension movements, and finishes with a final crux section that sticks with you to the anchor. In fact, the second-to-last draw to the top anchor has some of the hardest sequences on the route because you have to move quickly through steep compression moves on awkwardly bad holds with high feet, and then jump from a small crimper to the finish jug by the anchor.
My first two days on the route I figured out all the moves except the last move. Jumping is one of my weaknesses and I could not figure out how to solidly execute the final move. The climbing is neat on the route: it is gymnastic and relatively comfortable rock – it has smooth sandstone sloped holds. Though, it felt difficult for me and the next days climbing I diverged from the route and did some first female ascents on other lines and some onsights on nearby climbs.
For the final climbing day of the trip, I trekked back up to the Pipedream cave with the intention to just climb the project moves for training and to work out the best beta with Arjan for fun.
When I started climbing, I was pretty sore and tired. I wasn’t so sure what to climb, but after relaxing in the sun, taking in the fresh air and the stunning view, and having a laugh on the portaledge, I chalked up and got back on the route. The rock felt stickier than before and the moves seemed to flow. At the last bolt, I executed new beta for the top section, and the possibility of this route taking form all of a sudden was an option in my mind.
My third try of the day, in the early evening, I came strikingly close to sending. Rope in hand, pushing up to clip, I slipped and fell clipping the anchor.
NOOOO!!! This fall felt like a fully feared terror coming to form in slow motion. I watched the swinging anchor as I took a nice big whipper.
The sun was gone and it was soon going to be dark. After belaying Arjan trying the route one last time for the day, I thought: One more go, for good riddance. I had given the route my all the time before and had no idea what to expect. I thought to myself, if I can get that slippery pinch at the top again, that will have been a really great final effort for the day. I made it to this point on the route, squeezed in high with both my feet, stuck the fat pinch, jabbed into the one-finger undercling, stood up into the crimper, and squeezed my high heel in tight as I lurched left hand for the finish hold. I caught it! I quickly pasted my feet back on the wall, took a breath, clipped the anchor, and though OH MY GOSH! Wow!
I have always wanted to name a climb “Miss-Behaving” as a bit of a pun from misbehaving and an old boat tale, and this route just felt so appropriate for the name. So, “Miss-Behaving” is my new addition to Montagu – a proud 5.14a.
This final first ascent send was the cherry on top of the most amazing trip I have ever been on. The beautiful landscapes, incredible thriving wildlife that we experienced first-hand, and the fun-loving, motivated crew was unparalleled. I would not change anything about the trip, other than prolonging our time :D
After playing with some cheetahs and strolling the beach in Cape Town in the morning, I am now off to Germany for a night to train with Ludwig Korb (Dicki) at Café Kraft, then flying out west with RedBull and Adidas. My next objective on my calendar is the Deep Water Soloing competition in SLC, Utah, in conjunction with the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show! Check out this video and get pumped :D INSERT LINK