Howissen’s Poort is situated 8km out of Grahamstown on the N2 to Port Elizabeth. About a km down the hill from the Stony Crescent Hotel. At the Berg River bridge there is a parking area next to an old quarry, on the opposite side of the road to the hotel. Although the caves are very close to the car park, they do not look good at all till you cross the stream.
About 40 seconds max.
No access restrictions.
As far as we know, this crag was discovered by Keith James…way back. Initially its potential was only recognized as a bouldering or training area. Later after much gardening some routes were bolted. The wasp problem was sorted, taping a bluet stove onto a stick. Re-bolting was sponsored by the MCSA (Marshall Clan of South Africa).
TIME & WEATHER
Shaded most of the day. Can be very cold in winter. The caves seep badly a few days after heavy rain & can become quite sandy after seeping.
There is still a fair amount of potential for new routes. Between the lower caves. To the R of the smaller cave & the L of the Main Cave.
42 bolted routes and some very poor trad.
Sandstone & quartzite mix.
Area is reasonably safe, but take the usual precautions as the crags are on the national road. The caves tend to attract wanders, vagrants & Rhodes students… they are mostly harmless. There are some times turds in the smaller cave. Watch out for these, they are not fun to stand in.
There is lots of trash at Howissen’s. Please do your little bit & take some of it home with you. Spend 5 minutes filling a bag to take home, you will influence your mates & they will join you. In time it will make every bit of difference. Believe…. SANCF members please note that graffiti is not tolerated by MCSA or Eastern Cape climbers at all. Please do not add to the existing graffiti in either crag. The MCSA is in the process of removing the existing graffiti & are taking Kung-fu lessons.
There are a hundred and one places to stay in Grahamstown. The best would be to stay at the old jail back packers. They have a sweet pub, full of hippies, student & tourists.
This is the sandy cave closest to the main road.
- 1. Crystals Crack – 17 Martin Rehm 15.01.2011 (7B&C)
- 2. Hande Hoch Fritz – 17 Martin Rehm 16.01.2011 (4B&C)
- 3. Fringe Benefits – 21* Keith James May 1995 (4B&C) Re-bolted & extended by Juan-dray Marshall.
- 4. Sputnik – 26** Jeremy Colenso May 1995 (5B&C) Re-bolted & extended by Juan-dray Marshall.
- 5. Body Parts – 29** Jeremy Colenso May 1995 (5B&C) Re-bolted & extended by Juan-dray Marshall.
- 6. Mr Woggligog – 29 Martin Renz 2004 (6B&C) Link route.
- 7. Madam Golliwog – 27* Shannon Law May 1995 (7B&C) Re-bolted & extended by Juan-dray Marshall.
- 8. But Here I Am – 28* Juan-dray Marshall (7B&C)
- 9. Another Roadside Attraction – 22** Keith James April 1995 (5B&C) This was the first route to be bolted at Howissen’s. Re-bolted & extended by Juan-dray Marshall.
- 10. Ma se Antie – 28* Juan-dray Marshall (6B&C)
- 11. L.O.V.E. Machine – 28 Juan-dray Marshall (6B&C)
- 12. Ek Koekeloer Jou – 20 Stefan Kramer 16.01.2011 (6B&C)
- 13. Ek Sommer Moer Jou – 19 Stefan Kramer 16.01.2011 (6B&C)
- 14. Tattooed Madman – 20 Terrance Travaskis
This is a few meters up stream of the small cave. The “vertical” lines in between the caves are included in the Main Cave.
- 1. Hallowed be Thy Name – 19 Keith James 2004 (3B&C)
- 2. Legion – 19 Keith James 2010 (4B&C)
- 3. The Shallows – 20 Keith James 2004 (6B&C) Extended by Derek Marshall.
- 4. Has Been – 21 Keith James November 2004 (7B&C) Extended by Derek Marshall.
- 5. Gymrat – 20* Keith James 1995 (6B&C) Extended by Derek Marshall.
- 6. Invisible Elephant – 21 D.C.Marshall 2001 (7B&C)
- 7. Do The Dassie – 21 Martin Rehm 15.01.2011 (7B&C)
- 8. The Savant – 17 Marc Scáafer (6B&C)
- 9. Savage – 20 D.C.Marshall 26.02.2011 (1B&C) Extension through the roof.
- 10. Slash – 17 Marc Scáafer (5B&C)
- 11. Burn – 22* D.C.Marshall 26.02.2011 (2B&C)
- 12. Émigré – 22 Keith James 1998 (6B&C) Re-bolted & re-directed by Derek Marshall.
- 13. Paglia’s Pursuit – 21* Keith James (5B&C) Re-bolted & re-directed by Derek Marshall.
- 14. Blasphemy – 22** Keith James May 1995 (6B&C)
- This is the route with the hand size jug glued onto it. Re-bolted & extended by Derek Marshall.
- 15. Heresy – 24** Keith James May 1995 (6B&C)
- This route was opened with a glue-on hold at the crux at 23. This was later removed by Kevan Watkins, making Heresy a 24. Re-bolted & extended by Derek Marshall.
- 16. Avatar – 22** Keith James May 1995 (6B&C) This was the first bolted line in the Main Cave. Re-bolted by Juan-dray Marshall.
- 17. Fat Boys Aerobic Workout – 29*** Jeremy Colenso 1995 (6B&C) Bolted by Keith & Jeremy in late 1995. Jeremy Colenso & Shannon Law gave it consensus grade of 29. Later Rhodes students upped the grade to 30. Notably an Italian, Alfredo D’ Matteis (social researcher in PE townships, in 98/99) flashed it, and then later soloed it. He also soloed all the other routes in the big cave. Paul Brouard on-sighted it, but left it at 30. Re-bolted & sent in 2011 by Juan-dray Marshall who was 15 at the time.
- 18. Skinny Toppies – 30*** Juan-dray Marshall 19.02.2011 (9B&C) Bolted D.C.Marshall
- 19. Texas Kak Huis – 25 Juan-Dray Marshall 23.01.2011 (5B&C) Bolted D.C.Marshall.
- 20. Wake Up The King – 24 Juan-Dray Marshall 05.02.2011 (5B&C)
- 21. Amaqwaba – 22 D.C.Marshall 05.02.2011 (4B&C)
- 22. Live Like an Animal – 21 D.C.Marshall 05.02.2011 (4B&C)
- 23. Gaan Kak in Die Mielies – 20 Stefan Kramer 23.01.2011 (2B&C)
This is on a flat ledge about 25m above the stream. A reasonable path starts at the LH side of the Main Cave.
- 1. Valcross – 19 D.C.Marshall & C.Bester 22/02/2002 (4B&C)
- 2. Brighter Day – 22 D.C.Marshall & C.Bester 22/02/2002 (5B&C)
- 3. Strangers on the Street – 19 D.C.Marshall & A.E.Luck 23/02/2002 (5B&C)
- 4. Templar Renegade – 20 D.C.Marshall & A.E.Luck 23/02/2002 (6B&C)
- 5. Offal – 14 A.E.Luck & C.Bester 22/02/2002 (T) Up shelves to a large cave slot. Traverse L under roof & out.
- 6. No More – 14 A.E.Luck & C.Bester 22/02/2002 (T) Up groove, then R under roof & out to the R of roof.
- 7. Bring Your Jeans – 16 C.Bester & D.C.Marshall 22/02/2002 (5B&C)