Clinton Martinengo sends Mazawattee (35/8c+)

Clinton Martinengo is the third South African to climb the 8c+ grade!  The first South African was Arjan De Kock, followed by Paul Brouard – The route was bolted by Sean Maasch and opened by Adam Ondra in 2009.

Clinton Martinengo rock climbing, Montagu

Photo by Mo

So it’s been a good couple of weeks for SA climbing, Gosia Lipinska sent Double Jeopardy (30/8a) on Table Mountain (that’s a on trad btw!), Clinton sends SA’s hardest sport climb and some Gauteng climbers got their gear back 😉

Just after 4pm today I received an sms from Douw (the now famous ‘Golden Belay’ master) “You at home?  On our way out – can pop in…“.  I replied and started wondering if Clinton had gotten the route?  If he hadn’t then it would be a sad state of affairs with Clinton probably taking a few weeks from climbing.  I heard the car pullup outside, Douw appeared first then Clinton.
Straight away I could see Clinton had done it, anyone would have know, he was practically glowing.  So after some hugs and more “woohoo’s” we went inside for tea and a Q&A.

Clinton Martinengo rock climbing, Montagu

Photo by Mo

What were the conditions like on the route today?

On my first go things were a bit schlocky and there were a few wet grips at the bottom.  The 2nd go was way better, the weather today in Montagu was warm and during my rest, Douw went up to clean and chalk a few grips.

So what happened on your first attempt?

It actually felt really good apart from the schlocky’ness of the rock, when I got the big rest (before the headwall crux), I wasn’t pumped and my breathing was good.  By the time I left the rest, I was feeling good and ready to fire it up to the top!

Clinton Martinengo rock climbing, Montagu

Photo by Mo


A bit of history:  Going back a few weeks whilst on the crux move during a previous attempt I hit the slab behind, bruised my ankle and have since then had a bit of a psychological block to the move (even after clipping higher draws).
Once my heel was better I went back and adopted Marijus’s (Smigelskis) sequence which involves heel hooking the left horn (while pinching with the right and moving up with the left hand).  So last week I stuck the heel hook for the first time and ended up trapping my thumb under my heel, which (as you can imagine) was followed by a melt down resulting me coming off!!

Clinton Martinengo rock climbing, Montagu

In this photo you can see how close the slab is to the wall. Photo Riki Lawson

Back to today’s 2nd go on the route:
  The conditions had improved, but I was feeling more tired than before whilst at the big rest (before the headwall crux at the top of the route).  After a few minutes of milking the rest to the maximum I left the rest and moved toward crux moves, I felt tired but dug down hard and managed to really suck in hard to not let my feet cut loose.

After sticking my all-time highpoint hold, I went into panic and had to shake out twice to get my focus back.  From there I gunned it to the top, its four easy moves and I had energy to spare.

Clinton Martinengo rock climbing, Montagu

Clinton moving into the crux. Photo by Mo

How long have you been working Mazawattee?

I first got on the route about 2 years ago, shortly after Paul Brouard had done it.  I managed to do most of moves individually, but could not link the bottom section.   Then injured my shoulder on a project in Oorlogs Kloof and took a 2 year break from hard climbing (I climbed a bit, but nothing desperately difficult and I also went on the Arctic expedition).

Lately I’ve been coming up a lot, about 15 to 19 weekends in a row (with maybe 2 or 3 breaks) which has been annoying as I have been able to do the route with one fall from about the 4th weekend (and getting straight back on after the fall to complete the route!).

I’d like to say a big thanks to everyone who supported me whilst I was trying the route, it’s been a real team effort.

Clinton Martinengo rock climbing, Montagu

Clinton near the top of the route. Photo by Mo

Whats next?

Burn my rope and go surfing 🙂

But seriously, I’d like to do ‘Where I Stood’ in Oorlogs Kloof, and I also have two projects there that I bolted, the one is called ‘The Seamtress’ which I think will go at about grade 32/33.  The other, is called ‘The Hustler’ – this is the route that I injured my shoulder on two years back and it’s also going to come in at around grade 32/33!?

Also on my project list is my ‘Atomic sky project’ on Table Mountain it will be 33/34 + I also want to do Jimbos new routes on TM.
And then (before I get too old) I’d like to boulder 8B – so I might just decide to go bouldering for the rest of the season!

Climber swinging out

Photo by Riki Lawson


Out of interest:

  • Clinton worked the route on an old Beal Joker which he eventually destroyed.  For the big sending day he used a sexy pink Beal Unicore.
  • Since I started working Mazawattee, I had been using a pair of blue trousers (my ‘Mazawattee good luck pants’) however today they were in the Laundry and I  was forced to wear my First Ascent ‘girls’ pants (because the guys ones don’t fit me) and my First Ascent down jacket has done an excellent job of keeping me warm this winter.
  • I was short half a bottle of Coke, because I broke the bottle (plastic) by dropping it! (Ed: Clint takes 3 sugars in his tea.)
  • Today will probably be the last time I climb a new grade, the last time I did that was with Streetfighter back in 2007.
  • Clinton has been busy in Oorlogs Kloof last December 2012  He sent his route Brutality (33) and the Seamster (29) (which Clinton says is an awesome route and worth the approach).  The Seamstress (to the left of Seamster) is another project that he has at Oorlogs.  Clinton reckons it will be quite hard.

Clinton is sponsored by:

Clinton Martinengo rock climbing sponsors








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Clinton Martinengo rock climbing, Montagu

Clinton taking it all in! Mazawattee is in the long shadowy overhang behind Clinton (the route is +- 35 meters long). Photo by Riki Lawson

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24 Responses to Clinton Martinengo sends Mazawattee (35/8c+)

  1. Gosia Jun 20, 2013 at 6:50 am #

    Wooooohooooooo, fantastic effort, well done Clint!!! Would have loved to have been there!

  2. Craig Jun 20, 2013 at 7:37 am #

    Awesome dude!! Congrats!!!

  3. Hector Jun 20, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    Well done Ningo!!!!

  4. andrew p Jun 20, 2013 at 8:46 am #

    Totally amped for you Clint! You are a frikken LEGEND. I reckon you need to open SAs first 9a..speak to Jason, he knows of one..

  5. MarkM Jun 20, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    Good job Clint! A fine send indeed.

  6. Mokganjetsi Jun 20, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    The Man of Steel! Well done dude!
    Ps|: quite inspiring that you came back so strongly after a 2-year recovery.

  7. Nigel B Jun 20, 2013 at 9:30 am #

    Fantastic job Clint, looking forward to seeing more strong sends from you

  8. Hendrik Jun 20, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    Well done Clinton!

  9. Brian Weaver Jun 20, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    That is sickness Clinton!!! PSYCHED for you!

  10. Sam Jun 20, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    Yeehaaa! Excellent job Clint!

  11. Hilton Jun 20, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Damn! Getting on in the years and only getting stronger! 9a by 40! Congratulations Clint, you’re one awesome dude!

  12. shorti Jun 20, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    Awesome, well done Ningo!

  13. jimbo Jun 20, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    yeah! good job one

  14. Willem Jun 20, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Conragtz Clint!!!! The tendon does it again!!

  15. Henkg Jun 20, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    Awe! Congratulations.

  16. Madelein Jun 20, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    Such an inspiring send on so many levels!! Clinton jou ou doring! 🙂

  17. Steve Bradshaw Jun 21, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Clinton: Fantastic effort. You are such an inspiration and it’s been a privilege to climb with you.

  18. andy davies Jun 21, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    Well done Clint. Your fighting spirit is inspirational.

  19. chaos Jun 23, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    I know this is off the topic of Clinton’s send, but that clip of Mat Bush powering through sequences, is poetry in motion. That dude is on a level of his own.

  20. Joe Möhle Jun 23, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    Congrats Martinengo!!!

  21. Richard Jun 24, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    “Today will probably be the last time I climb a new grade”.
    Whatever dude – I don’t believe it for a second 🙂

  22. steveB Jun 26, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    Balls to wall clint! Definitely not your last new grade!

  23. Justin Lawson Jul 2, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    Clinton writes about the run up to sending Mazawattee –

  24. Linda Spies Jul 12, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    Congrats Clinton. Awesome to hear! 🙂

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