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The Chosspile is the closest proper sport climbing crag to Johannesburg, being a bit closer than Bronkies. It also has the full spectrum of grades, from super easy, to 33 and beyond. ‘Choss’ as it is affectionately known has provided a place keep fit and work on projects, get away from the big smoke and talk crap, for a couple of generations of Gauteng climbers. The crag overlooks the Hartebeespoort Dam wall and the views are pretty good, especially if the sluice gates are open, but the smells can be less than good, depending on the time of year and the wind direction! Unlike the crag's name there is actually some damn good rock here with some fine routes too. The rock is a quartzite with interesting features; pinches and holes and blocky jugs. Climbs range from slabby to desperately overhanging; take your pick!

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 midday.


Please adhere to under mentioned access arrangements religiously. The Chosspile was closed due to a spate of muggings and later re-opened following negotiations with the landowners and huge effort from the climbing community led by Neil Margetts and friends. NOTE: It was not the MCSA who insisted on the card-holder rule, it was Mt Amananzi, so please dont call Andrew at 8.00 am when you arrive there without a cardholder.

Some of the history:

Update from June 2022:

The access is now strictly through MCSA meets. Please chat to them if you'd like to be added to the MCSA chosspile meets whatsapp group. This is due (once again) to crime and trespassing in the area. The MCSA and meet attendees share the cost of two security guards (MCSA pays for one, attendees share the cost of the other) to protect cars and the access path to the crag. Mt Amanzi has the same costs (see 2012 update) of R30 for an MCSA or club member, R50 for a guest. If you'd like to access this amazing crag, join the MCSA or an affiliate club and volunteer to lead a meet.

Update from October 2012:

Mt Amanzi do not own the land, it is owned by Rissk Estates who agreed to continue to provide acccess to climbers IF the land is rented and the access is controlled. A fence was put up around the land and the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) - spear-headed by Neil Margetts - negotiated a solution whereby Mt Amanzi rent the property from Rissik and control access. There are are some benefits to them in that they do not now have a mass of partyers and crime accross the river from the resort and the residents of the resort can hike up the Chospile mountain. This highlights an important point; Mt Amanzi are not renting the property solely so we can climb, we are secondary. Even if there were 300 climbers a month they are making a loss. For this reason, we do not have too much leverage in climber access discussions, if we are more trouble than we are worth they can close it to us. This is one of the reasons they are insisting that everyone who enters is with an MCSA or University climbing club member as this is reassurance to them that all people entering are responsible and climb safely.

In addition, Mt Amazi agreed to this ony if we the climbers pay for the guard at the gate, an average of R500 per month. So who pays this? The MCSA, average of R500 per month. The MCSA also pay for the bolts on new climbs and any rebolting of old ones, R600 a time.

So, with this in mind, the is the access rules from 1 October 2012 until further notice, are as follows:

1. Every climber entering the property must report to the Mount Amanzi reception before climbing.

2. Entrance is R30 for MCSA members or members of a University climbing club. Cards must be shown and must have a photoo and sticker for year of membership.

3. A maximum of 2 guests are allowed with each cardholder. Entrance is R50 for the 1st and 2nd guests. Rather than grumble about this, join the MCSA or your University Club!

4. All climbers must sign the registry boook and indemnity, and if they are the card-holder, must write their club membership number.

5. Opening hours are:- Winter time – 1 May till 31 August – from 08H00 – 16H00. Summer time - 1 September till 30 April – from 08H00 – 17H00. This reflects the hours the guards are paid and their transport.

6. Officers at reception must ask for cards and check validity, it is in the interests of access that climbers remind the desk staff of this.

7. The guard at the gate must check the date and number of people indicated on the reciept, it is in the interests of access that climbers remind the guard of this.

Anyone found to be not complying with the above will be banned from the property and should the access be closed down, will not be very popular!

Sorry that ths is all so firm..but continued access depends on it.

The owners of the crag (Mr Bezuidenhout of Rissik Estates) is adamant that nobody must trespass onto the land from the dam wall side Legal action will be taken against anyone who does. Please adhere to this rule to avoid unnecessary trouble and considerably jeopardise future access and seriously piss off for the majority of the Gauteng climbing community.

Please stick to these rules to keep the access open and the crag safe.


Chosspile Route List

The Man Cave

First Cave after walking from parking.

The Megalomaniac 34/8c 11 Bolts BB. Andrew Pedley 2012. FA. Ebert Nel 2015. Starts at the left of The Man cave, traversing through a flat roof on a parallel crack to the right, ending on a lead out dash to the chains exiting the roof. 3 Bolts up, 8 across and a dash to the chains.
The Third Base open PROJECT 32/8b and harder 10 Bolts BB. Alex Bester 2014 Starts below (right) the Megalomaniac pile. Cuts straight up the face using the obvious crack through the roofs and over the lip. Hard
No Pants Party 30/8a 7 Bolts BB. Ebert Nel 2014. FA. Wesley Black 2016 Starts below the chains of the Manometer and follows the bolt line all the way to the lip of the roof and finishing on the same chains as manometer. Some fun climbing and karate kicking flair takes you through the roofs to the chains. One of the most fun lines at Choss.
Kleptomaniac 31/8a+ 9 Bolts ***** BB. Andrew Pedley. FA. Brian Weaver. 2013. The name originates from before the line was sent, a new climber stole draws off the route and proceeded to cut Andrews 80m rope (hanging from top) at the ground, halving it. Apart from the nasty, the climbing is phenomenal! Steep and sustained to the chains from the very first move. Gymnastic swinging and core strength are prerequisites, knee pads were recommended!
Cock Or Bollock 30/8a 8 Bolts and chains ***** BB and FA by Andrew Pedley. Aug 2014 A great intro to the Man Cave. The steep line through the bulge and striped wall above. Scramble up to the ledge. Reach out for the cock (or is it a bollock?) and work up the kneebar to gain the face. Move left to the massive shake ('baby Jesus rest') on Kleptomaniac then bust up the zebra-streaked wall. Nothing hard. The start is much easier with a proper kneepad (29),less so with an inner tune (probably 30) and surely very hard with no pad (31?). Opened like a loser with a proper kneepad.
Violent Streak 32/8b 7 Bolts **** BB. Andrew Pedley. FA. Andrew Pedley. 2012. Attacks the grey water streak you can see for miles. Scramble to the top of the chossy pillar then power up and pull on. On the FA the first 3 bolts were pre-clipped.
The Algometer Open PROJECT Expected grade 37/9a+ BB. Ebert Nel. 2015. This is the extension of The Megalomaniac. Starting on The Megalomaniac, it runs along till the last bolt of The Megalomaniac, tends gradually upward, then crosses over the last bolt of Kleptomaniac, the last bolt of Cock or Bollock (in the roof) and then follows a roof crack and ends on Violent Streak's chains.
Pedo 27/7b+ BB. Ockert Joubert. 2017. FA. Calrin Curtis. 2017. The most inviting line in the Man Cave. Really a masterpiece and soon to be classic.
Woman's Opinion 21/6b+ BB. Niel Margetts
<add name> 21/6b+

Harry Potter

This crag is right of the Real Man Cave. Routes run from LEFT to RIGHT.

Drako 24/6c+ 14 Bolts RBB. Rory Lowther. Pitch 1 is 21/6b+. Pitch 2 is 21/6b+. Use 2 ropes to abseil all the way or go from chains to chains. Currently no chains at stance to abseil from, but large tree stem out right works well to.
Bolts from the Blue 15/5b Natural Gear FA. Stephen Malloryn OR Cara Wessel. <Unless you were simul-climbing or suffer from schitzophrenia pick one>. 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.
Harry Pothead 19/6a 6 Bolts FA. Rory Lowther. Short route with easy start, follows large flaring crack up to end of small roof on the left with anchors just around lip.
Hogwarts Warted Hog 24/6c+ 9 Bolts FA. Rory Lowther. Climb toward the left crack in the small roof.
Chamber of Secrets 25/7a 8 Bolts BB. Rory Lowther. FA. Steve Dunnet. 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.
Dobby 24/6c+ 8 Bolts BB. Debbie Mulder. FA. Rory Lowther. Just to the right of Chamber of secrets, climb overhanging rock on the right of small roof to anchors in small open book.
Dodgey Glue 19/6a To the right of DOBBY. A cruxy start next to a large root. Glue in anchors have been used.
Man Thang 25/7a To the right of DODGY GLUE. Glue in anchors used.
The Philosophers Stoned 21/6b A good climb up the steep wall. New anchors May2015 (MCSA)
Hermione Puts Out 19 10 bolts FA Matt Hoffman, June 2015. A gem! Strange that it was not bolted sooner. Sustained face climbing up the R facing wall. Hardware by MCSA-Boven Fund
Harry Goes Trading 13/4 Natural Gear 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.
Moaning Murtle 21/6c 7 Bolts FA. Roland Magg. 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. New anchors May2015 (MCSA)
Salazar 19/6a BB. David Tapp. FA. Daniel Hannah. 2010. 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.
Spongify 22/6b+ 8 Bolts FA. Rory Lowther. 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. New anchors May2015 (MCSA)
Voltamor 19/6a 8 Bolts FA. Rory Lowther. Climb through 3 small roofs to ledge with chains above the last roof.
Diffindo 20/6a+ 7 Bolts FA. Rory Lowther. Short line with easy start, until crux move getting onto and through small roof.

The crag now moves uphill and steps back to a long face with a corner at its left end.

THE BLOODY BARON 15/5a 12 Bolts 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.
Quidditch 23/6c 7 Bolts FA. Neil Margetts. 2008. 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. New anchors May2015 (MCSA)
The Balls of Hagrid 21/6b 9 Bolts BB. Neil Margetts. FA. David Tapp. 2010. 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. New anchors May2015 (MCSA)
The Slab of Snape 16/5c 15 Bolts BB. David Tapp & Neil Margetts. FA. Neil Margetts. 2010. The first route on the main face. Climb a series of ledges then up to good holds under a small overhang. Move left under the overhang and up the slab (crux) to the chains. 60m ESSENTIAL.
Harry Catastrophe Left Hand 13/5a 7 Bolts FA. Dylan Morgan. 2004. 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.
Harry Catastrophe Right Hand 15/5b 6 Bolts FA. Mike Grant. 2004. 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.
Slitheren 14/5b 10 Bolts FA. Rory Lowther. 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. New anchors May2015 (MCSA)
A variation of Slitherin 18
18/6a 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 17/5c 9 Bolts FA. Ronald Magg. Follow the obvious line of bolts to the right of the Slitherin variation, face climbing for 20m to chains. New anchors May2015 (MCSA)
Muggle's express 16/5c FA. Robyn John. BB. Neil Margettes. Starts on the same bolt as Griffindore and splits off left from the ledge ending with some face climbing, has it's own set of chains.
Griffindore 17/5b 10 Bolts FA. Rory Lowther. 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. New anchors May2015 (MCSA)
Huff 'n Puff 18/5c 9 Bolts FA. Rory Lowther. Cruxy, bouldery start and crimpy end, but easier section in the middle.New anchors May 2015 (MCSA)
Cramcakes and Scumbags 20/6b 6 Bolts *** FA. Louis Smit OR Wiliam Graham. 2004. <Do you have an alias?> Start on the big sidepull/gaston with some fun moves. Try to keep to the face after the third bolt. More fun if you go straight up/slightly right.
Unknown Name Route a few meters right of Cramcakes and Scumbags. Overgrown scrambling route. Unknown origin and bolter. This is the last route at the Harry Potter crag before the path dips down to Lord of the Rings.

The Lord of the Rings

This crag is past the Harry Potter section following the scree path all the way to the top large cave.

The crag is directly below a nest site for a pair of Verreaux Eagles (Black Eagle). During the breeding months from April to September, it may be closed if there is nesting activity. Please check on entry at the signboard by the parking if this crag is open or closed.

Routes from the LEFT of the crag towards the RIGHT. This crag is in the shade most of the day with some areas being in the sun late afternoon. This crag is mostly overhanging.

Pipeweed 22/6b+ 8 Bolts ** FA. Dewald Kloppers. 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.
Frodo / Exit Planet Dust 18/5c 9 Bolts ** BB. Rob Brinkworth & Mark Olver. FA. Rob Brinkworth OR Sarah Houghton. <Please pick one, as I'm sure you both didn't clip the chains at the same time> Following the crackline through a small mantleshelf and a cunning ending. First Ascent: Rob Brinkworth
A Shortcut to Mushrooms 21/6b *** Rebolted March 2013 with MCSA Mag and JHB bolts. The leftmost route on a yellow, lichen covered face which gets sun in the afternoon. An excellent route and brilliant warm-up.
Voices of Saruman 23/6c * Starts just around the corner and to the right of A SHORTCUT TO MUSHROOMS, try stay out of the corner higher up.
Gandalf 24/7a ** rebolted Feb 2013 with MCSA Mag and JHB bolts. A nice route about 2m right of VOICES OF SARUMAN passing the little roof then tends slightly right. Used to be 26, but is probably 23!
Mourn not overmuch 25/7a * About 2m right of GANDALF is an open corner and crack system, finishes on same anchors as GANDALF. Not popular so might be a bit dirty.
Halfling 27/7b+ ** Bolted by Andrew Pedley Use the first three bolts of MOURN NOT OVERMUCH, follow the bolts slightly right up a dark pillar with some hard moves moving over a bulge and left. With the right beta its pretty easy. Finish on the chains of GOLLUM. First Ascent: Jun 2004 Andrew Pedley
Gollum 25/7a+ *** rebolted Feb 2013 with MCSA Mag and JHB bolts. Climbs up the face to the large hole 5 metres up. From here some tricky moves to a balancy shake before the sting in tail. Was 24 but consensus is now easy 25. A great climb and a good warm-up for harder things.
Gollum extension <add name> BB. Colin Crabtree. FA. Colin Crabtree.
Big Bully 29 (7c+) *** BB. Wesley Black and Andrew P. FA. Dario Zanon. 2012. The line just to the left of the big dark cave and bush. Instead doing the daft cave start, start from the ground, some confusing face climbing to the big hole on Gollum. From this reach out and clip high then bust the bulge on the right, the pull onto the obvious shield side-pull and power-up for a bouldery crux then a stamina finish. BB: Wesley Black and Andrew Pedley. FA: Andrew Pedley. Bolts sponsored by MCSA - JHB/MAG Section
Bully for Brontosaurus 28/7c 10 Bolts *** FA. Peter Lazarus. 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 shield as above. First Ascent: Peter Lazarus
Tyrannosaurus Pex 27/7b+ ** Bolted and FA: Willem le Roux 2006 Same first bolt as Bully, then move right to jugs then hard up the face rightwards to chains. Brilliant steep rock.
"In The Eye of Smaug" project BB. Ebert Nel. 2014. Starts, 1st bolt preclipped, deep in the cave above the suspended boulder, bisecting Shadowfax and then finishing directly up and right of shadowfax. Bolts kindly sponsored by MCSA.
Shadowfax 33/8b+ *** FA. Andrew Pedley. March 2013. Hardest route in Maglaliesberg, takes on the full steepness of the crag. Start on the small whitish face with first bolt preclipped, to a shake before the roof. Calm the mind then blast out through to a pinch and a semi shake then into a low percentage crux on some bad bad holds. Scream at the finger lock and dont screw up the finish. Solid at the grade. Originally bolted by P. Martin. Rebolted by AP in 2009 and new start added.
The Chossfather 28/7c ** Bolted and FA by Andrew Pedley, March 2013 with MCSA Mag and JHB bolts. Crazy steep climbing up the black groove. A knee bar rest is follwoed by a distinct crux. Possibly low in grade.
Don't Deck 23/6c+ ** Looks ugly but climbs really well. This route starts about 3-5m left of FOSSIL FUEL, just left of the tree stump. It ends shortly after gaining the big right facing flake/corner. Retro-Bolted by Rob Brinkworth & Mark Oliver.
Don't Let Go ( a.k.a mount doom on a stick ) 28/7c FA. Brian Weaver. 2012. Climb to the chains of Don't Deck and rail out left. Head through the three roofs and top out. Make sure you don't let go! At least 4 60cm slings are required to reduce rope drag. First Ascent: Brian Weaver (2011)
Don't Deck Extension 27/7b+ *** Rebolted March 2013 with MCSA Mag and JHB bolts. A great pump! Link-up between DONT DECK and FOSSIL FUEL. Follow DON'T DECK but avoid the right-facing corner, instead move up on crimps then traverse right into the 2/3 height shake on Fossil. Shake then pile through the Fossil finishing roof, or fall off pumped. First Ascent: Harry Crews (June 2009)
Shelob 26/7b *** BB. Wesley Black. FA. Wesley Black. 2011. Starts just right of the tree stump, a sustained route that climbs straight up to end on DONT DECK chains. Used to be 24 until a crucial hold broke off next to the second bolt. First Ascent: Wesley Black. Bolts sponsored by MCSA - JHB/MAG Section
Desolation of Smaug (aka Shelob Extension) 28/7c *** Link up route Start on Shelob up till 5th bolt, move up to the next jug rail and then across right on that horizontal rail to Fossil Fuel clipping Anduril's 7th bolt. Finish on Fossil's chains. A very sustained and pumpy route, possibly 4 stars. An old linkup.
Anduril Flame of the West 30/8a ** BB. Wesley Black. FA. Joey Kinder. 2011. Starts a couple metres right of the cut tree stump. Looks a bit close to Fossil and aint that pretty…but actually really cool and well worth it. Love those sloping sidepulls. After the crux, another hard move to break the little roof then move right and merge into Fossil Fuel to the chains. First Ascent: Joey Kinder, 2011; BB: Wesley Black. Bolts sponsored by MCSA - JHB/MAG Section
Fossil Fuel 30/8a **** BB. Peter Lazarus. FA. Ralph Brucher. The crags classic hard(ish) line, a good first 8a. With all the beta it’s now easy at the grade! Starts off the sloping ramp a few metres right of the cut tree stump. Some thin moves tending leftward to a pinch, then pumpy climbing leads to some final thuggery through the capping roof. First Ascent: 2000 Ralph Brucher (BB Peter Lazarus). Rebolted in 2009.
<Ralph's Open Project> BB. Ralph Brucher.
Frack it 31/8a+ BB. Andrew Pedley. FA. Ebert Nel
<Pieter Martin's Open Project> BB. Pieter Martin.
Bio Diesl 30/8a ** BB. Colin Crabtree. 2002. Bolts replaced by Dewald Kloppers in 2012. FA. Andrew Pedley. 2013 The first line with chalk after all the projects, immediately left of Grimslade. Easy to the 3rd clip then a stiff pull then easy to chains. Low in grade, could be 29. Place long draw on 3rd bolt so can clip from jug rail.
Grimslade 27/7b+ 7 Bolts ** Rebolted March 2013 with MCSA Mag and JHB bolts The last well chalked climb on the right of the crag. 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 and is still 26.
Unfinished Business 23/6c+ 7 Bolts
Hobbitry in Arms 20/6a+ 6 Bolts ** A short line with some long moves.
Ramble On 18/6a 6 Bolts * Just to the right of the small cave roof at the far right of Lord of the Rings.
Hendrik and the ents * Just to the right of Ramble On. Hendrik derived from the name carved into the tree.

The Wall of Aglarond

This wall is past Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, through the gulley and past some scree slope. All the routes are not on the wiki yet. Will be updated soon (July 6 2015).

Routes from the LEFT of the crag towards the RIGHT.

1. Seventeen 17/5c 6B+C **** Isolated on a block above the path between Lord of the Rings and The Wall of Aglarond. Really amazing climbing.
2. Minas Tirith 22/6c Leftmost in small dark scoop. Starts left, ends center above small roof. Lonely bolt to the right, this bolt was most likely incorrectly placed as the first bolt and is no longer used.
3. Shorty 18/5c Center line in small dark scoop. The word shlorky comes to mind. Shares bolts with the route on the right.
3. unknown route 16/5c Route rightmost of small dark scoop.
4. The King of the Golden Hall 17/5c 7B+C FA. Andries Smit OR Derek Pienaar. 2003. Starts 3 metres to the left of Mr Gamgee. Keep left, and use the chains under tiny 3cm lip.
5. Mr Gamgee 20/6b 9 Bolts FA. Andries Smit OR Derek Pienaar. 2003. Marked by MG. Route just left of Tarrawankie. Route has its own topout, don't use TKOTGH's topout.
6. Tarrawankie 19/6a+ 9 Bolts FA. Andries Smit OR Derek Pienaar. 2002. Just left of the tree against the base. Beehive right of this route, be careful in attempting this one. Bees are less active in the late afternoon.
7. Legolas 22/6c 14 Bolts FA. Andries Smit OR Derek Pienaar. 2002. Just right of the tree against the base.
8. Lady of Lorien 22/6c 11 Bolts **** <Add FA> Fun sustained route.
9. Aragorn 21 14 Bolts 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.
10. <insert name> Isolated short route.
11. <insert name> 22,23/6c,6c+ 4 Bolts ** <Add FA> Climb the overhang and go up the arete.
12. <insert name> 14 Long easy route up the dark gully.
13. Sauron 18/6a
14. Blue Flowers 15/5b 6 Bolts FA. Rob Brinkworth. The route is about 20m right of SAURON on a low slab with a crack running down the middle.