“To Climb at Blouberg is to touch the soul of rock climbing.” (Charles Edelstein, 1997 MCSA Journal).
Blouberg has a mythical feel to it, with its history engraved into its ridges, plateaus and valleys, and more recently into its cliff faces. For some people, the mountain is huge and ominous, shaking off all attempts, even on the walk up. It has always had that aura of a place only the brave or stupid go. Given a bit of time, however, and it starts to relinquish its secrets. The obscure paths and tortured boulders gradually become familiar and distinct. The cozy bivi spots, and comfy ledges start to form a pattern, and the links between the different routes become obvious. I have been coming to Blouberg now for more than a decade. I‟ve had my fair share of epics and adventures, good times and really bad times, but it truly is starting to feel like home.
I always seem to climb my best 200m off the deck with arms starting to tire, and mind starting to expand, lulled by the gentle cow bells and baboon cries far below. I have found, and continue to find, the soul of rock climbing on the Big Blue Mountain. I hope that this guide will inspire and motivate others to step off the beaten path a little bit and find out what African climbing is all about. The route descriptions in this guide are based for the most part on the RD’s in the old, out-of-print, Southern Rock route guide.
Huge thanks to Mike Cartwright for making these available for this guide.
Blouberg is owned as a tribal trust by the Tswana-speaking Hananwa tribe. Thus any climbing or other activities are by the good grace of the tribe. As things now stand, access onto the mountain itself is free, with payment usually being made for parking. Please treat the locals with respect. The tribe has been living on the mountain for at least 200 years so they call the shots! There are numerous kraals up the sides of the mountain and I have even, after staggering up the three hour slog sweating and cursing, seen big mammas calmly starting the descent from the middle plateau with huge bundles of thatch on their heads.
None of these people have ever given problems, so be courteous.