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Chosspile Rehab Project Phase 4

The upgraded bridge

6 June 2011 Update:

The bridge too the Chosspile has been upgraded and now solid enough to get even the heaviest whinger accross with/without their stroller/zimmer frame/squeaky toys/unicycle/baggage/whatever.
See below a poster explaining the new access arrangements for Choss. There were a few climbers who went there who said that they did not know what the new arrangements were and asked via the forum if we could do a poster explaining clearly what is happening there.
The choss project was a lot of work but we addressed an important subject; Land owners are in fact not totally against people climb on their land provided:


  • The know exactly who is on their land when, and there is control of who goes there.
  • There is some sort of indemnity, and disclaimer on clear signage.
  • Rules are clearly laid out and all know the procedures.
  • The climbers on the land are accountable to some organisation.
  • They make a bit of money out of it
  • The climbers do not damage anything nor do any environmental naughtiness.

Basically the Choss guard walks around Choss  checking if all the climbers there are wearing a wrist band to show if they have paid and signed the indemnity.

Chosspile access

Click here to view the forum discussion about the Chosspile


On Sunday the 17th of  April we had phase 4 of the Chosspile Rehab Project was a success. The first was the mass meeting at the MCSA clubhouse in JHB where we laid a foundation.

The next was a meeting at the venue with the owners at the site on the 1 March where Peter Bezuidenhoudt filled us in that they intended leasing the picnic area to the resort over the river called Mount Amanzi. Thus new access arrangements had to be made, however good news was that Mount Amanzi was keen to allow climbers and were keen to invest money into security. They promptly have extended their electric fence across up to the canal and installed guards with radios in the picnic area. Then phase 3, we all trekked down there again for a meeting with the management of with Mount Amanzi on the 28 March.
A great meeting with Mount Amanzi, they were keen to accommodate us and will do their part to keep the place clean and safe. A small committee consisting of Peter Speed (Chair), Janavi Jardine (environmental), Thabo Matlhobogwane (community link), Sharifa Modise (outreach) and myself attended these meetings. We discussed detail as to how things will work from here.

Chosspile pathbuild
The starting team, at the new parking area, with the tools and new bridge. Other 5 arrived later, as we went along.

Then last Sunday phase 4, the first work meet. We set the meeting time a bit early, but later that morning we had 10 eager climbers all digging, scraping, chopping, and sawing. Alard lent us his “chill out” bakkie to carry the bridge. Thanks to Hilton Fryer who made the new bridge. Also thanks to Darryl, Evan and Alex who came all the way from Benoni. Thanks also from
Shutup and climb Marike and Will and Jason and his girlfriend, for making the time and petrol to come out to help.


Chosspile pathbuild Chosspile pathbuild

Chosspile pathbuild

Chosspile pathbuild  


Chosspile pathbuild Chosspile pathbuild

Above: erecting of the new bridge.

  • Two planks wide for those who needed that extra security, drilled in at each side to be solid.
  • Us all working on the awesome new path. A path much shorter, shade almost the whole way, no loose scree.


Chosspile pathbuild
New link between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings Cave compared to the walk from Wall of Aglarond.
Chosspile pathbuild
View from new link up between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

In a nut shell this is how things will work:


  • Climbers go first to Mount Amanzi Reception. This is on the same side of the road, just on the other side of the river. Every person signs an indemnity register and pays R30 per person (or R50 if they want to use the pool or other great facilities in the resort). Only climbers who are part of a recognised club such as MCSA, SANCF, Varsity clubs who have a identity via a membership card with a photo will be allowed in. Each will be allowed to take one guest.
  • They get a wrist band (like Rory and Rock Rally) which will be a different colour from time to time.
  • Mount Amanzi will radio one of the guards to open the gate and let you in. Then you park in the new spot directly underneath the Harry Potter crag by the toilets which are half way along the road. Much more parking room, nice lawn to park on, not stones like the other old spot and guard with radio there, funded by Mount Amanzi.

Then they walk up the brand new shorter path to the crags to meet a community guard at the crags. This guard Thabo will organise from the local community church, he or she will report at Mount Amanzi every Sat and Sun morning to collect a radio from the charger and go up and patrol across all the crags.

This guard will ask anybody without wrist tags to please go back to the Mount Amanzi reception to pay and sign the indemnity. When he is finished just before 6pm he returns the radio to Mount Amanzi, gets R5 per climber plus the tips given to him up at the crag by those there who can afford it.

We have contacted the MCSA Magalies and JHB section to contribute towards the guard to supplement their salary to make it worthwhile for him/her. This way they he/she will feel it worth wile and do a good job. If any companies wish to also supplement the guard’s salary, they like the MCSA will have their logo embroidered onto the guard’s top. This money is proposed to be paid direct to Mount Amanzi who will pay him/her on your behalf.

We also looking for ways to reduce costs for students, one option we working on is if a varsity club takes a group of under-privileged climbers with them to teach them to climb, they get free entry and credits for other free entries. This is still in the planning phases.

There are a number of other things we need money for: Poles etc for stabilising paths, Bridge, Neat Outfit X2 for guard, decent hiking shoes for guard, radio for guard, hire of bush cutter, signage and other.
Total costs are estimated to be around R7 000 to R8 000.

Francois Venter has also taken the initiative to start a fund to raise money to support the program. Huge thanks Francois. Quite a lot of people have put money in already. Additionally if anybody cannot make the final work meet them self, but they would like to add about R110 to pay one labourer, in their place, you welcome, just say so on the reference. Please pop the money into:

Banking Details:

WDF Venter
Standard Bank Branch: Killarney, Branch code:  7205
Account number:  001678957,
* Please use your name and the word ‘Choss‘ afterwards as a reference, in case Francois spends the money 🙂

Final work meet and Grand Opening.

From here we are going to have one last work meet (Phase 5 and grand opening) on the 22 May.

Meet at Mount Amanzi parking. This time we plan to finish the path and have a braai afterwards where we will invite the owners and Mount Amanzi management.
By then we plan to have all systems in place and then Choss will be better, safe and open again.

Neil Margetts


  1. We tried going to ch0ss yesterday and they said it was cl0sed. Another thing we would like to know is wouldnt it be possible to make a wildcard or a membership card that is an anual fee. We are students and a R30 cost is quite alot. Other places like fernkloof or wigwam or cederberg kloof is cheaper, facilities are free, its clean and its not a hike where you stand a 50% chance of snapping an ancle. Another thing is the wrist bands worn on rory are irretating when climbing. If you get pumped they dont allow blood flow and really, wrist bands? These are merely suggestions from a guy that use to go to choss a few times a week.
    Oh and what time does reception open?

  2. Just a quick well done and a huge thanks to the team for taking the time to do the hard work in trying to make Chosspile a safer climbing spot. You guys truly are the heroes of the climbing community.

  3. @Ebert: rather go and climb at Fernkloof then. It’s R30 to climb at Choss now. I know you are against getting a job, but perhaps you might need to.

    Regarding the bridge: really guys? Is this the best you can do? This bridge won’t last 1 rainy season, it will get mouldy and slippery and by engineering terms, looks very sketchy. Wouldn’t it have been better to build a gumpole bridge with cross slats that can be changed out when rotten?

  4. Thanks Neil!

  5. Neil et al, that should be… 🙂

  6. 9ja I agree the bridge won’t last too long and from the one picture it does look a bit thin for the span.

    Should this be the case would you be willing to put your money where your mouth is and sort this out (anyone willing to help 9ja out?)
    You could possibly use the existing bridge to cut slats (painting them with Creosote would prolong their lifespan).
    As a courtesy I recommend contacting Neil before you amend his bridge!!!

    Good job to Neil and all who where involved with the pathbuild 🙂

  7. Neil and his crew

    You guys are AWESOME!!!!!!!

  8. Ebert, once again your attitude is one of entitlement and is a pain in the arse you little prat. Not once have you thanked Neil and the others involved in the great work they have done….FOR YOU, YOU FRIGGIN KNOB ! Take a leaf out of their book and adjust your attitude and go and do some good. Stop expecting everyone to make your life easier. Grow up !

  9. Hi Justin, I’ve already spent far too much of my money on Chosspile over the years, plus I live in the Cape, and doubt I will ever see this crag again. I wish the guys the best of luck and thanks for the efforts made. I have my reservations about Choss, but lets see. I’m glad I got to send most of the routes that inspired me before this all went down. I mentioned that a friend and I were almost mugged there in a big way, and hope nobody has to feel this fear that I did.

    I think this bridge is badly designed, and frankly I’m surprised, since climbing always seems to attract engineers etc. I just hope they at least put up two ropes on either side of that bridge so people packing in gear etc can have something to balance with. I’d feel safer crossing a glacier ladder than this bridge 😉

  10. Thanks for the reply.

    On the up side, action has (and is) being taken to improve Choss… upward and onward 🙂

  11. Hi Guys

    Thanks for the thanks, if you guys do not like the bridge, bring stuff to improve it on the 22 May and fix.


  12. Thanks for all the effort guys!! Just a quick question Neil to clarify: From your article and Ebert’s post it sounds like the crag is definitely still CLOSED, until the 22nd May? I see Brian has lowered his standards sufficiently to visit this B-grade crag and post a send on his 8a scorecard for Chosspile.

  13. Sorry once again didnt mean anything i said in an attacking manner, i am deeply greatful with the work put into choss. Emile this is an A-grade crag, routes are amazing, some better than in the fern and just because it has less beauty doesnt make the climbing any less great! 9ja thx for the comment, im a student, time not spent climbing i spend at varsity, u know, to build an education and iv climbed everything at fern worth climbing except stormwatch and usually when we go climb we take people with us that cant climb 24 so we cant just go to fern the whole time so besides for bronkies, chosspile is the best location because its not just flat climbing like brokies:D

    I wish not to argue, i would just like to know why some things are done the way they are

  14. I like whats written on the bridge:D

  15. Sure Ebert, I like the place too, Brian was calling it a B-grade crag earlier, so I find it funny that he would go break the access arrangements and possibly jeopordise future access for all of us in order to go climb there?

  16. Point being is dont call it a B-crag then:) its where i learn how to climb

  17. Wow, shit. Personal attacks are just flying around the forum these days aren’t they!

  18. Hi

    Have a look at the report again. We know that R30 is expensive for students so we are making a plan. We are putting in a system where if student clubs take under privileged groups climbing they get free access for that day and other free credits for the future. This is still in the planning stages and we still have to sit with the chair of tuks and wits to work out the logistics. We also need to discuss this with the Mount Amanzi management, however we did mention it to them and they were not adverse to the idea. I am sure we can work this further to cover Kings Kloof, Bronkies and Fern. A way forward, unfortunately problems like crime require money to solve. There is the costs of the extra guard and extended electric fence to cover and the owners/managers must feel it is worth their while to continue allowing climbing in the area.

  19. Thanks for all the effort Neil. I was wondering… Would there be any possibility of setting up a year pass, perhaps in the vicinity of R300? A card with a photo id could be issued to members. I’m pretty sure a bunch of the more regular climbers would be keen. This could also provide a more “bulk” income at the beginning. I would certainly be the first to buy one.

  20. Thx neil for the efforts:D Agree with Brian for once:P Year pass FTW!!!

  21. Perhaps, come on the 22nd and we can discusswith Mount Amanzi. they may ask for more than R300 though.

  22. Neil

    Can the old access via the damwall still be used? R30 is a bit steep All in for the wild card yearly access idea.

  23. No, nobody must go in that way ever again. One if you do the owners will very quickly close access for everybody and two, you will show the many dodge characters who hang out there by the dam wall a way in to rob us. Please for the sake of a little shorter walk, do not be selfish and ruin it for every body.

  24. Come on people,the new bridge is a HUGE improvement! Have you ever been across the old plank? I find it hard to believe that you can on sight Mazawattee(for eg) and can not cross a 50cm wide plank! I know most climbers(me included) find horizontal terrain challenging,but that should not deter you from giving this plank a go! Toughen up! And if the inevitable happens and you loose your balance and fall,you will only hit WATER!(OK,water with a dubious amount of sewage in,it is the Hartebeespoort dam we are talking about here) Thanks Neil and crew! See you on the 22nd!

  25. Hi guys

    Just wanted to say, thank you to everyone involved in getting choss up and running again. I really enjoy the climbing there, and it is a great alternative to Bronkies. Thanks again, Neil, your efforts, dedication and tirelessness are greatly appreciated.


  26. neil

    this is a sad day for a non mcsa member, this was the only climbing spot close to jhb we a non member could go climb, with the new rules in place it makes it impossible to go. Granted MCSA has made it alot safer but to only allow mcsa members is a bit harch. Why if we have to pay do we have to be mcsa??? Why don,t MCSA members get discount like Fern?? and still allow us to climb.

    Just a thought


  27. Sorry but they want the visitor accountable to an organisation. Non members can climb at all Gauteng sport crags except this one. You also do not necessary need to be MCSA, SANCF or university clubs are also fine.

  28. How can a organisation be accountable? and for what??

    Quote “Every person signs an indemnity register and pays R30 per person ”

    I,m sure there are gonna be a lot of climbers who will climb without being part of a club. All that you have accomplished with this is to make a lot of non members angry. I’m more than willing to pay the owner of the land a fee to climb but for MCSA to take charge and make it impossible for others to climb is downright rude and selfish.

    What do you gain by only allowing members to go, is this the way it,s gonna go, whats next Boven???


  29. Dear Wolter,

    It seems you have a problem with the awesome way in which Neil (pretty much single-handedly) arranged for a crag that was closed to be open to climbing again. Like always, someone (Neil) does the hard work, spends their money, uses their climbing time and some fool complains about the flavour of his pudding.

    Please read the access arrangements. All you need to be able to go there is membership of ANY climbing club. The emphasis is not on ‘MCSA’ but on ‘photo ID membership card’. Do you understand why this is necessary?

    “I’m sure there are gonna be a lot of climbers who will climb without being part of a club” – umm no, I’ll be doing all the climbers who abide by the rules a favour by kicking YOUR arse out of there if you’ve not followed the rules to get in, so you don’t screw up access for THE REST OF US.

    “All that you have accomplished with this is to make a lot of non members angry.” – umm no, all that he’s accomplished is a workable solution to open a crag that was closed for climbing again. What a loser hey?

    “What do you gain by only allowing members to go, is this the way it,s gonna go, whats next Boven???” – ok, the simple version for you: If you are a member of a club (ANY CLUB, please READ), and you show your card at Choss, and then go to the crag and behave like an idiot, the owner can inform your representing organisation that you have misbehaved, leaving them to discipline you in whatever way they feel necessary. No card=no club=no recourse for the landowner. Landowner feels that climbers/climbing is out of his control and crag is closed again.

    Some people… FFS

  30. Pierre, chill out. No need for sarcasm. He has a valid point. Not everyone is a member of a club, and besides MCSA and a few varsity clubs, what else is there to join. Please enlighten us.
    The routes my friends and I developed at Choss were for everyone to enjoy, not just members of a club.


    1) It’s perhaps time that a new mountain club be started. One specific to Gauteng. Neil, have you looked at perhaps a Chosspile Club? If the aim is to make people accountable, then perhaps non MCSA members can provide a few ID photos, certified ID copy etc to be kept on file at the resort as well as a small fee to have laminated cards made?

    2) Go to Chosspile with an MCSA member.

    3) Go and look for better climbing elsewhere.

  31. Let me enlighten you. Climbing organisations with memberships:
    UKZN climbing club
    Solid Ground Rock Climbing Club
    City Rock
    BTK Club – Climbing Club on University of Stellenbosch Campus
    Potchefstroom University – Climbing club of Potch University.
    RAU – Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit Climbing club
    RUMC – Rhodes University Mountain Club
    TUKS – Exploratio Club, University of Pretoria
    UCT – University of Cape Town’s Mountain & Ski Club

    As you point out, if this list isn’t sufficient you should go there with a member of any one of the above.
    He does have a valid point, but instead of asking ‘how can I help’ he says ‘how can I complain?’
    I like your solutions, workable and practical.

    PS The guide says you only FA’ed 2 routes there, you should update this.

  32. May I ask for interest sake why joining the MCSA, SANCF or a varsity club is not an option. These organisations especially the MCSA have for years done a lot of work to support the sport you love. Boven as an example – it is possible that no climbing would exist at all in a large part of Wonderland if the MCSA not spent the money and purchased the crag. My opinion is that I would much rather support climbers who want to be part of the system and not non contributing critics. Wolter you, with others, did a great job when you built the Wits bouldering wall, why not continue to support them and join their club. Again I am happy to support students and make it cheaper only if they are also happy also give something like taking under disadvantaged kids climbing.

  33. Thanks for all the effort that has gone in to the Choss guys! Greatly appreciated!
    Cant wait to get back there!

  34. neil

    I,ll give you a call tomorrow


  35. It seems to be the case that many climbers feel that they are entitled to free access to all climbable rock in this country. Fact is, we are not. A lot of the nice climbing venues are on private property and the owners can charge whatever they want or even restrict access. If you want to climb at awesome crags, join the MCSA, they own a lot of land, and stop complaining about things not being free, it could be a lot worse, it could be totally off-limits.

  36. solution, JOIN A CLUB. As exploratio members we pay R300 a year for gear we can use on a library card kinda system, climbing at university facilities, discount at the barn, entry to chosspile, discount at the local bottle store, DUDE JOIN SOMETHING. MCSA alone gives us access to so much land, including boven which is free, fern you can take your car in for free and all the places you can visit in the magaliesberg, its not that difficult to be part of a club. A yearly chosspile fee would be awesome though, which would also force people to go climb more for their moneys worth:)

    There is no point in getting angry on forums, u just get beat up by random people:P Be nice and people respect your answers and thoughts. I WANNA GO CLIMB AT CHOSS:D

  37. I see you’ve fixed your keyboard then Ebert?

    The whole club thing, it’s a matter of principle. At some point I’ll be reclaiming my hardware.

  38. You’re not still pissed at the MCSA are you?
    I’ll replace the hangers on the 18, nice route, but not the 15.

  39. So I understand why we need to be a part of a Climbing Club to gain Access to the Cliffs. My only problem is that I often take new Climbers there to teach them how to climb or I have kids that come with me . Now if it is their first or second time climbing they don’t really want to be a part of a club. Is there a way that we can arrange that we can bring more than one Guest to the Cliff? I don’t mind being the one to take reasonability for my guests. Maybe even if they have to pay a little more as they are a once off user would be fine with me to.

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