Multi-pitch sport climbing near Mokopane with many good multi-pitch routes (up to 7P)
There are several granite outcrops around the countryside. One of these is called 'Blinkkoppe' on the Gillemberg farm which is currently being developed with permission from the farmer. There is excellent potential for good multi-pitch sport routes on this, and possibly other of the granite outcrops. The climbing is good with mainly edges on long faces, usually slightly on angle. Some of these faces reach 150m in height. The area is very hot so it is advisable to keep the climbing to between 8 am to 11 am, go back to the farmhouse for lunch or climb on south facing climbs and climb again from 2 until late. Avoid the main dome between 11am and 2pm except during winter. NB make sure you get a car guard from Jaap, as there has been some petty theft in the past.
Mainly Winter, but also Spring & Autumn
Granite, lots of small crimps, mostly on angle
Sport Rack: Up to 18 quickdraws & Rope (50m or longer). Some of the climbs have 40m or longer pitches so escape with one rope could be difficult.
Take the N1 to Pretoria to Mokopane (the town used to be called Potgietersrus). Drive straight into Mokopane, a half way through the town you will see two garages on each side of the road, turn left directly at these into Nelson Mandela Drive. Drive for about 36km past the concrete bus stop to Jaap’s farm house on the right just after a small shop/stall. Go in, unpack, put the fresh stuff in the fridge, and a car guard. To get to the climbing, drive back about 5 km to where there is a gate in the electric fence surrounding the property (on the south side of the road).On the way to the main dome (where the road ends), you will pass the Sarcophagus area on your right hand side. And the main dome is further on. There is some bouldering near the back and to the left of the Sarcophagus.
Food and accommodation
Please camp in the area provided by the farmer Jaap Möller, which is on the lawn outside the Lapa. The camping has ablutions etc. Camping MUST be arranged beforehand. You can contact the farmer, Jaap, on 072 425 0349 for booking and arranging of camping. There is a fridge and a stove, but only one plate works. Sleeping in the Lapa is an option. Shower and flush toilet available. Women can use the cleaner inside toilet if they ask Jaap nicely.
Route Guide for Wellingtons Dome
By Neil Margetts
The Goat Face
This is the shorter wall to the left (east) of the dome. It has a few 2-3 pitch routes on it. All route numbers correspond to the route numbers on the accompanying map.
1. Where’s Wally ** 17 (12D) This climb starts on the far left of the Goat Face about 50m on the other side of the fence. (Squeeze through fence next to the rock face). Climb up just to the right of a vegetated recess. Pitch 1 25m 14 Climb up pillar to the right of the bushy recess Pitch 2 25m 17 Continue up to chains Pitch 3 30m 16 Climb up and then right to avoid the bulge, continue to the top. First ascent: Darryl Margetts, Neil Margetts, September 2001
2. The Big Red Button *** 21 (15D) Starts just left of INTRUSION, abseil possible with a single 60m rope. Pitch 1 25m 18 Climb up to chains under bulge. Pitch 2 30m 21 Climb over bulge, strenuous, and continue to the top. First ascent: Gareth Frost, Darryl Margetts, September 2001
3. Intrusion *** 20 (12D) This climb tarts below a wide dihedral/open book, about 25m to the left of a large flake with a tree at its base. Pitch 1 25m 19 Climb up the slab to steeper section below anchors. Pitch 2 30m 20 This pitch climbs the wide open book on vertical rock to the top. First ascent: Galeo Saints, Joffrey Hyman, Sep 2001 Bolted by Galeo, Joffrey & Paul Brouard.
Descending the Goat Face To descend one must either abseil down the climbs or scramble down on the far left, but this is a long way around. Note: some of the chains at the top have been damaged, lower ones have been placed.
The Peanut Gallery This is the large rock outcrop just to the right of the main dome. To ascend, climb up Monkey Gulley just to the left of the main dome. This has two short (3m) scramble sections of grade 14. Then continue around left over some large blocks to the top. From the top one is rewarded with excellent views of the climbers on the main dome with excellent photographic opportunities especially in the early morning. First ascent: Mr. B A Boon and large family, +/- 1 346 000 BC
The climbs on the Main Dome start half way up Monkey Gulley opposite the Peanut Gallery and are listed from left to right. The face reaches about 150m in height at places. 3a. Finding your Inner Lizard 14 (12D) Start near the top of the gully traversing right under a flake. Climb up the right of the flake to the top.
4. Sexy Lady ** 16 (15D) Start in the gulley just before the first scramble move (50m up from the base). Pitch 1 25m 16 After climbing the first thin moves (crux) continue up to chains. Pitch 2 20m 15 Continue up slab to the chains Pitch 3 20m 15 Continue up slab to the chains Pitch 4 20m 13 Continue up over large block and up to the chains Pitch 5 20m 14 Continue up slab to the top First ascent: Gareth Frost, Darryl Margetts, 28 June 2003 Note: The first 2 and the last 2 pitches can be combined.
5. Older Slower Wiser *** 17 (16D) Climb the arête on the left of the dome. The route starts in the gully after a short scramble. Enjoy the exposure on an easier climb with some interesting slab technique. Pitch 1 25m 17 Climb the ramp that tends left from the start then climb the face to the ledge and chains. Pitch 2 15m 15 Climb the face then the slab to the chains on a small ledge. Not as easy as it looks. Pitch 3 25m 16 Good face climbing up to the next ledge and chains. Pitch 4 20m 15 Continue up off the stance to the next ledge and chains. Nice slab pitch. Pitch 5 20m 13 Climb up then diagonally left to the top of the dome and chains. First ascent: Gareth Frost, Darryl Margetts, 2000 Note: The first 2 and the last 2 pitches can be combined.
6. Where Falcons Fear *** 21 (12D) This route starts 25m to the left of WHERE EAGLES DARE and joins that route at the last pitch. Pitch 1 30m 20 Climb up slabs until forced right and up to a large flake with chains above. Pitch 2 30m 21 Continue up for a few meters and then move up left along a rough slab (crux), continue to the chains. Pitch 3 30m 19 Climb more or less up the nose above to the chains at the top of pitch 4 of WED. Pitch 4 40m 17 Climb up pitches 5 and 6 of WED to the top. First Ascent: Neil Margetts, James Pitman, 5 June 2004
7. Where Eagles Dare **** 19 (16D) This climb starts at a strange pocket feature at the base of the wall 40m from the left arête. Pitch 1 25m 16 Move up and right above the pocket (crux), then continue up jugs to the chains. Pitch 2 20m 18 Climb up the thin crack line to the chains. Pitch 3 20m 17 Climb up and left via some ledges and balance moves to a small but comfortable ledge with chains. Pitch 4 25m 19 Climb up over a thin bulge (crux 1), then up and left into a recess for a rest. From there move right and up until forced to move left again (crux 2) for 4m to the chains. Pitch 5 20m 17 From the ledge climb up and 2m right, then move up a short blank section (crux), after which the grade eases, continue up to the chains. Pitch 6 25m 14 Climb up the slabs above to the top. First Ascent: Dave Chesney, Darryl Margetts, Neil Margetts, Gareth Frost, Tim Wilmot, December 2000 Note: Pitches 1, 2 and 5, 6 can be combined.
8. Songnando al Sole (Dreaming in the Sun) *** 21 (18D) Start 10m to the right of WED at a block. Pitch 1 25m 17 Step off the block and up thin moves until the grade eases, then up to the chains. Pitch 2 20m 15 Climb up past some big flakes to the chains. Pitch 3 25m 16 Climb up over some ledges and up some thinner moves to a small stance and chains. Pitch 4 40m 20 (NB 18D) Climb up rightwards to under the bulge. Move over the bulge leftwards (crux) and continue up (sustained) to the chains. Pitch 5 45m 21 Climb up leftwards and up a short blank section (crux), and then continue up to the top. First ascent: Neil Margetts, Gioacehims Emmola, Darryl Margetts. 18 – 19 March 2006 (Also with Gareth Frost on pitch 1) Note: If a party has to escape off the climb from the top of pitch 4 and has only a single rope, it is recommended to traverse right onto the ledge after pitch 5 of BDND or to abseil down pitch 4 below in 2 sections leaving some gear on one of the hangers just above the bulge.
9. Wild Child **** 23 (15D) (*NB: A key hold was pulled off the crux of Pitch 3, likely increasing the difficulty by a grade or two) Start just to the left of the bushes to the left of the start of BDND. Pitch 1 32m 18 Climb up over bulge on thin holds until the grade eases. Continue via a small crack to the chains. Pitch 2 35m 21 Continue up easy ground until the angle gets steeper. Climb up the nose and right to the chains. Pitch 3 35m 23 Move up the corner above and reach right to clip the first two bolts. Then traverse and move up diagonally right (crux) until the grade eases. Continue up past an under-cling rail to a point where you can move 4m left to the chains. Pitch 4 40m 23 Climb up to join BDND and climb up the top 2 pitches of BDND to the top. First ascent: Heike Schmitt, Neil Margetts, 5 June 2005 Notes: The pitches are longer than 30m so to escape off the climb you have to do the following: For pitches 1 and 3 – traverse right into BDND. For pitch 2 Abseil diagonally down right onto the big ledge of BDND
10. Big Dreamers Never Die *** 23 (15D) This 140m route follows the most prominent feature (large scar in the face) on the left hand side of the main wall of the dome. This was the first route opened at Wellingtons Dome and the bottom half was initially opened on trad. Start just to the right of a bush at the base of the dome below the large prominent recess. Pitch 1 25m 18 Climb up then leftwards to a tree growing out of the rock and up to a large flake. Climb up to a small ledge and chains. Pitch 2 25m 17 Traverse left off the stance and follow a crack and then a face to a large ledge above. Pitch 3 10m 14 Climb up through the scoop to a very large ledge with a tree. Pitch 4 20m 18 Climb up the ramp on the left of the ledge then up the face to the base to a chimney with a tree. Chimney up and then traverse right to a small ledge with chains. Pitch 5 25m 21 Climb up the crack/flake on the right to its top, then traverse left for 4m into the big recess (crux). Climb up the recess (sustained) until one reaches an awesome large shady ledge with chains. Pitch 6 20m 23 Climb up the ramp on the left until you must continue up on steep rock into a shallow recess. Traverse right (crux) and up into a shallow cubbyhole with chains. Pitch 7 15m 13 Climb up first to the right and then up to the top. Variation for pitch 4: Ascend right hand side of the big ledge. (17) First Ascent: Gareth Frost, Darryl Margetts, Neil Margetts, Dave Chesney, H. Pringle, October 2000
11. Dream Queen **** 21 (16D) Start as for BIG DREAMERS NEVER DIE (BDND) Pitch 1 43m 19 Climb straight up just to the right of the grey water mark. Pitch 2 25m 18 Climb up to the right of the tree and left above the large ledge and up a ramp to a small ledge shared with BDND. Pitch 3 25m 21 Climb up the crack/flake on the right to its top, then traverse left for 4m into the big recess (crux). Climb up the recess (sustained) until one reaches an awesome large shady ledge with chains. This is the same as pitch 5 of BDND Pitch 4 30m 19 Traverse right over a tree into the base of a recess. Climb up the recess and at its top move up right into an exposed position on the nose. Climb up from there to the top. First Ascent: Neil Margetts, James Pitman, Guy Pitman 18 September 2003
11a. Big Dreamers Never Die/ Dream Queen Combo ***** 23 (16D) This combo route takes the first 2 pitches of Dream Queen and the last 3 pitches of Big Dreamers Never Die. This is an awesome line which includes the best pitches of both climbs. First ascent: Heike Schmitt, Neil Margetts, 28 May 2005
12. Compensation Stolen / When The Cats Away *** 25 (18D) Starts approximately 50m right of BIG DREAMERS NEVER DIE. Pitch 1 30m 21 Climb up to the right of a watermark to a cubbyhole with Chains Pitch 2 30m 22 Continue up over steeper rock to a stance below the large bulge. Pitch 3 25m 25 Climb up over the bulge along the break to chains on the lip. Pitch 4 30m 20 Continue up to the top. First Ascent: Gustav Janse van Rensburg, Philippe Gabareaud July 2001 Bolted By: A Hüfner, M Seuring, G van Rensburg
13. Where White Owls Fly *** 25 (16D) Pitch 1 22m 22 Start to the right of “When the cat’s Away” and up to chains. Pitch2 40m 23 (NB 9D) Continue up to the chains, not for the faint hearted. Pitch3 20m 24 Climb up to chains of CS/WTCA Pitch4 45m 25 (NB 16D) Continue up CS/ WTCA to the top. First ascent: Jens Rigter, Sabine Tittel, 17 July 2005
13a. Knocking on Dad’s Door (Shield of Fire) 26 ***** (14D) Start to right of WWOF up broken recess to right of flake crack. Pitches 20, 23, 26, 26 and 20. Detail to follow. FA. June 2009 Joerg and Till
14. Younger Fitter Faster *** 24 (15D) This climb is located slightly right of the center of the main face. It takes a straight line to the top, avoiding roofs and corners and provides pure face climbing. Pitch 1 30m 22 Start on the ramp below and climb up the steeper face above. Pitch 2 40m 24 You need to be fit for this one, it is a long pitch. Pitch 3 30m 22 You get to this pitch and you want to climb it fast because your feet are staring to hurt. First Ascent: Mark Seuring, Alard Hüfner, Marianne Pretorius, Mike Mason and Hunt Cheney, October 2000
14a. Raptors 24 **** (18D) Start to the far right off a ramp with a Smart Car sized block on it. Pitch 1 22 30m Traverse left and diagonally up left to a point one traverses 6m left to a good stance. Pitch 2 23 40m Traverse 4m left, and up into a crack via a block. Long slings near the block a good idea to prevent drag. Continue up the crack and break right at the top. Note: There is an Black Eagles nest near the climb so avoiding the climb in winter months is better. First Ascent: Till and Neil Margetts June 2009
14b. Project 27/28 Climb up straight from start of Raptors, 2 pitches
15. Gem Squash * 17 (N) This route ascends the right most chimney crack on the main wall as the face tends to crumble away to the gully. Descend by rapping off the tree at the top or walk around to the gully at the back. First Ascent: Alard Hufner, Mark Seuring, Gustav Janse van Rensburg 2001
16. Dome Standard Route * 13 (5D) This line starts at the western most end of the dome at a large tree. Climb up the tree and step onto the face and up to the chains. Continue up from there to the top on reasonably easy ground. First ascent: Gareth Frost, Darryl Margetts, Neil Margetts, Dave Chesney, H. Pringle Oct 2000
Descending the Main Dome To facilitate the easy descent of the main wall and to avoid congestion on the routes, a rap point is available at the back of the dome on the left hand side. This is the side closest to Monkey Gulley. A short rap, 22m, will take you to a path where you can descend down monkey gulley on the right, to the base of the dome. This gulley has two short scramble sections of 3m each at approximately grade 14. Another alternative is to rap down Sexy Lady on two 50m raps or four 25m raps, this lands you neatly just downhill of the scrambles in Monkey Gulley.
If one were to look at the skyline of the Wellington dome complex from the main road about 5km before Jaapies farm, you will see that it resembles a Sarcophagus. What we currently know as the Sarcophagus is in fact the foot of this Sarcophagus. Thus this buttress became known as “The Foot of the Sarcophagus”. This later became known just as the Sarcophagus.
Sarcophagus South These climbs are on the road side of the Sarcophagus, from left to right.
17. Archimedes Screw ** 18 (8D) This is the left most route and starts to the right of a gully/crack system. Climb up the slab rightwards to the chains. First Ascent: Darryl Margetts, Gareth Frost, 29 Jun 2003
18. Dancing With Anubis ** 17 (8D) Start just to the right of AS and climb up leftwards to share chains with AS.
18a. Bite of Thoth 20 *** (10D) Start just to the left of EOO and go up black rock just to the left of a large flake. First Ascent: Neil Margetts June 2009
19. Eye of Osyris *** 20 (10D) This route goes up the pillar to the right of DWA. First Ascent: Darryl Margetts, Gareth Frost, 29 Jun 2003
19a. Naughty Nefertiti *** 18/19 (11D?) Start this route by stepping right off the block 4m right of EOO. Follow the crack/water groove to a thin exit. First Ascent: Edwin McLenaghan, Neil Margetts, 12 July 2009
Sarcophagus North These climbs are on the opposite side of the Sarcophagus facing the main tar road, from left to right.
20. Rhamses' Ramrod ** 16 (10D) This climb starts up a small corner to the left of a tree. Pitch1 25m 16 Climb up the corner until one can step up right onto a large foothold on the nose. Then traverse left (crux) for 5m, after which continue up on easier ground to the chains. Pitch2 15m 15 Climb up to the top. First Ascent: Neil Margetts, Darryl Margetts, 2001
21. Tutankhamun's Touche *** 18 (10D) This climb starts up the crack to the right of a deep corner/crack, about 10m right of RR. Pitch1 25m 17 Climb/layback up the crack until the grade eases. Continue up the chains. Pitch2 15m 18 Climb up and through the bulge above to the top. First ascent: Gareth Frost, Darryl Margetts, 2001
22. Cleopatra's Crack *** 19 (10D) Climb up the crack system just to the right of TT starting up the pillar on the left. Pitch1 25m 19 Climb up pillar and then the crack over a steep section (crux). Continue up to the chains. Pitch2 15m 16 Climb up to the top. First ascent: Gareth Frost, Darryl Margetts, 2001
23. Pharoah's Phallus *** 20 (10D) This climb goes up the pillar with brown water marks on it, 15m to the right of CC Pitch1 25m 20 Climb up the face on small crimps negotiating a balance move crux at 18m. Pitch2 15m 16 Climb up the slab above to the top. First ascent: Gareth Frost, Darryl Margetts, 2001
Sarcophagus West These climbs are on the western side of the Sarcophagus above Leopard Rock, from left to right.
24. Land of the Long Mambas * 15 (8D) Start the climb up a ramp below a pillar with a crack through it. Pitch 1 20m 13 Climb up the slab and through the steeper section to the chains. Pitch 2 15m 15 Climb up the break above to the top. First Ascent: Gareth Frost, Darryl Margetts, 25 June 2002
25. A Scarab Beetle Ate my Brains * 15 (8D) This climb goes up the easy angled nose with a crack through the pillar above. Pitch 1 15m 11 Climb up the easy pilar to a ledge with chains. Pitch 2 15m 15 Climb the crack above to the top. First Ascent: Gareth Frost, Darryl Margetts, 25 June 2002
Descending the Sarcophagus To descend one must either abseil down the climbs or scramble down the south face by the slabs on the left.
A comprehensive Route Guide is hosted on the SACIN Website www.saclimb.co.za