I’m sitting in the garden in front of the Lorraine farmhouse in the middle of one of the world’s best bouldering destinations during northern hemisphere’s summer. Yes, you’re right – I’m talking about Rocklands, South Africa and I’m having a rest day today, not only because it’s freakin’ hot, but also because my mate Kili had his 30th birthday last night. Needless to say we’re not in the best condition today.
It’s been 4 years since I came here for the first time and even though the amount of dirt roads has declined substantially, it is still a great place to be. In the main season (June to August) however, the crags around the Pakhuis pass tend to get really crowded and since I already climbed many of the classic problems on my last visit, I was psyched to discover new areas. Luckily, some friends of mine felt the same and we started searching for new problems in all directions. You see tons of rock lying around all over the Cederberg mountain range, but even though they all look awesome, only some are actually good for climbing. Reini Fichtinger was the lucky one who finally found a huge area near the Bushman’s Cave Theatre. He came back the same evening saying: “We will be busy for the next 3 years.” Soon we found out that he wasn’t joking.
Together with Berni Fiedler, Reini, Kilian, Spinne and Daniel we went there the next day and couldn’t believe our eyes. What we saw in front of us was some of the best rock on earth, a 5 minute walk from the parking, just waiting to be climbed. That first day, we did about 15 first ascents up to V11, including the Taj Mahal (V9) which is probably under the Top 3 in Rocklands in this grade. We were all superpsyched and met with the farmer owning the land that we were climbing on, the same evening. To our surprise Eric was very happy to see climbers on his property and motivated to make parts of his land accessible for us. The next day he had already built a ladder to jump over the fence and opened his gates for us to drive to more remote places. But we didn’t even had to: while all problems in the Taj Mahal area are located to the right of the main road, we also found tons of problems just 5 minutes to the left of the main road. Everything easily accessible within a 5 to 10 minutes walk from the parking.
We spent almost three weeks in that area and the group of us developed about 75 problems (25 on the right and 50 on the left side of the road) and I can honestly say that some of them definitely belong to the best I’ve ever climbed.
We are currently working on a topo with access info which should be finished soon. Together with some more detailed information about the area I will upload it within the next few weeks on the Moon blog, so you should definitely come back and check it out. In the meanwhile enjoy some pictures and have a great time out there!