By Warren Gans
Whether you are involved directly or not, the actions of the climbing community affect your ability to climb. A simple example of this is community involvement in the creation of route descriptions, creating/bolting of routes and work meets to maintain the area around crags and their paths. As we are all ‘the community’ there is no “they should sort this out” but rather “we should sort this out”!
With the above in mind Bad Kloof offers a great deal to climbers and I would argue that it is the core of Montagu climbing. As Justin has stated before, the management of the area cannot effectively manage the kloof as they have other issues at hand. So it is up to us, as one of the main user groups of the kloof to step up and help maintain the area by maintaining paths and crag bases when the land managers are not. If Bad Kloof were no longer accessible it would be a great loss to South African Climbing.
The last two floods redirected the river in the kloof and raised the riverbed slightly. The net result of all these changes was that access to the Palace, Waterworld and other crags in the kloof became difficult or near impossible. After a forum discussion we settled a date and about 10 volunteers met on Saturday, with Justin’s hired petrol weed wacker and Tarryn’s contribution of 50 sand bags we did the following…
Re-direct the river away from Waterworld:
The river forks 50m upstream from Waterworld, so we blocked the flow of the tributary going to towards Waterworld and directed it back into the main river. This means that the crag is now climbable again (Hurrah!). However, there remains some spade work in raising the level of the base further.
This ‘raising’ will put the base safely above the ground water level, right now while the crag is easily usable it is very easy to find water with a heavy foot (therefore a heavy ground mat is recommended for the time being). All the routes have ‘dry to dryish’ ground at the base.
Request: If you are going to the crag please take a spade along and move more dry sand to the base of the crag.
Bridge: We found a bridge in the reeds and placed it across the river in front of waterworld.
More paths: On Sunday Ernesto and I took the weed Wacker and carved a path from Waterworld to Sloth, giving access from both up and downstream.
We also cut a path to the old Palace river crossing but found that the old stepping stones are well under water and a new crossing might be necessary (we’ll know for sure when the river level drops).
Personally I think having a high path to the crag starting a couple hundred meters upstream from Sloth would make the crag less exposed to this problem in the future. Then perhaps a second, higher path from the hotel side.
My only fear with doing this is then it could become the main thoroughfare down the kloof, which may bring unwanted vandals to the crag.
The following still needs to be done in Bad Kloof (in order of urgency):
- Improve the path below Waterworld such that one doesn’t have to walk 100m in the river. Perhaps moving the bath to the other side of the river?
- Easing access to Palace- to be debated I’m sure
- Raising Waterworld base about 15cm- can be done incrementally
- Removing graffiti from the kloof
Bad Kloof is still in relatively bad condition, but with a bit more effort we as the climbing community could take practical responsibility for the kloof!
I would like to say thank you to everyone that came though and gave their time and energy to the communal cause and apologies if I have forgotten you on this list:
Justin & Riki Lawson