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Rocklands Bouldering Crisis

Black Shadow, Rocklands

Marijus Smigelskis on ‘Black Shadow’ (8B) at Rocklands. Photo by: Julia Chen

For years climbers have been enjoying the world-class bouldering in the area known as Rocklands in the Western Cape, South Africa.  Many climbers have been oblivious to the fact that Rocklands is owned by five different landowners: four farmers and Cape Nature.

When climbing became a prominent activity in the Cederberg, the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) and Cape Nature (CN) drew up the Cederberg Environmental Management Programme (EMP) to jointly manage climbing in the Cederberg, including bouldering in Rocklands.  It was agreed that permits would need to be purchased in order to maintain the pathways and environment of the bouldering areas, which all cost money, and that climbers would need to adhere to certain rules in order to prevent irreparable damage to the environment. It was found through the EMP that bouldering has quite a substantial negative impact on the environment – more than sport or trad climbing.  The private landowners have been allowing climbing on their land under the assumption that climbers would manage their climbing the same way that they would for Cape Nature Land.

Unfortunately, when Rocklands became internationally famous, this set of rules was not communicated effectively to the international climbers.  As a result, the land began to suffer and the environment has sustained significant and continuous damage.  This complete and utter disrespect for the land has caused both Cape Nature and the landowners to start viewing boulderers in a very negative light. All land belonging to one of the farmers has as of Saturday 28th June 2013 been closed to climbing; this includes Tea Garden and all areas from Klein Kliphuis down to Clanwilliam on both sides of the road. Anyone caught climbing in these areas will be prosecuted and probably fined by the landowner. To continue climbing in this area will only damage the reputation of boulderers even further.

The Wild Card is no longer accepted for Cape Nature Land and the permit is R60 per day per climber.  The MCSA is scheduling meetings with CN to find a middle ground for this recent development.  Fortunately, CN has agreed to accept the Wild Card for the 2013 bouldering season.

Delaney Carpenter (Chairperson of the MCSA Rock Climbing Committee, Cape Town Section) recently stood up at this year’s Rock Stock to inform all climbers of the current deteriorating relationship between climbers and the Rocklands’ landowners and has urged all climbers to adhere to the below rules when climbing in Rocklands:

1.  Bury your faeces and carry out your toilet paper. If the ground is too hard to bury your faeces, please carry it out with you and dispose of it in the campsite bins. Poop bags are available for free at De Pakhys. (A special note about this: Tea Garden has been closed primarily due to this problem. Animals such as baboons may eat human faeces and could contract diseases such as Tuberculosis and hepatitis, which could prove detrimental to the population)
2.  Do not litter – carry everything you bring in with you back out with you and dispose of your litter in the bins at the campsite.
3.  Stick to the allocated paths marked by cairns and as illustrated in the guidebook. Diverting from these paths causes far more erosion than is necessary and may cause the extinction of certain sensitive plants in the area.
4. No graffiti on rock surfaces.  (Black Shadow boulder has been closed to climbing due to graffiti)
5. No pof is allowed in Rocklands.  The resin damages the rock surfaces and this damage is irreversible.

Most climbers have the attitude that things are not as bad as people say they are; that Rocklands will always be available to boulderers; that as long as they aren’t caught, there’s no problem. Boulderers don’t need to be caught defying these rules. Human faeces, filthy toilet paper, litter, cigarette butts, trampled vegetation, graffiti and pof are all evidence of the disobedience of climbers.

There are four farmers who make their living off of their land – the land that boulderers are trashing. One farmer has already closed her lands to boulderers. It is only a matter of time before the other three do the same. CN is clamping down on boulderers; their rangers are making more visits through the bouldering areas, insisting on permits.

The complete disrespect of boulderers for the land on which they climb is a very serious and has become a very real threat to bouldering in Rocklands.

Rocklands bouldering is in peril.

Rocklands does not belong to the climbers.

Our access is not a right, it’s a privilege and our treatment of the land is the difference between us being allowed to climb in Rocklands and us being banned from climbing in Rocklands altogether.

Irresponsible boulderers have caused this problem and boulderers are the only ones who can fix it.

Please respect the land you climb on in South Africa and adhere to the above mentioned rules.  Your privilege to climb in Rocklands depends on it.

- Notice from Delaney Carpenter, Chairperson of the Mountain Club of South Africa Rock Climbing Committee, Cape Town Section.

Related article:  Tea Garden Closed to Climbers (Rocklands)

Rocklands Bouldering Crisis

63 Responses to Rocklands Bouldering Crisis

  1. andrew p Jul 30, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    Hi Delaney, great work, such a pity though. Can you get this onto the foreign website? http://www.8a.nu, UK bouldering etc..? After all its probably foreigners making the mess. Keep up the good work.

  2. grubber Jul 30, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    Hey guys, it’s very sad that this is the current state of affairs. I’ve been to Rocklands twice and had great times. I’m sharing this on my gym’s facebook-page and on my own website, for all the good it will do. The only question I have, is why they are discontinuing the use of the Wildcard? That makes it seem more like a moneygrab from CN than anything else.

    Hope things improve!

  3. Chris F Jul 30, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    I’ll put it on UKB, but I doubt there’s an issue here. Most UK climbers are generally pretty access and environmentally savvy.

  4. Delaney Jul 30, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    Hi guys

    Yip, very sad indeed and very hard work for me to try negotiate with the landowners :-(

    I have contacted the following websites in the meantime and they have all come back to me already. Rock and Ice has already posted their own article (link alongside their name)

    Rock and Ice (http://www.rockandice.com/lates-news/rocklands-climbing-in-jeopardy)
    Climbing Narc (will be publishing one or both the articles)
    DPM (will spread the word)
    B3 Bouldering (Jamie says he’ll spread the word)
    8a (Jens has asked for a shorter article to link through to the other articles I’ve written)
    bleau.info
    UK Climbing

    I also spread the word at Rock Stock but the more we can get the word out the better. It is absolutely imperative for the climbing community to act responsibly so that we can mend the damage done to our reputations and help repair the relationship between us and the landowners.

    Thanks so much to all who are spreading the info and please keep a look out for any transgressors?

    Any other suggestions are hugely welcome.

    Thanks guys

  5. Hugo Vaughan Jul 30, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    Hi

    This smacks of the crisis we had in the same area years ago. Now, as then, the locals all decided it was the internationals. Very convenient, but also somewhat unsolvable.

    Actually, all climbers are the foreigners there. Who of you actually live in the Cedarberg?

    To paraphrase that rather good cycling slogan.

    You are not impacted by the environmental damage, you are the environmental damage.

    I suspect that the actual cost of restoring the Cederberg environment is probably twice what is currently charged for daily permits, and thus what we have today is unsustainable. Just like last time we were kicked out of Rocklands, for the same reasons. Oh, and the climbing community made very sure last time that it protected the individuals who did the most damage from facing the consequences of their actions. The community took the consequences as a whole.

    I wonder if we will follow the same path again?

  6. Adele McCann Jul 30, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Delaney – can you clarify whether the ban is for all areas between Clanwilliam and Klein Kliphuis farm or camp site ?

    I am aware that Klein Kliphuis farm boundaries extend further than the farm entrance in the direction of the campsite.

    • Delaney Jul 30, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

      Hi Adele

      The areas closed are from Klein Kliphuis campsite to Clanwilliam town on both sides of the road. I am waiting on maps to see exactly how far from the road the closed land extends before it becomes someone else’s land.

      Hope this helps.

      • Nicholas Hobley Jul 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

        Dear Delaney,

        Planetmountain.com would obviously be keen on reporting about this issue and finding out more as things evolve. Please do feel free to send us any information to info@planetmountain.com.

        Many thanks

  7. Delaney Jul 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    Thanks so much, Nicholas. I will email you shortly.

  8. Ghaznavid Jul 30, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    Its sad – and you wonder how long it is before land owners on other spots (e.g. Wow Prow) start closing their crags to prevent the same issues happening there.

    Its sad – most of these problems are caused by 5% of the community, but the other 95% suffers the consequences just the same.

    Monteseel is getting really bad litter-wise these days – although it is public land, so it might not be the climbers’ fault. I have also seen so much litter and graffiti in the Drakensberg (although that won’t be climbers)

  9. Rebecca Jul 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    Does this include Riverside, and other such areas down towards Clanwilliam?

  10. Aloysio Jul 30, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    For non-english speakers, what is POF? Chalk?

  11. Justin Lawson Jul 30, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    Pof is resin. Typically used by dancers on (wooden) stages to stop them from slipping.

    Used in climbing it makes the grips more sticky, giving greater friction to grips (especially slopers).

    Problem is that it fills the small tiny cracks in the rock and after time it will create a glass like (resin) surface. Generally speaking, Pof is banned and frowned upon by all intelligent climbers in the world.

    Using Pof is essentially cheating and the equivalent of using steroids (or a step ladder) to send your problems.
    Bottom line is that Resin/Pof ruins the rock.

  12. Ese Jul 31, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    @Aloysio: Resin / Pof / Colophonium is also used by violin-/chello-players to have their bow waxed. It’s very sticky and also very harmful to sandstone, because it has the same attributes as certain acids.

    @Delanay: As soon as you got more intel on that, please drop us a note -> team@kletterszene.com (we’re a german website and we’ll report on this topic asap)

  13. BAbycoat Jul 31, 2013 at 5:40 am #

    As Jurie has already noted, Rocklands is suffering from a tragedy of the commons.

    IMHO if the climbing community wants to protect its access rights, it needs sanctions on individuals who put these rights at risk. Hugo suggests that individuals have been protected in the past. As a long-term solution, protecting individuals is only going to put all our access at risk.

    These forums have had robust discussion regarding some questionable bolt placements (in which I’ve participated). I’d encourage similar discussion on questionable bouldering ethics.

    Sponsors can play a key role here. Leading climbers set the tone for others, and often there is no comment when they break the rules. Was there any feedback when an international climber allegedly broke the Redhill moratorium? If we want to show we’re serious about access, we can embarrass the brands that sponsor a climber who endangers access.

    The MCSA is also weak in this respect. One of its key value offerings is land access, and yet it has little follow-up and no action on members who put this value at risk. (I say this as a paid-up member).

    If climbers aren’t effective at policing ourselves, landowners will do it for us – as the Tea Garden incident shows.

    • ScottS Jul 31, 2013 at 9:12 am #

      So make your actions speak as loudly as your words BAbycoat…

      It’s always easy to criticize those working towards improving the situation (especially from the comfort of relative anonymity).

      Doing the actual work on a voluntary basis – not so easy.

  14. Delaney Jul 31, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    @ Rebecca – until I can get a map from the landowner, I would keep away from anything between Clanwilliam town and Klein Kliphuis.

    @Ese – thank you so much. I will email you shortly.

    @BAbycoat – Thank you for your concerns. I did report the international climber to their sponsors and contacted him via his blog. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if anything was taken further on their side and I can’t be everywhere at once. Bouldering issues are just one item on our agenda at the moment.

    I don’t know about protecting any individuals as I have only been on the MCSA rock climbing committee for a year now and am trying my best to fix so many problems from the past. Unless I can be everywhere at once, I have to rely on the climbing community to inform me of who the culprits are. If I knew who they were, you can be sure that I would not protect them. They are making my job extremely difficult and this is a volunteer position! I don’t get paid to do all this. So you can be damn sure that if I can find the exact persons responsible for transgressing the rules, I will most assuredly bring them to book and ban them from climbing in Rocklands. I am also very keen on a naming-and-shaming campaign if I knew who the persons were.

    So, yes, unless I can find another source of income than my actual job so that I can be everywhere at once, I have to rely on the climbing community to report abuse to me in certain areas and where possible, give me names.

    I am also strongly considering that only MCSA members are allowed to climb in Rocklands – this would eliminate all international climbers but at the same time, I don’t believe that only international climbers are responsible and I most certainly don’t believe that it’s all international climbers – I have met some very responsible climbers from other countries.

    The bottom line is this: educate the climbing community about the rules and the climbing community must be ever vigilant of any transgressors and report them to me immediately.

    • Eugene Aug 5, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

      I am also strongly considering that only MCSA members are allowed to climb in Rocklands

      Delaney, I think everyone appreciates your hard work in what is going on in the Rocklands, but to restrict climbing to MSCA members only has got to be the most ridiculous notion I have come across in ages.

      I honestly don’t believe that the entire blame rests with foreign climbers. I have had vast experience of climbing in Europe and most of the climbers are very conscious of the state of their crags. No-one wants to go to a crag that smells like a longdrop and resembles a dumpsite. There are however individuals of all nationalities (South Africans) included that disrespect areas. I was climbing at Silvermine in February and experienced some guys from Cape Town throwing their lunch wrappers from the top of the crag and leaving. It is easy to point fingers at foreigners as there are vast numbers who come to experience rocklands every year. But forget that bouldering is an increasingly popular form of climbing and that will draw more climbers to this region, South Africans included.

      I think the notion of allowing MSCA members and no-one else to climb stinks of elitism, not to mention apartheid!!

  15. Jean Jul 31, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Name and shame right? i cant give exact ID descriptions or names but last season there were a bunch of BRAZILIANS who couldn’t give damn about rules and arrangements. They cause the same kind of shit in the surfing world and quite frankly think they should be banned from leaving their country all together.

    SPANIARDS dont have a great reputation either.

    • Mokganjetsi (Willem B) Jul 31, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

      Errrr dude, that is a horrible generalisation. I have climbed with both Brazillians and Spaniards that were exemplary in their conduct. No matter how you want to group it, it is always individuals who act like idiots. Deal with them on that basis.

  16. Jean Jul 31, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    Oh… and your suggestion of MCSA members only, is a very fine idea indeed.

  17. Stephen M Jul 31, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    Delaney, why not say that only MCSA members and those escorted by MCSA members are allowed to climb in Rocklands, stating that the escorts will take the fall should the non-members in their group break the rules?

    That would put the reigns firmly in the hands of the MCSA while preserving some of the tourist market.

    • Justin Lawson Jul 31, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

      This would work at a smaller climbing area that was less frequented by internationals. But in Rocklands I think there are just too many visitors and the area too vast.

      This is the situation In Heuco Tanks since 1998 following its ‘popularity problems’:

      Since implementation of the Public Use Plan, following a brief closure of the entire park due to the park service’s inability to manage the growing crowds of international climbers, volunteer or commercial guides are required to access more than 2/3 of the park’s area. Only North Mountain is accessible without guides, and then only for about 70 people at any given time.”

      Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hueco_Tanks

  18. Jean Jul 31, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    Not as much of a generalization as you would like to think…

    • Mokganjetsi (Willem B) Jul 31, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

      as you grow up you realize your experience is never the truth about something, its just your experience.

      or did you do extensive research on the matter?

  19. Arni Jul 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    I have not always been pro restricted access, but i do think its the only option to ensure future access! I’ve always liked the way the people in Botswana approach conservation, not of climbing, but just the environment in general. Its a basic high price, low numbers approach!

    Mcsa member = $
    SA Visitor accompanied by Mcsa member = $$
    All foreigners = $$$$$$$$$

    I hope i make it to rocklands before its all gone…

    • Magdel Crum Jul 31, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

      Mmm, sure go ahead and charge for access, I am fine with that. Can someone please make sure that Cape Nature or whoever is the custodian actually USES it for conservation?

      Also just a note, charging foreigners $$$$$$$$$ will not solve your problem, despite popular belief, it is called greed.

  20. hermann Jul 31, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    I’m not sure if extreme measures will work that well. People will probably still sneak in and just play ignorant, and policing this kind of policy will be hard. Not all climbers will be comfortable with chasing away people without a permit.

    You’re out there to enjoy yourself in nature and now you have to kill the vibe by being a copper. I’m not suggesting that this might not be necessary, but surely this will make going climbing less fun.

    Ideally, and this is where the infrastructure is lacking, is that people have to enter the park through controlled points – as in Hueco. If the area is too big with too many separate areas (as Rocklands certainly is) there can’t be consistent enforcement.

    A suggestion to remedy the trash issue:

    What if a group from the climbing community organizes a regular clean-up mission in winter season which will also maintain cairns that indicate acceptable paths. This can possibly be ‘incentivised’ by giving them free access or reduced entrance fees to Cape Nature and privately owned land.

    Physically showing other climbers how to behave in their presence is always the best way to educate and inspire them to act in the proper way. Although starting arguments and chasing people out might be warranted, I don’t believe it will be as effective as leading by example.

    • Jurie Jul 31, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

      Hermann, so you would rather spend a day(or however many) picking up excrement and rubbish deposited by our foreign and local friends than to confront them about their inproper conduct,all for the sake of preserving “the vibe”? This is no attempt at improvement at all! If the “vibe” involves disrespectful an unsustainable practices then let it be ruined I say! Your argument involves the following logic, fuck the area, viva the vibe, an inversion of this would be a marked step towards improving the state of sustainable futures for Rocklands bouldering!

  21. jacques Jul 31, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    Delaney, you have done so much good stuff, I can’t believe you have only been doing it for a year or so! Well done, much respect! Thank you.

    I will take pics, name, shame whoever i see doing this bullsh#t whenever I come across them. Promise.

    @Jean: maybe not a gross ‘generalization’, but a generalization none the less. I have only met great, friendly Brazilian climbers… my 2 cents.

  22. Pierre J Jul 31, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    How long ago was this discussion? Seven months?

    http://www.climbing.co.za/2013/03/easter-bouldering-festival/

    I’m pretty confident Jurie and Unio would have liked to be proven correct sometime a bit further into the future… but the stupidity of humans is truly infinite.

    • Jurie Jul 31, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

      Ja jirre jissus!

      • Pierre J Aug 1, 2013 at 10:25 am #

        Allemuntige alliterasie
        Sorrie Jurie :(

        • HenkG Aug 1, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

          And blasphemous.

          • Jurie Aug 4, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

            Henk, accurate and concise.

  23. Theo Jul 31, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    From 8a.nu:
    So what is your overall impression of the Rocklands bouldering?
    Incredible place. Such a vast amount of rock and there is still just so much room for developing. We saw tons of new stone and heard stories of “the next rocklands” that could be just around the corner. The cederburg mountains are insane.

    In my honest opinion, Rocklands lost its magic more than 5 years ago. So many people, so little public ablutions, it has turned into a shitpile with some cool boulders inbetween.

    I am surprised it took this long.

    It is a truly sad situation with no simple solution.

    Hopefully this will be the expensive lesson that everyone will learn from…

    Hats off to Delaney and her dedication.

  24. andrew p Aug 1, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    Lets recover the situation, its far from ruin. Lets be positive. But we will actually have do something visible and not from our office chairs.

    I like to simplify things and I think there is a simple solution.

    Over June-July-August we (through a kitty) pay a officer to patrol, in a nice way, engage with climbers, mark paths, police where necessary, talk with landowners, oversee small projects etc. Someone local, who can speak with the farmers but at same time understand the climbers bit not necessarily be one. Bring the two together. Would not be expensive if split between a lot of us (R200/day plus expenses??) and I think could make a big impact. If Rocklands were on my doorstep think I’d support such an initiative.

    Is this a crazy idea: ?

    Andrew

    • Pierre J Aug 1, 2013 at 10:34 am #

      Nope, not crazy at all. Crowdsourcing works man. R1 per day from 200 climbers or other stakeholders to support this is not outrageous at all. If you get 200 contributors, that works out to a R90 contribution for the three busiest months, 7 days a week.

      Sending cash is easy though. Hell I’ll give you R90 right now.

      The question is, who is going to do this? Organise the guy? Give him a shirt and a badge? Make sure he does his thing, instead of sit under a tree and play angry birds?

      Funny thing, someone like Neil Margetts organised a guard (among a LOT of other work, paths etc) to reopen an average (by world standards) sport crag called Chosspile.

      Can one of you hipster-tree-hugging-environmentalist capetonians please put your effort where your fashions are and DO THIS for arguably the BEST BOULDERING AREA IN THE WORLD?

      • Pierre J Aug 2, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

        “Can one of you hipster-tree-hugging-environmentalist capetonians please put your effort where your fashions are and DO THIS for arguably the BEST BOULDERING AREA IN THE WORLD?”

        the answer is probably NO. Just naysayers and critics. If you locals can’t even care, no one else will. I predict the current Rocklands areas will be closed to climbing entirely within the next 3 years. Morons.

  25. hermann Aug 1, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    @Jurie: Your extreme/flaming views is getting OLD and TIRING. Suggest something constructive or leave.

    I think what Andrew suggests might work. If someone is actually paid to patrol etc, that’ll give them more authority and will make policing more friendly and constructive. People are more prone to listen to someone that’s been placed in a position than just a random climbing peer (I hope).
    I would support such a person/persons too. I guess it doesn’t have to be one person only, but maybe when it comes to communicating with farmers/Cape Nature a single person is easier.

    I wouldn’t mind helping out with this (when I happen to be in the Cape Town area). This is something that could work well when you take a rest day in Rocklands – help out with checking trash/cairns/permits etc.

    • Jurie Aug 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

      Hermann, I apologise for being a source of insufferable boredom.

      However, I believe your suggestions are insipid at best, and seemingly conditioned so to only be executable upon concensus on this forum.

      Actions speak louder than words.

      Stop faffing around with wishy-washy “probable” improbable ideas and do something, for instance, ruining the vibe by confronting your foreigner friends if they do not adhere to a set of ethics you ascribe to. Everyone can be “the guard”!

      If you do not like someone disagreeing with something you post here, perhaps you should be the one to “leave”?

      Grow a pair.

      Jurie

  26. Delaney Aug 1, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    Hi Andrew

    No, this is not a crazy idea but who would foot the bill?

    The MCSA will be putting up a sign at Tea Garden entrances hopefully within the next month to at least try and curb people from climbing in that area.

    I am planning on another trip to Rocklands later in August – my work schedule allowing it – to ensure that the sign is up, the information posters and key cards are dropped off at Klein Kliphuis and Traveller’s Rest and to meet with the landowners again about permit systems, clean-ups and any additional problems.

    Anyone who can assist with further suggestions, please do so but at the same time what I really need is volunteers.

    Thanks again for all your comments and suggestions.

  27. Niel Mostert Aug 1, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    @ anyone going from Cape Town to Rocklands in the next couple of weeks:

    Why don’t you drop Delaney a line and help her out with checking that the sign is up and dropping off the posters and key cards she mentions? Then she can focus her energy on the meetings with the Landowners. Come on, it will take miuntes of your time. Have a little community spirit :)

    @ Andrew P

    Good suggestion. Some form of policing is a good start IMO. If this individual is not authorised to issue fines then at least he can report the offenders and action can be taken from there. Sommer give him a camera also to collect evidence.

    The days are gone where these kinds of access issues will be resolved by someone else, it’s OUR problem as a climbing community: if we can’t manage ourselves we’ll pay the price by losing access. Easy as that.

  28. andrew p Aug 1, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Footing the bill need not be a problem if someone is prepared to take some time to set it up.There are plenty of us who would happily donate, Pierre J already put in R90! Salary R8000 for 2 months plus another R2000 for fuel. As well as the climbing community, donations may be likely from those who benefit or want to act as sponsors – DePakhuys, climbing equipment companys (Drifters, CityRock, etc etc), MCSA, the Spar in Clanwillian.. (!?). Its a win win. As with most things, the only obstacle is organising. Once its up and running it should be easy enough to administer if the person selected is good and honest (not easy) I see this as the only real solution to the Rocklands problem? Cheers, Andrew

  29. HenkG Aug 1, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    Not sure that one officer would solve the problem. We gave the local CN chief lank grief about the new daily levy. He put an officer on to specifically keep is out. We sold the poor officer a sob story and he reluctantly let us in. I cannot see how one officer can patrol such a vast area and police people shitting and walking wherever they like. In comunal africa, where the land belongs to all, no one cares for it. This farmer is taking a lead and protects what his her land. The gov banned 4×4′s off the beach, same thing can happen here. As per the Lorax, unless…

  30. Mike Aug 2, 2013 at 7:17 am #

    It makes sense when it comes to areas outside of the pass, but I don’t see why we have to pay extra so that someone can police us…as it is we pay R60 for entrance into the pass…they might as well do it anyway.

  31. Richard Aug 2, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    Years ago, while serving on the committee that Delaney currently heads, and when Rocklands was just becoming well known, we proposed to Cape Nature that a solution would be to find someone willing to move into the old house at the old campsite, set up an info office, issue permits and advice, patrol etc. this person could employ locals, provide a guiding service, hire out pads, sell chalk, whatever. Someone with a vested interest in the sustainable development of the area, and a passion for the Cederberg, might have been able to perform a policing role? It was obvious to many of us who knew the area before the “gold rush” that the impact was going to be huge, and negative. Personally I am very surprised that it has taken this long to begin imploding

  32. Greg Kriel Aug 2, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    gee this is shocking :( super bleak! Is Riverside closed too? hope ti doesnt extended to campground boulders and old rocklands like roadside etc my heart is sad that people behave like this ins such an amazing place! We should all feel blessed to climb there and treat accordingly :(

    • Derek Marshall Aug 4, 2013 at 10:03 am #

      We (me + general climbing community) want a vibe, to publicize, a flashy guide, clips on the net, SA featuring on international DVDs, famous visitors, festivals, competitions & various other ego endeavours.

      ….all incompatible with preserving Rocklands. We get what we deserve, its an unfortunate universal concept.

      So what to do:
      Suck it up
      Find new areas & keep them secret (ie. no festival)
      Reign in our egos

  33. jean Aug 4, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    Derek Marshall for president

  34. micky Aug 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    havent read all the responses so maybe i’m gonna suggest something thats already been suggested. How about a 1 page leaflet that gets handed out to every climber that checks in at their accommodation or camping. It should have a serious header like ‘You are fu#$ing Rocklands up!’ or something, and then just have rules and reasons. Cant see that costing much and doesnt take too much effort.

    • Delaney Aug 21, 2013 at 10:41 am #

      Hi Micky

      That’s not a bad idea. We do have posters up at de Pakhuys stating the rules and I am having more done for Traveller’s Rest and Tea Garden. Thys has also attached credit-card size rules on his gate keys – in English, French, Spanish and German.

      I am also getting quotes for signage in these four languages to put up around Rocklands.

      I will give the flyer campaign some more thought and discuss it with the landowners when I see them later in September.

      Thanks again for all the suggestions.

  35. Branden Aug 8, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    Please could someone add this on thecrag.com/climbing/south-africa/rocklands or give me the information to put online

    • Delaney Aug 21, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      Hi Branden

      Please let me know if you have been sorted out? Email me on delaney@rock-chicks.co.za if you haven’t.

      Kind regards
      Delaney

  36. Andy Court Aug 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    so after reading all these posts i was reminded of a video i watched a while back … http://vimeo.com/59589642

    i don’t have any answers for how to feasibly control the environmental impact climbers are having on Rocklands but looking at the first 70′s of the video i think we can agree that we don’t want Rocklands to become super controlled. we also don’t want to destroy it and have it closed.

    i have only climbed there twice and would really like to go back so i hope we can find a solution. i would be happy to pay a bit extra to visit the area if that meant it was being looked after.

  37. GeAD Aug 13, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    This is not only a problem in the Rocklands. Trash, cigarette butts etc. keep getting more and more in all European (i think all global) crags.
    And the people who leave that stuff never carry it out and never face the consequences. They just change their climbing destinations/habits.

    There should be absolutely zero tolerance on leaving behind any dirt – but pointing that out to the persons that do so, does not seldomly end in quarreling.
    Strange, because it is obvious that this is the wrong way.

    Everybody who does not care about nature and that topic is just ignorant and should not call themselves climbers/boulderers these people are just slaves of modern turbo-consumer-society with no sense for anything more than their own egoistic aims.

    Otherwise they would not act like this….

    Even if it hurts, please go on close the crags – this also and especially hurts climbers that really care, but it is the only way to cope with ignorance and stupidity!

  38. Delaney Aug 21, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    Hi Greg

    Regarding your question about point 5 and pof being used in Font for years, please see below for more information on why we are not allowing pof in Rocklands:

    Basically pof is the dried and ground up resin from the (primarily) pine trees from the Fontainebleau region. It has historically been used in Font for years and I highly doubt that its use will ever stop. That being said, the damage it can do to rock is highly visible in Font. What the climbers do is wrap the pof in a cloth to form a ball and tie the end up. This then gets whacked across the rock, especially on tiny smeary foot holds and basically makes the rock ‘sticky’ to the touch and thus much easier to stand on the tiny foot smears that are typical of Font. Now, during the cold winter this is not a huge problem (it is…but not as bad as summer) as the pof or resin is not able to melt and fill in the tiny spaces between the grains of rock. However, when used on hotter days, the resin melts from the heat and fills in the tiny spaces between the grains of the rock and makes the surface extremely smooth and extremely difficult to climb on for people that don’t use pof. The use of pof in Rocklands could have seriously damaging effects as its always much hotter than the European summer. That being said, the bouldering style here would not be suited to using pof as you are not very often relying on tiny and delicate foot placements to get you up the rock.

    Much of Rocklands (and the Cederberg) falls in a Nature Reserve and a lot of old rock paintings can be found throughout the region. The Cederberg Environmental Management Plan prohibits the use of pof because of the transformation it causes on the rock surface itself. If it wasn’t for this Environmental Management Plan, no one would have been allowed to climb in Rocklands to start with.

    While we understand that pof is allowed in Font, please understand that we are not in Font. We are in South Africa and we have an agreement and management plan with Cape Nature and with the private landowners in Rocklands and it is illegal to use pof in Rocklands.

    I don’t have any photos readily available to me but as and when I can get my hands on some or take some of my own, I will post them here.

    Regardless, follow the rules of Rocklands as laid out in the Environmental Management Plan and respect our rock. Only by all climbers adhering to these rules, can we hopefully bring Rocklands back from the brink of being closed to climbing.

  39. Chris F Aug 28, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    So what progress has been made?

    I have looked at a few recent boudering videos, both produced by SA climbers and foreigners, and no-one has made an effort anywhere to highlight any ongoing issues. I would have thought these would be a the perfect platform to get the message across. Even if it was just “Rocklands is a sensitive area, for access information please see http://www…...”

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  41. Justin Lawson Nov 5, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    The 2013 Annual Rocklands Clean Up (one person arrives to help out!)

    http://www.climbing.co.za/2013/11/2013-annual-rocklands-clean-up/

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