THE NIC OF TIME 20 ****

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The Nic of Time 17 Nov 2018.jpg

THE NIC OF TIME 260m 20 ****

There is a small group of trad acolytes that have burst forth on the scene for the UCT Mountain and Ski Club lately. And more importantly, even they do not know it (yet) they want to be my new best friends. They want to climb at Yellowwood! Nic van Doesburgh joined me yesterday and we styled a new route between Fun Time and Test of Time. It is an unusual feat to do a ground up first ascent of decent full length ay Yellowwood in one push and it is often hard work requiring multiple attempts to achieve this. As an example, with various other NBF’s it took Willem and me years and 6 attempts to do redpoint ascent of Show Time.

The Nic of Time, (no Brownie points as to how the name got contrived but is also just in time to make the new route book) is not the best route at Yellowwood but is, with Fun Time, the easiest introduction to a full-length route on the main massif. It is overall probably a little harder than Fun Time and a tad more “serious” with the second pitch and the fifth pitch requiring a cool head and trad proficiency to do safely. Both are a bit run-out and require some classic old school “country route” problem solving. With repeat ascents both pitches will improve as vegetation is removed and more and better gear placements are exposed.

Pitches 3,4 and 7 are 5 stars, with pitch 7 being one of the best pitches at Yellowwood. A beautiful corner crack on brilliant rock that flows easily and ends in a shady stance (unless you start too early or are very quick and get there before midday.) Pitch 5 can be avoided by climbing the Fun Time pitch but even though there is about 5m of chossy run-out it climbs the actual climbing is better than it looks, and I found it engaging and interesting.

Start: The route starts about 20m right of the walk-on ledge to Fun Time and about 3 or 4 m right of a large grey rectangular block leaning against the face. The bolts of Newborn are about a rope length (60m) to the right.

Pitch 1 45m 19. Start at a cairn below a short right facing corner. Climb up to the base of the corner and step out left onto the clean face. Climb up a metre or two and then step to the right of the corner to stay on clean rock. Head up diagonally left and over the overlap to under the overhang. Move out left and the find your way up on steep but easy rock to stance on a block on a nice ledge.

Pitch 2 45m 20. Climb up and left from the block and traverse left under the overhang for about 3m. Find your way up the face on thin holds avoiding the chossy obvious crack on the right till it gets easy below the overhang. Traverse left to stance below a shallow recess about 3m right of Fun Time. (It is more comfortable to down climb about 3m to a ledge system for a comfy stance below the recess.)

Pitch 3 22m 20. Climb the recess staying right of Fun Time at the top to where it eases below the overhang. Traverse right and crank through the notch shared with Fun Time and continue to a small but comfy stance on a flate triangular block wedged in the crack.

Pitch 4. 35m 19. Climb up the crack to the massive wedged triangular block and sneak in behind it to exit on its right. Climb up a metre or two and continue on good rails (as does Fun Time) until round the corner. Climb up the corner for 2m but instead of continuing with Fun Time head out left to the arete and crank through on good holds out left into a recess. Climb the excellent crack on the left and exit up left to a stance shared with Fun Time.

Pitch 5. 40m 19 (18R). Climb up the clean rock to the right edge of the overhang. Place good gear and move carefully up the face avoiding the chossy corner on the left. Once level with the obvious tiny ledge system on the left wall below the hanging garden, place bomber Camelot 1 and 3 (4m to the right of the corner) and traverse left to the ledge system. Stay low and use it to gain the left arete and continue up to a comfy stance.

(Alternative to pitch 5: Climb the 5th pitch of Fun Time.)

Pitch 6. 15m 16. Climb up on the rough left support face past the overhang and up the crack to a stance.

Pitch 7 40m 17. Climb directly up past a bush to climb the stellar corner crack to near its top. Move left and up through the notch (shared with Fun Time) to stance on a large flat ledge.

Pitch 8 20m 18. This pitch is shared with Fun Time or instead of avoiding the off-width chimney crack you can climb it! Start up the left slanting grooves left of the corner to below the off-width chimney crack. Climb it or escape round to the left. Climb up a few metres to a thin rail and the move back right above the chimney crack and continue to nice stance.

FA. C Edelstein and N Van Doesburgh 17 November 2018

Gear: Standard rack. No RP’s needed. One set of nuts. Some doubles (of alternate sizes) to 3 inch cams of which only one (3inch) is needed. No special gear needed for stances. Twelve 60cm slings. Double ropes to avoid drag.

Descent: Head down and left to find the Timerity Abseil. 10-15 minutes.