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Montagu: Waterworld is Climbable Again!

Waterworld Base Build 2012

By Warren Gans

Whether you are involved directly or not, the actions of the climbing community affect your ability to climb.  A simple example of this is community involvement in the creation of route descriptions, creating/bolting of routes and work meets to maintain the area around crags and their paths.  As we are all ‘the community’ there is no “they should sort this out” but rather “we should sort this out”!

With the above in mind Bad Kloof offers a great deal to climbers and I would argue that it is the core of Montagu climbing.  As Justin has stated before, the management of the area cannot effectively manage the kloof as they have other issues at hand.  So it is up to us, as one of the main user groups of the kloof to step up and help maintain the area by maintaining paths and crag bases when the land managers are not.  If Bad Kloof were no longer accessible it would be a great loss to South African Climbing.

The last two floods redirected the river in the kloof and raised the riverbed slightly.  The net result of all these changes was that access to the Palace, Waterworld and other crags in the kloof became difficult or near impossible.  After a forum discussion we settled a date and about 10 volunteers met on Saturday,  with Justin’s hired petrol weed wacker and Tarryn’s contribution of 50 sand bags we did the following…

Re-direct the river away from Waterworld:
The river forks 50m upstream from Waterworld, so we blocked the flow of the tributary going to towards Waterworld and directed it back into the main river.  This means that the crag is now climbable again (Hurrah!).  However, there remains some spade work in raising the level of the base further.
This ‘raising’ will put the base safely above the ground water level, right now while the crag is easily usable it is very easy to find water with a heavy foot (therefore a heavy ground mat is recommended for the time being).  All the routes have ‘dry to dryish’ ground at the base.

Request:  If you are going to the crag please take a spade along and move more dry sand to the base of the crag.

Bridge:  We found a bridge in the reeds and placed it across the river in front of waterworld.

More paths:  On Sunday Ernesto and I took the weed Wacker and carved a path from Waterworld to Sloth, giving access from both up and downstream.  

We also cut a path to the old Palace river crossing but found that the old stepping stones are well under water and a new crossing might be necessary (we’ll know for sure when the river level drops).

Personally I think having a high path to the crag starting a couple hundred meters upstream from Sloth would make the crag less exposed to this problem in the future.  Then perhaps a second, higher path from the hotel side. 
My only fear with doing this is then it could become the main thoroughfare down the kloof, which may bring unwanted vandals to the crag.

The following still needs to be done in Bad Kloof (in order of urgency):

  • Improve the path below Waterworld such that one doesn’t have to walk 100m in the river. Perhaps moving the bath to the other side of the river?
  • Easing access to Palace- to be debated I’m sure
  • Raising Waterworld base about 15cm- can be done incrementally
  • Removing graffiti from the kloof

Bad Kloof is still in relatively bad condition, but with a bit more effort we as the climbing community could take practical responsibility for the kloof!

I would like to say thank you to everyone that came though and gave their time and energy to the communal cause and apologies if I have forgotten you on this list:

Tarryn Thomson
Justin & Riki Lawson
Matt Davidson
Ernesto Ismail
Harry  Crews
Madelein Swanepoel
Micky Wiswedel
Matthew Davidson



  1. awesome stuff!! keep up the good work

  2. You guys are legends. Thank you, thank you. I’m sorry I could not have been there to help.

  3. Nice one Warren for organising this work meet 🙂

    Riki and I walked into Waterworld yesterday afternoon again via the right hand side of the kloof (that is ‘river right’ walking towards Waterworld) and we did not get our feet wet.

    The path is good and I would recommend it to anyone going into the kloof. There is a stone cairn at the second (old dilapidated) weir where you need to cross over (about 300 meters into the walk).

    If everyone can do some (warm-up) digging when they visit Waterworld the base will be sorted in no time!
    Thanks again to everyone that helped out 🙂

  4. A few other people stopped by to help shift some sand on their way to other crags in the kloof. Thanks for helping when you did. A spare spade was left at the crag by one of these folks and is now in Cape Town, PM “Not” on the forum if it’s yours and you want it back.

    I’d just like to reitterate a few points here: base building and sandbag filling is damn hard work. Help preserve our efforts by taking in a sandbag or two every time you enter the kloof and add to the sandbag walls. Alternatively, shift sand towards the base of the crag (hopefully someone will donate a spade/shovel to the crag), if the slope of the sand base is slanted so that it falls away from the rock we can eleminate the stagnant water which pools there after heavy rain.

    Last thing: Take a tarp with you. Despite all our efforts the watertable is still very high. If you stand on the sand at the base your shoes will be damp, thats no good for sending – is it?

  5. Nice one guys – cool bridge

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your hard work. I can’t wait to climb at Waterworld again. I will keep Ernesto’s tips in mind if I do manage to get to Montagu soon.

  7. Well done guys! Setting an awesome example. And making it look fun too. Getting crags back is always better than losing them!

  8. 😀 thanks, cant w8 to get back

  9. Awesome work guys!

  10. You guys ROCK! Thanks for the hard work!

  11. So awesome!! Thanks people!

  12. Climbed there this weekend and its RAD. Good job.

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