So the plot thickens, never has one crag been the location for so much scandal and mystery!
Since my last installment of the Chosspile, which was a short crappy article describing the opening of Chossfather (28) and Violent Streak (32), three new routes have been added, each with its own tale. I will keep it short; cause long articles on the internet are too long. It is now 8.05 pm on Sunday evening; I want to finish this piece by 9. In reverse chronological order beginning with the grand theft:
Just now (Sunday) Brian opened Kleptomaniac (30), a very steep, very tricky line taking the steepest section on the ‘Man-Cave’, about 10 metres left of the as yet unrepeated Violent Streak (the only other route there).
About to enter the steepness of Kleptomaniac (30) which finishes left of the wonderful limestone-like streaks. There are no routes on any of that blank rock to the left or right, my guess 8c minumum! Pic by Ebert Nel (Forket).
Though I bolted the line, after day 1 Brian looked so much better on the route than me (I can only crimp), that to deny him the opening send would have been wrong. I have opened enough routes at Choss…. but that’s the next part. Why Kleptomaniac? Because of the theft which occurred..on the route! We arrived on Saturday to find someone had prusiked halfway up my fixed line (still there from the bolting), stolen 5-6 quickdraws, abbed to the ground to cut the rope there and make off with about 50 metres of it (and then go onto steal 3 draws off Fossil Fuel), leaving 10 metres hanging in the breeze.
However, this thief is really, really dumb.
Firstly, this dumbo was the only person to have signed in the register mid-week, then he posts a picture on Facebook climbing that same day at Choss, and guess what.. in the pictures are my draws with my white paint marking on them! What a chop! Anyway, to cut a long story short, we tracked him down, he confessed, left all our kit with the guards at his complex and I picked them up today, not more than 48 hours after he stole them. What an oaf.
No need to name him on this site though, he is a complete newbie and newbies do weird things; like hanging multiple prusik loops and abseil devices on their harnesses, and that thing where they have two ‘cleaning’ slings permanently attached to the gear-loop, WTF, who teaches them this stuff? Anyway, clearly the guy is thick and totally unaware of what is wrong, and for that reason deserves a second chance, if only ‘Forket’ lets him live! My only question to the thief…why did you not prusik to the chains and steal all the draws and take the whole rope!? Anyway, if I had opened Kleptomaniac, I would have called it ‘karma strikes’..why? Read-on:
Next, back in March it was my turn for theft! This time in full view of half-a-dozen Chosspilers. Being pumped up from sending Shadowfax, I was on a high, able to send anything with bolts on it, you know the feeling. Dewald Kloppers had been working an old project of Colin (older than the damn-wall) Crabtree; just left of Grimslade, up at the Lord of The Rings sector. Dewald had rebolted it and made it a closed project. One day he asked me to play on it with him – big mistake! I found myself back at Choss a couple of weeks later, with nothing to do and getting back on big D’s project. Next minute, I was looking at the chains – dilemma, should I clip them?? Hell yeah, with Colin down below shouting “F*&k Dewald, I bolted this thing 30 years ago, it’s my project, send it!” So I did. An irreversible ethical transgression (sport climbing does have them); yeh I know, Colin did bolt it, but Dewald had asked me not to open it and it’s best to respect the wishes of good people, especially if they have 30 kilogram biceps; I still have nightmares about him throttling me.
So, another tale, another quality line – this time ‘Biodiesel, 30’, subsequently repeated by a few of the gang.
Finally, and furthest back in this notorious chapter in the life of Choss in early March, I finally sent the long-standing ‘Shadowfax’ project. Bolted by Peter Martin over a decade ago, this climb was rebolted by myself a few years back, adding a new start. Since then it rejected would-be ascentionists literally hundreds of times (mostly me). I even bear scars where the damn thing sliced my arm open like a sausage when a hold crumbled. I managed to shut out the failure completely, after falling above the wretched crux enough, I left it to sweat in the summer heat of 2012/13, no-one to even brush its silly slopey holds.
Then, bam, first day back there this season (first cool day) I floated up it feeling like it was 4 grades within my limit, yet at my absolute limit, feeling like perfection as is the case infrequently. Feeling it to be as hard as anything else I had done, I gave it 33 and kept the cool name of Peter’s. Definitely the hardest climb up ‘north’ it should keep the fellas busy for a few months; Brian and Forket are out there as you read, champing for the coveted second. My money’s on both of them, they are strong and keen.
So Choss, aka ‘the best sport crag in SA after Boven, Outdshoorn and Umgeni’ now has some great new lines to try, each with a plot straight out of ‘Days of Our Lives’- a crazy steep sustained new 5-star 30 (Kleptomaniac), a fingery as hell 30 (just watch out for Dewald), and a wretched 33 (which I grew to hate but am pleased to have opened). And the crag is even better for the theft, guilt, more thieving, fear, stupidity, stupidity, arrogance, apologies, tears and of course huge psyche which I didn’t dwell on but runs deep at the Choss.
Its 9.15 pm, time to send this crap to Justin