Waterval Boven is one of South Africa's premier spots for sport climbing. There are hundreds of excellent quality sport routes on orange sandstone.
The Waterval Boven Guide
This guide covers everything.
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Last Crag of the Century, Waterfall Area
MADIBA MAGIC 18 **** [15D,A] Starts 10 right from the base of the normal descent gully. In character with the rest of the awesomeness of this crag. FA: Gustav Janse van Rensburg 2013
AMAKROKOKROKO 23 **** [17D,A] Hack up the bushy slope just right of CAFFEINE JITTERS to the obvious right facing corner leading up to the fun crack system. FA: Hector Pringle 2013
BROKEN TREE 16 *** [11D,A] Starts 1 meter to the right of Roc Rally. First bolt right of small tree. Three cruxes, all different and gets airy after the step over. Needs 60 meter rope. Great Photo opportunity from top of crag. FA: Sharon Benade BB: Johan Moelich 2013
God-No Wall, Wonderland
GEM SQUASH 21 **** [12D,A] Starts on a small buttress almost touching the path 30m left of the MONSTER cave. Blast through the roofs right of the massive wild fig tree. FA: Gustav Janse van Rensburg 2014. Bolts sponsored by MCSA
BUTTERNUT 20 **** [10D,A] The (very worthwhile) second pitch of GEM SQUASH. Traverse left from the finishing ledge of GEM SQUASH without clipping the chains. Continue along for 3 bolts to reach the belay chains. Be prepared for some well deserved ambiance. Can be done in one massive pitch with enough extender slings below the first set of chains (not recommended!). You need at least a 70m rope to do both pitches and reach the ground. A 60m rope will be just good enough to abseil from the top chains. FA: Gustav Janse van Rensburg 2014 Bolts sponsored by MCSA!
AGORAPHOBIA 23 ** [13D,A] Shares first 3 clips with GEM SQUASH then break right and onto the face straight through the imposing roof. You can make it 18 if you want to meander left along the tree and up the corner. (Agoraphobia: Fear of open spaces). FA: Gustav Janse van Rensburg 2014. Bolts sponsored by MCSA.
LEG-O 22 *** [14D,A] Starts below an obvious fin-like feature through some rock fig branches left of JENGA. Take care of small sections with precariously loose looking rocks. Good climbing after that. FA: Gustav Janse van Rensburg 2014. Bolts sponsored by MCSA
JENGA 18 **** [12D,A] Shares a start with TOOLBOX on its own bolts, tending left at the 3rd bolt. A true pump-fest at the grade. Use the lonely fixed 'biner out right to make cleaning this route easier, or back clean it. FA: Gustav Janse van Rensburg 2014. Bolts sponsored by MCSA
TOOLBOX 21 ***** [17D,A] Starts 15m left of Rodan in a break through the foliage. Unbelievable that this line has been overlooked. FA: Philippe Gaboriaud and Gustav Janse van Rensburg 2014
FULL ANIMAL 27 **** [14D,A] The line between Coach and Life in Orange. Use slings on the three bolts after the half-height rest. Remember to go full animal on the lip of the roof. FA: Hector Pringle 2014
OPEN PROJECT Climb Giants. From the last bolt before the chains continue diagonally left into the roofs. See if you can decipher the hard move at the final roof. An alternative start is to link Karfoefelling or Ovamboland into Giant's crux. Bolted by Hector Pringle 2015
BIG IN JAPAN 30 *** [12D,A] The line of bolts left of Kindred Spirits. This line has a controversial history supposedly involving an unauthorised first ascent followed by the bolts being chopped by the original bolter. The line was rebolted by Danny Pinkas and re-opened by Marc Efune in November 2014.
The Mayhem Crags
These crags are on the next farm south of Tranquiltas, accessed by a 10 to 15 minute easy walk from the Tranquilitas Campsite. Climbing is on shortish walls and arêtes on amazing quality rock above a valley that is deep and unspoilt. Climbing here has a ‘wilder’ feel added to by the complete lack of any cellphone signal. Beautiful indigenous trees grow along the base and the crags are quiet except for the sound of the waterfall and the baboons. There are only a few routes at present but new climbs are being added. Climbs are shady from 11 onwards except for those at the Animal Farm Sector. The landowner has graciously granted access on the basis that climbers absolutely stick to the following rules:
- ONLY WALK IN BY THE APPROVED ROUTE - KEEP DOGS ON A LEAD AS THERE ARE ANIMALS ON THE FARM - NO FIRES EVER - NO LITTER, INCLUDING CIGARETTE BUTTS AND TOILET PAPER - DO NOT WALK OVER THE DAM WALL OR ANY OTHER PLACE IN VIEW OF THE FARMHOUSE
Breaking these rules could easily result in closure of the area to climbers so don’t be the responsible one
APPROACH The walk in has been marked specifically to avoid disturbing the owner, taking a short cut across the hill is absolutely not permitted and actually does not save more than a minute or two. Start at the boom gate close to the toilet block at Tranquilitas campsite, walk along the rough track for 250 metres until it bends sharply to the left and there is a cairn in the grass. Cut across on grassy track 30 metres to a well-worn mountain bike trail, follow this for 230 metres to a large cairn on right and cross grass to obvious place to easily step over the fence (cairns) onto a dirt road. Walk 100 m along the road through trees, when you exit the trees there is a cairn (should be a cow skull on it). From here:
- For the Apocalypse Cow Sector, from the 'cow-skull cairn', head left (north east) towards the cliff top. There is a lovely narrow gully (aka 'Narrow Gulley') to walk down. From here the climbs are to the right (facing out). There is no real path and the ground is not easy but there looks to be a few good lines. Another option is to abseil into the climbs, either from the chains (which can be reached with care, from the top) or by slinging boulders.
- For the Burning Man Walls head right (south) following cairns and cattle tracks 450 metres to a flat rock with a cairn by a large wattle tree growing on the cliff top. Hiding behind this tree is an easy scramble down, arriving at the east (right) end of the sector. The path along the base is good as it gives access to the Waterfall.
- For the Animal Farm Sector. These are the crags facing NW on the opposite sid eof the valley (sunny except early morning and evening) Do not walk over the dam wall as we must not walk on top of the cliffs there. Rather, walk in as for Burning Man Walls, make your way over the stream just past an old metal pump about 30m down from the falls, through some thorns. Then up to the crags easily enough.
APLOCALYPSE COW SECTOR Much more broken, but with some superb walls and the hardest slab in Boven! A bit of a bundu bash approach, or ab in. Climbs are described from left to right.
POWER AND GLORY 25 **** Unique pocketed orange wall. Can be seen from the top and accessed by abseil, its on the section almost directly (a little to the south) in front and below of the cow skull cairn. Or can be accessed by walking 180 m left (facing the crag) from the 'Narrow Gulley' (see above), shortly after the ‘grey slabs'. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
CLOSED PROJECT of Andrew Pedley/Jahne Theron. A good 160 m from the narrow gully are the unmistakable compact 40 metre wide ‘grey slabs’, with very few holds on it. Jahnes Project takes the obvious weakness at its centre via some very hard moves on tiny holds. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
BURNING MAN WALLS Probably the best sector, clean orange walls and aretes. The climbs are described from left (waterfall end) to right :
KINGS OF CHAOS 28 ****. Starts off a large boulder. Up then rail wildy left then up the leaning prow to some trickery, way too much fun. FA" Andrew Pedley April 2015. Bolts provided by Boven Fund/MCSA. The next 3 lines are on the compact streaked wall with a nice flat base
LUNATIC FRINGE. 28 *** Up the middle of the wall. Starts with some cool moves up a mini arête then sustained technical stuff all the way to the chains. FA: Andrew Pedley March 2015. Bolts provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
HULLABALOO. 22 **** Up the easier looking diagonal series of cracks and breaks, just right of Lunatic Fringe. FA & BB Guenther Bargon, Maryke Nieuwoudt & Roland Magg. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
SUMMERS IN RANGOON. 25 *** Starts just beside a small tree at an ‘overlap’. Powerful start with endure wall climbing above. FA: Jonothan Cohen March 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
BURNING MAN. 28 **** Up the stellar red wall. A bouldery start, and pumpy mid-section and a finger finale. FA: Andrew Pedley March 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
DEAD COWS CAN”T DANCE. 23 *** The arête/leaning pillar, a few metres right of Burnng Man Starts around the corner on the right then moves left to the arête. Some of the clips are a little high, spoiling the climb a bit, maybe ab in and preplace ) : FA: Mo Hopf March 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
CLOSED PROJECT of Matt Hofman’s. 10 metres right (facing the cliff) of Dead Cows is a blank wall with a faint crackline up its right side. Starts by a tree stump. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
CLOSED PROJECT of Michelle van Aswegen. From the gulley, walk 15 m along the trail past the huge yellow-wood there is an ‘embayment’. The climb takes a discontinuous crack up a grey vertical face. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
ANIMAL FARM SECTOR Currently only one line here:
THIRD TIME LUCKY 23 *** Climb good holds to the ledge. Move out left and commence the fun up to the last bolt. Attach your giant balls and crush it to the top through some thin, lead out climbing. Bolted by Allister Fenton and Chris O'Donovan. FA Chris O'Donovan, March 2015.