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Oceans of my Life

“Was it a Top 100 night?”  Ian and Arno wanted to know.  Guy Paterson-Jones and I had topped-out on Klein Winterhoek after climbing the legendary Oceans of Fear then raced down to link up with Ian and Arno who had climbed the frontal route.  One big difference was that Guy and I had spent a grim night hanging in our harnesses on the wall and the guys wanted to know if it made it into my list of worst 100 nights on mountains.  (It didn’t).

Oceans of Fear, Klein Winterhoek

Not so bad… Hilton’s bed for the evening stay over.

 

Guy and I were pretty-well broken after a tough 36 hours on this incredible route and I am tired as I write this, but this is a recent story that has its beginnings a long way back.

David and I couldn’t hold our alcohol.  My brother was 19 and I was 18 when Tarquin Holt produced a bottle of brandy which we polished off around a camp fire at the original Klein Winterhoek campsite that George Londt and colleagues had used in 1920 when they made their legendary first ascent of Klein Winterhoek Frontal – at the time one of the leading routes in the world.  Tony Lodge was an older straight-laced teetotaler and wasn’t impressed by our drunkenness.  The next day, 14 October 1979, the four of us raced up the frontal route and we had our first sighting of the monstrous overhanging amphitheatre around the corner to the right.  We were gobsmacked. No, something much more…

Oceans of Fear, Klein Winterhoek

Dave Davies and Hilton Davies at the campsite during 1985

 

Ten weeks later Tony was dead.  And having taken a long leader fall on Table Mountain onto my brother John, which almost killed John.  With tears streaming down my face I had soloed to the scene and lowered Tony’s savaged body to the ground and then assisted with the rescue of an unconscious older brother.

Oceans of Fear, Klein Winterhoek

Jumarring up a new line left of Oceans of Fear in 1985

 

With John convalescing in the embrace of the family home, David and I were back on Klein Winterhoek high up into the massive, horrifying overhanging wall.  A week earlier I had begun my first year at UCT and a few weeks before that David had finished with his compulsory two-year stint in the damned military.  We carried heavy, climbed hard and got mauled.  On 21 February 1980 we turned tail and began our abseils off the wall.  After several days of big effort the heat wave fixed us good and proper.  Down at Tulbagh the temps were in the forties. On the wall I’m sure we were looking at 50° C.  At the base of the wall we stripped naked and emptied our water stores over each other’s hyperthermic heads.  How we might have done in milder conditions is anyone’s guess.  It was tough going as we were disciples of Dave Cheesmond and Tony Dick, and this means we didn’t use pitons.  And we didn’t have cams yet – they would only make their appearance in another year or so.

Oceans of Fear, Klein Winterhoek

Hilton getting watered down after having retreated off the Oceans first ascent attempt in 1980.

 

Although Dave and I had pushed up the amphitheatre into virgin territory, this wasn’t the first action in the area.  A couple of years earlier our buddies Dave Cheesmond, Chris Lomax and Greg Lacey had done a bracket-route around the right side of the amphitheatre that skirted the big overhangs.  They had spent two days on the wall on their opening ascent of The Times They Are A-Changing.

Oceans of Fear.  My god.  What an incredible achievement.  Greg had returned with the 16 year-old wunderkind Andy de Klerk and together over quite a number of days they made the first ascent of the amphitheatre by their legendary route Oceans of Fear.  Just boggling.  What a route.  What a fear-trip.  Dave and I were bleak.  A few months later Chris was to watch Greg die.  We were bleaker.

Dave Davies, Oceans of Fear, Klein Winterhoek

Dave on a new line left of Oceans.

 

After the first ascent Andy had done the route again, with Wayne Claussen drafting him.  After the Alpine accident Andy then did the most stupefying and stupendous thing when he soloed Oceans as his tribute to Greg.  (Not long after Wayne pushed beyond the limit in a sump-dive in Cango IV).

Dave and I were back in 1985, this time with our old friend Andrew Lainis as well.  We had all done a lot of big stuff in the intervening five years.  David had climbed most of the famous routes in the Alps with John, and done a bunch of El Cap and Half Dome routes.  He and two buddies had done their massive first ascent of the East Face of the South Tower of Paine in Patagonia while John, Chris and I at the same time did our first ascent of the colossal East Face of Paine Grande in the next valley.  We did the hard yards by doing several days of ferrying gear from the orchards to the rock face.  Things went swingingly and we were determined to do a big new route to the left of Oceans.

Oceans of Fear, Klein Winterhoek

Andy Lainis and Dave Davies in 1985.

 

We based ourselves at High Camp beside the river and each day we pushed up the wall and fixed ropes before abseiling down and scrambling back down to camp for the night.  On one occasion we made our camp fire too big and came very close to losing control of a mountain fire.  But aside from that things went well for a few days; although I felt a bit hard done by each evening when David and Andrew would climb into their state of the art, locally-made Three Spears Gore-Tex bivvy bags.  I would slither into my big orange Karrimor plastic bag and suffer all sorts of abuse.

Our hot and sultry summer adventure took a turn though, in those less-connected days ten or eleven years before cellphones.  In the middle of one night clouds came scudding in and the heavens opened up.  Torrents of rain came down.  Snow fell.  Rain and sleet bucketed down.  David and Andrew’s bivvy bags leaked like sieves.  My giant shopping bag was an incredible sound chamber but repelled all H2O.  David and Andrew went hypothermic as their down sleeping bags became enormous sodden sausages.

Oceans of Fear, Klein Winterhoek

Dave and Hilton take a break on the walk up (1985).

 

The noise was too terrible.  David and Andrew would not shut up.  All I wanted was to sleep.  But these two blokes were sure they were facing a horrible death.  They kept doing frantic exercises to keep their core temperatures up.  Eventually at first light they made me pack up and join them high-tailing it out of there.  We slid down the slimey slopes in the rain and headed for home between the mountain ranges blanketed in snow.  A week later Andrew flew out to Alaska.  A week after that David and I dragged ourselves up Klein Winterhoek, jumarred the lines, and abseiled down to face a very heavy carry out.  We were well-bleak.

Fast-forward to February 2012.  After a break of 27 years I was just about over the traumas and returned with my buddy Neil Havenga to do The Times They Are A-Changing.  It was big, hard and scary – in other words fantastic.  We had a blast.  A month later I was back with my buddy Guy Paterson-Jones and we did a stellar first ascent bracket-route on the left that we named Rapture – and it is rapturous.  A month later Guy and I were back to do Oceans.  But guess what?  That hot night turned into a massive electric storm and while lighting slammed into the peaks surrounding us, making us quake in our cots, rain came down on us like a garden sprinkler.

Oceans of Fear, Klein Winterhoek

Guy climbing pitch 2 of Oceans of Fear, Klein Winterhoek.

 

It rained until our 4am alarms went off and we went back to sleep.  It was raining at 6am when we felt compelled to do something.  By the time our mission was dead and buried at about 8am the skies cleared and we had a beautiful day.  We did a miserable hour-long scramble up to the amphitheatre to retrieve the sodden climbing gear we had carried up there the evening before and returned to almost tearful coffees at High Camp.  To salvage something we did a new route straight out of camp up the fin that I had often looked at.  This gave an 8-pitch new route that we called Rainy Day Ridge.  We went home.

Ian Slatem and I made a trip up this big hill a month ago to carry gear in.  A week later Guy and I hiked in to do Oceans, and guess what?  We were rained off.  Thanks. The forecast said sunny skies with some cloud.  Thanks for that too.

Oceans of Fear, Klein Winterhoek

Guy’s bed for the evening on Oceans of Fear.

 

22 February 2014.  Thirty-four years, to the day, after the first attempt, I finally climbed Oceans.  And it’s all been worth it.  What a route.  What a journey.  What a mission – I could cry.  And what a pleasure to climb it with my great buddy Guy.

Our ascent wasn’t perfect.  I’d brought way too little gear.  We should have had doubles of all the mid-size cams which we didn’t have.  That cost us quite a lot of time and gave us a lot of extra horror, as if there isn’t enough.  I would have to back-climb to harvest gear, free-climb stuff that should have been aided, and make an extra belay stance or two hanging from two cams out in space.

Oceans of Fear, Klein Winterhoek

Just another day at the office… Guy hanging out.

 

Oceans of Fear, Klein Winterhoek

Guy and ropes hanging below Hilton.

 

Oceans of Fear, Klein Winterhoek

A selfie of me hanging on a bolt with Guy in the background.

 

Oceans of Fear, Klein Winterhoek

The ‘Hooks’ pitch with Guy below – lots of exposure!

 

Also our ascent was exactly two months later than it should have been.  The longest day of the year is 22 December and 22 February is 90 minutes shorter.

Guy and I had gone light in pursuit of high ideals – Oceans, onsight, in one day.  Our strategic errors cost us, and we spent a miserable night hanging out in space on the wall about 1000m above High Camp.  We knew this was a strong possibility but we’ve done these tough nights out many times and know that we survive them – and it wasn’t a Top 100.  Maybe Top 500…

Thanks:

  • To Dave Cheesmond, Chris Lomax and Greg Lacey for big vision and inspiration many years ago
  • To Andy de Klerk and Greg Lacey for the greatest package, must-do route in South Africa
  • To the people who have shared Klein Winterhoek with me – David Davies, Tony Lodge, Tarquin Holt, Andrew Lainis, Neil Havenga, Guy Paterson-Jones, Ian Slatem and Arno van der Heever
  • To Clinton Martinengo, Gosia Lipinska, Douw Steyn, Hector Pringle, Andrew Porter and Tristan Firman, Joe Möhle and Leo Holding for Oceans-psyche
  • To Jimbo Smith for saying to me a week before our trip that he had done belay duty for Jeremy Samson on Oceans and “found the exposure sickening”…..
Oceans of fear route description

Oceans of Fear and Art of Hearts. Photo by Joe Mohle

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35 Responses to Oceans of my Life

  1. Alard Mar 18, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

    Absolutely love the history!!! Thanks. Well done!!! A Brilliant route!!!

  2. micky Mar 18, 2014 at 10:16 pm #

    Much respect guys! very inspiring!!

  3. Hector Mar 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

    Such an inspiring write-up. Well done Hilton and Guy!

  4. Albert Mar 19, 2014 at 4:03 am #

    Beautiful little story on the history Hilton. I do like those old pics!
    Congrats on the ascend for you and the young one.

  5. Cathy Mar 19, 2014 at 5:40 am #

    Congrats Hilton!!! Thank you for sharing. Really enjoyed the history and pics. Inspiring x

  6. Kevin Smith Mar 19, 2014 at 5:43 am #

    Kudos! Great story Hilton, thanks for sharing. If I make it there sometime it would be awesome to trade pitches with you!

  7. Brenda Mar 19, 2014 at 7:35 am #

    Thanks for posting, Hilton! And well done to you and Guy! The exposure DOES look sickening!
    Awesome stuff!

  8. Nic Le Maitre Mar 19, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    Well done Hilton and Guy! What an amazing route. Watching the Oceans of Fear film is what got me into climbing in the first place.

  9. Ross Suter Mar 19, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    Well done to you and Guy! Inspirational persistence you have Hilton! Thanks for sharing this history and the photos to bring it to life! Brings back so many memories, like being overwhelmed by an emotional flood! I hope that we can share a rope sometime, ideally on something new, after all these decades of being in the same general climbing circle! Let’s keep that in mind and it’s more likely to happen! :-)

  10. Steve Bradshaw Mar 19, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    Thanks for this great story!

  11. jacques Mar 19, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    Welcome to “Living Legend” status Hilton. Thank you. And I’m sure Guy, you’re sure to follow it seems…

  12. Richard Mar 19, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    Lovely, epic, tale Hiton. Thanks for the inspiring images, both visual and verbal. Just what’s needed this grim working week.

  13. Mokganjetsi (Willem B) Mar 19, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    wow! amazing stories & topped by an awesome achievement. your hero-status just got cemented. looking up to you – literally & figuratively :)

  14. Andy de klerk Mar 19, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

    Brilliant Hilton!
    I have one question though, if that didn’t make it onto the top 100 nights (looked pretty uncomfortable to me), can you write the stories of the 100 that did. That Will make fine reading……
    I love your stories, the history, the feeling, the experience, the context, it all comes through with a good measure of good old SA understatement. Keep them coming!
    Respect, Old Son!

    • Rob Mar 23, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

      Agreed. By the way, you guys are serious legends. Thanks for the inspiration. Rest in peace to the fallen heroes.

  15. Rik De Decker Mar 20, 2014 at 12:47 am #

    Hilton, nothing beats these sweaty palm, eye-popping, gut-wrenching, bloody gripping reads of yours!

  16. Derek Ohland Mar 20, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Hilton – yourself, David and John are true legends – you operate in some other dimension!

  17. Chris F Mar 20, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    Great Stuff. Hilton, write a book, please!

  18. Pete Barber Mar 20, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

    Marvellous write up Hilton of an amazing climb. Brings it all to life……..

  19. Russell Mar 20, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

    Wow Hilton! I doff my hat to you mate!

  20. HenkG Mar 20, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    What a wonderful inspirational story! Lang walk to Oceans…

  21. Peter Lacey Mar 21, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    Thank you for some great titbits my mom and I never knew. I would love to get a list of routes Greg opened and any pics anyone reading this has of him. You could email them to peter@musketeer.co.za. Amazing that I am reading this a day after a friend of mine visited Greg’ s grave in Chamonix.

  22. Gill Robinson Mar 21, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

    Really allows the reader to get an idea of what its like up on those mountains. Great to know of the tribute paid to my cousin, Greg, who I will always miss

  23. Clinton Mar 22, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

    Awesome read liked the history.

  24. Chris Mar 24, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    A fine place with great memories and shared with great friends . Good one Hilts you old fart .A place where climbing has been taken to the future by climbers .Andy de klerk and Greg put climbing on the charts with Oceans and Andy put it further up the chart with his opening solo ascent of Wall of Silence .

  25. Tristan Mar 24, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    Hilt, next time I’m in the Mother City, we should drink whiskey (apparently Brandy does you an injustice :-p ). But there is an awesome story-of-story’s to be told.
    The Amphitheatre is a special place to me (having had reasonable success somehow), and there are others’ tale’s. A collection of tale’s would make fine, FINE reading indeed!

    There’s footage of a monster rope swing by Duard, there’s Mariaan and James dragging another bloke up (who’d climbed ONCE before and needed jumar lessons at the base) over three days in WINTER (onsight i think), I’m sure Clinton and AdK could swap tales on time alone up there…

    The list goes on…

  26. Andrew Mar 24, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    Awesome work guys. Loved the history lesson

  27. Hilton Davies Mar 24, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

    Thank you for all these very kind messages (even if most of the compliments are completely undeserved)! The compliments say much more about you guys than they say about me. I’m just a keen-as-beans B-Grade weekend warrior with one redeeming characteristic – bloodyminded doggedness.
    Alard – Thank you. Considering what you’ve done, if it’s a brilliant route it’s gotta be good!
    Micky – Thank you ole bean. We’ll talk about that other thing.
    Hector – aw, thanks Big H. Would much rather have done Oceans as you and Andrew did.
    Albert – tanks
    Cathy – ta Cath
    Kevin – ah thanks Kev. Open invitation – you get here, we’ll do Oceans. Would looove to do this
    Brenda – tanks, haha, s’true!
    Nic – tanks, never seen the film myself
    Ross – aw thanks. Did Oceans same as you and Leo, eh? Would love to share a route with ya one day
    Steve – thanks Steve. Gotta try conjure up a yarn if I’m not on the A-Team in the Arctic etc
    Jacques – aw, fanks. Wish it was true. But it’s true for some of the peeps who’ve commented here.
    Richard – from the master yarn-spinner! Thanks hard-climbing Squeaks
    Willem – ah tanks Willem. I’m only good at the spin though
    Andy – MrAllTimeLegendhisself!! Thanks old son. Bit of old jiggery-pokery and out pops a good yarn. Your route is fantastic, and to free it……yoh, yoh, yoh….
    Rob – Powell? Thanks, but not me….true of AdK, Chris, Greg, Cheesy, Clinton etc
    Rik – haha! Thanks old bean. Must be those creative writing classes…
    Derek – aw, thanks Derek. But truly, no. We just persist with this silly stuff
    Chris F – Haha, thanks Chris – Blunter Edges…
    Pete – thanks old friend. Those who can’t climb….write. Except Adk of course
    Russell – aw thanks Russ. It’s just a bit of steep mucking about
    Henk – haha!
    Peter – sent you email. Oceans, The Times they are A-Changing, The Dream, Tour de Force etc
    Gill – great loss, that cousin of yours. Long talk with Chris today.
    Clinton – thanks Clint. Your KW story….now that’s worth telling. Another league altogether – you and Andy…..the heroes
    Chris – thanks old cock. See what nonsense you, Cheesy and Greg started on this wall?
    Tristan – let’s do that. Aside from all the people already named, also Adam, Bryant, Jeremy and all the others who’ve hung around up there on SA’s biggest, baddest trad wall. You’ve done well there old son
    Andrew – thanks bud. See Hector-comment!

  28. Adam Roff Mar 25, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

    Hey Hilton, classic old pics and tales. You inspired me to dig out my own photos…

    Klein Winterhoek sure brings out the mettle in one. That wall has infatuated generations of climbers starting with George Londt in 1921 who after sighting it from across the valley “…continued to have eyes and thought for nothing else but the fascinating wall of rock in the distance…”

    I think much of the allure was created by AdK’s beautiful haunting prose in two all-time classic pieces of big wall writing he wrote for the Mountain Club Journals in ‘83 and ‘86. For years there was just one photo – a crappy black and white picture of him leading under the overhangs, but we had this captivating story of a 16 year old staring fear in the face and standing his ground. Then three years later after days alone opening Wall of Silence he wrote something which was really like nothing else ever published in a mountain journal. A dreamy evocative journey into the mind of a 19 yr old kid on the cusp of manhood, trying to come to terms with death, loss and the force of his own life. According to Ian Manson who lived with him at the time, Andy returned from opening Wall of Silence walked straight through the flat into his room and didn’t emerge for a week!

    Try reading those pieces at 16 like I did and pretty soon you too have eyes and thought for nothing else.

    Andrew Lainis returned in 1986 and with Jeremy Colenso (16 at the time) did effectively the second ascent of Ocean of Fear (their story published under the clumsy but informative title of “Fourth Ascent of Oceans of Fear – First non-AdK Ascent”). Another youth had come of age on the wall.

    By September 1989 I was 19 and with Bryant Roux (an old man at 22) snuck out of town telling nobody where we were going for fear of ridicule. Activity on the wall happened in bursts between periods of dormancy and as it happened Jeremys Colenso and Samson were also out there for a day or two on an early reconnoitre of their new route Children of the Sky.

    In the previous week, since our gear drop there had been a massive snow fall (well, massive for South Africa), the weight of which had trashed our tent. I had never seen snow before and was already starting to get pretty gripped before we even left the campsite. We bivvied in the snow between the camp and the amphitheatre as the Jeremy voices echoed off down the valley leaving silence, moonlight and the memory of their pitying, doubtful looks.

    I have had harder, more dangerous more demanding times in the hills than those next five days but you only come of age once. Nothing will ever compare to believing that the only way off was up and watching Bryant jump off that ledge all the same. An appalling fraction of the early protagonists had subsequently died, the leading climber of the day had named the route ‘Ocean of FEAR’ for chrissake and the route was littered with profound almost hallowed symbols – ‘the ledge of forgotten dreams’, ‘the horror crack’, ‘Bev bivvy’ – where still legibly Greg Lacey’s fingertip had written the name of his late girlfriend in chalk, and ‘ecstacy ledge’. We climbed myths and demons, ran out of food days before coming home and returned forever changed, in Andy’s words “Tired, yet burning alive and so simply happy among the smells of peaches and unfamiliar civilization.”

    Sorry, got a bit carried away. Here are some photos from the biggest adventure of my life…

    Incidentally, the scariest part of our entire mission was the previous weekend when an all-night rainstorm turned the trickle at the lower campsite into a waist-deep torrent that we had to cross clinging desperately to each other to avoid being swept away.

    The Winterhoek.
    The Winterhoek.

    Walking into the heaviest snowfall in 20 years.
    Walking into the heaviest snowfall in 20 years

    Our snow trashed gear stache.
    Our snow trashed gear stache.

    Alpine conditions on Klein Winterhoek
    Alpine conditions on Klein Winterhoek.

    Suitably horrified by the horror crack.
    Suitably horrified by the horror crack.

    Learning to jumar.
    Learning to jumar.

    Bryant writing a letter home note sawn off gardening gloves.
    Bryant writing a letter home note sawn off gardening gloves.

    Before jetboils - Gaz Stove hanging off the pot with bathplug chains.
    Before jetboils – Gaz Stove hanging off the pot with bathplug chains.

    When it still was the 'Hooks pitch'... hooking!
    When it still was the ‘Hooks pitch’… hooking!

    Lip of the last roof.
    Lip of the last roof.

    Alive!
    Alive!

  29. jacques Mar 27, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    This post just gets better and better!

  30. Johann Lanz Mar 27, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    So cool. Have to fully agree with Jacques. Amazing stuff Hilton – there is so much in there that beautifully captures a unique value in SA trad climbing. The mingling of the hard-core history, the photos of Dave, your own persistence and eventual success – stunning. And then Adam’s addition. I remember going, as a first year student, just beginning to climb, to Bryant and Adam’s UCT Mountain and Ski slide show after their ascent. Inspiring stuff which seemed so far out of reach then. But perhaps its time to make serious plans to get onto that wall.

    Me also thinks there is serious potential for a collection of stories and photos on the Amphitheater, combining all this stuff into one well put together on-line (or other) publication. Wouldn’t that be cool? Anyone with editing aspirations?

    • Jeremy Samson Mar 27, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

      Andy’s stories created an allure to the amphitheatre, it became a rites of passage to anyone claiming to be in the fold of the ‘hard men’ – the truth was that teenagers were the ones that made the biggest impression. Jeremy and I opened Children of the Sky when we were both in our teens. I had just turned 16 and bought my aid gear from hardware stores and Garden Supply Centres. I aided across under the belly of the first big overhang and was completely terrified – hand drilling holes with a bit and then, based on my fear level, either hooking the hole of hammering in a 1/4 inch bolt.

      The giant surfboard flake that was sort of integral to the pitch ripped when Phil Lloyd was trying for a second ascent. I think he broke his finger and I doubt anyone has attempted it since. Later that night I had a bolt break on me. I tied off where my fall ended and spent the night there. It was grizzly.

      Somehow we completed the route, tearfully elated when we reached the easy ground. We had seen Chris Lomax throw his backpack off the summit of DuToits peak in Solo Ascent so we lobbed off all our heavy stuff once we cleared the roofs. It all bounced down the wrong bloody gulley – I think one of our racks of pegs might still be down there.

      It was a different time. Everyone was alive then. Duncan Elliot gave us a lift home in his mini and as we watched a Merc hit a drunk pedestrian on the road at 120 km/h. ‘Bacchus will look after his soul ‘ Duncan assured us.

      We returned like soldiers from the front line to re-count our tales heroism to anyone who would bother to listen.

      I have re-visited Klein Winterhoek many times but somehow nothing sticks like that early encounter 25 years ago.

  31. Jeremy Samson Mar 27, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

    Jeremy Samson jumarring on Oceans Of Air

  32. Hector Pringle Mar 28, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    My Oceans adventure also started when I was a teenager. I used to scour the MCSA journals, reading stories and RD’s, dreaming big and always wondering “could I get up that?” For some reason with Oceans I always believed I could. Maybe because I was a generation too late to try it without bolts, or because I simply chose to ignore the horror stories about the first four pitches. It always felt like it was just a matter of time. It took me 15 years before I finally made the effort to try – perhaps my subconscious knew the whole thing was more serious than I liked to believe. Whatever the reason I was almost double the age of the early protagonists. Andrew Porter and I had a real adventure up there, but unlike other Klein Winterhoek adventures the story is boring. There was no suffering, no late nights, no getting lost and no bad weather. The adventure was all in our minds – simply because we had no idea how it would turn out. The morning after Oceans we soloed the frontal in the pre-dawn. It was pure, unadulterated fun, awash in the calm after a big effort and revelling in the exposure of a great, quiet mountain. When I think of Klein Winterhoek now I think of the sun. I’ll always remember watching it go down from the summit of Oceans, and catching the first rays halfway up the frontal. It was like being in the centre of the universe for a day.

  33. Garrreth Mar 30, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

    Yesterday, near the end of the Hooks pitch…Man, thats some crazy sh*t! Pic by Leo Le Roux

    Yesterday, near the end of the Hooks pitch...Man, thats some crazy sh*t! Pic by Leo Le Roux

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