In December Rushad and I finally opened a longstanding Blouberg problem. It’s a fine route with some exposed and steep pitches, and is well protected. Any takers for the second ascent? Three of the pitches still need to go without rests, so the FFA is up for grabs.
Look out for an article on the route and the rescue that we helped with halfway through in the next SA Mountain Sports magazine.
BLUE MOON **** 24 [2B, 1P, N]
Takes a direct line up the wall, between SOMETHING OF VALUE and TEDDY BEARS’ PICNIC the entire way. Start about 5m right of SOV below an obvious overlap crack which turns into a short, right-facing corner higher up.
1. 35m 22 The One-More-Time Pitch. Climb 5m to the small roof, crank rightwards to get into the overlap. Climb up to another small roof and rail right, then up the right-facing corner above. The crack pinches out here so traverse 3m right on hidden grips to a hidden crack. Up this to just below where it dies, then traverse 4m back left to rejoin the original crack line. Climb this to a ledge shared with SOV.
2. 40m 18 Up then slightly left from the stance, through some steep rock, to a ledge. Traverse right to a small amphitheatre with a short corner on each side and a big roof above. Climb up to the apex of the left hand right-facing corner, layback round the small roof to under the big roof. Rail left to a ledge.
3. 40m 17 Traverse 10m left. Climb a shattered pillar to the next ledge. Head diagonally right then up to the grassy ledge.
4. 40m 20 Rolling Stones Pitch. There are big roofs above the right hand half of the ledge. A massive corner with three roofs breaks through to the left of the biggest roofs. Climb the recess to a ledge beneath the corner (shared with WOW FUCK). Climb the corner, railing right under the first and second roof. Just after the second roof, traverse right across the face to an outrageous foot ledge on the skyline. Climb up the prow then step back left into the corner (now above the final roof). Climb this to a good small ledge.
5. 50m 20 Climb the crack directly above the right hand side of the ledge to the next, larger ledge. Traverse about 8m right to a vertical crack, up this then rail right to another vertical crack. Up again then step right to belay beneath the middle of 3 cracks (the right hand diagonal crack in a very yellow wall is TBP, SOV breaks through the roofs about 20 or 30m left).
6. 35m 24 Legoland pitch. Climb the right-facing corner crack to 2m below the small roof. Step left onto the face, then up to an undercling crack. Step left to a right-leaning pillar. Climb this to a roof and crank through to a rail with a fixed wire. Climb straight up for 1m, then traverse left to the bolt. Keep traversing left to below the next bolt then straight up to it. Climb 1m above the bolt then rail left to juglets. Climb up to a good ledge.
Walk left to below the large right-facing corner. TBP goes up the face with 2 bolts to the right of the corner.
7. 35m 23 Knifeblade Pitch.Climb the corner, past a peg, to get to good fingerlocks and gear. Traverse right to a small ledge. Climb the crack above the left hand side of the ledge and follow the break curving up left. Traverse left until able to easily climb up to a good ledge.
8. 50m 21 Walk 5m right to a sheltered ledge in an alcove. Climb the left-trending thin diagonal cracks to where they peter out. Move up and right and then back left to easier ground. Continue up recess and slabs above until rope drag stops you.
9. 50m 16 Move left and scramble/climb to the summit.
1. A well-protected route. Pitches 6 and 7 are bold, but safe.
2. Gear: double rack of small cams, small wires on pitch 1, #3 Camalot on pitch 7.
3. Pitches 4, 6 & 7 cleaned and inspected on abseil and mostly top-roped before being led.
4. Bolts (60mm, M10 stainless steel, placed in 2005) and peg (BD knifeblade, 2005) placed on abseil.
5. Pitch 6 opened with 3 rests, and pitches 7 and 8 with 1 rest each. These pitches still need a free ascent.
FA: Complete ascent Hector Pringle and Rushad Nanavatty 2008-12-13 to 2008-12-15 (with a rescue of some other climbers by helicopter halfway through!).
Pitches 1, 2, 3, 8 & 9 Hector Pringle and Alan Grant 2004.
Pitches 4 & 5 Hector Pringle and Graham Terrell 2007.