Witteberg

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New Routes

Ripcord (23)***

A steep and fairly demanding line on the buttress behind Du Toit's Kloof Lodge and below Exposure in F Major

Approach:

From the Du Toit’s Kloof Lodge parking lot, take a track to the river and find a suitable crossing place. On the other side of the river aim for a distinct, low angle ridge that leads up to the base of the buttress. Near the top, head right to the large, rectangular face approximately in the centre of the right hand wall. Scramble up to a small overhang

Descent:

We managed to do 5 abseils directly from tree trunks in the gulley to the right of the route. Most convenient if you can pull it off.

Ripcordtopo2.jpg

Ripcord shown in black, descent route (and tree locations) shown in red.

  • Pitch 1. 35m (19) Start just right of the small overhang. Head up and left across the face following the line of least resistance. Sparse gear. At the top, traverse left until just past a grey pillar.
  • Pitch 2. 40m (19) Head up a crack on the right of the pillar for a few meters before stepping left across the centre of the pillar to the left arête. Climb this and then easily to large ledge.
  • Pitch 3. 40m (18) Right of some huge boulders is a vague corner crack. Follow this and tend left to some brown and broken rock (take care). From here, follow the vertical crack system on the right wall of the left corner system. At the roof, traverse 3m right to stance on tiny platform with two trees. [The left wall of the right corner system, directly below these trees, probably has better rock but will be substantially harder]
  • Pitch 4. 12m (22) From the stance, climb the excellent finger crack on the wall to the right of the corner until it terminates. Traverse left to above a tree in the main corner and then up a chimney and layback to a small stance.
  • Pitch 5. 40m (23) Head straight up the steep corner. At the first triangular roof, pull right, then step left and under the next roof until you come to a break where you can pull up to the right. Establish here and then tend steeply up and left to a projecting block. Pull over this to a big ledge. A sustained and exposed pitch.
  • Pitch 6. 40 m (21) Climb a blocky feature on the right to a wide roof crack a few meters up. Crank through, then continue easily for 30m to large ledge.

From here scramble off left to reach the top of the buttress.

FA: Anton Gietl and Richard Halsey (Nov 2013)



Older routes

Berrisfords Route

Camerons Route *** E2

A. Cameron and B. Cameron 1936

"A long, popular classic, but only because no other easy route goes up this impressive wall"

Start: The ridge up the start of the Climbing proper begins on the right of the Du Toits Kloof Hotel, and leads down almost to the river. Walk up the ridge to the first high rock band. This takes approximately 1.5 hours from the hotel. The first Pitch is up a steep little gully towards the left side of the buttress.

Pitch 1. 10m (E2) Pull up into a crabby chimney/crack ( Awkward). Continue up the gully to a long grassy ramp 5m higher. Poor rock on this pitch. Walk 25m to the top of the slope.

Pitch 2. 10m (D) The scruffy short rock step is climbed in the grassy corner, to the shoulder where the main rib now runs at a right angle to the cliff above. Walk up to the left edge under a tall recessed corner.

Pitch 3. 20m (C) Step up and traverse diagonally left to a little stance around the side, below some grotty looking ramps.

Pitch 4. 20m (E1) Continue up the ramp to a section of broken faces.

Pitch 6. 10m (C) A Bushy gully leads to below a steep orange wall

Pitch 7. 30m (E2) Climb a steep water worn face to get into a slanting chimney next to the orange wall. Climb this and a grassy chute above. Another 10m higher is a shoulder where the ridge turns left. Scramble up the for 1.5 rope lengths to the face above.

Pitch 8. 45m (C) Just right of the edge, climb an easy face to a traverse line left, just as the rock starts to look awkward above.

Pitch 9. 12/m (E1) Starting with a step up, the exposed edge of the corner is climbed.

Pitch 10. One and a half rope lengths, (B). Up a grassy chute, followed by nondescript rock.

Pitch 11. 35m (E1) Climb just right of the knife-edge to a platform.

Pitch 12. 30m (B) Scramble to the next step in the knife edge.

Pitch 13. 30m (E2) A Tall pillar split by a classic jam crack is climbed to 20m to a small stance. Only 2 loose prongs at the start mar an otherwise 5 star pitch.Continue by swinging right around the corner and ascending to easier ground.

Pitch 14. 45m (C) Another grassy gully to a ledge.

Pitch 15. 50m (C) Up the left side of the arete to a chockstone-blocked chimney next to a smooth gendarme.

Pitch 16. 25m (E1) Step up to the right of he chockstone, do an awkward move on the corner, continue t a ledge at a wall with a vertical slit in it. Belay over in the corner on the right.

Pitch 17. 5m (E2) A short sharp struggle up the wide crack to a ledge.

Pitch 18. 22m (E1) Some grotty gullies, then an awkward crack is climbed to a rock platform where the ridge now lies back at an easy angle.

Pitch 19. Scramble to the final beacon.

Descent One can go to the summit and follow the normal route down to the vlaktes, or slog up only a short way to a traverse ledge below the summit band. Traverse towards CTN (A beacon on a flat rock on the corner marks the correct level). A Short pull at the end leads to a vlaktes. Then keep near the edge closest to the pass, and angle down diagonally to the connecting neck at the back of the Pisa/Exposure towers. From here by scrambling down easy slabs and ramps on the side of a huge water course cleft, the saddle at the top of the descent gully is reached. An alternative to this steep rough gully is to continue across the vlakte to the path down the A Ridge to Nuweland farm.

Cascades ***

FA Unknown

" A well beaconed, pleasant summer route with nice pools."

Description: Directly opposite the Du Toits Kloof hut, (on the other side of the kloof), is a larger waterfall dropping down the ride of the ridge. While there is an easy route which adheres to the left side of the waterfall, this route goes up the center ridge which divides the falls into two portions.

After crossing the Du Toits Kloof stream, head for a point about 50m above the junction point of the two ravines which form the falls. Here the first beacon will be found.

The route goes up the ridge above the beacon, occasionally crossing to the right or left. Much variation is possible, even an occasional "D" pitch. in Season many red disas can be seen.

A High, attractive waterfall (45m) near the top is bypassed on the right. Exposure in F Major

Firecracker * F3 M2

H. Boshoff, P. Dawson 1974

"Daunting and Dangerous"

Start: The Route commences 10m left of Exposure, On a pitch sometimes used as a start to Thunderbolt.

Pitch 1. 40m (G1) Start 2m left of a right angled open-book capped by an overhang at 10m. Climb a recess diagonally left for 20m. Move up 5m into a V-shaped recess. Climb this, moving out right at the top. Climb up 2m. Cross over to the left (G1) and climb easy rock leftwards to a ledge.

Pitch 2. 15m (F1) Climb a recess straight above to another ledge.

Pitch 3. 30m (F3) Climb straight up for 4m then step left onto a corner. Climb diagonally left until it is possible to move up under the roof of the overhang. Traverse delicately right to a small stance.

Pitch 4. 35m (F2/M1) Climb diagonally right 7m until it's possible to break diagonally left through the overhang using one piton. Climb up 7m to the base of a Lay-back crack. "Aid" up the crack and face just to the left of it until its possible to move left to a stance.

Pitch 5. 15m (F2/M2) Climb the rib on the left of the stance. Traverse right to the crack on the right of an enormous hanging block above. Aid up the crack, moving left a the top then up to a small stance.

Pitch 6. 15m (M1) Aid up to a roof and to the left past a red block. Continue up the crack until equipment runs out and make a stance in the crack below the main roof.

Pitch 7. 20m (F2/M1) Continue aiding up the crack until its possible to turn a small rectangular overhang on the left. Continue up for 2m until it possible to free-climb onto a grey nose on the right and climb steep rock to a small stance.

Pitch 8. 12m (F1) Climb up to a big ledge above.

Pitch 9. 30m (F3/M1) Climb up the crack on the right of the brown recessed face above. Traverse left at the top- second half of the traverse is free. Free-climb up a chimney 6m to a stance.

Pitch 10. 25m (F3/M2) Climb diagonally left across a steep face for 13m. Move up to a "Blockish" overhang. Aid through an obvious break to the right and continue aiding with difficulty up the break to a stance.

Pitch 11. 35m (F2) Traverse right into the obvious exit chimney, which leads to a big ledge at the top.

Pitch 12. Walk 10m right along the ledge and climb broken faces to the top.

Freddie

Grufts Route

Howes Howell's Route

Madonna

Nieboch

Exposure in F Major **** F3

Start: The approach is the same as for Pisa Wall but, after ascending the last gully, traverse right along a grass band that narrows at a waterfall. Traverse underneath the waterfall and then cut left up the slope into a gully running down from the face. Walk up the gully and scramble up onto a shoulder at the foot of a rock rib.

Description

P1: 30m “F1”. Either ascend the recessed chimney to the right of the rib, or else up the rib itself.

P2: 18m “E3”. Continue up the recess above and exit left at the top.

P3: 20m “F1”. Climb across slabs diagonally up to the right to gain a stance under red overhangs.

P4: 32m “F3”. Climb up to the right of the overhang, then back left and up a Layback edge. Ascend this and then move right across a shallow red recess to an edge. Continue across the edge into a recess and climb up to a tiny stance.

P5: 16m “F1”. Climb up a metre or so and then continue around the corner to the right. Continue up to a handrail under the overhangs. Traverse to the right to a very poor stance.

P6: 32m “F2”. Climb up above the stance and then move up to the left to a prominent recessed chimney. Half way up the chimney it is possible to move out to the right to an exposed nose which is climbed to a stance.

P7: 10m “D”. Proceed up diagonally right to a stance on top of a block next to a gully.

P8: 16m “F2”. Climb up a recessed chimney, leaving it on the left hand side to reach a fair stance.

P9: 11m “F2”. Climb up diagonally right until it is possible to move up to the left on spaced footholds and cupholds in the face. Continue to a good stance. This pitch is steep and sustained and should not be underestimated, especially in cold weather. Many climbers who walked the crux have come to grief here.

P10: 18m “F1”. Continue up a shallow recess above the stance, then climb up to the left and up to a very small stance.

P11: 22m “F1”. Climb up slightly to the left into a prominent recess with well weathered rock. Continue up the recess until forced to exit to the right to an obvious stance.

P12: 20m “E3”. Go straight up above the stance to a flake forming a prominent crack. Climb up the outside, or alternatively up the inside of the crack to a wide ledge.

Scramble up to the right. One short “E” grade pitch up a recess follows. Zig-zag up approximately 100 metres of “C/D” grade rock to the top of the ridge, choosing the line of least resistance.

Descent

Go down ramps and ledges in a north-westerly direction. This will bring one out on a vlakte between the Witteberg and the Kromrivier Dome. One can either descend the gully which separates the Witteberg from the lower ridges which feature the ‘Cascades Route’. The top of the gully will be recognized by the ‘V’ shape of the rocks at its head. Alternatively walk across the vlakte in a westerly direction towards the top of the Cascades. A good path will be found which goes down the ‘A’ ridge towards the tunnel.


Thunderbolt **** G1 or 19

H. Graafland and M. Scott 1967

A bold route for summer days, strong arms and good nerves. Epics have been had here.

Start:The start of the route is the same as that for Exposure in F Major.


Pitch 1. 30m (F1) Climb the left hand variation on the first pitch of Exposure.

Pitch 2. 80m (B/C) Scramble along the ledge to the left and climb via a short chimney/crack to the top of a pillar next to a tree.

Pitch 3. 20m (F2 M1) From the pillar move up 5m then right (2 Pitons) and pull up to a handrail. Continue right to a stance.

Pitch 4. 18m (F2) Climb straight up, then move slightly left and climb up to a ledge. traverse left to a pont directly above the start of pitch 1.

Pitch 5. 25m (G1) Pull up through a small overhang then move left. Climb up the recess (6m) then swing right to a small ledge. Climb up a shallow recess , past the overhang, then move right to reach a corner. Layback up to a small stance.

Pitch 6. 35m (F2) Traverse left around a corner (12m), then diagonally left to a niche. Move up to the right then back left to a small stance. Climb up a jam crack to a better stance (3m)

Pitch 7. 15m (F1) Move up a recess to brown flakes then up a jam-crack on the left. Move up via large flakes to a stance.

Pitch 8. 25m (F1) Walk left to the end of the ledge, then traverse around the bulge to a ledge at the bottom of a gully.

Pitch 9. 50m (E1) Move left into a chimney, ascend this and move out into an open gully.

Pitch 10. 20m (E1) From the block indicating the start of a traverse to the right, step down and continue right and climb up to a grassy ledge.

Pitch 11. 24m (F1) Climb a grassy grove and step right at the top. Climb up to an overhang which is side-stepped to the left.

Pitch 12. 22m (F2) Climb a V-shaped grove to a creaking block at the top of a crack, swing right on tiny footholds and pull up onto a small flat ledge. Continue up via a nose to the right to a small stance.

Pitch 13. 16m (F2) From the stance swing down to footgrips below a slab.Climb the slab into a scoop, step down, cross a crack and up on the rib to the right to a small stance.

Pitch 14. 18m (D) Traverse right around a bulging corner.

Pitch 15. 25m (F1) Step Down, traverse right to a spectacular corner (E1), then up via a smooth hand-jam crack to a stance.

Pitch 16. 32m (E2) Climb a watershoot-type ramp to a small stance below a bottomless crack breaking through an overhang above.

Pitch 17. 23m (F2) Climb the crack to below an overhang, step down onto a corner on the right, move around this up past a ledge and up the face above. Traverse left to an expose corner and up via a crack to a stance.

Pitch 18. 35m (D/E) Traverse somewhat left and climb more or less straight up to the top.

Thunderbolt Direct ***** G2 M2

A. Dick and R. Fuggle 1970

"Shot your bolt yet?"

Start:After the fifth pitch, Thunderbolt traverses left under some large overhangs, later traversing back right. This Variation, starting form the stance above pitch 5 of Thunderbolt- goes straight through the overhangs, joining up with the final pitch of the original route.

Pitch 1. 24m (F3) Climb up and to the right, then slightly left to a smallish stance.

Pitch 2. 30m (F2) Climb up to a spire below the overhangs. Climb the spire to a small but comfortable stance at its apex.

Pitch 3. 15m (G2 M1)Move slightly left off the spire and up (1 aid point) to below the large overhang above. Continue to the right and over the lip of the overhang to a small exposed stance.

Pitch 4. 36m (G1 M2) Move up the slab and then diagonally right through two small overhanging sections (6m F2/M2) Climb the recess on the left.

Pitch 5. 55m (F3) Continue up the recess to where is ends and then left on to pitch 18 of the original route.


Pins and Needles ** F2

M. Snijders and H. Snijders 1968

This is a summer climb and one needs a long day to do it. Don't forget your headlamp.

Start: In the center of Witteberg, directly above the hotel and under the very summit, a wall plunges down about 200m below the start of surrounding climbs such as Camerons and Exposure.

Cross the river behind the hotel and follow the path as it winds its way through trees int he ravine and eventually peters out. Continue more or less straight up to the wall to a point some 60m left of a low waterfall undercut by a huge red overhang. The route starts on a ledge marked by a few trees which are conspicuous because the grow a bit higher up against the rock than the surrounding bush.

Pitch 1. 18m (E3) Start from the left end of the ledge. Climb 6m diagonally left to a ledge. Walk 4m left to a shallow right-angled recess. Climb the left corner and continue up 4m to a good stance.

Pitch 2. 36m (E1) From the right end of the stance, climb up over a prominent flake and continue straight up over easy rock to a recess left of undercut slabs.

Pitch 3. 40m (E3) Traverse along broken footrails right to a shallow, narrow recess. Climb up to the top of the slab, then traverse further right to a spacious ledge.

Pitch 4. 30m (E3) Walk right and climb up to a tree growing in a steep, recessed corner. From the level of the foot of the tree, traverse right around a corner. Continue along a climbing traverse 6m right, then climb up through a break to the end of the first section.

Walk a short distance up the gully and cross it to reach a point where the wall coming in from the right dips down in an easy corner. Further left it becomes a scruffy ramp.

Pitch 5. 110m (C) Climb a short face section, then scramble up along the cleanest line diagonally right to the highest point on some broken ledges. Belay at a tree growing at the foot of an overhanging wall and close to the crest of the buttress. Notes: Please confirm the length of this pitch

Pitch 6. 16m F1) Start just right of the tree. Climb up to a big tuft of tough grass which is avoided by a short slab on the right. Traverse 8m right under a line of overhangs, then climb up to the top of a block perched on the crest of the buttress over some 200m of air.

Pitch 7. 18m (F1) Climb the short vertical face above the stance, then a narrow fault above the right edge of the block. Broken rock leads to a good stance.

Pitch 8. 18m (E2) Climb up right and then up a narrow recess on the crest to gain a rocky platform right of the crest.

Pitch 9. 26m (F1) An awkward take off on to the crest is followed by ascending a shallow recess left of the crest. Climb up to a conspicuous slip under the right edge of an overhang (avoid a perched tongue of rock ). Squirm through the slit, traverse around to the right on a balcony, and climb up too the end of this section.

Scramble straight up and around the base of a squat pinnacle and up a steep gully on the left to a small saddle.

Pitch 10. 30m (E2) Start from the center of the saddle. Climb straight up a slightly bulging face to a stance immediately right under a big overhang.

Pitch 11. 30m (E3)Climb a recess to the left of an overhang to a ledge under higher overhangs. Move 6m right to a wide ledge on the crest, then climb up through a gap in the overhangs to the left. 3 m higher there is again a break in an overhang, which gives access to a narrow ledge under a yellow overhang.

Pitch 12. 33m (E3) Climb diagonally right across a slab to agap next to an overhang. Climb 5m up a recess, then move right and continue up a series of slabs and corners to exit eventually on a wide ledge to the left on the crest of the buttress.

Pitch 13. 33m (E3) Climb 7m diagonally left to a thin crest next to a chimney, Climb the crest until it becomes possible to cross left above the chimney to a stance in a grassy corner.

Pitch 14. 28m (E2) Climb up on the right side of the fault above the stance, then cross the fault to a narrow crest on its left. Climb the crest to a small stance at the foot of a crack.

Pitch 15. 15m (E3) Climb a crack and move out left to easy rock on top of the first pinnacle.

Pitch 16. Walk around an isolated crown on the ridge. Climb the next step halfway between the crest of the ridge and the gully on its right (9m "D"). Scramble up to a rock platform some way up from the base of the next pinnacle and right of its crest.

The somewhat illogical things that follow results from the need to stay out of the obvious gully to the right, which Gruft used.

Pitch 17. 25m (F1) Climb about 2m up the red wall on the side of the pinnacle, then semi-hand-traverse to the crest. Climb up the crest to the lever of a big detached block. A climbing traverse some 8m left ends at a good stance.

Pitch 18. 30m (E3) From the right end of the stance climb 8m up a face and crack, then move along a ledge left, and continue up broken rock to the end of the second pinnacle.

Pitch 19. 90m (D) Easy and pleasant rockwork on the left side of the final pinnacle leads to a small saddle between this pinnacle and the final face. Scramble up another 15m to a ledge.

Pitch 20. 27m (E2) Traverse left to a broken corner at the end of the ledge. Climb the corner and proceed up to a sloping ledge under a bulge. Move up diagonally right to a narrow ledge. Walk 3m right, then climb 8m to a narrow ledge on the top of a flake.

Pitch 21. 30m (F2) Walk to the right end of the ledge and then climb 3m to an undercut corner. A delicate climbing traverse some 8m right and slightly up, leads to a bulging corner. Climb more of less straight up to a generous ledge.

Pitch 22. Traverse along the ledge into a prominent gully to the right. 2 or 3 sections of easy rock uip the gully complete the route.

Pisa Wall **** F2

H. Graadland , H. Snijders 1960

Classic and sensational, it is the textbook introduction to country climbing.

Start: About 1km from the Hut along the road to Worcester, a farm road turns off to the left through orchards and crosses the river to a conspicuous bungalow, A sloping ridge immediately behind the hose leads straight up to the left of the face. After passing a large scree curving up into the face, first to the right then back to the left. Using this to cut out 60-70m of bushy buttresses. The climb starts at the first rock band encountered after following the sickle, about 45m right of the skyline of the buttress.

Pitch 1. 25m (D) Climb an obvious chimney crack to a ledge.

Pitch 2. 20m (B) Scramble diagonally left to the skyline and follow the ledge for about 60m round to the left hand side of the buttress. Scramble up to the next rock band at the foot of a prominent rib of rock.

Pitch 3. 20m (D) Climb a sloping break left of the crest of the rib.

Pitch 4. 27m (D) Climb an obvious break right of the crest of the rib.

Pitch 5. 85m (D) Climb along the line of least resistance to a projecting rib of bulging boiler plates.

Pitch 6. 25m (D) Traverse 10m right onto the crest of the ridge. Climb a short recess and follow 2 chimney crack to a platform on top of huge blocks.

Pitch 7. 20m (F1) Step off left and traverse about 3m. Climb up a short face and go slightly right to the base of a narrow crack. Move up the crack to the top and then right and up to a stance.

Pitch 8. 27m (F3) Scramble up on te right then traverse left to the skyline. Continue around the corner for 3m, the up 3m to gain a narrow foot rail on the level of the overhangs. Traverse left around a block to gain a stance, or 2m up to a better stance.

Pitch 9. 25m (F2) Descend to the lower stance, then traverse 3m left and up a few blocks to a shallow recess. Climb up the recess 5m, then diagonally right to a small foot rail. Traverse right into a recess with a crack in it. Climb this recess then move left to a ledge.

Pitch 10. 25m (E2) Traverse 2m left, climb an open recess and out to jutting rib on the left. The stance is on the ledge that runs left. Traverse along this ledge 60m to a stance immediately left of projecting red overhangs. Note that there are several direct variations through the rock above the traverse before reaching Pitch 11

Pitch 11. 40m (E3) Pull up on a slab. Move up and then an awkward move over to the corner on the left. Traverse left to a chimney and climb up to a ledge.

Pitch 12. 33m (E1) Follow the recess above to a ledge.

Pitch 13. 13m (E1) Move diagonally left. A high handrail will enable one to traverse out left and gain a small ledge.

Pitch 14. 33m (F1) Traverse left along the ledge for some 8m. Climb a rib of square, broken blocks to a narrow ledge. Traverse 9m left under a small overhang. A step across enables one to gain skyline corner/rib and traverse to a small block stance.

Pitch 15. 23m (F2) Traverse left to a shallow depression and climb up to a small overhang. Traverse left to the corner and then up it to a stance.

Pitch 16. 100m (D) From the stance, move left of a meter of so and continue up a chimney/crack to a wide ledge. Walk right and continue futher up the chimney/cracks to a stance.

Pitch 17. Two rope lengths along the knife edge lead to the summit.


Too Late to be Cautious