Sewe Weeks Wand
SEWE WEEKS WAND / SEVEN WEEKS WALL
By Joe Möhle
Take the R62. Approximately 20km north of the town of Ladismith turn left (if coming from Cape Town) on to a dirt road marked ‘Seweweekspoort’. Take this road about 14km into the poort until you spot a massive wall that is virtually on the road. The camping spot I have used is one of those pull over and braai spots right at the base of the wall. There is a river that runs along the road for drinking water, and the walk in is 15min up the scree slope (marked with cairns).
The climbing is committing. A solid foundation in Cape Trad climbing would be in your favour. The gear is good but there are some loose blocks, which will eventually all be pulled off with more traffic (hopefully deliberately rather than by accident). This venue demands intense concentration and inventiveness whilst climbing. All the right things to improve one’s Trad skills. No Bolting is allowed as yet. It may be worth bolting the rap stations but some kind of concensus would be necessary. There is a campsite at the entrance to the poort from the Ladismith side which would probably provide more comfortable living conditions. Take care and enjoy.
The black dotted lines indicate ledges that access quite deep into the wall. The lower one is refered to as To Hell and Gone Ledge and the upper one, Skulls Ledge.
The white line indicates two pitches of a new route that Benj and I tried but bailed off of. It was rather loose. A variation may be possible with a bolt or two (or enough courage to make up for their absence). The dark blue line (two pitches: grades 15,15) was opened by A. Heinlaender and myself, as a means to scope out the wall. It is not part of an established route i.e. the frontal still needs to be completed.
The dotted green line indicates a better start to The Hovering which has yet to be done.
Getting off the face:
The ledges marked by the dotted black lines are very convenient for getting off the face. NB they only run as far as indicated and not across the whole face. Walking off from the summit is possible but is very complicated and unpleasant (one can walk down either way). I suggest walking down from the summit to the far left of Skulls Ledge (take care) and using the in situ abseil there. This abseil takes you down to just above the obvious big white ship's bow on the left edge of the wall where you will find the second abseil anchors. Feel free to back them up. 50m ropes do work but it is better to have 60m ropes.
Green: The Hovering 20, Light blue: Busy Sparrow 25, Yellow: Highway Bird 25, Red: Fight or Flight 25
The Hovering 20
FA (pitches 3+4) J.Möhle and A.Heinlaender Sep 2010
FA (pitches 1+2) J.Möhle and B.de Charmoy Nov 2010
- P1, 19 40m
Climb diagonally rightwards to a big ledge and stance at its far right side.
- P2, 19 30m
Start up a corner which leads to the right side of a very clean dark wall. Climb directly to stance below some undercut dark brown rock.
- P3, 20 40m
Climb the face to the right of the corner system, tending diagonally rightwards towards a break in the roof. (Approx 4m to the right of the break is a prominent roof crack.) Move between rails and slightly left towards the break once you have reached the roofs. Break through by railing to the right (don’t go left- Loose!) and continue up to stance on Skulls Ledge.
- P4, 19 30m
Walk left for approx 20m past the first big corner. Stop at the second corner and begin climbing to the right of a big flake/block. Climb via nice cracks and rails (Diagonally rightwards) to pull through the roof at its smallest point. Continue to the top.
Busy Sparrow 25
A tribute to the legend, Dave Davies.
FA (pitches 1-5) J.Möhle and A.Heinlaender Sep 2010
FA (pitches 6+7) J.Möhle and B.de Charmoy Nov 2010
Description: Start on the left side of the giant flake/pillar on the base ledge.
- P1, 18 20m
Chimney and layback your way to the top of the flake. Step right and down behind the flake to belay (no kit).
- P2, 23 40m
Climb straight up to some unusual black holes in the orange rock (badly protected). Step 2m right and climb towards a small corner. Then tend rightwards again to stance using a rail (almost level with a small roof and corner system to your left).
- P3, 20 25m
Rail left to the roof/corner and step left around it onto the face. Continue up to a ledge below a big black section of rock.
- P4, 22 50m
Head diagonally right for approx 6m, climbing right of the black corner. Continue up to a left-facing corner on your right, crossing some loose terrain. From this corner climb directly up for 20m and step right to stance under a small dark roof below a big stepped roof system.
- P5, 21 50m
Pull through the roof just right of the stance to a ledge. From here continue directly up to Skulls Ledge to stance below an obvious roof crack.
- P6, 25 30m
Climb easily to below the roof crack. Then climb the crack and rail right below the final roof. Continue up for 10m to stance next to a big boulder below a massive roof.
- P7, 19? 25m
Can’t quite remember the grade but it’s no harder than 19. Step off the boulder and head left around the corner and climb a lovely open book to the top.
Highway Bird 25
FA J.Möhle and B.de Charmoy Nov 2010
Description: Start on the far left of a narrow ledge 10m up from the base ledge (approx 15m left of Fight or Flight`s razor flake)
- P1, 21 60m!! “The Perpetual Search for Me Pitch”
Climb diagonally leftwards towards a small fin which you undercling. Then do some thin moves to gain a small right-facing, layback corner. 10m up to a ledge (no pro on the ledge). Step 3m left, reach up to a rail and head back right till you are in line with the start. Continue up to the next ledge (stance shared with Fight or Flight).
- P2, 25 40m “The Artful Dodger Pitch”
Head up the big corner above the stance and mantle over the top. Traverse left and place some high kit. Then step down 3m and duck below a big nose on the left (a slightly more direct line still needs to be done). Climb some superb rock to the obvious break in the roof. Pull through, heading rightwards, and continue 15m up to a ledge.
- P3, 21 40m
Climb the rightward-tending corner/crack to a ledge below a clean overhanging face. Traverse left and upwards for 10m finishing up a layback feature, followed by a tricky mantleshelf. Continue straight up to Skulls Ledge to stance 5m right of Busy Sparrow’s roof crack.
Finish as for Busy Sparrow.
Fight or Flight 25
FA J.Möhle and B.de Charmoy Nov 2010
Description: Start immediately left of a 3m tall razor flake above the small cluster of trees on the base ledge.
- P1, 21 40m
Climb directly up to a massive right-facing corner on Hell and Gone Ledge. You pass between two flakes on the way. The first (on the right) is loose, only place pro in the upper half! Stance at the base of the big corner.
- P2, 16 26m
Climb the big corner (mostly on the face) to a ledge. Then traverse 15m left to stance below another right-facing corner (shared with Highway Bird).
- P3, 22 approx 40m “Birds of Prey Pitch”
Climb diagonally rightwards on good rock, avoiding the chossy white rock. This forces you to do a few tricky, but wonderful, moves on incut holds to gain a rail. Rail right for 10m passing the eagle’s nest (uninhabited at the time of FA) and turn the roof. Move right for 5m to stance at the bottom of a big ramp.
- P4, 21 50m
Leave the ramp at its base and climb right of a corner system directly to another short, right-facing corner. Climb this one and step left at the roof capping it. Up a delicate slab, and straight up to a big block resting on the highest ledge (below white rock).
- P5, 10 10m
Traverse rightwards to the base of a big white pillar/flake.
- P6, 25 40m
Climb the left side of the white pillar. Leave the block on top in place-you’ll need it. Continue up for 4m and then tend right towards a rail below a big roof. Rail right for 6m, then drop down 3m avoiding a loose pillar and back up to the rail. Continue traversing rightwards for 5m to stance in a corner (or 10m if possible).
- P7,22 30m
Step right around the roof above the stance and climb up a chimney/corner (South facing) for 10m. You will see a flake which you layback to the arête on your left (airy!). Climb around the arête onto the massive prow and continue up to a ledge under a big roof.
- P8, 10 20m
Traverse left around the corner and up to a ledge. Stance below a crack splitting some very nice yellow rock (North facing).
- P9, 21 25m
Climb the crack and then tend rightwards to the top.
Congratulations for opting to Fight!