KZN Outdoor Bouldering

New Areas. New routes. Retrobolting. Add-ons. Re-grading. etc.
Craigmanclimb
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KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Craigmanclimb » Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:35 am

So I have been wondering about the bouldering potential in and around KZN. I realise that it will never be as good as Rocklands, but that does not mean that you cannot have some good fun on a less popular rock.

I am dead curious to know what amazing rocks are sitting waiting to be climbed, just off the beaten path.

I know Umgeni has some boulders. Do you know of any other spots that can be climbed?

I also wanted to find out what the bouldering is like in the Drakensberg?

jon
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby jon » Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:50 pm

I'm not sure about other areas, but where I have been in the burg the rock has been very sorft and flaky :roll:

Craigmanclimb
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Craigmanclimb » Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:06 pm

I found some boulders in the berg close to where I was staying, but it became a bit too dangerous accessing them so we decided to turn back. They looked decent, but I'm guessing they would have also been somewhat flakey.

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Justin
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Justin » Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:27 pm

Craigmanclimb wrote:but it became a bit too dangerous accessing them so we decided to turn back.


What was the danger?
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joshpickering
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby joshpickering » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:21 pm

Swinburne is worth the drive, you'll definitely find more of value there than in the Berg....
That said, the were some really nice huge (about 15m high) sandstone boulders with amazing looking lines on them somewhere in the Berg (can't think off-hand where they were), but there were bushman paintings on them so I guess you'd cheese someone off if you placed a row of shiny bolt on them! There is decent sandstone around in the Berg but not sure I'd hike in to do some bouldering...
Rather carry a trad rack in and do some "proper climbing"...
hehehe

Ghaznavid
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Ghaznavid » Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:15 pm

Just be careful about the EKZN bolting policy if you head towards the berg. Rock art sites (and other protected caves which I won't mention :wink: ) are seriously important, don't even try climbing in these - as far as I know it is actually a criminal offense to do any damage to a cave that has rock art in it (including the parts of the cave that have no art).

From the Sleeping Beauty Cave area (Garden Castle) and south of there there are tons of low roof caves which may work, but you will have big drops in lots of them, so it may be quite dangerous.

SBC.jpg
Near Sleeping Beauty Cave
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Maybe try Pillar Cave Annex, its a really low roof and has featured rock - may work...
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Marshall1
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Marshall1 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:37 pm

0
Last edited by Marshall1 on Sun May 25, 2014 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

joshpickering
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby joshpickering » Thu Sep 06, 2012 7:52 am

Marshall, those were the boulders I was talking about! There were some amazing looking lines on them!
They are somewhere in the Cobham area, about 10kms out as far as I remember.

Ghaznavid
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Ghaznavid » Thu Sep 06, 2012 7:54 am

Isn't that Menhir at Cobham?
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thebest
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby thebest » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:43 am

i was hiking around the drakensberg and found some pretty sick boulders in some random kloof so if you want to boulder in the drakensberg i think the kloofs are the way it seemed the water has made some pretty interesting stuff

Craigmanclimb
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Craigmanclimb » Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:34 am

I say it became a bit too dangerous, because what we assumed to be a tame steam turned out to be a wide river with very steep sides, and to add to it everything was overgrown. As soon as we made this discovery we were confronted by what sounded like angry Nigerians shouting to us from where our car was parked. They could have very well have just been the security for that area. We were after all on private property. I had on me my camera bag with a lot of expensive equipment in it. We decided to scrap the mission as there was no guarantee that the boulders were even climbable. The spot I am referring to is not far off from the Amphitheater Backpackers. I could give out coordinates, but I guess there's not much point if we are not wanted there. I will post of shots up of the boulders over the next few days.

Ghaznavid
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Ghaznavid » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:47 am

Security in the Drakensberg is a minor issue if you take the right precautions. I hiked from the 1 end to the other earlier this year, and other than my gloves being stolen out the side of my pack (in the middle of the day), we had no security problems. Gun fights and armed robberies in the Berg are rare. The biggest issues are top of the Amphitheatre (mainly near Tugela Falls) and Giants Castle from Lotheni Pass to Durnford Ridge. Almost all issues are on the Lesotho side, not much at the bottom.

Berg basalt tends to be rotten and flaky, but the sandstone (below 2300m) tends to be pretty good. As per the first comments, south will be best for this kind of thing :bom:
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Ghaznavid
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Ghaznavid » Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:04 am

Went to Cannibal Cave in the Northern Berg recently:
Can.jpg
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At the entrance to the cave there are 2 huge boulders with great handholds and an inverse gradient. Looks great for bouldering.

I also noticed that there is a pretty cool possible climbing route up that weakness on the left side of the cave. The crack looks good for gear placement and holds to climb, after the top of it there isn't anywhere to place gear, but there is a good ledge to stand on and its not vertical, so you can always smear your way to the top...
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Craigmanclimb
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Craigmanclimb » Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:14 pm

Wow! Thanks for sharing. Do you have the coordinates for that spot?

Ghaznavid
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Ghaznavid » Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:02 pm

We did the walk from The Cavern resort off the RNNP (Royal Natal National Park) road, just past the turn off to Alpine Heath. The walk is 3.5km each way with 450m of altitude gain - its not hard at all, we had 60+ year olds in the group and they managed fine. You can do the walk from RNNP, but then you have a higher entrance fee and a longer walk.

There is a good path the entire way, and they can give you a map at the front offices at the Cavern. I don't have GPS co-ords or anything, but its really not hard to find - the cave is massive and is visible for almost all of the trail.

The 2 boulders I am referring to are right at the entrance of the cave - you can't miss them. I managed to find this photo from near the roof of the cave - the guy in the red shirt is trying to climb the one, the other is behind that rock. There are tons of possible bouldering rocks in the area, not to mention the back wall of the cave (although the cave wall is quite dusty), most are too smooth or not very steep, but these 2 look really good.
Cave.jpg
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Warren G
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Warren G » Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:12 pm

What about around Golden Gate?
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Craigmanclimb
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Craigmanclimb » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:14 am

Check out the attached images.
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IMG_6914 2.jpg
This is the spot I found when I was in the amphitheater area.
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1.jpeg
This is a shot of one one the rock faces in Golden Gate, Northern KZN. Big thanks to Paul Livesey for the photo.
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2.jpeg
This is a shot of one one the rock faces in Golden Gate, Northern KZN. Big thanks to Paul Livesey for the photo.
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Craigmanclimb
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Craigmanclimb » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:15 am

Here's another one.
Attachments
3.jpeg
This is a shot of one one the rock faces in Golden Gate, Northern KZN. Big thanks to Paul Livesey for the photo.
3.jpeg (38.22 KiB) Viewed 5196 times

Ghaznavid
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Ghaznavid » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:38 am

Another good spot I picked up recently - this is 1km from the car park at Giant's Castle. Follow Bannerman Path up the steep bank. There are another possible routes along the Bushman's River.
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Camp
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Camp » Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:19 pm

Great big boulders on the steep road up to Highmoor. Played on them, and even for a non-boulderer I found them worthwhile. Also, a walk past the Cascades in Royal Natal National Park will yield lots of fun stuff. Take gear and set up some top ropes. A 8m finger crack awaits for an ascent. (Very very small fingers.)
Derek, that lovely menhir type boulder rising from the plains are called Pinnacle Rocks between Cobham and Sani Pass. Access by horseback or a very long hike, and don't bother to take your climbing shoes.

Ghaznavid
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Ghaznavid » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:26 pm

Found an awesome boulder on the contour path as it winds around Giant's Castle Buttress. The boulder is about 1km south of where the path from Highmoor meets the contour path, probably 1.5km north of the turnoff to Taylor's Pass at Lotheni.

The side facing away from the contour path is a vertical wall about 2.5m high. It has some large bowls for footholds (too big and steep to be great holds - they are perpendicular to the ground and are fairly shallow), there are 2 jugs right near the top of the boulder, just too high to reach from the ground (well, for me anyway). I couldn't stick the first move in my hiking boots. You get your left food to 0.5m up in a rounded bowl, get 1 hand to a jug and try to get your other foot up 20cm while reaching for the other jug. Tried left foot first, tried right foot first, tried dyno (aka cheating) for the jugs and get feet up later - no luck. Its probably slightly easier with grippy shoes seeing as I kept slipping off my footholds (the hand holds are really good). The route is probably about a 15 or 16.

I eventually gave up and climbed the probably grade 5 or so other side while waiting for my fellow hiker to catch up - I had somehow managed to get 10 minutes ahead of him in under 1km of hiking :jocolor:

Looks like there's also a 10-12 grade route on the north facing side.
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Mitch
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Mitch » Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:09 pm

Iv done quit abit of bouldering in golden gates. We had parked our car at Basoto cultural village and juat missioned in to the mountains and climbed some very cool boulders.. its the same quality as swinburn. We also just slept under a boulder for the 2 nights wile we were there and it was truly amaizing waking up to wildlife all around is pretty awesome.. and the best part of it is it dose not cost you a thing.. the only thing is you are not aloude to make fiers and set any tents but there is alot of big over haging boulders to sleep under but you can also take a small gass bottle. Dont forget to also just sighn in at Basoto cultural village.

Ghaznavid
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Ghaznavid » Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:36 pm

I spent the weekend at the Cavern Resort (in the northern Berg, near RNNP) doing some bouldering.

Found some good spots. The best was a rock we named "Blockhead". Its at 28°39,021’S 28°57,060E 1862m on the path between Cannibal Cave and Suprise Ridge.

The east face has routs up to about grade 16 and seemed to be solid. The west face is also solid, with easy routes, the easiest line is about a 6. Didn't try the north face, but Bugs tried the south face, we had a top rope and he took 3 falls when rock broke, so I wouldn't recommend climbing that face.

Blockheads.jpg
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Labeled.jpg
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We also found a descent rock we named Saddle Rock - some of the holds feel iffy, so be careful. There is a line at about grade 12 up the middle, potential for tougher lines around the sides. Its at 28°38.482’S 28°57,328’E 1819m just off the path between the Cavern and Cannibal Cave.

Bugsad.jpg
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2 more good spots found, info to follow shortly
"There is something fundamentally wrong in treating the Earth as if it were a business in liquidation." Herman E Daly

Ghaznavid
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Ghaznavid » Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:40 pm

The most interesting rock we found was right by the entrance to Cannibal Cave.

It has some tough lines, great holds, but very steep rock. It also has a potential sit start line.

We named it Cannibal Rock (although I did think of "Flesh Eater" as a better name, but maybe a bit graphic for a cave where actual cannibalism happened in history)

Cannibalrock.jpg
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Bugscan2.jpg
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Ghaznavid
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Ghaznavid » Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:44 pm

There was another rock in Cannibal Cave that we climbed, easier than Cannibal Rock, but still on steep rock. Probably about grade 15 on good solid holds.

JNcan.jpg
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There were 2 possible trad lines we identified, but we didn't get to climb them, if anyone wants more info on them, let me know.

crack.jpg
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Possibleroute.jpg
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Btw the Cavern is a great resort, their food is really good, friendly staff, nice atmosphere. Lots of great walks in the surrounding small Berg :thumleft:

For the full writeup, see http://www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum ... avern.html
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xandermens
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby xandermens » Sun May 25, 2014 12:35 pm

Marshall1 wrote:
A.jpg

Somewhere in the Berg? Anybody know where?

ive been there ...it was on a hiking route called giants cup if that helps...

Harry
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Harry » Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:59 pm

I know Umgeni has some boulders. Do you know of any other spots that can be climbed?



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Ghaznavid
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Re: KZN Outdoor Bouldering

Postby Ghaznavid » Thu Oct 02, 2014 4:29 pm

13 year old Mike "Hobbit" van Wyngaard spent just over an hour playing around in the large boulder field about 4km south of Garden Castle car park on the Giant's Cup Trail (just before the trail drops to the Mzimude river).

After listening to Children of Hurin (by Tolkien) on audiobook for a few days, he felt inspired to name this route "Túrin Turambar" - after the guy who kills Glaurung, King-of-Dragons in the book.



I got a few more videos, some of him getting up, some of him not getting up - if anyone is keen for more videos, please let me know.
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