From South Africa Rock Climbing Routes Wiki
Revision as of 22:40, 27 May 2013 by Johannlanz (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Ad climbza directory.jpg

Loading map...
Climbing TypeMulti-pitch Trad
Rock TypeSandstone
ProvinceWestern Cape

How to get there

Fees & Permits

Accommodation & Food

Attractions & Activities


Western Cape

Gamkaberg offers good quality, single and multi-pitch, trad climbing with a doddle of an approach and easy descents in beautiful, pristine surroundings, with nice, comfortable camping. A very relaxing, family-friendly venue.

Very Important: there are potential sensitivities from reserve management about climbing at Gamkaberg, and so it is best to keep a very low profile about climbing there. Don't openly display climbing equipment around the office, camp site or walk-in and don't tell staff that you are rock climbing, simply say that you are hiking. Gamkaberg is a pristine and beautiful wilderness environment. Please climb with the respect that this place deserves at all times.

Don't even think about bolting anything!

Gamkaberg is a nature reserve in the Little Karoo managed by Cape Nature and is located south of the R62 between Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn, fairly near (east of) the Calitzdorp Hot Springs. The reserve offers extremely nice (but pricey) Eco Lodge bush camp accommodation, as well as a Stables dormitory and a small ordinary camp site - all beautifully maintained and well equipped. You can also make day visits. For accommodation info and a map of how to get there see: The reserve (but not the climbing) was also featured in the March – May 2010 issue of SA Mountain Sport.

The climbing is in Tierkloof on very good quality, hard quartzitic sandstone similar to Montagu but with many beautiful, vertical finger cracks. Access is a short, level walk along a manicured hiking trail which runs up the kloof. A total of 35 routes have been opened so far, with potential for many more, both within the developed area and higher up the kloof.

For a comprehensive, updated Route Directory in pdf format click here:

Gamka Map.jpg

Nappy rash (16) **

FA: Paul Lochner & Johann Lanz April 2003

This route is located on a pillar at the base of the scree running up to the Purity wall.

20m (16): Climb more or less on the right hand aréte of the pillar, from the streambed

Purity (21) ****

FA: Johann Lanz & Paul Lochner April 2011

25m (21): Climb the leftward tending break up the main part of the lower wall and exit left onto the aréte.

The longer rightward tending break awaits a brave ascent (and/or some pegs).

Finger food (16) ***

FA: Johann Lanz & Paul Lochner April 2003

This route is located towards the left hand side of the wall with multiple vertical cracks on the opposite side and slightly upstream of the Purity wall.

38m (16): Aim for the immaculate looking crack above and then climb it.

Forbearance (21) ****

FA: Johann Lanz & Paul Lochner April 2011

This route is located upstream of Finger food, around the corner on the higher south facing part of the wall. Scramble up from the stream bed and left along sloping ground below the first tier of the wall. Start towards the left side of the wall.

1. 20m (17): Climb the clean, thin, rightwards tending corner crack to the top. The next pitch starts across the ledge to the right.

2. 25m (21): Climb the leftward tending crack and break starting in the middle of the wall. Move up and slightly right into the slightly rightwards tending splitter finger crack and climb it to the ledge.

3. 20m (19): Climb straight up into the vertical finger crack running up the middle of the face and climb it to the top.

Note: Pitches 2 and 3 can easily be combined into one.

George Pinnacle (14) ***

FA: Greg and Cheryl Devine, January 2012

The climb is situated on the true right under the highest part of the crag. A short flat-topped pinnacle stands 300mm away from the main wall and is about 25 metres high.

30m (14): Climb the upstream-facing corner/chimney/gap affair to the top of the pinnacle. From the top, step onto the main wall and climb up to a recess. Scramble along the upstream ledges to the gully.

Surprise (14) **

First Ascent: Greg and Cheryl Devine, January 2012

The climb is situated opposite George Pinnacle on the left of the gully, looking up. The climb has as its objective the square-cut break halfway up.

25m (14): Climb over the easy rock until the fun starts at the square, smooth chimney. Break out left at the top of this. A surprise indeed. Abseil off the obvious tree 10m short of the top.

Sixties Rock (14) **

FA: Greg and Cheryl Devine, December 2011

The climb is situated on the true right, 40 metres before Kiddies Corner and where the path enters under a thick canopy, close to the vertical rock wall. Start at a small nose at ground level. (Cairn)

25m (14): Climb straight up to a ledge with a horizontal tree. Two lines then present, a corner and a crack. The crack was climbed to the top. Walk off in a downstream direction.

Kiddies Corner Sector

Wail (13) **

FA: Sebastian Lanz April 2011

18m (13): Climb the right hand aréte and face just left of it.

A plus (15) ***

FA: Matthew Lochner April 2011

18m (15): Climb straight up the middle of the face, to the right of the Wail aréte.

Lightning flash (9) **

15m (9): Climb the crack in the face to the right of the corner, right of A plus, and continue up left past ledges.

Achey Flakey Fart (14) ***

FA: Willie Koen & Tony Lourens, Jan 2012

Stone Wall Sector

Superb climbing on an inspiring sweep of rock. Climbs described from left to right

Touchstone (22) ***** (grade needs confirmation)

FA: Johann Lanz December 2011

25m (22): From the ground climb left up the cubbyhole rail, then takes the crack immediately left of Written in stone and follows it through where it pinches into a seam (crux). Near the top where the wall steepens and the crack goes diagonally right, climb straight up on good holds and a clean exit onto the ledge (shared with Written in stone).

Written in stone (21) ***** (grade needs confirmation)

FA: Johann Lanz December 2011

25m (21): Takes the crack from the very right hand edge of the ledge & overhang cutting into the bottom left hand side of the wall, several meters above the ground. Near the top where the wall steepens and the crack goes diagonally right, cut slightly left and up on good holds and a clean exit onto the ledge (shared with Touchstone).

There are 2 combination variations on the above 2 routes. Crossing from one crack system to the other at the X on the topo allows you to either miss the crux of both routes (starting on Touchstone, and then moving right) to climb Stone ease (19); or climb both cruxes (starting on Written in stone, and then moving left) to climb the very sustained Double stone (22).


Note: The gear on the stone wall is excellent, but it is mostly small to medium nuts, not cams, and the climbing is steep and sustained, making any lead a challenge for its grade.

Stone Wallah (14) ***½

FA: Sebastian & Johann Lanz December 2011

23m (14): The crack that starts up a corner and then through an overhang and straight up the face of the column that stands immediately to the right of the Stone wall.

Stone edge (16) ****

FA: Johann Lanz December 2011

23m (16): The arete immediately right of Stone wallah. Start up the tree and step onto the arete.

Cavegirl Crack (14) *

FA: Greg and Cheryl Devine, December 2011

The climb is situated on the true left. At the narrowest part of the kloof, beyond Kiddies Corner, there is a ground-level cave/overhang. Just upstream of the cave there is a sloping buttress with a wide bushy crack going all the way up.

25m (14): Climb straight up the crack, watching out for some scree halfway. The rock looks a bit dodgy but in fact isn’t and yields a surprisingly nice route. Scramble off the ledge in an upstream direction and down the gully.

Crystal cove 18 ** 20m

FA Chris Morgan-Wilson solo 15/03/2012

The climb is situated on the wall below "Jacqueline's wall"

Climb the face between the cracks and find the crystal alcove then up to the overhang , squeeze right through the gap The sting is in the tail

Gamka Nappy Rash.jpg

Nappy Rash (16)

Gamka Purity.jpg

Purity (21)

Gamka Finger Food.jpg

Finger Food (16)

Gamka Forebearance.jpg

Forebearance (17,21,19)

Gamka Kiddies.jpg

Kiddies Corner with Wail (13), left & A-plus (15), right

Gamka Stone Wall.jpg

The superb Stone wall: L to R: Touchstone (22); Written in stone (21); Project; Stone Wallah (14); Stone edge (16)