Zeitgeist at Yellowwood Amphitheatre

Zeitgeist 160M 25 *****

It was the triangular panel on the Timerity Buttress that attracted me to the East Buttresses above Yellowwood ravine in the first place and my ambition was to fire a pitch straight through the middle of it. When I did the first ascent of Another Fck’n Time the headwall pitch stymied climbing directly through and I was forced off to the left. I could not for the life of me see a way through at the point where one moves left on the headwall. The Timerity pitch on the right flank is one of the best climbing pitches anywhere but also did not quite strike through the middle. But then I noticed a weakness between the two routes some years ago and I fiddled around on a top-rope and realized that the middle of the headwall would go. There was a short 5m crux section that I failed to work out at the time.

In March this year young Luke Eberhard got off route trying to climb the Timerity headwall pitch and was stranded at the crux for what seemed hours. I could see him from afar where I was climbing Prime Time Direct with Madeleine Sorkin, one of the visiting Americans on the 2017 AAC/MCSA exchange meet. Jimbo Smith and Maury Birdwell, (another one of the Americans) had just completed in fine, quick style a free ascent of Show Time 25 and tossed young Luke a rope. He then proceeded to complete the pitch claiming that he actually managed to free all the moves – something I was not made aware of at the time.
On 3 September the plan was to go and drink tea with my OBF Jimbo and my NBF Garrreth at Yellowwood and then consider a pleasant day climbing in the sun on either African Time or Judgment Day. The Second Coming, Tony Dick and Dave Davies two thirds route from the eighties also needed a relook.
However, when we got there it was too warm to consider climbing in the sun and in perfect temperature I thought that we could fashion a new route between Timerity and Another Fck’n Time. And by golly, so we did. Well almost.

Yellowwood Amphitheatre, Zeitgeist

Snort on the 2nd pitch of Zietgeist 18. Photo Garrreth Bird


I led off above the scramble pitch shared with Timerity and Another Fck’n Time and climbed diagonally up to make a stance in a deep recess directly below the last abseil point of the Timerity Abseil. Garrreth then bombed through the overhangs on a mere grade 20 to stance at the bolted a stance. Jimbo then continued up for a few meters to share a small section of Timerity 3rd pitch to then climb the ramp to the left at a very moderate grade too (18) to stance at the next bolted abseil point. I then climbed up a brilliant line that I had done some time ago, to find a small ledge to stance near the bottom of the centre of the headwall proper.

Yellowwood Amphitheatre, Zeitgeist

Snort climbing up the excellent 18 pitch into the middle of the headwall. Photo Garrreth Bird


Yellowwood Amphitheatre, Zeitgeist

Jimbo then took the sharp end and after boldly taking a whipper on the crux climbed the pitch free.


Yellowwood Amphitheatre, Zeitgeist

Jimbo styling the headwall pitch of Zeitgeist: Photos Garrreth Bird


Yellowwood Amphitheatre, Zeitgeist

Jimbo flying off the headwall pitch of Zeitgeist: Photos Garrreth Bird


On the 10th September, we returned and Jimbo sent the pitch totally free followed by Garrreth. We were in 2 parties of two and I then had a go but could barely get the gear out before blowing my forearms. I lowered to the stance and Luke tried and took a fall but after a rest on the gear cruised through to finish the pitch. This is a remarkable feat for such a young lad on proper, run-out intimidating trad even though the gear was pre-placed. Once through the crux it is not over.  There is another 3m of run out very tricky 22 climbing on thin holds with pumped forearms.  I then managed to follow but I had to rest on the gear before getting through the crux.

Garrreth and Jimbo sat above us on top of the Divine Time Buttress shouting encouragement and beta.  We were all chuffed with our efforts.
But the matter did not end there. I spied one of the most interesting and compelling roof cracks I have seen just to the left of Timerity 5th pitch. It was time to go look at it and while Luke and I were finishing off the headwall, Garrreth set off up to it. He spent almost 2 hours fighting to get through it and indeed it will go but it won’t be easy. He guesses around 26. Young Luke did the honours of cleaning it which took another hour or so. Jimbo and I meanwhile abseiled to the Snotter Camp and – you guessed it – drank tea.

Hiking training

My son Duncan came up with a term this morning as I write this story i.e. Brotality.  We were sawing up massive logs in Cecilia forest and carrying them down in rucksacks weighing around 40kg this morning.  What an apt name for the roof crack. It was indeed Time for Brotality.


Yellowwood Amphitheatre, Zeitgeist

Garrreth Bird fighing his way through the stellar roof crack. Photo: C Edelstein


All the while another kinda drama was unfolding in the hot sunshine on Newborn 29 where Willem Le Roux and Phlip Olivier were successfully sending the first half of that route. However, Willem had forgotten his harness and was using my arcane ‘70s Whillans Sit Harness. Eina!!!!!


Yellowwood Amphitheatre, Zeitgeist

Spot the Crotch Strap. Photo Phlip Olivier


Yellowwood Amphitheatre, Zeitgeist Route Description

Start: and Pitch 1 (12).
Take off from the Snotter Camp up the easy ramp just left of the water drums and climb easily for 55mm shared with Timerity and Another Fck’n Time.
Pitch 2: 17 (25m).
Climb up steeply but easily the very hard quartzite rock and diagonal your way to stance in the obvious deep recess.
Pitch 2: 20 (20m).
Climb up the right wall of the recess and crank on to the arete. Continue to the overhang above and move left to climb more easily to a ledge with bolted anchors on the last Timerity Abseil.
Pitch 3. 18 (50m).
Climb directly up above the bolts to the overlap and crank through on the right to a large ledge. Climb the grey-black arete on the right side (in common with Timerity) to below the bushy gulley. Move left and climb the left leaning ramp to a large ledge. After placing a directional walk left to the abseil bolts on Timerity.
Pitch 4: 18 (22m).
Climb the left leaning ramp past the overhang and then step right to attain a left leaning crack. Climb this for a metre or two and then leave the crack to climb up the face to a small standing ledge.
Pitch 5: 25(23m).
Climb up the slightly left leaning grey break to where the rock becomes yellow and orange to an obvious under-cling. Do tricky move up and right to the overhang. Place small good cams and move left two metres. Crank the crux on thin holds and continue to a good rail. (Small cams). Finish easily to stance in the shady walk-off cave on blocks.
Pitch 6: ???26 (40) WORK in progress.
Walk left about 40m and stance at the same place as Timerity 6th pitch. Find your way to the roof and fight your way through it with or without aid moves.

FFA: Zeitgeist (sans Brotality Roof). Jimbo Smith, Garrreth Bird, Luke Eberhard and C Edelstein September 2017


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