Klein and Groot Hangklip

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Klein and Groot Hangklip
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Climbing TypeMulti Pitch Trad
Rock TypeSandstone
SeasonAll year round
ProvinceWestern Cape
AreaPringle Bay

How to get there

Take the R44 from Somerset West to Rooi Els. Klein Hangklip is the peak directly above Rooi Els. For Groot Hangklip, continue to Pringle Bay, follow the main road through the town to the Hangklip Hotel.

KLEIN HANGKLIP APPROACH: From the top of the hill above Rooi Els there is a disused road to a burnt out house. Follow the vague path to the base of the crag.

GROOT HANGKLIP APPROACH: There is a vague path starting behind the Hangklip Hotel to the base of the crag

Fees & Permits


Accommodation & Food

Pringle Bay and Rooi Els have shops and accommodation

Attractions & Activities

Diving, fishing, surfing.


A. B. BERRISFORD (MCSA Journal 1951 p34-36) The opening of the road round the False Bay coast on its eastern side, from Gordon's Bay to Cape Hangklip, has enabled the climber to ascend many peaks and ridges above the sea escarpment, without the heavy carrying and footslogging along rough pathways which was the only means of approach in the "good old days", unless, of course, he took a boat from Kalk Bay or the Strand, risking seasickness as well. To-day the good tarmac road carries him along in luxurious comfort and he can alight at the foot of peak, ridge or ravine and commence his climb without expending energy for hours or days before proceeding with the chosen climb. On the 4th March, 1951, a large party set out on a one-day trip in several cars to Rooi Els, a very pretty spot on the coast about 15 miles beyond Gordon's Bay. We had designs on the sharp edge directly up the front of the Klein Hangklip, a shapely little (971 feet) peak with a fine frontal ridge facing towards the the sea. The rock profile was followed closely and the route we did is both attractive and imposing when seen from the road about half a mile before entering Rooi Els Bay. The same profile shows up even better when viewed from the farther side of Pringle Bay, the next big indentation and bay about five miles beyond Rooi Els. Our large party, consisting of A. B. Berrisford, K. A. R. Bain, M. Giersing, E. E. Hundermark, C. Katz, F. J. Paterson, P. Paterson and O. Turner was, in addition, graced by the presence of two Club ladies, Dr. E. Cheesmond and Miss H. M. Thorpe.

There are two clumps of smooth rounded rock outcrops at the foot of the climb and we commenced straight above the bigger of these.

The details are as follows : (1) 50 feet. Use either easy gully just to the left or go up open face just to the right. The gully is only "B" and the face "D".

(2) 85 feet. Facework at the start finishing over a steep sloping rock which ends beneath a large brownish sloping overhang jutting out over our heads. The whole of this 85 feet is about "C" difficulty. Whilst belaying from just above the sloping rock, I saw an unusual sight just beneath me. A great black female scorpion was proceeding apace in a downhill direction over the steep rock. On its back, clinging rather precariously, were some eight or nine baby scorpions. It seemed a miracle that none of the babies fell off into space and that mother scorpion was able to progress with such a burden. I asked Dr. Barnard about this mode of transport of baby scorpions and he told me that it was quite usual for the mothers to carry their young in such a fashion.

(3) 40 feet. It was now obvious that the climbing was to be more difficult. The rock had changed to a brown colour and had become more sheer with less grips. The first bit is to enter a narrow sloping crack with the left leg up to the right and then swing across and on to the sheer wall again to the right. Hand grips high up can then be gripped and a good heave gives way to easier work towards a good platform to the right.

(4) 6O feet. The whole buttress is "fluted" by great slits tilted sharply to right from left, and while the front portion of the party indulged in spasmodic crablike movements towards the left to overcome the overhangs there, the lady members imitated mother scorpion on the sloping rock below, but without the scorpion's burden. This pitch is about "D" and leads to the front of the buttress again.

(5) The front of the buttress is more broken now and the way goes straight up. Difficulty about "C" standard, length 50 feet.

(6) 6O feet. This pitch is more difficult and the climbing is of "E" standard, in a sensational fashion and the stance is a crouching one beneath an overhang a little to the right.

(7) 30 feet. The way out lies to the left, where a way is wormed up through some openings. Difficulty "D". We were now at a broadish broken ledge, covered with great boulders with some deep holes underneath. This broken ledge forms a distinct shoulder which splits the whole buttress about two-thirds of the way up from the bottom.


Groot Hangklip consists of two peaks and three major ridges. Shipley's Original Route takes the Central Ridge (he refers to it as the left hand ridge) while Turner's Hangover Ridge takes the Southern Ridge. The majority of the routes are on the Northern Ridge. Cape Pushover is to the right of the Central Ridge and Hangklip Wall takes the central line between the Central and Southern Ridges.


  • Note: The lines for the area between Shipley's Frontal and Hangover Ridge should be taken with a pinch of salt and a greater reliance on the written description as I've not climbed any of them yet.


Shipley's Frontal Route on Main Buttress "E":

Groot Hangklip Frontal (MCSA Journal 1943 p53)

This is a magnificent route on sound rock throughout. It is:particularly sensational on the lower sections where the stances are very small. We chose 'the' easiest line thoughout. Quite a few variations appear possible in the upper sections.

Start to the left of main buttress to avoid lower overhangs.

(1) 45m "C": The key is a thin ledge running slightly upwards to the right leading to an obvious stance on the crest on the ridge above the initial overhangs. Climb along this ledge stepping around one awkward corner to finish at the stance.

(2) 40m "E2/3": Move straight up rib. The first part is "D", the latter part vertical "E" on red rock. Move up and diagonally left at the top towards a tiny stance at bottom of a V groove.

(3) 40m "E2/3": Move up groove "D" exiting left onto tiny ledge traverse left and up (rather delicate) into obvious fault line leading diagonally up to left to cubbyhole. Move left, then up and right on thin grips to reach big ledge above.

(4) 15m "D/E": Walk 10m right towards corner, Move up obvious gully via an awkward overhanging takeoff, and exit slightly left over blocks. (One is now directly below the prominent overhanging nose on crest.)

(5) 22m "E2/3": Walk right alongthe ledge for 20m. Climb white face above, moving slightly right in the direction direction of a cave. Wind through overhangs and exit right via a block, leading to a pull up to a cave stance.

(6) 80m "B/C": Exit to right onto a broad slope leading upward via a mixture of bushes and rock, leading to finish just right of the beacon. Note: Purists would no doubt continue up the rock via an unpleasant looking crack above the cave stance, but the standard looks a bit "F-ish". Alternatively, one could use our exit right, and. traverse back to the main crest, to finish up on two apparently straight forward "E" pitches.

Original Route "D":

A New Route on the Hangklip, Cape (MCSA Journal 1960, p109)

John Grindley

This ridge first attracted our attention while we were on Shipley's frontal route on the Groot Hangklip. Inclement weather had forced us to take shelter in a cave about halfway up the climb, and we came to discuss the possibility of a route up the North-West Buttress which we could see from our eyrie. This buttress forms the left-hand edge of the Hangklip face, and is separated by a broad amphitheatre from the central frontal ridge. it is a good straight ridge of sound-looking rock about 600 feet high, which looked as if it might yield a fine route. We resolved to return to make an attempt on it as soon as possible.

On Sunday, October 30, 1960, Bill Turner and the writer were able to return. We built our initial beacon immediately at the foot of the ridge with some misgivings, for there appeared to be a band of overhangs about a too feet up.

Our first pitch landed us above a large clump of aloes right underneath these overhangs, but we found it possible to avoid the latter by a short traverse round the corner to the left. From there one proceeds directly upwards for a 100 feet or so until it is possible to regain the crest of the ridge on the right. At this point there is a ledge with a prominent block, and we built a beacon on the corner.

Gaining the corner involves an airy traverse where we were forced to climb down below the ledge by the bulging face above. Beyond the corner we climbed up diagonally to the right of the crest for about 50 feet to where a short arm-pull pitch took us through a problematical-looking wall.

After this we regained the ridge to the left once more, and continued up easier rock on and to the right of the crest. The general standard eases and in the upper sections and some variation is possible.

We found a very pleasant final pitch right on the crest. A swing out from under an overhang lands one in a corner, which leads up to a small platform right at the summit of the ridge, almost immediately above the starting point.

The verticality of the climb is quite surprising, and were it not for the abundance of good holds it would be intimidating, As it is, the climb is in places quite sensational, but nowhere does it exceed "D" standard in technical difficulty.

Additional notes by Jeff Goy:

The easiest line through the lower sections is to start at the extreme left corner of the buttress, and scramble up to the first sloping ledge, thereby avoiding the first 40 m of vertical rock. (They do however provide some pleasant, climbing of "D/E" standard via a steep white face, which leads up diagonally left through the overhangs to finish on the above mentioned ledge). Traverse right along this narrow ledge until it peters out, and ascend an obvious bushy "C/D" gully to stance under an overhang. Then traverse at "B" for 40m diagonally upwards to the right to reach the crest of the ridge. From here a pleasant but airy "D" face leads to a large ledge just below the exit ledge. This description does not tally exactly with John Grindley's short 1960 article, but it is the easiest way through. There are some other options which increase the standard slightly, some of which are:

(1) Start up the above mentioned "D/E" white face but exit right half-way up to reach a stance. From right end of stance, move up for 10m on sound "E" rock until it is possible to traverse right for 15 or 20m via a sensational "toe nail" traverse at "E" to a tiny stance. Move down and right into an easy "D/E" gully and face leading in to the base of the bushy "C/D" crack mentioned above.

(2) From the top of the bushy gully, instead of the long traverse right, climb blocks above, dassie traverse right until it is possible to stand up and ascend delightful open-book corner to reach ledge just below exit ledge - a classic "E" pitch of about 20m. The upper section of the "D" route requires little comment as it goes on the crest throughout, the most obvious and pleasant finish to avoid the top overhang being an exit left finishing in a cave.

Hangover Ridge:

W. Turner (MCSA Journal 1961, p78-79)

One befuddled Sunday morning in May, 1961, John Grindley, Taffy Lloyd, Gus. Strover and I decided that lower mountains were the order of the day, so we set off to look at the route on the Groot Hangklip described by O. Shipley in the 1943 Journal. This route looked far too exciting, however, so we decided to justify ourselves by attempting the right-hand frontal ridge which he had described as "just a little too vicious to attract'. The ridge rises smooth and very sheer for 200 feet until it is interrupted by a series of overhangs that intrude first from the left and then from the right.

Feeling secure in the knowledge that we would be unlikely to succeed in leaving the slope, we scrambled cheerfully up the small gendarme at the foot of the climb. Here, a 60-foot "C/D" fault just to the left of the crest led us innocently on, and there seemed to be little harm in continuing 40 feet up some nondescript "D" grade rock to the pleasant narrow ledge, well equipped with an abseil tree, below the really fierce stuff.

In a moment of weakness I tied on and set off in a curious frame of mind along a thin traverse to the right. Unhappily, I soon found myself on the wrong side of a seemingly irreversible move and, cursing my inquisitive nature, I was forced to carry on, over what I felt was the most difficult pitch I had ever led, to a one-man stance 40 feet to the right where I hastily knocked in a peg and tied on, My `Come on, it's a magnificent bit of climbing, rather tricky though', enticed Taffy round the corner. Reaching me with insulting ease—'mild "E" ' says he—he continued to traverse for 25 feet to a corner where a pull-up between two large overhanging boulders ("D" standard) landed him on a small stance. When I arrived below the boulders, he informed me with an evil leer that the right-hand boulder rocked alarmingly and that the only reason why he had not kicked it off was that it supported the left-hand one which comprised a part of the stance as well as the belay!

Frustrated by the lack of an abseil point, we were forced up a recess capped by an overhang 20 feet above. Thank heavens the holds required to surmount the over-hang made the move to another small stance no more than standard. Here, there was just enough room for the whole party to assemble before Taffy, his blood now up, made off up to the right. Ignoring an obvious move (subsequently proved to be for reasons best known to himself, he climbed up a short layback and then, leaning backwards alarmingly, he reached for a hidden handrail over the overhang and did a spectacular swing to the right.

The stance thus reached is well projected over space, exciting and small. Above, a bleak, smooth face rose for 25 feet to a small platform below further overhangs. The trouble with the face was that there seemed to be no holds, only indentations, and it was swept by a biting wind. Besides, we were far too shaky. I felt it was feasible, but Taffy shook his head and disappeared down a dassie traverse from which I shortly extricated him by the heels.

Feeling that the D.T.'s were imminent, we now started a cunning retreat involving abseils, pendulums and rather too much excitement. A few weeks later we were back, unfortunately in an even worse state than before, and we spent so much time safeguarding ourselves with pitons that we did not even reach the highest point previously reached, Taffy subsequently left for gentler climes where there are no high mountains. Gus, John and I were so demoralized on the next occasion that we decided that Groot Hangklip was too `groat' and settled for an ascent of Klein Hangklip.

Then one day when the hangovers were not too bad, Grindley, Rusty Baillie and I found ourselves on the ultimate stance below the delicate face. This proved to be no more than "E" grade and, to our surprise, a walking traverse led us to the left through the overhangs where a bottomless chimney on the left provided the key to a magnificent 90-foot "D" pitch. Above this only scrambling separated us from the summit and suitable celebrations. The route is an interesting short problem, and there appears to be no alternative way through. The rock is of high quality and the climbing exciting.

Cape Pushover:

(MCSA Journal 1965, p113-114)

John Grindley

On November 25, 1962, a party consisting of Shirley Moor, Dennis Briggs, Angus Strover and the writer climbed a new route on Hangklip a short distance to the right of the frontal ridge. This is now the fourth climb described on Hangklip and a fifth is described below. In 1943 Shipley' described the splendid orginal frontal route "F" on what he called the left-hand ridge. It might better be described as the central ridge, for much further to the left, and separated from it by a broad rock amphitheater, lies the North-west Buttress on which I described a "D" route in 1960'. Then in 1961 Turner gave an account of the "E" route that we opened up on the fierce-looking, right-hand buttress which we called 'Hangover Ridge'. The present route takes a line slightly to the right of the central ridge, starting by breaking directly through the overhangs dodged by Shipley's route. The key move that enables one to break through the first line of overhangs is just to the left of a prominent, angular, grey nose of rock. The climbing is pleasant, and the route is much shorter than the other routes on Hangklip as it finishes up in the open grassy gully between the central frontal ridge and the right-hand Hangover Ridge. This gully ends between the twin summits of the peak.

Technical Description

Start about 100 feet to the right of the crest of the central frontal ridge and below some prominent overhangs (cairn).

(1) 100 feet "E": Climb a whitish face diagonally up to the left past some projecting fingers of rock and then continue diagonally up to the right via an awkward mantelshelf (good rock-knob for a belay).

(2) 20 feet "E": Climb up under the overhang to the left of the prominent grey nose men-tioned above where a hand-jamb and an airy swing-up to the right breaks through the overhang (good rock-knob for a belay a few feet above).

(3) 80 feet "D": A few feet of climbing leads into a bushy gully leading up to the left.

(4) 30 feet "C": Traverse to the right, climb a recess, and then walk up to the right beneath prominent cave-like overhangs.

(5) 120 feet "D": Move up diagonally to the right of the cave past a bush and then continue straight lip the face on excellent holds.

(6) 50 feet "D": Climb a recess and move out to the right at the top past a big bush (cairn). A few hundred feet of scrambling up a grassy gully leads to the summit. Party: Shirley Moor, Dennis Briggs, Angus Strover and John Grindley.

Hangklip Wall:

MCSA Journal 1965, p114-115

John Grindley and Frank Talbot

A huge wall of rock lies beneath the right-hand (southern) summit of Hangklip and faces out over the sea to the west. To the right of this face lies the ridge up which the climb Hangover runs, while to the left of the upper part lies the grassy gully up to which the climb Pushover leads. A faint line of weakness in the form of a broken series of chimneys and cracks leads up the centre of this otherwise impregnable wall. Several attempts were made on this obviously attractive route by parties including M. Millard, A. M. Shipley, L. D. Schaff, H. Rosenthal and Frank Talbot over a period of more than a year, but an overhang (pitch 7) halted further progress using traditional methods. It was only the introduction of a load of ironmongery that made this crux pitch feasible. The route was finally completed by a party consisting of Shirley Moor, John Grindley and Frank Talbot early in 1963.

Technical Description

Start near the highest point of the bush slope between the central (frontal) and right-hand (Hangover) ridges, from where a broken series of cracks leads up towards the left (cairn).

(1) 40 feet "D": Climb the diagonal crack up to the left as far as a bush below an overhang, and then traverse to the left to the first stance. Scramble down and round to the left for 20 feet to a stance.

(2) 30 feet "D": Climb a short face of jointed, polished rock and then scramble up to the right for a belay. Traverse 40 feet to the right to the base of the next pitch.

(3) 35 feet "D": Climb a clean recess with flakes to a stance on a ledge (good belay eight feet above the ledge).

(4) 45 feet "D": Climb the chimney, which starts a few feet above the ledge, to a wide, bushy ledge. Traverse around the corner to the right to the foot of the next pitch.

(5) 35 feet "E": Climb a brown wall into a recess and continue up to a point about 10 feet below a capping overhang where it is possible to move to the left over smooth, glassy rock to a broad ledge.

(6) 30 feet "E": Climb a recessed corner, and then move to the left up a rather overgrown recess. Please conserve the aloes, they are necessary!

(7) 30 feet "F and A2": Climb the recess to a cubby-hole and then continue through the overhang above. We found pitons and an etrier necessary for this section. Then traverse to the left immediately above the overhang and proceed up to a bushy stance. Scramble up and to the left on to a bushy ledge.

(8) 70 feet "D": Climb around the ridge to the left and follow the ledge to the end. This ledge is the first escape route off the climb.

(9) 50 feet "E": Start 20 feet to the left of the ridge and work diagonally to the right up the face to an overhang, and then continue through the overhang and directly up to a ledge with a good tree belay.

(10) 50 feet "D": An interesting take-off directly above a tree leads to easy climbing up to a broad, sloping, bushy ledge.

(11) 30 feet "E": Climb the crest of the corner directly above, which includes a swing to the left on to a projecting shelf, and continue on an easy face above. (`Shirley's Pitch': This point is about halfway from the foot of the rock to the summit). A wide, sloping, bushy ledge lies above.

(12) 100 feet "D": Nondescript scrambling and climbing leads diagonally up to the right.

(13) 80 feet "F": Start at the right of the smooth face below the large overhangs, and climb the recess to the right of the face. Then traverse to the left under the overhangs on the lichen-covered face to a good stance.

(14) 60 feet "E": Continue to the left under the overhangs, and descend ro feet. Some plea-sant climbing turns the overhangs and completes the route. Scramble 200 feet to the summit.

Party: Shirley Moor, John Grindley and Frank Talbot.

Cosmic Crypt "G1", "A2":

MCSA Journal 1981 p61

Johnathan Gordon

Behind the blockhouse, traverse to the right to a point about 30 m to the left of a big gully cleaving the slope above the faces. The route follows a steep ramp just to the left of a smooth overhanging rock.

(1) 25m "F1": Climb the ramp and grooves to exit to the left to a stance with a big bush behind it.

(2) 10m "F2": Move right for 2m and then climb the face on small grips to a ledge below a thin crack.

(3) 22m "F2/A2": Climb up to a small overhang above and aid the thin crack on the right-hand side. Using a jug reach for the handrail and rail out right to a sloping stance on a small ledge.

(4) 10m "F3": Move to the right along the base of a huge triangular flake- Climb the groove on the right-hand edge of the flake. Reach the top handrail and move right to a good ledge.

(5) 20m "G1": From the left-hand end of the stance; climb a crack via an awkward and then cross a short slab to the handrail at the left-hand edge of the big overhang, Using a small hidden footgrip, swing airily around the corner and climb to a handrail with a brown tuft on it. Moving right, pass this and about 2m further on battle the bulge (crux) to follow a break to a ledge above. (A freaky pitch!)

(6) 20m "F1": Traverse left to a break and follow this to a ledge. Walk left around the corner and into a gully which is scrambled to the top. Party: John Davies and Johnathan Gordon.

Pinnacle Ridge "E":

MCSA Journal 1989 p133-136

Jeff Goy and Graham Scoble

Start a little to right of crest on which: pinnacle stands. This is about 60 m to right of the start of the "D" route.

(1) 25m "E": Move up thin fault for 5m so as to reach a traverse line left. Traverse 10m to corner, climb down and around a block to a cubbyhole stance around corner.

(2) 10m "D": Traverse diagonally up to left, then exit right via obvious crack line leading to first pinnacle.

(3) 8m "E": Scramble few metres up to below an open-book corner. Move two metres right and up a small recessed corner, exiting via an awkward pull up, to reach top of pinnacle.

(4) 20m "D": Follow. up diagonal fault leading up to left.

(5) 15m "D/E": Continue up same faultline via an awkward start to a small stance on the left below a forbidding wall

(6) 20m "E": Move out to the right onto an exposed ramp which leads through small overhangs. Watch for loose pinnacle.

(7) 25m "E": Move straight up into the fault curving up to the right, With an awkward finish to the top of the block. Move up and left a few metres to narrow ledge leading left.

(8) 20m "E": Walk left along the ledge and across climbing traverse towards corner which leads up to the right-hand corner of the exit ledge.

(9) 18m "D/E": Move diagonally up to the right until it is possible to exit left to stance above.

(10) 15m "D/E": Move up diagonally right via crouching traverse until possible to move up obvious break to ledge above.

(11) 25m "B": Move up a bushy gully slightly to the right, and right along a sloping ledge

(12) 30m "E": Move 5m up in the corner on the left below overhangs and start a 20m climbing traverse to left until stance is reached on corner. (This stance is shared with standard route)

(13) 26m "D/E": Zig-zag up to right via a few awkward corners to stance in cave under overhang. Walk.along ledge for 20m until it widens.

(14) 15m "D": Move diagonally up the left on a white face to reach stance above. Continue diagonally right up ledge and around an exposed corner to obvious break.

(15) 6m "C/D":. Move up slightly left to finish on the summit.

Darwin "D/E"

Start at the top left-hand corner of the amphitheatre which lies between the northern "D" ridge and the main frontal.

(1) 35m "C": Move diagonally left up a smooth ramp for 8 m to reach a narrow ledge running left. Walk left for a further 20m along the ledge, then climb left up a few blocks to reach a small stance.

(2) 10m "E": Move up left and around a corner, and up a few metres to reach a hand rail facilitating a step across an exposed gap to the left to a block. Move across the block to a small stance.

(3) 20m "E": From top of the block move up a thin crack via an awkward move to the right onto easier rock. Traverse right a few metres and then up a slightly loose recess to reach a big ledge above.

(4) 25m "E": From the highest point of the ledge move diagonally right and up to a cave stance below imposing overhangs.

(5) 40m "B: Move diagonally left up a fault line following a crack up to narrow ledge. Continue along this ledge around a corner and move up to a large stance.

(6) 20m "C": Scramble up the face to right of a bushy gully to an obvious stance below the next cliffs. (This stance is shared with the `Pinnacle Ridge' route which goes directly up and left.)

(7) 25m "E": Move 6m up an an easy crack to the right Which appears to lead nowhere then squeeze through left between overhangs, avoiding loose blocks. Move diagonally up left via an awkward recess, pulling up to reach a thin ramp leading left and up to a to ledge.

(8) 15m "D": Move up and right along ledge into a small amphitheatre, and climb up left-hand containing wall to ledge above. (This is the same face as for pitch 14 on the 'Pinnacle Route', but there is enough scope for the 'purist' to avoid using the same hand and footholds.)

(9) 8m "D/E": (This is only for the purist who insists on not exiting via the 'Pinnacle: Route'.) Move diagonally up ledge: and step around to the right to a recess exiting from the 'Pinnacle Route'- Move through a hole in rock then climb the block above the hole. Pull up left through unpleasant rock to reach the summit.

File:Groot Hangklip.pdf


From the top beacon, find the path running down to the east that links up with the path between Betty's Bay and Pringle Bay. You can also scramble down the gully to the north of the Original "D" route.