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Climbing TypeSport, Trad, Boulder
Rock TypeGranite
SeasonAll year
ProvinceWestern Cape

How to get there

Fees & Permits

Accommodation & Food

Attractions & Activities


There are some excellent single- and multi-pitch sport routes at Paarl Rocks. The climbing is on large granite domes.

The rock seems to dry quicker than the sandstone crags around Cape Town, so Paarl Rocks may be a good destination if it has been raining recently.

The Noy brothers have recently published a climbing guide to Paarl that is available from most climbing shops.

Getting There

The Paarl Rocks are about 60 km north of Cape Town. From Cape Town drive north along the N1, and turn off at Paarl. Look carefully for the sign to the Paarl Rocks Mountain Reserve (it is easy to miss).



Sands of Time (18, four pitches) is the best multi-pitch sport route of its grade in South Africa.

Little Dutch Boy (20, three pitches) is excellent.

Umkhonto we Sizwe (22) and Splinter of the Mind's Eye (19) are great mixed trad/bolt routes that can easily be top-roped off the chains.

  • Chicken Run 27 Jeremy Samson, July 2007
    Starts left of Little Dutch Boy and goes straight up to the chains of Pitch 2 of Little Dutch Boy. You will need two ropes to get down as the route is much longer than 30m.
  • Closed project: Jamie Smith In between little Dutch boy and Wonderland
  • Unknown 23 Clinton Marteningo, 2007
    Bolted line somewhere between Sands of Time and Sunset Strip.

Crank Prank Section

Crank Prank
Hidden Gem Boulder

1. Crank Prank 24? AdK, 1985?
From the top of the Splinter Boulder, one can see a tor with a thin crack in it, about 100m down the slope towards the houses. Traverse in from the right and climb the crack.

2. Hidden Gem 18 Steven Reed, ??
Beautiful short hand crack with chains at the top. Truly a Gem.

3. Unknown 18? ??
Vertical crack to the left of Hidden Gem. Beware of big loose/hollow sounding rock at the top.

4. Unknown  ??
Start as for 3, but follow crack to the left until able to stand on ledge. Follow vertical crack to top.

5. Lily's line 16 Steven Reed, ??
Bolted line on boulder left of Hidden Gem boulder. 5 bolts and chains.

6. Let it Bee 17? Anro le Roux, 2010
Short high ball crack on boulder behind Hidden Gem boulder. Anro bouldered the route, but sane people would want to put a piece of natural gear in close to the top.

Two Cents Slab

Two Cents Slab top section

1. Lightning Bolt Crack 12 Hilton Davies and Matthew Lloyd-Sim, 6 June 2008
This route takes the prominent and attractive lightning bolt crack. The route offers sharp easy flakes but no gear.

2. A Good Day for a Mantle Shelf 23 Hilton Davies and Bruce Daniel, 19 May 2009
A few metres higher up the wall from Lightning Bolt Crack this route takes a finger-tips crack and involves a very long crank for the lip. Here it gets interesting. There are no choices but to mantle-shelf onto the slope above the top gear placement. Small nuts and cams are needed. To put out a top belay some mid-sized cams are required. Finish up the easy off-width that leads to the top of the slab.

3. Hand Jam Entrance Exam 22 Hilton Davies and Bruce Daniel, 19 May 2009
This staunch test is located near the top of the onion-layer. The route is slightly overhanging and gives a demo of Yosemite hand-jamming. Several large cams and a hex or two are required. Expect some pain. Walk off round to the left.

Belly Button Slab

This is the large slab on Gordon's Rock, facing you on the right-hand side of the top parking area.

Descent: One can abseil down "Belly Button Brigade (2-3 Abseils depending if you use single or double ropes) or one can carefully walk to the left of the slab after topping out, where the slab meets the scree, one will find a vague path that can be followed down back to the start of the routes.

1. Gecko 15 J Mayer, 2004
This route starts on the far left of the slab, by the scree and goes fairly straight up the slab, it crosses over the "Dyke" route. It consists of two pitches.

2. Dyke 15 J Mayer, 1992
This route starts to the right of 'Gecko', under the tree and there is a definite band of hand grips that it starts with, it veers left and crosses over "Gecko's" bolts. It consists of two pitches.

3. Belly Button Brigade 15 J Terblanche, M Rutschline, 1999
This route starts on the far right of the slab and the definite "Belly Button can be seen above the start of the route. It is usually done in two pitches but can be broken in to three, due to the 3 abseil stations.

Top Parking

Boulder below top parking

1. Not of long duration 19 P Olivier, 2011
Mostly climb the slab, using the corner crack for protection.

2. The vertical dimension of extension 19 P Olivier, 2011
Really fun little crack with prefect rock

Gritstyle Boulder

To find this section look in the second edition bouldering guide. If you walk down towards the Boot sector from Four Sstage Rocket, these routes are between the first large boulders on your right. If the base was better they'd be bouldered, but ended up being trad lines. Grades to be confirmed.

Gritstyle Boulder

1. Gritstyle 25 P Olivier, 2010
Climb the short vertical crack, then right and out. Hard to protect.

2. Mental Brutality 27 P Olivier, 2010
This is the left start to Gritstyle. Sit start at arête with big underclings and traverse right into Gritstyle. The sit start is to prevent the temptation of using the vertical crack of Gritstyle to start with.

Paarl Bouldering

[| Paarl Bouldering Guide First Edition]
[| Paarl Bouldering Guide Second Edition (July 2010]
Thanks to Niel Mostert for compiling the guides.


Arms raised in a V: Top of first pitch of Little Dutch Boy
Boys and Their Toys
Mark Linley heading up Children of a Lesser God
Little Dutch Boy
Western Cape