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Hot Rock: Africa Expedition

It seems a long time ago now that a big red truck made it to the quayside in Aqaba, Jordan’s deepwater port, and headed off to Amman to start a big adventure: Hot Rock’s Africa 2010 expedition.

Over the following 10 months, 60-odd (some indeed very odd) climbers from 13 different nationalities joined and left the expedition as the truck rumbled through Africa, from the Middle East overland all the way to South Africa taking in 14 countries, 35 major climbing destinations and countless travelling experiences on the way as we headed off the beaten track and into the rocky wilds of northern, eastern and southern Africa. On the way we’ve bouldered in Sudan, discovered crags new even to Hot Rock in both Ethiopia and Tanzania, clipped the best of the South African bolts and topped out (and sometimes been benighted) on long routes from Rum to the Spitzkoppe, Mount Kenya to Mount Mulanje.

Truck at a bush camp, Egypt

Hot Rock is an anarchic climbing and travelling experience; the route is set to maximise climbing time throughout the continent, visiting crags that vary from world famous, to destinations known only to us. A leader and a driver work hard to make sure that the days run smoothly. But the rest is up to the group of hot rockers.  Where we go, for how long, and what we do once we get there – these are decisions taken round the campfire (or sometimes gas bottle) as the night’s cook team prepares the group meal.

Lemmings at Lake Malawi

There were good times such as the majority of the group summiting Mount Kenya, the 80s revival party in Cape Town… and there were not-so-good times such as cutting the famous climbing wall off the back of the truck due to new road laws in Tanzania. We enjoyed climbing above big game at Hells Gate, and being photographed more than the big game was whilst on safari in Etosha. The cultural experience… from being invited to dinner with the Bedouin, to seeing Zimbabwe’s fragile recovery at first hand… was intense.

incredible Fitzroy National Park

Here’s a snippet from Rhonda’s report of our time in Wadi Rum, at the start of the expedition in March:

“After a couple of days of great climbing on Wadi Rum classics like The Beauty and Goldfinger, we decided to take on one of the longer routes.  The Pillar of Wisdom is a must do classic, climbing on good rock with over 350 meters and 11 pitches, and with a high commitment factor since you have to top out to descend.  The forecast was for rain, but the day dawned bright and sunny so we decided to go for it.

Duncan and Patrick started simul climbing up the first easier pitches, followed by myself and Charles. An hour later we were on the 250 m pillar and starting the real climbing, and after a couple of superb pitches the clouds started rolling in and the first raindrops dotted the rock.  Happily, we’d just climbed up into a cave, and as I finished the pitch in the increasing rain, I could hear shouts and laughter from the cave above.

Group photo in Etosha, Namibia

The other three were watching a wall of sand blast across the desert toward the village far below, and you could actually hear the impact as it consumed the village.  It was bail time, but complicated since the climb is on a diagonal whilst the actual descent of the route is a walk off, making rappelling down the face challenging to say the least.  As we struggled to find rap stations, rounding up all the bits of tat we had, the quote of the day was from Charles, ‘I have this ‘biner that I bootied and I don’t really trust it, so let’s rap on that.’

First Ascents on Axum's granite outcrops in Northern Ethiopia

Then, the inevitable- the rope stuck as we pulled it down a face of varnished plates.  Duncan lost the rock, paper, scissors, and heroically went up on wet sandstone to try and free the rope.  We carried on down, scattering gear all over the mountain.  We were still in good spirits, laughing at the epic potential and abandoned gear – and then it turned….epic

Thunder boomed through the canyons, lightning was visible through the slots overhead, and then the hail started.  Standing together in a narrow gorge setting up another rappel, we saw a wave of water wash over the top of the mountain, creating an instant vertical torrent.  As we scrambled to get off the mountain, more and more water coursed down around our feet, and we wondered if that waterfall would be coming down through the gorge we were standing in.  We had no idea where the deluge was headed. In a bigger hurry than ever, we fixed the rope for the final 60 m rappel and finally walked off the mountain.  We could see the water coursing down the maze of canyons behind us, finally coming down the gorge just to the left of the one we had descended.

A bedraggled group lighter by two ropes and half a rack of gear, on the walk back we narrowly escaped being run over by our crazy Bedouin friends doing donuts in their jeeps in the desert, manically celebrating the rain and the wet sand.”

You can read all the trip reports from the Africa 2010 expedition here: http://www.climbhotrock.com/hotrockroot/tripreports/blog.htm

Elegant crack climbing on the Spitzkoppe, Namibia

In 2011, Hot Rock is heading to South America, climbing throughout Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. The northbound trip from Ushuaia to Quito is more or less full but there’s plenty of places on the second, southbound trip. To find out more about the expeditions and how to join up, go to http://www.climbhotrock.com/index.htm

Cheers!
Dunc

Driving (and pushing) through Sudan!

Hot Rock: Africa expedition report for 8a.nu

It seems a long time ago now that a big red truck made it to the quayside in Aqaba, Jordan’s deepwater port, and headed off to Amman to start a big adventure: Hot Rock’s Africa 2010 expedition.

Bouldering at Singida Ngongoland, Tanzania

Over the following 10 months, 60-odd (some indeed very odd) climbers from 13 different nationalities joined and left the expedition as the truck rumbled through Africa, from the Middle East overland all the way to South Africa taking in 14 countries, 35 major climbing destinations and countless travelling experiences on the way as we headed off the beaten track and into the rocky wilds of northern, eastern and southern Africa. On the way we’ve bouldered in Sudan, discovered crags new even to Hot Rock in both Ethiopia and Tanzania, clipped the best of the South African bolts and topped out (and sometimes been benighted) on long routes from Rum to the Spitzkoppe, Mount Kenya to Mount Mulanje.

Bouldering at Kassala in Eastern Sudan

Hot Rock is an anarchic climbing and travelling experience; the route is set to maximise climbing time throughout the continent, visiting crags that vary from world famous, to destinations known only to us. A leader and a driver work hard to make sure that the days run smoothly. But the rest is up to the group of hot rockers.  Where we go, for how long, and what we do once we get there – these are decisions taken round the campfire (or sometimes gas bottle) as the night’s cook team prepares the group meal.

There were good times such as the majority of the group summiting Mount Kenya, the 80s revival party in Cape Town… and there were not-so-good times such as cutting the famous climbing wall off the back of the truck due to new road laws in Tanzania. We enjoyed climbing above big game at Hells Gate, and being photographed more than the big game was whilst on safari in Etosha. The cultural experience… from being invited to dinner with the Bedouin, to seeing Zimbabwe’s fragile recovery at first hand… was intense.

At rest high above Wadi Rum

Here’s a snippet from Rhonda’s report of our time in Wadi Rum, at the start of the expedition in March:

“After a couple of days of great climbing on Wadi Rum classics like The Beauty and Goldfinger, we decided to take on one of the longer routes.  The Pillar of Wisdom is a must do classic, climbing on good rock with over 350 meters and 11 pitches, and with a high commitment factor since you have to top out to descend.  The forecast was for rain, but the day dawned bright and sunny so we decided to go for it.

Duncan and Patrick started simul climbing up the first easier pitches, followed by myself and Charles. An hour later we were on the 250 m pillar and starting the real climbing, and after a couple of superb pitches the clouds started rolling in and the first raindrops dotted the rock.  Happily, we’d just climbed up into a cave, and as I finished the pitch in the increasing rain, I could hear shouts and laughter from the cave above.

The other three were watching a wall of sand blast across the desert toward the village far below, and you could actually hear the impact as it consumed the village.  It was bail time, but complicated since the climb is on a diagonal whilst the actual descent of the route is a walk off, making rappelling down the face challenging to say the least.  As we struggled to find rap stations, rounding up all the bits of tat we had, the quote of the day was from Charles, ‘I have this ‘biner that I bootied and I don’t really trust it, so let’s rap on that.’

Then, the inevitable- the rope stuck as we pulled it down a face of varnished plates.  Duncan lost the rock, paper, scissors, and heroically went up on wet sandstone to try and free the rope.  We carried on down, scattering gear all over the mountain.  We were still in good spirits, laughing at the epic potential and abandoned gear – and then it turned….epic

80's Revival Party at The Mine in Cape Town

Thunder boomed through the canyons, lightning was visible through the slots overhead, and then the hail started.  Standing together in a narrow gorge setting up another rappel, we saw a wave of water wash over the top of the mountain, creating an instant vertical torrent.  As we scrambled to get off the mountain, more and more water coursed down around our feet, and we wondered if that waterfall would be coming down through the gorge we were standing in.  We had no idea where the deluge was headed. In a bigger hurry than ever, we fixed the rope for the final 60 m rappel and finally walked off the mountain.  We could see the water coursing down the maze of canyons behind us, finally coming down the gorge just to the left of the one we had descended.

A bedraggled group lighter by two ropes and half a rack of gear, on the walk back we narrowly escaped being run over by our crazy Bedouin friends doing donuts in their jeeps in the desert, manically celebrating the rain and the wet sand.”

You can read all the trip reports from the Africa 2010 expedition here: http://www.climbhotrock.com/hotrockroot/tripreports/blog.htm


List of crags visited:
Jordan: Wadi Rum
Egypt: Sinai, Wadi Ganai
Sudan: Kassala
Ethiopia: Axum, Megab, Waseya
Kenya: Mount Kenya, Cat & Mouse, Lake Baringo, Hells Gate, Lukenya, Frog
Uganda: Wajala
Tanzania: Singida N’gongoland, Zanzibar
Malawi: Monkey bay, Mount Mulanje
Zimbabwe: Dema, Sharmu, Ngomakurira, Sebakwe Poort
Namibia: Spitzkoppe
South Arica: Boven, Montagu, Rocklands, Wolfberg, Table Mountain, The Mine,
Muizenberg, Elsies Peak, Mt Everest game reserve, Drakensberg

In 2011, Hot Rock is heading to South America, climbing throughout Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. The northbound trip from Ushuaia to Quito is more or less full but there’s plenty of places on the second, southbound trip. To find out more about the expeditions and how to join up, go to http://www.climbhotrock.com/index.htm
Cheers!
Dunc

2 rock climbing expeditions to South America announced

Climbing in Brazil... Pedra Do Bau

Over the last 12 months Hot Rock has been exploring climbing the length and breadth of Africa.

In 2011 and 2012 Hot Rock will visit the best climbing to be found throughout South America.

We will take 7 months to travel from Ushuaia, at the southernmost tip of the continent, to the equator in Ecuador. Then, we’ll turn round and go back again!

On the way we will take in all the top destinations and some lesser known ones too, from the endless granite of Argentina and Chile to the urban sandstone of Rio, and from the high deserts of Bolivia, to the snowy heights of Peru and Ecuador.

This rock climbing expedition offers plenty of scope for alpinists too… Fitzroy, Aconcagua, Huascaran, Cotopaxi and many others can all be included in the itinerary. And of course, we won’t miss any of the major travelling sights along the route either.

The route is designed to make the most of the weather in virtually every destination along the way, and we expect to be in climbing venues over 60% of the time.

All the information and pdf downloads are on the website: http://www.climbhotrock.com. Or just get in touch: dunc@climbhotrock.com or +44 7812 086 099.

One Response to Hot Rock: Africa Expedition

  1. Mie and Garvin Dec 16, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    We had an awesome time on BiRT during our 6 weeks in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Made lots of friends and enjoyed the climbing. We met the truck again at Sanddrif in the Cederberg and had another 3 nice days of climbing and socialising there. Would love to join again next year in South America for some time, but unfortunately have other commitments in Europe and not enough leave. Maybe in 2012.
    Thanks Duncan and Rhonda. Good luck to Roger and Simon next year.

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