Masquerade – A New Route in Du Toits Kloof

Masquerade is a full on classic country route and a good day out.  The quality of the rock and the pro is excellent but it has not yet been “climbed into condition”.

It is not a 5 star Krakadouw or Tafelberg route but it is certainly worth 4 stars in the context of the Du Toits’ Kloof area.  It is easily done in a day from Cape Town.

There are no really hard moves and the crux on the 22 pitch is protected by a high “top-rope” cam.
It is a route that one can climb all year round and in November it is shady till midday.  If you leave Cape Town early enough you could probably do the whole route before the sun gets to you as it is light by 05h15 to start walking from November to February.

It is likely to dry quickly after rain within in a day or two as it is steep.  There is no trail to the base so the walk involves typical fynbos fun (scratch up!  Wear long pants).

The best way to get there is probably to start directly below the face from the road, then continue up the gulley for about 30-40 minutes and then scramble up the ridge on the right.  No rope is needed.

Approach:

Masquerade buttress is 1 hour drive from Cape Town City located in Du Toit’s Kloof on the south side of the N1 about a km or so from Yellowwood ravine. After travelling through the Huguenot toll tunnel, travel past the Du Toit’s Kloof lodge and continue for about 5 km and look up to the right to see the buttress.

Masquerade, Du Toits Kloof

Walk up to Masquerade

 

It is very obvious with a red feature in the middle of the face that looks like Zoro’s Mask.
Continue until the highway becomes single carriage. Carefully make a U-Turn and after about 3 km slow down till you see this sign:

Masquerade Parking place

The parking spot

 

Continue 100m or so to park off the highway just as the concrete drainage channel starts directly below the pilon that is visible about 150m up the slope on the left. You can get your vehicle completely off the road and well hidden behind a large bush:

Masquerade Parking place

Nicely tucked away and out of view

 

Walk down the highway for about 500m until you see a gulley heading up to the base of the face. Continue up the gully finding the best way through the fynbos and then scramble up the right ridge to the start of the climb. (2 hours with gear).
Start on the left of the obvious fault that splits the face.

Masquerade Topo


Pitch 1 20m 21.

Start up small rock pillars just to the left of the fault. Follow the photo topo on your smart phone. The crux is a steep lay back but you can cheat by stepping right into

the fault, climbing up a bit and the traversing back left. Head left up the left sloping ramp to a stance

Masquerade - Pitch 1

Masquerade – Pitch 1

Masquerade - Pitch 2

Masquerade – Pitch 2


Pitch 2 50m 17

Find your way up clean grey rock to the jumbo ledge at the base of the red eyes.Pitch 3 25m 22This is the plum pitch and diagonals its way to the crux which is protected by a very comfy cam above your head.  Stance on a ledge to the right below the right “nostril”.  You will pass a thread abseil point just before the stance.

Tony Dick climbing pitch 3 of Masquerade, with Bruce following

Tony about to do the crux on pitch 3. Bruce following below.


Pitch 4 20m 19

Step up and the head up right to climb airily up the right side of the left nostril. Then traverse back left over the bridge of the nose to stance more or less above the previous stance on the right eyebrow.

Tony on pitch 4 climbing up the right side of the left nostril.

Tony on pitch 4 climbing up the right side of the left nostril.

 

Pitch 5 16 30m

Find your way on clean rock to a large ledge.

pitch-3-4-5-Masquerade


Pitch 6 40m 20

Climb the clean grey “Krakadouw rock” face on crimps to easier ground. Continue until you have to a hard crank up the undercut block or cheat around to the left. Climb the recess to the ledge system.

pitch-5-6-Masquerade

Descent:

Find a thread with a biner about 20m to the right.  Abseil 42m past the bushy ledge to a grey pillar and find another thread in situ.

With 60m ropes you should reach the large ledge below but there is no abseil point on it at present.  With 50m ropes and with the first one to descend using one or two directionals abseil diagonally left to the thread at the stance at the start of pitch 4.

Abseil past the next big ledge about 35m and find the last thread.

Be careful abseiling.


First Ascent:
Charles Edelstein, Tony Dick and Bruce Daniel 11 November 2014

 

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