Today we made the first ascent of our new route Roulette Arête.
The route is on Fountain Ledge and begins from the extreme end of Upper Fountain Ledge where one scrambles around the bulge to the start of Jacob's Ladder.
We put in a lot of work yesterday with a wire brush scrubbing off lichen and fur - basically making Table Mountain a much prettier place. We had a lot of company. There must have been a dozen or more other climbers around us. Dark Horse and Crallan on Escalator, David Vallet and Rebecca on Roulette, Leonard le Roux, Chris, Duncan, Anna and quite a few other UCT climbers on Jacob's, Captain etc.
In cold conditions today Guy made a fine no-fuss lead of pitch 1. No pre-placed gear, in-situ gear, pegs etc etc. Done properly placing gear on lead. The first part is very basic to a ledge with blocks but then it is unrelenting for the rest of the way up to the rail which is one level below the Roulette rail. The traverse out left is quite committing as it doesn't take any gear and it's not a doddle. Plus you're pretty poked by then. I made a clean second of the pitch then lowered off to retrieve some uncooperative gear and dogged back up.
The second pitch is mostly aided and goes from the Roulette platform up to the left using a thin seam across a white wall that overhangs at 30 degrees. At the end of the traversing seam about a metre from the Jacob's Ladder overhanging crack the pitch does some hard aid moves to gain the headwall above. I led this pitch without falls but came close when a no.2 RP pulled. We stanced at the first big horizontal rail but the Jacob's rail stance makes more sense. At this time it was occupied by Tristan Firman, Leo Rust and Karen Thomson in one party and Nico from Stellenbosch with his two mates. (Bit of a cluster!). The pitch could go free but we think that even Clinton wouldn't be able to do it! (Thanks for the idea Tristan!). For a totally free variation for this pitch we go up the Roulette overhanging pitch for two-thirds of the way then branch out left.
The third pitch goes straight up the white headwall on the proudest part of the bulge. This vertical line starts approximately in the middle of the Jacob's traverse. The pitch is of moderate grade but very fine climbing and because it has sparse gear and is sustained, it has a bit of a challenge left for tired arms.
Roulette Arête route description:
Pitch 1: 20m 25
Climb the middle of the Roulette wall heading directly up and into the overhanging peapod. On the first rail head out left then up to the Roulette platform to stance.
Pitch 2: 10m A2
Step up onto the ledge at the start of the Roulette overhanging crack and head up then out left on the very overhanging white wall. Use smallest cams for aiding until reaching the end of the seam. Place a no.4 cam then using micro nuts, RPs and bat hooks, struggle up onto the headwall to free climb up to a stance in the rail.
Pitch 3: 35m 19
Head directly up. The route follows the proudest bulge on chicken heads and edges. Place gear when available.
First Ascent: Guy Paterson-Jones and Hilton Davies, 22 April 2012.
1. Roulette Arete P1.JPG [ 214.16 KiB | Viewed 1302 times ]
2. Roulette Arete Guy leading P1.JPG [ 211.35 KiB | Viewed 1302 times ]
3. Roulette Arete Hilton leading P2.JPG [ 159.87 KiB | Viewed 1302 times ]