|Season||All year round|
Waterval Boven – ‘Boven (aka The Restaurant at the End of the Universe crags) – is arguably South Africa’s best sport climbing area. These crags attract year round international visitors ever since articles were published in 1993 in the German magazine Rotpunkt as well as in other media. It has become famous for its good selection of great quality routes (over 700 of them!) of all grades that are easily accessible.
A PDF guide covers almost everything and can be downloaded here for free. http://www.climbing.co.za/areas/waterval-boven/
The following sections document new routes not yet in the guide.
- 1 ACRA Wall, Waterfall Area
- 2 Last Crag of the Century, Waterfall Area
- 3 Restaurant Crag
- 4 Tranquilitas, Wonderland
- 5 God-No Wall, Wonderland
- 6 Disciple Wall
- 7 Superbowl, Wonderland
- 8 The Theatre
- 9 The Mayhem Crags
ACRA Wall, Waterfall Area
TI' DRAGON 29 **** [15D, A]This fine route breaks through the roof 20m right of Urisk. Abseil in from chains just left (if you look down stream) of the obvious multi-stemmed cabbage tree. A 60m rope will make it with stretch, tie knots in the ends! FA: Grégoire Sobczak and Didier Hoarau 2016.
Last Crag of the Century, Waterfall Area
MADIBA MAGIC 19 **** [15D,A] Starts 10 right from the base of the normal descent gully. In character with the rest of the awesomeness of this crag. A 65m-70m rope is required, although there is a possibility of scrambling down the last couple of meters. FA: Gustav Janse van Rensburg 2013
BIBICHE LINE 20 *** [14D,A] Left of SPORT CLIMBING IS DEAD. FA: Fred Roulx 2016
PAINT IT BLACK 22 *** [15D,A] Right of SPORT CLIMBING IS DEAD. FA: Fred Roulx 2016
AMAKROKOKROKO 24 **** [17D,A] Scramble up the bushy slope just right of CAFFEINE JITTERS to the obvious right facing corner leading up to the fun crack system. Move right onto the head-wall towards the top. Drill bit issues resulted in three top anchors being placed. One anchor is worthless (its obvious which one), one is loose and the third is good. It will get cleaned up soon. FA: Hector Pringle 2013
ME 21 *** [11D,A] Starts on first bolt of WHO'S YOUR DADDY and goes straight up. FA: Gustav Janse van Rensburg 2016
VOTE FOR PEDRO - TRAD 18 ** The obvious crack on the freestanding pillar left of Vicious Fishes. Watch out for loose rock. FA: Allister Fenton Dec 2015
VICIOUS FISHES 18 **** [8D,A] Situated on a freestanding pillar about 50m right of WHO'S YOUR DADDY. Start from the path and climb the steep left arete. FA: Hector Pringle 2016
PLANETARY ALIGNMENT 23 *** [13D, A] Climbs the "hidden" line just right of WORLDS APART. FA: Gustav Janse van Rensburg 2016.
- With the kind contribution of the MCSA Jhb/Pta bolting fund, the following routes have been re-bolted with new shiny bolts: MJS, GP le Chuck, Red Herring.
TEMPLE OF LOVE 18 *** [9D,A] Follow the path around the corner 25m to the right of the Aapstreke chimney. Climb the small open book and skirt the overlap on the right. FA: Liz Makovini Nov 2015
VISION THING 18 **** [16D,A] Starts 20m right of FEVER. Negotiate a small roof, continue up and pull through the cruxy bulge. Switch style and enjoy the face climbing to the chains. Important: To avoid rope drag, unclip the first bolt and use long sling on second draw beneath the roof. 60m rope essential! FA: Wes Makovini Sep 2015
God-No Wall, Wonderland
GEM SQUASH 22 **** [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 21 **** [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 an 80m rope to do both pitches and reach the ground. A 60m rope with strech will be only 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
PURGATORY PERHAPS? 25 *** [14D,A] Between Roc Chucka Chic and Big Bad Wolf. NB: This route is 36m long - use at least a 70 m rope and tie a knot in the end! The belayer will have to climb up onto the first ledge in order to lower the climber. FA: Marc Flex Efune 2015. Hardware provided by MCSA/Boven Fund.
DENDROPHILIA 21 **** [13D,A] Just right of BITTERGAL is a recess. Climb the bolts using the tree to get onto the fun stuff. Colin's grab-tree is a rather unique feature on this climb, lets hope it stays there. The name is related to the love of trees. FA: Gustav Janse van Rensburg 2015
LAST SUPPER 18 *** [13D] Starts 1m right of Lucy. FA: Wes Makovini 2016
SUSPENSION TRAUMA 24 *** [14D,A] Situated 15m left of the drip up a slightly overhanging face. Sadly some TV sized blocks took out a tree and some bushes at the base. Otherwise it has wild moments and good preparation for those wanting to go full animal. FA: Philippe Grandremy and Gustav Janse van Rensburg 2016
POWER ANIMAL 27 **** [14D,A] The line between Coach and Full Animal. Start by the white-stemmed tree and veer right onto the clean face after the third bolt. Choose your power animal wisely for the two distinctly different cruxes. FA: Hector Pringle 2016
FULL ANIMAL 27 **** [14D,A] The first line left of the Life in Orange project and Frazzle. 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
Actually where the greatest tranquility is found. These crags are on the next farm south of Tranquiltas, accessed by a 15 minute easy walk from the Tranquilitas Campsite. Climbing is on compact technical walls and arête climbing on amazing quality rock above a valley that is deep and unspoilt. The setting 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
- 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).
Both the routes and the sectors are described from left to right here (facing the cliff). This means that Animal Farm sector is furthest from Tranquilatas.
Animal Farm Sector
These are the crags facing NW on the opposite side of 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.
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.
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 a gully into Jack's Playground. From there, the path going right along the base is good as it gives access to the Waterfall.
Probably the best sector, clean orange walls and aretes. The climbs are described from left (waterfall end) to right :
DEEP IMPACT 26 **** In front of a small clearing and a large yellow arrow painted on a boulder. 13 draws and chains of varied Mayhem magic. FA: Marc Efune June 2016.
PANDORA'S BOX 31 ***** Starts on a boulder then a journey with 3 crowd-pleasing roofs. A must-do! FA: Marc Efune May 2016. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
KINGS OF CHAOS 27 **** 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.
BLADE-RUNNER 28 ***** The blade like curving arête gives sensational climbing. How classic?. FA. Andrew Pedley. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
The next lines are on the compact streaked wall with a nice flat base
GERMAN IN 30 DAYS 23 *** Starts at yellowwood tree, left of Changeling. Through small roof onto face, a crux sequence leads to the chains. FA: Wes Makovini, July 2015
CHANGELING 17 *** Climb the corner. Try not to use the dodgy looking block low down. FA: Liz Makovini, June 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
PSYCHOTIC COMBOVER 27 **** Start in the corner of Changeling then head right onto the fun technical face. FA: Marc Efune July 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
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. Feb 2015. 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: Jonathan Cohen March 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
CLOSED PROJECT of Colin Crabtree
BAG O' BONES 25 *** Up the face to the left of Burning Man, over the roof and to rightish and then back left at the top. FA: Dewald Kloppers August 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
BURNING MAN. 28 **** Up the stellar red wall. A bouldery start, and pumpy mid-section, then a crazy rail R then back left to some trickery. FA: Andrew Pedley March 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
DEAD COWS CAN'T DANCE. 23 **** The obvious arête/leaning pillar is climbed with as much style as possible. FA: Mo Hopf March 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
ZUPTA SANDWICH BAR. 17. ** Climbs the diagonal ramp before exiting through easy break to the top. FA: Guenther Bargon & Maryke Nieuwoudt Feb 2016
CLOSED PROJECT of Dewald Kloppers. Starts in the corner and heads up through the big roofs.
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.
GORILLA TACTICS. 23 *** A few meters to the right of Matt's project. Scramble up the block behind the tree and start in the corner heading right through the roof and onto the face above. An attentive belay is especially important for the lower half of the route. FA: Marc Flex Efune July 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA
MEDUSA. 23 *** The obvious large crack. FA: Ciska Kloppers September 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA
APOCALYPSE COW. 30 **** Just right of Medusa's large crack. A tough move getting onto the lower face leads onto some lovely climbing. Tentative grade of 30 but might be easier if you're the right height. FA: Marc Efune November 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA
SKELETOR. 27 ** Starts in the corner and then through the roof. FA: Marc Efune August 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA
SLAUGHTERHOUSE 5. 28 **** The beautiful technical face then wild moves through the roof. FA: Marc Efune August 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA
HIDDEN FIRE 18 ** Continue past Psycho Bambi. Just as the path starts a sharp descent, the route starts in the red corner. Stick to the corner and move left at third bolt. Using the precarious looking block higher up lowers the grade. FA: Liz Makovini, May 2015.
PSYCHO BAMBI 18 ** [Trad, A] Obvious crack to the right of Hidden Fire. Chains at the top. FA: Liz Makovini, July 2015
JACK'S ANXIETY 18 *** The face immediately to the right of Psycho Bambi. FA: Alan Hughes, July 2015.
GONE IN 60 SECONDS 17 *** Starts at tree to the right of Jack's Anxiety. FA: Wes Makovini, July 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
HOP TOAD 15 ** Climb the chimney to the right of Gone in 60 Seconds. Finish on the left. FA: Liz Makovini, July 2016.
BLUE STINGRAY BOOTS 22 *** Climbs the face on the free-standing pillar 20m right of Hop Toad. FA: Wes Makovini, Sep 2016.
BLACK LOTUS 16** The inside corner of the free-standing pillar right of Blue Stingray Boots. FA: Liz Makovini, July 2015.
MARAKAS. 20 *** Situated in the atrium or inland ‘embayment’, 8m left of Drill Sergeant. Climb up the obvious crack line. Use technique and some balance to ascend to the chains. FA & BB Guenther Bargon & Maryke Nieuwoudt Aug 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
DRILL SERGEANT. 24 *** The corner 5 metres left of Sharpen Up Cupcake. FA: Marc Efune July 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
SHARPEN UP CUPCAKE. 26 ** From the gulley, walk 15 m along the trail past the huge yellow-wood to an ‘embayment’. The climb takes a discontinuous crack up a grey vertical slab/face. FA: Michelle van Aswegen, November 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
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 a gully, leading you into Jack's Playground.
JACK AND JILL. 14 on toprope. In the descent gully on left. Start at the same base as Jack In A Box but veers up left to the hanging bolts. BB Alan Hughes. Dec 2015.
JACK IN A BOX. 14 * [5D,A] In the descent gully on left. Starts from the centre of the shelf and follows bolts direct to the top. BB Alan Hughes. Dec 2015.
JACK BE NIMBLE. 16 ** [7D, A] At the bottom of the descent gully, round the left facing out to the valley. Start centre of slab and goes direct staying right of the feature. BB Alan Hughes. May 2016.
DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE 16 *** [8D] Find the secret entrance to a corridor hidden amongst the blocks. At the base of the descent gully into the Mayhem. FA & BB Liz Makovini, August 2016.
GEOMANCER 16 ** Once down the gulley, turn left instead of right, its after about 20 metres and can be seen from the top. Hangers are all painted brown. The climb starts in a corner where you gain a ledge, and the climbing starts. FA & BB Liz Makovini, May 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
REQUIEM FOR A YELLOWWOOD 14 ** Next climb around the corner to the right of Geomancer. Starts in a small cave. Gain the top of the block and step across onto the face. FA: Wes Makovini, June 2015
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.
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'. FA J Theron. Feb 2015. Hardware provided by Boven Fund/MCSA.
CLOSED PROJECT of 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.
GOLDEN GIRLS 19***[Trad] 50m from Narrow Gully. Start on the right hand side of a large roof at 2.5m. Climb the immaculate finger crack behind a yellowwood. Step right at the top of the crack to finish up a smooth looking face. FA: Sarel Petrus, Eddie Harvey and Kobus van Wyk, Feb 2016.