Reverence, in the Cathedral: A brand new classic?

The Cathedral in Jonkershoek is a magnificent piece of mountain. “Pity the rock quality is so bad”, I’ve always thought – this, based on experience of other routes in the area. And so I have mostly gone elsewhere for my adventure climbing fix.  But there is one piece of the Cathedral that has, for years, drawn my attention and for which I have harboured some hope.  So when Ross Suter expressed enthusiasm for some climbing in Jonkershoek, I was inspired to finally check it out.


The majestic Cathedral (2nd & 3rd Ridge Peaks) above the Jonkershoek Valley. Pic: Ralph Pina


The majestic Cathedral (2nd & 3rd Ridge Peaks) above the Jonkershoek Valley. Pic: Karin Burns


At the end of last Tuesday, Ross and I both glowed brightly in the way that you do only after one of those truly peak days in the hills. We’d had a 14 hour round trip from my Jonkershoek front door, that surpassed my wildest hopes of what that mountain might hold.  From the full moon setting in the dawn, the day flowed upwards in 7 very consistent, long, straight pitches, that gain and go straight up the exhilarating, aesthetic line of a steep arête with big exposure in a very dramatic setting. The climbing is steep, clean, and consistently very good at a grade of 15 -18 and is on good quality rock, which is surprising for Jonkershoek.

There are a few 100 meters of cool, knife-edge scrambling from the top of the 7th pitch to the summit (and the descent). We think the route offers something quite special – a rare, full-on, quality country route experience in the very dramatic and beautiful setting of Jonkershoek, quite accessible and close to Cape Town. Destined to become a classic? We think so. Stay posted for more details.

Neither of us had a camera on the day, so I pulled the pics off the web to show something of the route and its setting.


The location of Reverence in relation to some of the old, established routes. Pic: Judelle Drake


View from the Jonkershoek Twins. Reverence climbs the steep arête left of centre. Pic: Ralph Pina


It would be a different experience in winter! Pic: Nightjar Magazine

7 Responses to Reverence, in the Cathedral: A brand new classic?

  1. Robert Mckay Mar 29, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    Its not just about climbing…its about exploring and finding new innovative paths, applicable in all areas of our lives.

  2. jacques Mar 29, 2014 at 12:28 pm #


  3. Nic Le Maitre Mar 31, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

    Sounds awesome Johann. I’ve looked at that line for many years but have been scared off by experiences of horrible rock on the Twins

  4. Justin Lawson Apr 2, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    Nicely done guys!

  5. Snort Apr 3, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    Looks there is a new era of classic climbing! Looking forward to it

  6. Hendrik Apr 8, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    So this past sunday myself and a friend decided to give the route a go( it is on our doorstep so why not?) Before this neither of us had done any serious country climbs. Route finding was not too difficult especially as Johann Lanz gave us a lift halfway up in his bakkie and hiked in to the base with us. In our case it was a combination of factors that lead to us having to bail of the route. (It now features two nice threaded rap points :/ ) For a start, we are both not that climbing fit at the moment and even though I can easily lead at the grade(15-18), the length of the pitches (all 50 to 55m) took its toll on both of us. We alternated leads but climbed too slow. Rope drag was a big issue as we did not have enough slings. We carried a bit much with us as well, but being our first attempt at serious country climbing, it was a good schooling session. We ended up having to turn around at the top of the 4’th pitch having done about 210m of roped climbing and some scrambling. This was at about 14h30. The descent was quite serious though having to be mindful of loose stuff. Two raps from large blocks got us down into an adjacent kloof/ravine having avoided some overhangs that would strand you out in midair. Once in there we had to simul-abseil of a large boulder followed by 3 more long raps of trees and some bundu bashing until we could traverse out back to the start of the route. Definitely not the most fun way of the mountain. We entered the reserve at 05h00 and left about 20h30. It is a pretty serious route but the rock is good with the exception of pitch 3 and the climbing, along with the setting, was amazing. Unfortunately it would seem the best climbing is the last three pitches so we will definitely be going back to do the whole thing. It was still a great day out and valuable lessons was learnt.

  7. Rosalind Sep 20, 2019 at 9:08 pm #

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