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Black Diamond 2013 Tradathon Report

More than 100 trad climbers descended into Tonquani, Cederberg and Boulder Kloofs for the 2013 Tradathon.
Lower Tonquani, Magaliesberg

2013 Tradathon ReportThe Magaliesberg kloofs are mystical havens of shady forests and babbling streams, surrounded by hot dry savannas and platinum mines.

Climbing in the kloofs, we’re often alone to pick and choose preferred routes and skinny dip in the multitude of pools.  Not so on Saturday when more than 100 trad climbers descended into Tonquani, Cederberg and Boulder Kloofs for a day of excitement.  The aim of the Tradathon is simply to promote trad climbing.  It’s not a competition, but rather a learning and fun experience to be had by all.  Sure, some people, like Brian Weaver and Ivan van der Tang may like to warm up on 25s and climb 30s, which is very impressive, but that’s not the whole point of the day.

It can be considered a great success as people who’d never climbed trad were out there learning about it.  A host of experienced trad climbers (Alard, Hector, Andrew, Craig, Marianne, Rob, Julia, etc..) taught teams of newbies the tricks of the trad(e) – like how to get a nut properly stuck in a crack (while leading), and how to get it out again (when seconding).  Those who didn’t need such explanation explored new areas, heights and excitement by themselves…as is the usual way.

2013 Tradathon ReportA whole host of people lead their first pitch of trad, or went trad climbing for the first time.  I remember my first trad experiences, and if they are anything to go by, then a few worlds were rocked on Saturday and with any luck, a few more trad climbers were born into the scene.  There may have been a few dry mouths, a little fear of exposure and a couple of moments of panic, but the day was carried out safely and in fine style.

I may be biased, but I’m always excited by having more female trad climbers around, and it’s rather cool that the trad rack as won by Jen Blenkinsop.  On Saturday at least three girls lead 18’s for the first time…  well done to Wiebke Toussaint, Rhea Rahman and Teresa Lourens.
I look forward to having more girls on the rock and around the campfire.  Also, the age range was huge, with school kids and old ballies alike experiencing the wonders of moving over rock in a new and wild environment.


A big thank you to everyone at Black Diamond, Mountain Club of South Africa & Mountain Sanctuary Park for facilitating the awesome experience, providing a scrumptious spit braai and a highly entertaining slideshow by Paul Fatti.

Visit “The Edge” and tag yourself & share the pictures that were taken this weekend.

For more information about future events, join The Edge –
Photos: Brendon Salzer & Julia Wakeling




2013 Tradathon Magaliesberg

Black Diamond Equipment is proud to present the annual TRADATHON Festival of trad at Magaliesberg on the 18th May 2013

Trad climbing is arguably the most rewarding form of rock climbing but also attracts the smallest group of participants.  The beauty of trad. is the amazing depth and breadth of experience that it offers – there is no limit to the number of routes you can climb, the grade you have to climb in order to do something “worthwhile”, the opportunity for new routing or  the level of adventure that you choose to engage in.

And yet, trad doesn’t have a large following.  This is due, in part, to the cost of the additional gear, but probably more due to the perceived risk that is involved and the lack of opportunities for adequate coaching when starting out.  Before the arrival of sport climbing, all climbers did an “apprenticeship” during which they learnt the ropes under the practiced eye of a more experienced climber.  Bolting has made climbing much more accessible and caused the climbing community to grow at a much faster rate than this traditional apprenticeship model can cope. So – trad. often remains inaccessible.
So this is your opportunity – a gathering of all levels of climbers to share their skills, to learn from each other and to enjoy a day on the crag.

Lower Tonquani, Magaliesberg
Pitch 2 of ‘More Monkey Than Funky’ (21), Lower Tonquani.

A gathering of all levels and ages of climbers to enjoy the best that the Magaliesberg has to offer (Tonquani & neighbouring kloofs), followed by a Spit Braai, cash bar and slide show from Paul Fatti – Magaliesburg climbing pioneer extraordinaire –  in the evening at the Lapa in the Mountain Sanctuary Park.

•    Experienced trad. climbers:  pull in and do some classic routes; climb with your own partner or find a new climbing partner on the day.  Climb at your own grade, or share your favourite route with a beginner
•    Competent sport climbers:  sign up for the “intro. to trad. leading” workshop run by qualified SAMDT instructors or team up with some experienced “tradders” and follow some routes
•    Beginner climbers:  never climbed before ? Sign up for the “learn the basics” morning workshop and climb with an experienced person in the afternoon

18th May 2013 from 8h30am – late

Registration is free but we need to know if you’re coming – Click here.  The venue is owned by the Mountain Club of South Africa.  They are generously making the venue available free of charge to all involved.

Spit braai:  R105 per person  – book here;  there will be a CASH bar.

Climbing workshops: gratuity to the instructors – compulsory waiver will be required –  book here
•    Intro to trad. following:  This workshop is aimed at novices who have never climbed trad. and would like to learn something about the procedures when following a leader, before embarking on a proper route. It will cover twin rope management, tying on at a stance, gear removal etc.  Half day of instruction – gratuity to the instructor R100
•    Intro. to trad leading:  This is a “taster” workshop. There is too much to learn to cover in one day; so this work shop will focus on safely placing and removing trad. gear while on lead. This workshop is suitable for climbers who already lead competently on sport at grade 18. Full day of instruction – gratuity to the instructor R200

2013 Tradathon Magaliesberg
Christie Terrell on Chameleon Crack (5a/15) Magaliesberg. Photo by: Graham Terrell

Equipment:  All participants are expected to be self sufficient bar the workshop participants who must provide the minimum of harness, screw gates, twin rope belay device, helmet, and rock shoes. All participants must provide their own refreshments on the mountain. Due to the fact that participation in this event is entirely voluntary, we cannot force anyone to wear a helmet. However the as in all trad. climbing areas, there is loose rock and there will be many climbers in the area.

The use of a helmet is highly recommended

T-shirt: We have Black Diamond and Beal T- Shirts available to participants at a discount. Both in men and ladies.These T’s usually retail for R179 – but will be available to buy for registered climbers at R100. CASH ONLY!

Need accommodation:
There is camping and chalet accommodation available in Mountain Sanctuary Park, accommodation must be booked for 2 nights over a weekend.– book here (directly with Mountain Sanctuary Park)

We are raffling a  Black Diamond trad rack worth R14500.00 – comprising the following :
–    Black Diamond Camalots C4’s – sizes 0.3 – 4
–    Black Diamond Camalot X 4’s – sizes x 2
–    Black Diamond Neutrino rack pack x 2
–    Black Diamond Stopper set 4- 13 with ‘biner
–    Black Diamond Micro Stopper set 1- 6 with ‘biner
–    Black Diamond Posiwire quick draws : 8 x 12cm + 4 x 18cm
–    Black Diamond Nut tool
–    Black Diamond bandolier racking sling

The raffle costs R100 per ticket, 100 tickets only; maximum of 10 tickets per one person – enter here 
Winning number will be drawn at the Spit Braai.

Spot prizes: There will be numerous spot prizes given out at the braai in the evening for the best dressed couple; the most impressive send of the day; the most encouraging spirit of the day – and anything else that the organisers deem fit !

Prizes sponsored by:
2013 Tradathon Magaliesberg

Discounted Gear:  Take your registration number once you have entered the event, to either Drifters, Outdoor Freedom and Wonderwall for a 10% discount on BD & Beal trad. gear  as well as Saltic and Boreal rock boots.
Discounted gear supported by:
2013 Tradathon Magaliesberg

Event Supported by:

2013 Tradathon Magaliesberg

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10 years ago

wicked cant wait

10 years ago

Awesomeness! 🙂

10 years ago

cant w8 😀

Brian Weaver
Brian Weaver
10 years ago


Justin Lawson
10 years ago


We currently have 105 entrants who have registered to participate in the Tradathon.
Mountain Sanctuary Park limits the daily entry to 180 people – including those who may be camping at MSP but not participating in the event.

If you have not registered, but intend just to pitch for the day – you are most welcome – but registered climbers + campers will take preference – therefore there is a chance that you may be turned away.

If you know of people in this situation – please pass this message on ….

10 years ago

I’m assuming that the second pic was taken during a lesson on how to create maximum rope drag…? hahaha

(I’m just jealous I couldn’t be there)

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

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