Black Diamond Tradathon 2018

Trad climbing is arguably the most rewarding form of rock climbing. The beauty of trad is the amazing depth and breadth of experience that it offers. You are also not limited to hard grades in order to do something “worthwhile” and there is always opportunity for new routing or any level of adventure which you choose.

Tradathon 2018
And yet, trad does not 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 for beginners. Before the arrival of sport climbing, all climbers did an “apprenticeship” during which they learned 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 with. As a result trad often remains inaccessible.

For this purpose the Tradathon was envisaged – to gather climbers of all levels to share their skills, to learn from each other and to enjoy a day on the crag. September 2018 sees the 6th Annual Tradathon – hosted this year at Waterval Boven ! Yes, we know that ‘Boven is a world class sport venue – but those in the know also assure us that much trad. development has been occurring in the past several years – on impeccable ‘Boven quartzite’!


Our hope is that this will be the biggest tradathon yet – drawing not only the die-hard tradders; but also all the sport climbers from around the country. This is a great opportunity for sport climbers to come along the tradathon for a day – and go clip bolts for the rest of the weekend. It’s also an opportunity to learn some of the basics of trad which will then be helpful in discovering more climbing – how to set up anchors when bolting a new line, how to use trad to explore new territories or to supplement that line you are working. If nothing else; it’s just a great opportunity to come & hang out with climbers of all persuasions & enjoy some warm rock at the end of winter!

The official Black Diamond Tradathon will be on the Saturday and will wrap up with a Braai and social at Tranquilitas. There will also be a cash bar and slide show. Sunday is open season to explore more trad, or go and clip some bolts.

Experienced trad climbers: pull in and do some classic routes like the Bartman at Toon Town (opened on trad in 1999 – ever been there?) or explore the newly developed areas; climb with your own partner or find a new climbing partner on the day. Climb at your own grade, or share your favorite 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.

Date & Time: 29th September 2018 from 8h30am – late
Registration is free. ***Please note: Entries close on Monday 24th September 2018.
Evening Steak braai dinner: R120 per person
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 R250

Intro. to trad leading:  This is a “taster” workshop. There is more information to be covered than a single day’s instruction can cater for 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 R500


EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:  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.

PLEASE NOTE:  The use of a helmet is compulsory.

Black Diamond Raffle Prize
We are raffling a Black Diamond Trad Rack consisting of Black Diamond C4 Camalots size 0.4 – 2, a Black Diamond Neutrino Rack Pack, a Black Diamond Stopper Set, a pair of Black Diamond Aspect climbing shoes and a Black Diamond Creek Back Pack – Worth R15 000

The raffle costs R100 per ticket, 150 tickets only; maximum of 10 tickets per one person.

Winning number will be drawn at the Evening Braai. – You do not have to attend the Black Diamond Tradathon to enter the raffle.

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 organizers deem fit !

WAIVER:  Some aspects of mountaineering and related activities, including but not limited to technical rock, ice, and snow climbing, are potentially hazardous and dangerous. Any person using our equipment in any manner or participating in this event is personally responsible for learning the proper techniques involved, and assumes all risks and accepts full and complete responsibility for any and all damages and injury of any kind, including death, which may result during this event. Books and catalogues can help, but they are no substitute for personal instruction by a qualified person well versed in all appropriate safety techniques.

Huge thanks to our sponsors:

Tradathon sponsors 2018


9 Responses to Black Diamond Tradathon 2018

  1. Jan Bradley Jul 26, 2018 at 12:53 pm #

    Very cool! Boven is Quartzite though and not Sandstone:)

    • Deidre Jul 26, 2018 at 2:31 pm #

      Thanks Jan!

    • Cuan Jul 27, 2018 at 10:18 am #

      Yep, same as Table mountain and surrounding “sandstone” is quartzite now 🙂

  2. Willem Boshoff Jul 26, 2018 at 1:25 pm #

    can’t buy the raffle ticket only – or am I missing something?

    • Deidre Jul 26, 2018 at 2:27 pm #

      Hi Willem! If you select “no dinner” and “I don’t need accommodation” you will be able to buy just a raffle ticket 🙂

  3. Justin Lawson Jul 26, 2018 at 3:39 pm #

    quartzitic sandstone ???
    Does that rhyme well with everyone?? Where is Forket now, fighting with Mozzies? (during a time when he’s really needed ! 😉

    • Ebert Nel Jul 27, 2018 at 9:40 pm #

      Sandstone = tiny bits of quartz stuck together by viarious processes causing diagenesis making it a sedimentary rock.
      Quartzite = the tiny bits of quartz have recrystallized (grain boundaries have partially to completely merged) making it a metamorphic rock.

      In short, sand turns into sandstone and can go further into quartzite depending on the pressure and temperature its exposed to.

      Table mountain has both sandstone and quartzite depending on what altitude (lithology) you are looking at
      Boven is mostly quartzite though some crags seem to have the occasional patch of sandstone which seem to be areas where less T&P influenced the rock. Climbers frequently refer to it as chossy rock (sounds hollow), though its most likely sandstone not sticking to the quartzite (making it sound hollow and making it chossy)

      Im sure the critics will add the semantics I got wrong. In tht case, I could do with their opinion on LCT pegmatite deposits:’)


  4. Ebert Nel Jul 27, 2018 at 9:55 pm #

    Oh, guess i also lost the plot with “quartzitic sandstone” being the reason for my commenting.

    I believe they refer to 3 kinds of sandstone: quartz, lithic and feldspar.

    So our sandstone is generally quartzitic from what ive seen. Adding quartzitic to the front doesnt make it anything like quartzite.

    Hope I covered it all Justin?


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