With the Exams behind them the Z Squad Boys from CityROCK accompanied by their coach Dylan Vogt, drove through the night from Johannesburg to Oudtshoorn. Helped by an unusually cold spell, the squad embarked on an 8 day onslaught of the beautiful Dolomite Crags at De Hoek at the foot of the Swartberg Pass.
From the outset it was clear that this was no ordinary trip. Their superb fitness and endurance allowed these youngsters to knock off no less than 13 climbs of 8a+ / 31 in 6 climbing days. This included 4 occasions where two 8a+ climbs were sent in a single day. Although it looked as though rain might spoil the final day, Alistair the sent his project, Street Fighter (34 / 8c). Chris then completed a blistering send of Seven (8b / 32) and finding no draws on the chains had to down climb to his previous highpoint. As if this was not enough, the pair hopped onto Talons (8b / 32).
Alistair, unfortunately broke a hold with his foot going for the chains, but had the beta for Chris to flash the extension of Paws to wrap up an exciting final day!
Having seen how disadvantaged our climbers were in terms of experience and opportunity at the World Youth Championships in China 2016 and Innsbruck 2017, it is significant that on the Global 8a Ranking website for outdoor climbing, Chris is ranked 51 in the Juniors worldwide (8th , in his 2000 age group) whilst Alistair ranks 5th for in the 2002 age where he joins Alberto Gines as one of only two boys of this age group to climb 8c / 34. Five South African Juniors are ranked in the top 100.
A special mention goes to Luke Eberhard the Cape Town “Trad Master” who bagged his 1st 8a / 31 on El Nino only a few weeks after his 13th birthday. Rene Lombard also sent his first 7c on his 5th outing on rock. Rene is relocating to Cape Town where he will no doubt become a member if the Western Cape climbing fraternity.
In closing to the climbing coaches, administrators, route setters and mentors, (and the list is a long one) we thank you for your tireless effort, sacrifice and passion. You are all very much a part of this success story.
Z Squad Routes completed – Oudtshoorn 10 – 18 December 2017