Sport and some Trad clmbing on quartzite & sandstone rock above the Hartebeespoort Dam.
All year round. Hot in summer with occasional thunderstorms, climb in the shade and you should be fine. In winter it gets warm during the day and cool in the evenings.
Sport Rack & 50m rope The Chosspile is a crag above the Hartebeespoort Dam wall. Unlike the crag's name there is actually good rock here with fine routes. The rock is a hard sandstone, semi quartsitic. There is a bit of a slog to walk in to the crag but you will have plenty shade in the trees at the base of the cliff. The sun leaves most of the face by early morning.
Getting there / Access
The owners of Chosspile (or Harties) have contacted us and are not happy about climbers accessing to climbing from the dam wall side. Please go through the main entrance at the picnic site and pay the R40.
To get to the crags you need to get into the Crocodile River picnic site, usually this costs R40 per car. No booking is necessary. From the dam wall driving away from the quaint town of Hartebeespoort turn right at the first stop street towards Brits. There is an Engen garage on your left. Follow the road for about 1-2 km until you cross over a river. Take the first right after this dip, pay the guard and follow the road to the right then straight. Park when the road runs out and find the path going along the water. It forks after 100-200m where there is a small flat rock with ripples in it to your right. Turn left here and then stay right, the path goes up a short rocky scree slope. Follow the path staying parallel to the water channel, just after some rocks you will see a steel weir gate where you cross. Scramble up the rock slightly right and back onto a path, follow this up to the crags.
SA Mountain Magazine - Issue No. 5 June 2003. A comprehensive Route Guide is hosted on the SACIN Website www.saclimb.co.za
Here follows the route guide as sourced directly from www.saclimb.co.za
Harry Potter Area
This is the area lower and much further to the left from the main crag. You can either walk left from the main crag until you reach this crag or cross the weir which can be a bit muddy or deep at times. The crag is basically uphill from the ablutions as you drive in to the usual parking spot. Currently the best way to reach the Harry Potter area is to walk to the end of the car parking in the picnic area, then head up the path which traverses up and right and takes you alongside a concrete sluice channel. After approx. 100m you will see a plank bridge over the concrete channel. Cross this and head upwards. Turn left at a split in the path which will take you over a stony, dried-up watercourse. Follow this path as you go up the hill to the crag. You can top out at three sites along the crag, depending where you want to be. Take the middle path first which brings you out at the classic Slitherin (14), then you'll learn where the others end up. Rory Lowther, Roland Magg, Debbie Mulder and Neill Margetts have been developing this lower section to the Chosspile. There is still more potential for routes at most grades. The best climbing is done in the morning before the crag gets the afternoon sun.
10th January 2010: The route guide below has been unchanged for some time. New routes have appeared at the crag and have and not been added to this guide. There is some confusion about grades and in places, even about which climb is which. Today's edit is intended to help with this and also to suggest some consensus grade changes. The grades have been discussed with the author of the forthcoming new guide to this area. Grade suggestions are shown (in brackets) after the current name and grade. This Wiki guide should not, however, be taken as definitive. Wait for the new guide, then start arguing about it!
Climbs are described left to right.
DRAKO 24 ** [7D,A]
1. 21 [7D,A] ** The route starts on the right of the big Roof, scramble up easy rock to first bolt then climb slightly right to first stance on ledge just below roof. Currently no chains at stance to abseil from, but large tree stem out right works well to. 2. 21 [7D,A] Continue through small roof by doing an early crux move, finish the route with 15m easy climbing to chains. On 50m rope do two abseils to ground or two 50m will make it from top to ground. First Ascent: Unknown. Retro-bolted by Rory Lowther
BOLTS FROM THE BLUE 15 [N]
1. 15 (F2) 40m Climb the face left of HARRY POTHEAD, starting 7m left of HP. Tricky poorly protected start. Fire up to the top past two trees. Last 15m also poorly protected. First Ascent: Apr 2004 Stephen Mallory, Wessel, Cara
HARRY POTHEAD 19 *** [6D,A]
Short route with easy start, follows large flaring crack up to end of small roof on the left with anchors just around lip. First Ascent: Rory Lowther
HOGWARTS WARTED HOG 23 *** [9D,A]
Climb toward the left crack in the small roof. First Ascent: Rory Lowther
CHAMBER OF SECRETS 25 *** [8D,A]
Route starts 8m below small roof with decent climbing into a corner below roof then follows right crack out of corner and through crux roof to anchors on the face above. First Ascent: Steve Dunnet BB: Rory Lowther
DOBBY 23/24 *** [8D,A]
Just to the right of Chamber of secrets, climb overhanging rock on the right of small roof to anchors in small open book. First Ascent: Rory Lowther BB: Debbie Mulder
DODGY GLUE 19 *** [B,A]
To the right of DOBBY. A cruxy start next to a large root. Glue in anchors have been used.
MAN THANG 24 *** [B,A]
To the right of DODGY GLUE. Glue in anchors used.
THE PHILOSOPHERS STONE 20 **** [8D,A]
(this route was originally called The Philosophers Stoned. The name given here may be a typo. Suggested new grade 21, due to the sustained nature of the route) Starts 3m right of Man Thang. Climb the overhanging start, to the arete on the right. Stay slightly left of the arete following bolts to a cruxy last move with a decent jug. First Ascent: Rory Lowther
HARRY GOES TRADING 13 ** [N]
Easy climbing for 20m, starts to right of the Philosophers Stone in the open book, up to a stance on a ledge with big tree to abseil off. First Ascent: Rory Lowther
MOANING MYRTLE 23 *** [7D,A]
(The original grade was given before a significant jug on the lip of the overhang was literally unearthed. Suggested new grade 20) Starts 20m to right of The Philosophers Stoned, on a rock ledge. Line follows middle section of rock, with face climbing until over bulge of rock then into a small roof with the crux. First Ascent: Roland Magg
New Route SALAZAR suggested grade 18
Start 5m right of Moaning Myrtle. The route takes an almost straight line to the bolts, with a crux at 1/3 height and a tricky move onto the top of an overhang near the top. Good climbing. First ascent: February 2010 Daniel Hannah, bolted by David Tapp
SPONGIFY 22 ** [8D,A]
(Suggested new grade 21) Start 2m to the right of SALAZAR. Climb into early crux move and continue to easier, fun climbing on face above. Beware a ground fall from the low crux. The small tree at about 2m has been used as a hanging belay to make an early ground fall less likely. First Ascent: Rory Lowther
VOLTAMOR 19 **** [8D,A]
(Suggested: only two stars) Climb through 3 small roofs to ledge with chains above the last roof. First Ascent: Rory Lowther
DIFFINDO 20 ** [7D,A]
Short line with easy start, until crux move getting onto and through small roof. First Ascent: Rory Lowther
The crag now moves uphill and steps back to a long face with a corner at its left end.
THE BLOODY BARON 15*** [12B,A]
Start in the corner, just left of the chimney. Move left onto slab and then a few metres higher up, move right into a short right-facing corner. Climb this to ledge, then move left into left facing corner. Steep moves at the top take you to the chains. Some long draws are useful just as you go into to top corner to avoid rope drag. One can also climb the right arête at the bottom. There is a dire warning about rope drag written on the rock at the base of this climb. Please ignore it but do take care to ensure that the rope runs clear from bolt to bolt, doesn't get trapped under the tree or round any rocky bulges. First ascent: 2008 Neil Margetts.
QUIDDITCH 23**** [7B,A]
(Suggested consensus grade 22) This route takes the hanging slab right of the previous route. Start as for THE BLOODY BARON but branch right to the base of the hanging slab and up this to the top. There is a bit of a run out from the top bolt to the chains, but it is safe. First ascent: 2008 Neil Margetts.
New Route -- THE BALLS OF HAGRID suggested grade 20 [9B,A]
Climb THE BLOODY BARON for five bolts, then break right across a slab until under a black corner with a prominent crack. Swarm up the crack to an overhang and move left through it to the slab and chains above. First ascent: David Tapp January 2010. Bolted by Neil Margetts
New Route -- THE SLAB OF SNAPE suggested grade 15 [15B,A]
The first route on the main face. Climb up a series of ledges then up to good holds under a roof/overhang. Move left under the roof and up the slab to the chains, moving either left or right (easier)at the crux. PLEASE NOTE: 60m rope essential, 15 quickdraws. Some dirt can be expected on the holds, until rain washes it down (shouldn't take long at the moment!!) as much gardening was needed to prepare this route (25.1.10). First ascent: Neil Margetts January 2010. Bolted by Neil Margetts/David Tapp
HARRY CATASTROPHE LEFT HAND 13 [7D,A]
Start about 6m left of Slitherin, 3m left of HCRH. Straight up to the chains with one bolt right of the line at half height. The crux is in the first 3m. First Ascent: May 2004 Dylan Morgan
HARRY CATASTROPHE RIGHT HAND 15 [6D,A]
Start just left of Slitherin. Turn the overhang with one hard move before following the shallow recess to the ledge and face above. This route shares its upper section and anchors with HCLH. First Ascent: May 2004 Mike Grant
SLITHERIN 14 **** [10D,A]
Climbs the obvious corner to the left of centre on the face. Climb to the short layback crack and into an undercling, step out left to easy climbing up an open book corner. Fun climbing for 20m. First Ascent: Rory Lowther
A variation of Slitherin 18
heads right, onto the face at the overhang. The climb can then be finished up the face to the right of the arete or straight up the arete. It's a little artificial but if you climb the arete try not to resort to footholds other than on the arete. Move slightly right at the top to the anchors of Raven's Claw. Both anchors are now 100% as of 16.1.10
RAVENS CLAW 17 *** [9D,A]
Follow the obvious line of bolts to the right of the Slitherin variation, face climbing for 20m to chains. Both anchors are now 100% as of 16.1.10 First Ascent: Roland Magg
GRIFFENDORE 17 *** [10D,A]
This route is to the right of Ravens claw and heads up the middle of the face/slab with 3 crux moves otherwise some good climbing. First Ascent: Rory Lowther
HUFF 'N PUFF 18 *** [9D,A]
(Suggested new grade 19) Cruxy, bouldery start and crimpy end, but easier section in the middle. First Ascent: Rory Lowther
CROOKSHANKS 16*** [8D,A]
Starts 2m right of Huff 'n' Puff. Step up right onto a ledge to clip the first bolt. Move left and then up. Fun climbing, with the last bit the crux. F.A. Neil Margetts 2007
Approximately 8m to the right is...
New Route ROWLING'S RAMBLE 13 (suggested grade) [6D,A]
Start to the right of a big green bush. Follow a groove to a large ledge, then up another groove on the right to finish on a second prominent ledge. The anchors are to the left and up, on the left side of a massive block. A direct variation goes from the first large ledge straight up the headwall to the anchors. Suggested grade 16. First ascent and bolted by David Tapp January 2010
CRAMCAKES AND SCUMBAGS 20 [6D,A]
Starts 4m right of ROWLING'S RAMBLE, on a rocky ledge in a corner. It has a tricky start and an easier top out. First Ascent: 2004 Louis Smit & Wiliam Graham
New Route DRACO'S SNAKE 11 (suggested grade) [6B,A]
The start of the route is to the the right of CRAMCAKES AND SCUMBAGS and about 4m lower. Take a path which passes under the start of C&S heading towards one of the descent routes of the crag. Beware the nettle trees! The climb starts up a corner/groove to a large ledge/terrace, then follows another groove onto a face to finish on a comfortable ledge. There are two anchors which only become obvious when topping out. First ascent: Lize Boshoff January 2010 Bolted by David Tapp
Lord of The Rings
This is the central 'cave' area just left of the gully. This was the first developed area and sports the majority of the routes including the hardest lines and some projects. The crag is shaded most of the day, gets some sun late afternoon.
PIPE WEED 22 ** [8D,A]
Starts with an easy scramble about 5-10m left of SHORTCUT TO MUSHROOMS. The first bolt is about 3m off the ground, scramble up carefully. Continues on a straight line through a cruxy roof to an easy end. First Ascent: Dewald Kloppers
FRODO 18 **** [9D,A]
Following the crackline through a small mantleshelf and a cunning ending. First Ascent: Rob Brinkworth
A SHORTCUT TO MUSHROOMS 21 **** [B,A]
The leftmost route on a yellow, lichen covered face which gets sun in the afternoon. Excellent route.
VOICES OF SARUMAN 23 * [B,A]
Starts just around the corner and to the right of A SHORTCUT TO MUSHROOMS, try stay out of the corner higher up.
GANDALF 25 *** [B,A]
A nice route about 2m right of VOICES OF SARUMAN, tends slightly right with a single crux move. Used to be 26, but is easy 25.
MOURN NOT OVERMUCH 25 *** [B,A]
About 2m right of GANDALF, finishes on same anchors as GANDALF.
Use the first three bolts of MOURN NOT OVERMUCH, follow the bolts slightly right up a dark pillar. Finish on the chains of GOLLUM. Bouldery. First Ascent: Jun 2004 Andrew Pedley
GOLLUM 25 **** [B,A]
1m right of MOURN NOT OVERMUCH, tending slightly rightward, quite cruxy. Take care of the lower-off as the edges are sharp on the rope. Was 24 but is 7a. Great climb.
UNKNOWN 26 [B]
The second pitch to GOLLUM, no details available.
OPEN PROJECT [B,A]
Was Sean Cremen's project but is now open, has the first bolt placed at the base. Starts 2m right of GOLLUM and angles slighlty right to join BULLY FOR BRONTASAURUS. Ends on same chains as BULLY.
BULLY FOR BRONTASAURUS 28 *** [10D,A]
Scramble up to the big cave in the middle of the crag. Move left to where you will see the first bolt and clip with long sling. Move out and left onto the face. Great. Low in grade. First Ascent: Peter Lazarus
TYRANASAURUS PEX 27 *** (B)
Same first bolt as Bully, then move right to jugs then hard up the face rightwards to chains. Brilliant steep rock. First Ascent: Willem le Roux 2006
PIETER'S PROJECT [B,A]
Pieter Martin's project started in 2001. Scrambles up as for BULLY FOR BRONTASAURUS and then right from the cave, through the roof on the first x bolts of Richard's old project and then up the bulge to the top. First Ascent: BB Pieter Martin
OPEN PROJECT [B,A]
Starts from the same cave as BULLY heading right through the roofs. This will be fairly hard and the rusted bolts need to be replaced. Please use stainless steel Hilti anchors! This was Richard Lord's old project.
OPEN PROJECT [BA]
This is the extension to DONT DECK which traverses out left under the roof above DONT DECK and then breaks through using a good under cling and then over two more roofs to the top. This route will definitely be a classic once opened. But be sure to take some long and short slings for the traverse and roofs.
DONT DECK 23 **** [B,A,R]
This route starts about 3-5m left of FOSSIL FUEL. It ends below a roof where another route continues but we have no details for it. Retro-Bolted by Rob Brinkworth & Mark olver. A classic route.
DONT DECK EXTENSION 27 *** [B]
Link-up between DONT DECK and FOSSIL FUEL. Follow DONT DECK but avoid the top corner. Traverse right and then climb through the final roof section of FOSSIL FUEL. Mark Oliver's old project. First Ascent: Harry Crews (June 2009)
FOSSIL FUEL 31 *** [B,A]
Starts on some smooth coloured rock on the sloping slab about 5-6m left of GRIMSLADE. Some thin moves tending leftward and up to the roof and then through it. Not great for lowering off, take care. Some of the drop-in bolts also need replacing. Just before going for the big pinch there was a drilled pocket which was never used in any of the ascents and is now filled up to avoid cheating. Get the the beta and its low in grade. First Ascent: 2000 Ralph Brucher (BB Peter Lazarus)
RALPH'S PROJECT [B,A]
Ralph Brucher's project just right of FOSSIL FUEL started a few years back! This one is also into the thirties, probably harder than FOSSIL FUEL.
OPEN PROJECT [B,A]
Project bolted by Pieter Martin just right of RALPH'S PROJECT, this is into the thirties!
COLIN CRABTREE'S PROJECT [B,A]
The steep line between GRIMSLADE and PIETER MARTIN'S PROJECT, this will probably go in the thirties too. Started by Colin in 2002.
GRIMSLADE 27 (7b+) ** [6D,A]
This route was once called SLANTED & ENCHANTED, some good power moves on small grips moving left and over the lip. Take care lowering on this route there are some rough edges for the rope. Was 26 but concensus is 27 now that the key rest hold before the crux broke off.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS 23/24 ** [7D,A]
This route needs the first bolt cheat-clipped. Starts just right of GRIMSLADE climbing diagonally right and then finishing up about 1m left of where HOBBITRY IN ARMS FINISHES. Take care not to venture onto HOBBITRY IN ARMS as it makes the route much easier, also do not start the route too far right either.
HOBBITRY IN ARMS 20 ** [6D,A]
A short line with some long moves.
RAMBLE ON 18 ** [B,A]
The rightmost route on this section of the crag starting just left of the gully and just right of a large crack in ther crag. Take care there is still some loose rock on this climb. It is marked as a 19 on the rock.
Wall Of Aglarond
The rightmost section of crag to the right of the main gully. These are the first climbs you come to when following the usual walk in, basically the crags to the right of the gully.
SEVENTEEN 17 ** [B,A,R]
This route is between RAMBLE ON & LADY OF LORIEN. From RAMBLE ON go back over the gully and carry on at the same level until you get to the base of the next cliff on your right. The first bolt is very high, please take care.
THE KING OF THE GOLDEDN HALL 17 ** [8D,A]
Starts 3 metres to the left of MR GAMGEE. Keep left, and use the topout on the small roof. First Ascent: Apr 2003 Derek Pienaar & Andries Smit
MR GAMGEE 20 ** [9D,A]
Crux is reachy, but fun. Route has its own topouts, dont use TKOTGH's topout. First Ascent: Apr 2003 Andries Smit & Derek Pienaar
TARRAWANKIE 19 *** [9D,A]
The route starts about 10m on the same crag and to the left of LADY OF LORIEN. A pleasantly sustained climb with some fine moves to get over the first nose. First Ascent: Sep 2002 Derek Pienaar & Andries Smit
LEGOLAS 22 **** [14D,A]
A splendid route almost reaching 25m with a number of stylish moves on some fairly sizable grips. Keep left at the small roof. Gets quite pumpy at the top. First Ascent: Aug 2002 Derek Pienaar & Andries Smit
LADY OF LORIEN 22 *** [11D,A]
As you walk up the normal path to the crag you will get to a cliff right of the main crag, it is well before you cross a small gully and at a lower level to the main crag. As the path gets to the base of the cliff walk a little left & you should see this line of bolts. A long and pumpy, but fun 22.
ARAGORN 21 *** [14D,A]
Two types of climbing styles on this route. A bouldery climb to a flat area in the middle, and then some balancing needed to proceed past the crux. Interesting. First Ascent: Nov 2002 Andries Smit & Derek Pienaar
UNKNOWN 22/23 [B,A]
This route goes up left of a recess. First Ascent: Unknown.
SMEAGOL 22 [?B,A]
This route goes up the arete halfway between the unknown route and Sauron. Also left of a recess. First Ascent: Unknown.
MIDDLE EARTH 12 [?B,A]
Immediately right of Smeagol. Starts in or just right of the recess 5m left of Sauron. First Ascent: 2008, Unknown.
SAURON 18 ** [7D,A]
This route has the first bolt quite high, take care as the second bolt is placed on a hollow section of rock. The hanger is missing from the final bolt (Jan 2010), causing quite a lead-out to the chains (crux) with the potential of decking on the ledge below. Climbers pushing their grades beware! First Ascent: Unknown
BLUE FLOWERS 15 ** [6D,A]
The route is about 20m right of SAURON on a low slab with a crack running down the middle. First Ascent: Rob Brinkworth