Slag Crag

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This is the huge, broken sandstone face on the opposite side of the mountain from the Wish You Were Here face. The Slag Crag overlooks the Mooihoek campsite and underlies the thick layer of dolerite (The Dark Side) at the top of the mountain. There is one excellent multi-pitch sport route here; Big Skye, the rest are trad adventures.

Crag Photo

Harrismith guide 10.jpg

  • 'Big Sky' on the Slag Crag

Route List

Slag Crag Routes from Left to Right

1. Big Sky (17) 17D **** FA: Gavin Peckham and Gavin Raubenheimer (16 July 2005) Location: The route is located in the middle of the Slag Crag Face and directly above the campsite. The route essentially follows the huge black water streak that runs the full height of the crag.

Approach: From the main campsite, follow the path up to the Happy Camper Boulder. From here head diagonally left up the hill following the black water pipe until you reach a fence. DO NOT STEP ON THE PIPE ! Walk through the hole in the fence and then follow the fence uphill to the base of the crag. Turn left and walk about 30m along the base of the crag, crossing a large boulder on the way. The approach requires less than 10 minutes of easy walking.
Aspect: The crag gets morning shade and afternoon sun and is best climbed in the morning during the summer and in the afternoon during the winter.
NB: At this stage two 50m ropes are required to descend. Avoid this route if the black water streak is wet.
1. 17 (35m; 15D) After a bouldery start with a mixture of thin holds and good pockets, the gradient eases off slightly and pleasant climbing leads to a small and airy but comfortable stance at the edge of an overhang.
2. 14 (15m; 6D) Climb up from the stance and then traverse delicately to the left along the lip of the roof until it is possible to move up a scoop to the next set of chains that are located on a large ledge.
3. 14 (45m; 17D) Follow the line of bolts up to the top of the crag. Easy climbing alternates with several trickier sections that keep you thinking all the way to the top.
Descent: Abseil down the top pitch (45m). A second abseil (45m) from the chains on the big ledge gets you back to mother earth. There are various trad routes in this vicinity. Apparently these routes start in the vicinity of a huge overhanging block in the face.

2. Tortured Soles of the Untouchable Botanists (19) Trad FA: Alex Steyn and Jacques Raubenheimer (1997) 1. 19 (35m) Climb the open book corner under the overhanging block on the right and follow the open book around the corner and straight up to a small roof. Step left and climb diagonally up and left to a large ledge with bolt belays.

2. 14 (40m) Climb through the roof slightly to the right of middle then climb left, bashing through greenery to a large slab. Climb the slab and belay on a good Friend under an overlap.
3. 14 (30m) Climb through the overlap on the left side then head for a bolt belay at the top.

3. Life (25) Trad FA: Alex Steyn and C Reed (1997) 1. 25 (30m) Start directly behind the boulders on a blank, powdery section of wall that has a vertical crack feature about 2m up. A cam in this crack is the only protection until you reach another crack higher up on the right and a fall could prove fatal. Climb up past the cam until level with the bottom of the huge crack on the right. On amazingly delicate and flaky crimpers, climb across right to the huge crack. Follow the crack left through the roof and up through the overhanging chimney feature. Continue straight up to a bolt belay. Walk right along a ledge to another bolt belay at the left of a cave.

2. 17 (30m) One tough move gets you through the overlap and onto the rock above, left of the belay. Continue straight up to the next bolt belay on a small ledge.
3. 14 (40m) Climb straight up to the bolt belay at the top. Congratulate yourself if you are still alive!

The following three routes apparently also exist in this area, but no other info is available - even the first ascentionist (Alex Steyn) can't remember where they go !
4. The Way Less Travelled Trad
5. Thor Trad
6. Cosmic Underrod Warrior Trad