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‘New’ Africa Arete – Seniors Outing

Africa Arete, Table Mountain

Just for the record, Hilton did not post this on ClimbZA, I (Justin did).  I lifted this from Hilton’s personal Facebook.
Africa Arete was hard and scary.  Now it is harder and scarier and I think these psyched old guys have done quite well.
(PS. I have had a long standing approval to lift anything from Hilton’s Facebook)
Africa Arete recently had a loose block removed.  Below are a few photos from a recent ascent by Tinie and Hilton.

Africa Arete
We’ve been busy with Africa Arete in the last two weeks. A youngster broke the route. That big flake on P2 that we used to carefully use, got levered away from the rock.


Africa Arete, Table Mountain
A week ago I lowered Tinie in from the top. He bodyweighted it and the big flake the size of a door mat went flying to the bottom. There you can see the new brown rock about 7 metres up P2


Africa Arete, Table Mountain
Long distance close up. We’ve worked on this and today we sent! The route is harder, scarier and more run-out now.


Africa Arete, Table Mountain
After walking up TM with heavy backpacks, soloing up Ruminating Chimney and then the little pitch at the bottom of the route, I sent P1. Here Tinie is seconding the big barn door.


Africa Arete, Table Mountain
Tinie coming up through the crux


Africa Arete, Table Mountain
This is Tinie’s great route so it was right that he should do the First Ascent of the new style Africa Arete 2020 pitch 2. He has a Wild Country Rock 2 in a tiny crack where the flake came away.


Africa Arete, Table Mountain
Tinie styled the hard new section


Africa Arete, Table Mountain
He was solid. Even mimicking the cable car driver on the intercom as he went past..”Table Mountain is a national heritage site…”

Africa Arete, Table MountainAfrica Arete, Table MountainAfrica Arete, Table Mountain

Tienie Versveld
Tinie styled P2. I followed properly. We descended for a cup of tea to celebrate the new improved and harder version of Africa Arete. Then we hiked down and went home. We felt good about our little things in life….


  1. Good job for removing a dangerous block from a route, you guys crack me up:’)

    • Pulling off a block is all we can manage anymore, Ebert…

      • I comment because every route I’ve done on TM has choss on it;) glad there are fellow block removers out there;) didn’t know we allowed to post about it:p

  2. (copied across from other posting in the forum)

    Yesterday was Willem le Roux Day – he was very impressive! Pretty much like the Boks the day before.
    Tinie and I were busy 10 – 20 metres to the right and were an involved peanut gallery, but unfortunately without camera.

    The backstory starts with someone damaging the big flake 8m up P2 a few weeks back. So Tinie, Charlie Standing and I went up to check out and send. I sent P1 but then on P2 Tinie retreated, adamant that the flake couldn’t hold him and that it would be crazy-dangerous to try. We climbed up and around. I lowered Tinie down. He body-weighted the flake and the huge thing came away. We came back a few days later, cleaned and worked the new section, placed a fixed wire, and then sent it. The little wire cannot be placed on lead. It is not possible to get sight of the tiny crack. We felt that P2 was now solid 25 and scary. We put out the word that it needs an onsight.

    Yesterday went like this:
    Willem led the first pitch in good style. Snort followed clean.
    Then Willem set off for the sorta-onsight of the new version P2.
    I gave him beta on the two critical wire placements that we’ve worked out over time. There was always the potential to get really hurt without them. The first wire you place at full stretch with your feet still on the belay stance while leaning out backwards. Then to place the second one you have to commit, cut loose and get onto the wall above, to place the wire. Willem did this then descended to the stance to catch a break. Standard procedure.
    Then Willem set off. He pulled up on the big flake 2m up and it snapped. Willem and the rock, about the size of a briefcase, fell together. The top wire held and Willem landed a metre or two below the stance.
    Now the take-off for P2 looked just desperate or impossible. Tinie and I despaired.
    Willem worked it (he had the rope above, into the two wires) and then with 80 kilos of prime beef working to the max he managed to climb this new start. Tinie and I were amazed and miserable.
    Willem got up to what an hour earlier had been the new crux that Tinie and I had sent last week, he gratefully clipped the fixed wire and was very pleased to hear that it is bomber, and then he hung in there for 20 minutes or more, trying to work out this desperate new crux. The endurance was very impressive. He couldn’t find a way to not be barn-dooring off the only (desperate) hold. Eventually he committed to a no-return high slap for the tiny divet. Thankfully he latched and didn’t have to test the wire with all that beesvleis.
    Willem controlled the rest of the endurance pitch for a long and impressive ascent. At the time I asked him how hard – he thought 26 with the new start. And that the new upper crux is solid 25.
    Snorty fell off the new start and deployed ‘mountaineering tactics’, which he continued to deploy through the new upper crux. Then he followed clean, to the top.
    Willem and Snort rapped off the chain and headed downhill.


    Bloody Tinie could not be stopped from traversing across to his beloved route to restore matters.
    We got established in the stance and I just wanted to go home. It all looked horrifying, especially as I couldn’t see how one could place the upper wire. I don’t love hospital anymore.
    On the second or third rotation, Tinie was leaning out and fiddling. Next thing he peels away the big rattly flake that we lean out on!!!
    The flake went crashing down into the tree and did a nasty injury to the poor thing.
    So now in 4 weeks we’re into our fourth version of Africa Arete. Original, post-upper flake, post-lower flake, post-lean out flake.
    I’d had it but as Tinie’s abused wife I did as I was told and gave it a hard try.
    With Tinie shouting abusing words of encouragement I sent that new (and newer) start.
    Tinie didn’t get it but he came very close and he will get it. He lowered off that little fixed wire 8m up (gulp).

    Africa Arete has been through a lot of change in the last month, week and day. Tinie needs to work out what he wants to lock down as the RD for P2 of his great route (that is becoming harder and scarier). There are options.

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