Skip to content

An all round experience – The Origin Mountain Festival

I woke up on the first morning of Origin and raced up the steep hill that connected the Indulo Bush Camp to the rest of the world.  Participants had already started trickling through the night before but this morning was going to give us the first real picture of whether it was all going to come together.

Origin Festival 2015
The first light on the first Origin Mountain Festival


This festival was not only a culmination of a year of planning on my part to bring the festival together, but also 8 years of work from Roger who secured rock climbing at Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve through his usual careful and diplomatic way.  My vision for the festival was to bring climbers of all levels from around the country and celebrate the sport of climbing in every way we could.

From the excitement of new climbers getting their first experience on rock, to the awe factor of being inspired by experienced climbers cranking hard, all of us, fighting our own personal battles up the rock and celebrating what we had conquered.  And then there is the all important lifestyle running in the background which ensures a lifetime of great adventures through this sport – sitting around campfires at night, swopping crazy stories of the day’s events; meeting up with friends from around the country; seeing trad, bouldering and sport climbing all in one venue, learning from each other and sharing in a collective knowledge so that we can all keep pushing onwards and upwards.

Origin Festival 2015
The crowd captivated by the impressive climbing on display


There were a few moments that crystalised all of the above for me.  One of the clearest was watching Brian Weaver on his onsight of Hyper Diamond (28).  The crowd gathered below and cheered Brian on as he read the route perfectly.  A technical and varied route made for an impressive onsight.  For me, rock climbing is the very picture of inspiration.  And creating an atmosphere that was a fertile ground for such inspiration was one of my main goals for this festival.

Throughout the day I soaked up more of these moments.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I will let the pictures do the talking (see below for more pics).

Origin Festival 2015

Origin Festival 2015 Origin Festival 2015

Having the UIAA there served as confirmation for the spirit of the festival.  Their goal with the Rock Climbers’ award was to “encourage and promote rock climbing”.

The winners of the Difficulty comp, Paul Brouard and Gosia Lipinska, both embodied the criteria for the award which included being strong climbers deeply involved in their community.  The UIAA report captures the characters of our winners well (click HERE to see the report).

The full results for the Difficulty comp are as follows:


9th place:  Adam Findlay (our youngest competitor) – 1703 points – Tower of Power (29) (repeat) and Look Out Below (25)

8th place:  Ivan van der Tang – 2557 points – Hyper Diamond (28) (Flash), Corticoid Factor (27) (2nd go), Look Out Below (25)

7th place:  Jason Temple-Forbes – 2605 points – Hyper Diamond (28), Ethical Mayhem (25) (onsight), Thunderstrike (28)

6th place:  Douw Steyn – 2695 points – Corticoid Factor (27), Hyper Diamond (28), Exactly Cheesehead, exactly (25) (onsight)

5th place:  Johannes Hachman – 2735 points – Agnes the Skinhead (26) (onsight), Caterpillar Conquest (25) (onsight), Awkward Turtle (25) (onsight)

4th place:  Matt Hoffmann – 2748 points – Corticoid Factor (27) (onsight), Nothing Heals like Blue Steel (27) (flash), Nothing Heals like Cold Steel (27)

3rd place:  Andrew Pedley – 2893 points – Corticoid Factor (27) (flash), Haibo (27) (onsight), Gypsey Queen (27) (onsight)

2nd place:  Brian Weaver – 3035 points – Hyper Diamond (28) (onsight), Nothing Heals like Cold Steel (27) (onsight), Thunderstrike (27) (onsight)

1st place: Paul Brouard – 3150 points – Blue Horizon (32), Secret Ninja (31), Mango Tango (31) (repeat)


4th place:  Tessa Little -650 points – War on Gaza (24) (repeat)

3rd place:  Maryke Nieuwardt – 1456 points – Glamorous Fool (18), Easy Rider (19) (flash), Shift & Drift (20) (flash)

2nd place:  Beth Higgins – 2209 points – War on Gaza (24) (flash), Velociraptor (24) (flash), (23) (flash)

1st place:  Gosia Lipinska – 2595 points – Exactly Cheesehead, exactly (25) (onsight), Haibo (27), Corticoid Factor (27)

Both 1st place winners received a prize of R6000 !!!

Spot prizes: Carrey de Agrella : Bit off more than she can chew prize – For trying so hard on Awkward Turtle (25 – her hardest grade before the festival is 24)

Scott Sinclair:  Bit off more than he can chew prize – For trying to send Secret Ninja (31) for the Difficulty comp

Lily Gordon – first lead route

Liz Makovini – 1st person to register

Chris Snyman – his first trad lead

Candace Grobler – hashtag competition – check #SROrigin to see her posts and don’t forget to check out twitter for more posts from the weekend

A number of other spot prizes were handed out just for being there

Many thanks to the support of our sponsors:

Southern Rock Climbing Centre, UIAA, KZN MCSA, Black Diamond, Beal, Boreal, Petzl, Austria Alpin, Vertical World, Climb ZA, Peak High, High Altitude

Thank you to all the helping hands.  There are too many to mention.

And many thanks to each and every one of you who enjoyed yourselves.  You are part of the success and you make it all worthwhile.  See you next year.

Origin Festival 2015
Gosia Lipinska – winner of Womens catergory








  1. Lotsa like! 9th place mens climbing a 29!? people are mos getting strooong…..

  2. A big thank you to Illona and all the KZN climbers for hosting this successful event. Umgeni is beautiful and the rock is incredible. We had a blast and will definitely be back!

  3. But all in all it was a great festival, Thanks Illona, Rodger and n Andrew

  4. Thanks guys festi was awesome !!!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *