By Warren Gans
For those that don’t know Kleinmond, it is on the Palmiet River about an hour from Cape Town. The area offers a good river, mountains and sea, making it possibly the best location for multisport events round Cape Town.
This winter has been the most depressing, debilitating and generally hated winter I have experienced in Cape Town, and we fully expected this weekend to be like the previous 4 weekends: rained out. But the weather gods were kind, and stopped their tantrums on Thursday, leaving the river full, skies clear and only a chilled breeze to remind us of winter.
Optimum conditions for all activities that weekend!
The big experiment for the rally was dividing the climbers by grade rather than handicap, and so I limited the easier routes to a maximum of grade 22 or 6C+, and the open climbers could do as they pleased. I then structured the scoring such that up until 21 the scoring increments were fairly flat, meaning it didn’t matter what grade you climbed, so long as you climbed. This would encourage volume, in theory. The open climbers could do any routes, but as the scoring went exponential from 22, to do less than that grade would be almost a waste of time.
To add to the experiment I included bouldering into the competition by using standard grade comparisons as equal scores. So 30=8A, or 1500 points, and 6C+= 22, or 300 points. Climbers were given 7 hours, which I thought was a bit short, although would encourage speed.
Gravity insisted that the Rally start at their Hub, which caused huge logistical issues for the climbers to get into and out of with all the other events happening at the same time. As a result I extended the finish time by an hour, and they all charged off. To be honest my biggest fear of the day was issues with the path and overcrowding at the crag and to be sure there were some mutterings about the path, but fortunately there were enough routes that there were no queues reported.
Only two teams submitted bouldering scores, and the one won with such a fantastic margin as to prove to me that my scoring was off. For me this was interesting and I am sure a topic for future debates on comparison: I think in the future I might simply keep the two separate to avoid problems.
As expected most competitors chose the under 23 competition, with the scores as follows:
|1.||Sexy Slab Slayers (Kevin and Cormac)||3550|
|2.||Winelands Angels (Brenda and Toni)||2740|
|3.||Amaaaaaazing (Renee and Jane)||2120|
|4.||Grizzly Adams (Johnny and Andrew)||1760|
|5.||Lord of the Slings (Juli and Cuan)||1560|
|6.||Boer (Ihan and Andre)||1300|
|7.||Huff ‘n’ Puff (Hagen and Alexander)||960|
|8.||Team A (Johann Papendorf)||640|
|9.||Kirsten and Meghan||640|
It should be noted that not only did a women’s team come second (and third), but also the second highest individual score was by a female too and only half a route separated the best woman from the best guy! If Renee and Brenda had teamed up, the total difference would have been less than a route. I can’t speak highly enough for the effort that the women put into this competition and they completely vindicated my decision not to segregate the genders for future rock rallys.
The open category was a different story all together, with a dominance of foreigners and boulders evident:
|1.||Jumar (Julia and Marijus)||12335|
|2.||Team Tassie! (Claire and Kim)||8740|
|3.||Alan and Llewelyn||3760|
|4.||Eastern Europeans (Aleksander and Maciej)||2100|
Again a strong showing from the “fairer” sex, with the first two teams being mixed gender, and certainly contributing strongly to the team scores. If Julia and Claire had teamed up they still would have beaten Alan and Llewelyn- sorry guys and if this was an individual competition Julia would have come third.
Alan was the 3rd person to try Percolator (30) that day and after he took two foot fall, the crux bolt failed- Scary stuff! Well done Llewelyn (who suffered a bad rope burn) on catching this unexpected fall.
We as a community need to maintain our crags, and I will talk to Cape Nature via Gravity organizers about sorting the path.
The festival had about 1500 participants, creating the largest party I have ever seen after any Rally. There were kayakers sliding down the stretch tent roof, rider sliding down a long line of couches and pole climbers/dancers doing their thing.
Well done to the organizers for avoiding any accidents!