The MCSA JHB and EC sections have taken the initiative to organise a National Winter Ice Climbing event in the Southern Drakensberg. We will be car camping at an old police post, on a farmer’s land, close to lots of virgin ice, remote mountains to explore and Tiffindell Ski Resort. The venue is totally new, with many opportunities for first ascents. Many thanks to Magnus and Viera of the MCSA EC Section for discovering this place and organising all the logistics.
This region of the Southern Drakensberg is less known than its Northern sister, but still boast its own beauty, and serenity. We have permission from the local land owners to explore the area and see what we can discover. There are some great day walks such as climbing Ben MacDhui peak, getting to many huge spectacular waterfalls in the area such as the Telle Falls, some beautiful and frozen lakes.
Tiffindell Ski Resort is within a 15 min drive of where we plan to stay, which would bring a nice variation to activities. Ski gear can be hired and ski passes can be purchased at the venue
Beginners Ice Climbing
As there will be a big group going we will organise some gear and top ropes for beginners at the Bell Icefall pictured here. This spot is ideal for beginners with an easy 15 min walk from the road, and non-technical walk to the base. We will bring ice gear such as tools, crampons, ice boots in a few limited sizes.
Advanced Ice Climbing
There is a selection of other bigger, steeper, more mean ice falls in the area, ranging from walking distance from the camping area, to 30 min drive away. Perhaps some have been climbed, perhaps not. All we know is there is a lot of fun waiting for us there. With cold and wet conditions, there could be many surprises. The entire ridge slope and gullies are south facing, with lots of water catchment.
The small town of Rhodes in the Eastern Cape can now, because of upgrades, be easily accessed by a normal car, then from there a car with some clearance is needed to drive another 25km, or 45 mins to the location where we will set up a base camp. This town is 8.5 h or 800 km from Johannesburg, 7.5h or 500km from Durban and 13h or 1150 km from Cape Town which makes it very central and assess-able for everybody.
The proposed plan is to car camp in and around an old police post turned into rustic accommodation, facilities limited. We drive to where we stay. This is gonna be cold, but will be in the spirit of tough mountaineers, an ample dose of great camaraderie, washed down with lots of good wine and roaring fires.
Unfortunately, we have to limit the event to 40 people because of limited toilet facilities, so first to book will be in, late comers will be turned away.