On Saturday 16th April we had just over a 100 climbers ascend Table Mountain for the 5th annual Black Diamond Tradathon.
The Black Diamond Tradathon must be the most rewarding event to organize, seeing people experience TRAD climbing for the first time, climbing mountains they never thought accessible. The happiness on every climber’s face after a day in the mountains is what makes this so worthwhile. I love hearing all the stories of bravery being evoked over a beer and a good hearty meal at the evening social whilst dreams of future climbs are inspired by the speakers during the evening slideshow.
Over the last 5 years I have seen people progress from scared first time followers at the first Black Diamond Tradathon, to climbing at Yellowwood and leading a party at this year’s Tradathon.
We have had enthusiastic attendees that have traveled the country to be part of this roaming event. They come to participate in the beauty the mountains have to offer.
On Saturday we saw some remarkable climbing on Table Mountain’s ledge, if you were lucky enough to be there you would have witnessed Clinton Marteningo’s incredible attempts on his Project – Atomic Sky – it is said that once this route is opened it will be the hardest route in Africa!
We saw two boys, aged 12 and 14 flawlessly climb Escalator and Africa Cracks and as impressive as this was, they were not the youngest to participate in this year’s Tradathon! The youngest was in fact a 6 year old girl who followed her dad up Arrow final!
I feel unbelievably grateful to be a part of the team that has made Simon’s dream to make Trad Climbing available to more than just the select few a reality. The Tradathon is not just a festival of Trad Climbing or a gathering of climbers, it is also a means to access future feats and adventures. A way up and into the mountains!
There are a couple of people whose help was indispensable. Without them the day would not have been possible: To the instructors on the day I cannot thank you enough, the gift you give each person attending a workshop is priceless.
To all the mentors on the mountains thank you for sharing your knowledge with a new generation of climbers who are hungry for adventure and the pleasure that can only be found in the mountains.
And lastly to the sponsors thank you: Black Diamond, CityRock, Drifters, Orca Industries, SA Mountain and ClimbZA for your generous prizes.
So here is to chalked up hands enjoying cups of tea together, to the mountain and wild places we can feel at home in, the new members of our small Trad climbing community and to the 6th Black Diamond Tradathon and all the climbing to be done till then.