I opened a couple more trad routes on the Jeopardy wall on Table Mountain recently. The first was the arête that you dangle your feet above when you sit on the Roulette ledge. I believe Guy Patterson Jones and Hilton Davies first tried it about 2 years ago but opted instead to climb the crack about 5 meters to the right.
There’s something about climbing an arête that I find really appealing. I think it’s because they look cool! They are also the antithesis of awkward balancy open-books, which I am crap at and find really claustrophobic and scary. Anyway, the arête I climbed is anything but claustrophobic. It’s slightly overhanging, kind of powerful, rather tricky to read, somewhat committing and slightly exposed. All fine attributes for an arête in my opinion. And it gives you that “Wow, I’m climbing a slightly over-hanging, kind of powerful, rather tricky, somewhat committing, slightly exposed arête.”
Some not so interesting (or accurate) facts about The King Slayer:
• I called it The King Slayer because I felt like it.
• The crux involves a high step, a poor sloper pinch, a wee crimp layback, a grunt, a shout of encouragement, an off-width, another grunt, a foot flag, a girl in a blue bikini, some more fancy foot work, a desperate lunge to a gaston pinch and a knee bar – not necessarily in that order and I added the off-width and bikini girl so that I wouldn’t ruin your onsight.
• The gear is good but a fall off the crux might be a touch exciting (read painful).
• I worked it by myself on a fixed top rope before redpointing so it’s difficult to grade but I’d say it’s in the 26-27 range. It will probably feel harder to onsight.
• Douw Steyn of “Golden Belayer” fame held my ropes.
After that I thought I’d give the first pitch of Roulette Arête a go. This is the aforementioned crack that Guy and Hilton opened and goes at about 25. Having tried it a year ago and fallen off, I was looking forward to awarding myself the retro-onsight. I figured this was permitted since I have such a crap memory and was pretty confident after my courageous feat a few moments earlier.
But I fell off. A little perplexed, I decided to make myself feel better by falling off something harder instead.
So from Roulette Arête I climbed straight into the crux of the Squid and the Whale and then straight into the crux of Double Jeopardy (both of which I fell off). But there dawned the first attempt of a dead-straight link-up that combined some of the best climbing on the wall. I came back and redpointed it a week later and after a few moments of thought, I settled on the highly original name Triple Jeopardy (31). In hindsight, this link up turned out to be the most obvious line up the Jeopardy wall and this is where I originally thought Double Jeopardy went.
Bit ironic that it was also one of the last to be opened. I say “one of the last” because much to my dismay I managed to find yet another project on the wall that I am hoping to open soon.