Africa Edge 21
Start: Just before the India Venster trail turns the corner from Africa to Fountain ledge there is a left facing corner. The first pitch ascends the right edge on the clean arête.
Pitch 1 12m 16
Climb the arête to the top of the buttress.
Pitch 2 15m 20 or 22
Ahead is the next buttress.
Start on the right on blocks under the huge overhang. Climb up into the corner and rail right onto the arête and round it to easier ground and continue easily to the top; or rail back left and 1.5m above the lip of the overhang. Then step up onto the face and continue delicately to the top. A third variation is climb up to the higher rail 3m above the lip of the overhang and rail left to the white face and the climb to the top.
Pitches 3 to 5
Pitch 3 20m 21:
Step up on blocks to the rail on the right side of the arête and then do thin moves up to a good hold on the edge at about 4m. Place some pro including a half-in cam and an RP and a reasonably good rock 7 or 8 and then do a lie back move into an under cling to reach the next rail. Place protection on the left but swing round right on the arête to avoid the lichen covered rock on on the left. Attain the next rail, place high pro and again commit to the arête on the right edge to finish the pitch on exposed and airy moves. Stance on a good ledge.
Pitch 4 15m 20
Step round right and up onto the face on small holds to reach a thin rail. Continue up the arête to another large ledge.
Pitch 5 20m 22
Climb up to the obvious rail just right around from the main edge of the arête (see photo). Lay back up the right edge after placing a high micro-nut or RP and the step around to the right. Continue up a move and then back left into the crack and continue more easily to the bolted abseil point.
First ascent: January 2009
Pitches 3 to 5 Charles Edelstein and Tony Dick. Pitch 1 Robert Breyer and Charles Edelstein Pitch 2 Charles Edelstein
Start: The route is situated on Fountain Ledge and starts 20m below the start of Touch and Go. Scramble up from the path to the first proper rock face 20m below the steep overhanging break of Touch and Go. Walk right along the ledge for 10m to below a scooped undercut face just left of the Dassie Crawl. If you look up at 3m there is a thin under-cling slot that takes small Alien cams for pro. Taller dudes can place these cams by standing on blocks. Up left of the scooped face and left of a blunt arette at about 3.5m one can see a pillar box slot that invites gear placement and a hand hold.
Pitch 1 20m 23:
Step up onto the scooped face and tenuously – if you are short reach round to the pillar box slot. Place good small cams in the horizontal slot just to the left. Move up on thin holds to easier ground. Climb straight up to a ledge below the overhang. Lean back and see the fixed nut up and to the left.
Pitch 2 20m 23:
Move up to the higher, second rail above, and the traverse left 2m to below the fixed nut. Move up past the nut and then to easier ground that is a little run-out and scary but quite safe. Continue to the ledge Pitch 3 25m 21: Climb the grey face to a mantel onto a ledge. Climb straight up the left leaning crack to another ledge. Step right and up onto the undercut face and climb diagonally to the Touch and Go stance under the large overhang. Avoid drag with slings and climb through the Touch and Go roof to the right and step onto the face. Climb up slightly left for 3m and then stance on the Touch and Go stance.
Pitch 4 25m 25:
Start off the right edge of the Touch and Go Ledge step up to a good rail left of “Farewell to Arms” last pitch. Clip the fixed nut and test it if you dare and if it is still there. Climb to the rail under the overhang on thin crimps. Move left 4m to where the overhang peters out and climb up on brittle feeling flakes to the next rail. Rail back right to the fixed nut and pull onto the face above and continue straight up to the jumbo ledge. If the nut has been removed then pull onto the face level with the far left end of the Touch and Go ledge. (A more direct version shown in the photograph is in the offing but has yet to be freed at the time of writing.)
Descent: The abseil chains are 5m or so to the left and down 2m on the edge.
First ascent: 2008/9: Charles Edelstein,Tony Dick, Tini Versveld, Bruce Daniel, Adam Roff, Dave Vallet, Robert Breyer and Willem Le Roux were involved at various times. The acronym - Tired and Totally Wanked-ut Old Climbers - encompasses most of the participants who have an average age well in excess of 40 years of age!
First free ascent: Charles Edelstein 20 December 2008
Arms Race Direct 25
Skips the grade 18 scramble to the start of the real first pitch and instead extends the crux pitch by adding a hard, direct start. Below and slightly right of the grade 23 crux pitch is a leftward-trending, thin layback crack starting just above a small roof split by a vertical crack. Start 5m below this roof.
Pitch 1 20m 25:
Scramble up to the roof. Place a bomber wire just around the lip and some small gear a bit higher, then pull through and into the layback crack. Continue up and into the overhanging groove that forms the crux pitch of the original route.
Pitches 2 and 3:
Next two pitches the same as for the original Arms Race.
Douw Steyn and Willem le Roux, December 2010
La Vida 21
Start: The prominent feature of the Cobblestones Gendarme is the huge overhang and chamber beneath it. The left end of the huge overhang drops a plumbline to Fountain Ledge where La Vida starts up the clean arete.
Pitch 1 12m 18:
Use small vertical cracks slightly left of the arete to get established, then move onto the arete and head straight up to a ledge.
Scramble 10m to the right to a big clean ledge with two knee-high blocks on it. At this point you are looking up at a clean white wall just below and right of the chamber.
Pitch 2 17m 21:
Step off the larger block onto the wall and make cruxy lay aways to get to the horizontal crack that leads to the chamber. This is the "dassie ledge" used by Cobblestones. Head up and left on the steep headwall to reach a large ledge with a recess.
Pitch 3 10m 19:
From the back of the recess move up and left to get through the overhang using the first notch. French Connection continues left to use the second notch. Holy Mackerel heads up the large crack in the back of the recess. Once established on the face above head up directly to the next ledge to belay here. The section above leads to the top of a free-standing pillar which is avoided. Walk left around the corner and into the gap behind the pillar to belay on the big chockstone.
Pitch 4 8m 18:
Head up the clean arete on the left to a platform that is the top of the second free-standing pillar.
Pitch 5 30m 20:
Step across onto the face to gain the block on the left. Head up and left on the steep white wall. Move left below the expanding flakes to avoid them. Move up to gain the steep grey face. Head slightly right and up to the top of the wall. NOTE: The original ascent climbed the expanding flakes at grade 22. This variation is not recommended due the fact that gear and handholds are reliant on the creaking flakes.
Scramble to the top or traverse 100m left to the Magnetic Wall abseil station.
First ascent: Bruce Daniel and Hilton Davies March 2009
Sweet Dreams 22 and Wet Dream 22+
Start: The prominent feature of the Cobblestones Gendarme is the huge overhang and chamber beneath it. The left end of the huge overhang drops a plumbline to Fountain Ledge where La Vida (and Sweet Dreams) starts up the clean arete.
Pitch 1 12m 19:
Use small vertical cracks slightly left of the arete to get established, then move onto the arete and head straight up to a ledge. Cobblestone Chamber is up on the right
Pitch 2 17m 21:
Climb the short face above to a ledge and continue up the arete-which is under-protected - to a recess. (A grey Alien or equivalent Metolius master cam is critical placed in a slot on the right). The arete start can be avoided by walking left 3m and the climbing the under-clings up and right to reach the recess. Continue up to the jumbo ledge above at the base of "The Dream" and "Last Tango". Walk left 7m.
Pitch 3 10m 21:
Start as for Last Tango and do the crux. Continue up the easier ground diagonally left heading for the right facing corner. Traverse right at the base of the corner to do a lay back move into the deep recess at the end of "The Dream" first pitch. Move right by railing on the outside or dassie crawl to the stance at the start of the second pitch of "The Dream".
Pitch 4 30m 22 or 22+:
Climb the second pitch of "The Dream".
Or climb straight through the roof on REM and higher up pull through the overlap 2m left of the crux of the dream.
Pitch 5 20m 14 or 22X:
Move Left 3m and climb the easy arete (or climb directly up the unprotected face for 5m) to scrambling ground and stance on a ledge system that takes you to the abseil chains or to the top out pitch.
Pitch 6 20m 18:
Move 15m left on the ledge system under the overhang to an obvious break in the roof. Climb this starting with a strenuous cranking to easier ground and continue to the top; or traverse 60m left to the Magnetic Wall abseil station.
First ascent: Charles Edelstein and Robert Breyer 21 July 2010
Roulette Arête 25, A2
Start: At the extreme left end of Upper Fountain Ledge where one goes around the bulge to get to the start of Jacob's Ladder.
Pitch 1 20m 25:
Climb the middle of the Roulette wall heading directly up and into the overhanging peapod. On the first rail head out left then up to the Roulette platform to stance.
Pitch 2 10m A2:
Step up onto the ledge at the start of the Roulette overhanging crack and head up then out left on the very overhanging white wall. Use smallest cams for aiding until reaching the end of the seam. Place a no.4 cam then using micro nuts, RPs and bat hooks, struggle up onto the headwall to free climb up to a stance in the rail.
Pitch 3 35m 19:
Head directly up. The route follows the proudest bulge on chicken heads and edges. Place gear when available. Not much to be had.
First ascent: Hilton Davies and Guy Paterson-Jones 22 April 2012
The Squid and the Whale (31) *****
One of the harder routes on the Ledge.Sustained and a touch exciting.
Start: Start on the staircase ledge about 5 meters to the right of the arête between Jeopardy and Jacobs ladder.
Pitch 1 40m (31):
Scramble up the large layback seam for about 10 meters to a ledge. Climb up the centre of the overhanging face through a series of small roofs to the Roulette rail. Plenty of smallish cams are useful to protect this bottom section. Resisting the temptation to sit on the Roulette ledge, rail right 2 meters and gain the next rail using the vertical crack. From this position, pull straight through the next little roof via difficult moves to establish in some underclings. Climb past a peg and move diagonally left past the crux of Jeopardy to 2 more pegs and the Hook rail (the end of Jeopardy). Lace the rail with cams and climb the blunt arête. Pull straight through the next roof and exit out left onto jugs on the headwall.
Figure out a cunning way to get down and to retrieve your gear or join the final pitch of Roulette.
First ascent: J. Smith Feb 2013
The Last of the Mohawks (31/32) *****
Start: As for The Squid and the Whale
Pitch 1 40m (31/32):
Scramble up to the ledge just left of the large blocks. Climb up the center of the overhanging face tending rightwards past the 2nd peg of Jeopardy and up to the Roulette rail. Pull through the Roulette rail crux and straight through the next roof to establish on the headwall. Climb straight up to the Hook rail. Pull through the small roof about a meter left of the Captain Hook corner and climb diagonally on underclings to join Double Jeopardy. Rail left as for Double Jeopardy to finish on the headwall.
First ascent: J. Smith April 2013
Phantom Squeeze 25 R/X
A direct, sustained and rather committing route.
Start in the middle of the blank face between the start of Boltergeist and the arete of Don't Squeeze I'll Laugh
Pitch 1 23R/X 15m:
Use a rail at belly height to access the face. Now you head straight up for 15m on small flakes and edges. Your first good piece is about ten metres up, so bring a helmet. Stance on a good ledge directly below a steep dihedral, which is on the same level as the Finale traverse.
Pitch 2 25 20m
Head for the overhanging dihedral feature. Climb through this to gain the Boltergeist traverse rail. Step 2m right and pull through the far right hand side of the roof on small edges, and tend left to establish on the face. Now head leftwards under the next roof and break through using a large undercling on its left hand side. Continue to the Staircase Ledge.
Pitch 3 24R 20m
To the right of the abseil anchors is a detached block/flake from which climbers used to abseil. Climb to the top of the block/flake and continue straight up the clean white face on small holds. This pitch is situated between the last pitches of Boltergeist and Staircase. Apart from sharing the block at the start with Escalator, it is an independent pitch.
FA Joe Möhle and Richard Halsey Jan 2013
Fountain Fandango 21
Start: The route is situated on Fountain Ridge which is below Fountain Ledge and above Camps Bay. To get to the route either ascend the long ridge from the Pipe Track above Camps Bay at up to grade 16, else abseil in from the Lower Fountain Ledge, else traverse in from Kloof Corner. The prominent feature of the ridge is the enormous roof - visible from Camps Bay beach. The first pitch starts directly below this roof.
Pitch 1 15m 18:
From a ledge directly below the huge roof move up the obvious break in the middle of the wall. Head up and slightly left to reach a small stance a couple of metres below the roof.
Pitch 2 35m 21:
Head left and up to reach the rail at the roof. Move left to the notch that breaks through the overhang. Using good rails hang out and move up to a difficult flaring hand-jam slot. Move a couple of metres up the wall then start heading up diagonally to the right on rails and small holds. Head for the corner up on the right. Use a crack in the right of the corner to reach a small platform. Head up to a ledge.
Pitch 3 35m 16:
Head left and up to reach Lower Fountain Ledge.
First ascent: Bruce Daniel and Hilton Davies 20 February 2009
Fountain Reach-Up 21
The route is an old aid route done by Richard Smithers and Brian de Villiers in 1970 which has not been freed up until now.
The route has three pitches which go at 15, 21 and 10.
The route is situated just right of Fountain Chimney and follows a corner up to a ledge, from the ledge one pulls up into a rail in the roof and rails out right and then up heading towards a notch in another small roof, after this second roof one can make a stance and then continue up easily.
First ascent: Richard Smithers and Brian de Villiers
First free Ascent: Brandon Smith and Catherine Philips