Time Bomb

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SNORT
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Time Bomb

Post by SNORT » Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:55 pm

Sunday was the 16th day spent trying to finish Time Bomb, so named because I took one of the longest, luckiest falls on the 6th pitch when a hold broke and I bounced off a ledge. It goes free up until the last 70m - 3 pitches. Grades so far are 18 23 21R 24 25 23 23 ?28 ?25 ?24.

It basically is Down Time bottom up. So Times Up is also a name touted.

If anyone is moerse strong and keen to play on it let me know. I don't think I can free the 3rd last pitch and the 5th pitch has also got me stumped.

The 4th pitch is 50m of the best face climbing you will ever do and the route also sports the one and only hand jam crack at YW on pitch 7. The 4th pitch I thought was 22/23 but after doing it again on Sunday realized it is at least as hard as Out to Lunch and even Africa Arete although it is not 25.

All the climbing is technical and engaging.

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Justin
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Re: Time Bomb

Post by Justin » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:13 pm

Nice one Snort. I presume all the belays are bolted?

Glad to hear that you bounce well 8)
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SNORT
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Re: Time Bomb

Post by SNORT » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:38 pm

Nope they are not all bolted. Some are as they are on Down Time. In fact the route stances at all the original Down Time abseil points except the very top one. Pitch 1 has no fixed gear, Stances 2 and 3 have a single bolt as the belays are otherwise on detached blocks that are very dangerous. The start of pitch 5 off the halfway ledge has a single bolt and a peg otherwise the only belay is a micro cam. The 7 and and 8th and 10th stances are natural .
Stance 9 is a Down Time stance. The 11th stance is a bolt and cam/nut belay. It would be very scary to get there with the wrong gear.

All the pitches except the 1st and 3rd and 5th pitches gobble gear and onsighting results in one getting to stances without the right gear. Jimbo led pitch 4 and ran out of the correct gear about 10 days ago and then Squeaks ran out of gear on pitch 7 for the stance on Sunday.

This route will be all but impossible to on-sight in a day for most really good mediocre climbers. Every pitch except the first has got complex climbing that is difficult to move fast on. Other than the first pitch there is almost no easy climbing at all - probably about 20m altogether in over 250m of climbing. It is always steep, technical or overhanging and unlike Magnetic Wall there is no jug hauling.

SNORT
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Re: Time Bomb

Post by SNORT » Wed Oct 16, 2019 4:28 pm

If anyone is thinking of climbing at Yellowwood this weekend Willem, Ben Louw Squeaks and me are going to try and finish Time Bomb with a proper ground up ascent. Ben and I shall probably climb ground up and then WIllem and Squeaks will practise the brick hard top bit. Then on Sunday Ben Squeaks and I shall try finish this beast.

Would be cool if there are other guys who know how to take photos and feel like having some fun.

SNORT
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Re: Time Bomb

Post by SNORT » Mon Oct 21, 2019 4:48 pm

Time Bomb goes free at Yellowwood.

18 23 21R 24 26 23 19 26 (redpoint tall) 25 21 (tall).

This is the best route at Yellowwood and is a strenuous and bold undertaking.

The FFA ground up without falls awaits. All the hard pitches except pitch 8 have been flashed by Ben Louw, but the true on-sight remains to be done.

All the pitches have been led free with Richard Halsey bagging pitch 8.

So the cherry is there for the plucking.

keith james
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Re: Time Bomb

Post by keith james » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:47 am

“Really good mediocre climbers”.... :mrgreen: :wink: p

SNORT
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Re: Time Bomb

Post by SNORT » Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:22 am

The Making of Quality new route on Yellowwood.

Alex Honnold berated me in 2017 for denying climbers some of the best rock climbing in South Africa because of my antithesis towards carte blanche bolting of sport routes at Yellowwood. Neither of us are good listeners and we are both opinionated but I did point out to him that the character of Yellowwood would be forever change if further bolting of sport routes ensued and to all intents and purposes the routes would be so difficult that it would only be amenable to elite climbers. Furthermore that that Yellowwood was part of the South African climbing heritage and scene and it is our ethos that should and will prevail at least for the present. As with Milner Amphitheatre, and many areas all over the world, bolts attract hoards of people and climbers would potentially flock to Yellowwood and threaten our access to the cliff and surrounds which is all on private land. For example in the 2008 and 2009 season three different groups of European climbers fashioned between them 4 and a half routes forcing lines using bolts and they did not even bother to climb a single route already there. They also left a lot of litter!

I tried to explain to him that I was not averse to bolting in principle but more that the adventurous trad nature at Yellowwood should be maintained for future generations and that there are hundreds of suitable cliffs that much better lend themselves to bolting such as the red and yellow amphitheatre just down and to left of Yellowwood up the next gulley.

I also informed him that around 2011 a code of ethics agreed to by about 50 trad climbers of all ages and familiar with climbing at Yellowwood states the following: “Whilst route development is encouraged, non-essential bolting is not.” And in that vein from time to time fixed gear, preferably pitons can and will be placed to ensure the quality and safety of a route that otherwise would be lacking.

We abseiled Down Time together after he was filmed climbing Newborn and I pointed out that this was a project I had started as a route in 2008 but it blended into an exciting abseil descent. I made it quite clear that once all avenues of doing pure trad routes were exhausted I would consider judicious bolting wherever it was essential for safety and that included making Down Time a route.

Since then, the 22R pitch on Prime Time direct has claimed 2 victims with both suffering serious injuries. I have climbed this pitch 8 times and led it 7 times because it is so dangerous but I know it well. I consider a bolt or some other fixed piece fully justified and intend placing same in the near future.

Time Bomb has now evolved from the abseil descent Down Time and has been more than 10 years in the making starting with a British Climber Ged Desforges in 2008. After his trip and in relation to Down Time he wrote this:

Point is you lot have got some of the finest adventure climbing imaginable. Don't waste it. I'll be back soon, so keep your filthy mits off that crack line we abbed down.


I knew Time Bomb (or Times Up as I intended calling it at the time) would almost certainly need bolts on the upper pitches but refrained from even thinking of placing any until such time I was sure the route would be of quality all the way from the ground. Over the last 10 years or so despite many attempts at linking good pitches to the Halfway Ledge and then on to the overhanging top 70m the secret was revealed to me starting with Willem doing a fine lead of the second pitch 23 which was straightened only a few days ago. The next pitch 21R was one of the scariest leads I have ever done. It was loose chossy and dirty with not a single piece of decent gear on the whole pitch of 20m or so. And Willem was belayed directly below me in my fall line. It now has 2 bolts and is still run out about 8m.

The biggest obstacle was the final pitch to the Halfway Ledge and this was elucidated to me around April this year when Margaret came with me specially to climb the first half of Smalblaar and I fathomed out the “headwall” pitch even though I did not climb it then. It was only after linking all the pitches to the halfway ledge and then the next three pitches to the final overhanging blank section that I decided it was reasonable and acceptable to place bolts as I was convinced the route would now go.

I carried a drill up on 3 separate occasions to ensure that only a minimal amount of bolts were placed and there is even a cheat stick still lurking on the final Down Time anchor at the start of pitch 8.

There are now 9 bolts and 1 peg spread over 5 pitches and also some fixed stances that include all three Down Time anchor points. In my view all these bolts are justified for safety. This still leaves the route with one R pitch and the need for a heavy double rack and some bold climbing in places!

I can safely say that any further attempts at completing a route on the main amphitheatre will mandate a lot more than 9 bolts and indeed there is scope for more mixed (what I call Sprad) routes by stronger climbers than me. I doubt any route will fetch a grade less than upper twenties and good pitches below the halfway ledge will be hard to find.

The timeline of completing this route bears mentioning so as to credit and thank all my mates old and new that have been involved with making this route, the best at Yellowwood and therefor of the best anywhere at all. I have spent no less than 22 days forging the line in one way or another.

I am most especially grateful to Margaret and my family who have indulged me in this "conquest of the useless" and especially for Margaret putting up with my affair with my "Mistress" Yellowwood and even helping unlock the mystery of the key pitch. Some might know that this is not my first mistress, the others being Blouberg and Karbonaaitjies Kraal.

2008: Spied the upper part of the line with Ged Desforges and abseiled Down Time.

2009: Climbed Smalblaar with Robert Breyer and bolted the anchors on Down Time

2010: Did the First Ascent of three quarters of Fantastic Time with Dave Vallet the day before the soccer world cup. Then worked on the FA of what is now the 5th pitch of Time Bomb to the second crux with a point of aid.

2015 (circa): Climbed the grey slabs to the right of the start of Time Bomb with Clinton Martinengo but got spanked and escaped via Time Warp to the halfway ledge.

2016 (circa): Scoped out a way to get to the Halfway ledge with Tini Versfeld on TR to the right of the 4th pitch but chossy and abandoned the idea
.
2017: Brought in some power and scoped out the top overhanging 3 pitches with Jimbo Smith.

2019: Willem Le Roux and I worked out the 1st 3 pitches and then escaped onto Time Warp
.
2019: Early in 2019 with Margaret my first and only wife and partner for 35 years we climbed Smalblaar to the halfway ledge in very hot conditions. While Margaret R&R ed under a shady overhang I found the key to the 50m headwall below the halfway ledge. I had marvelled at climbing this expanse of gorgeous quartzite for all the years that I rapped Down Time. And suddenly it was revealed to me how to negotiate it by climbing a little up Time Warp to the first rail and then traversing in. I abseiled down about 20m and realized it was a go. This pitch may go straighter with just 2 or 3 bolts.

2019: The pitches to the halfway ledge were thereafter established with contributions for Teodor Iliev, Nic van Doesburgh and Brent Russel. I also had another go at freeing pitch 5 with Robert Breyer belaying me. With Mike MacKechnie I abseiled down the overhanging upper cracks and placed 3 bolts. Bruce Daniel joined Willem and me in establishing the 6th and 7th pitches. Jimbo Smith came along again with Squeaks and me and freed the 5th pitch in late August and TRed pitch 4. Squeaks and Oliver Williams and me climbed Smalblaar in atrocious conditions on the 1st September and while Squeaks worked on the top 3 pitches I cleaned out the grass from the jam crack on pitch 7 with a specially purchased pick hammer. On 15 Sep Willem and a French climber Christophe worked on the top pitches while Squeaks and I tried a ground up but got shut down with fatigue and lateness by pitch 7. It also did not help that a phone call informed me that Lucy my daughter had her eye cut open by a hockey ball as I led pitch 4.

13 October, Willem and Illona and I climbed from the halfway ledge to the base of pitch 8 and Willem worked on it and I added 4 bolts. Illona figured out the short persons beta on pitch 5!

17 October Brent Russel climbed Fantastic Time to the Halfway ledge with me and in severe heat he hauled aheavy bivvy kit and water with 2 ropes tied together to the halfway ledge. Thank you Brent! As if that was not enough he helped me cart 20l of water and equipment from the Snotter camp to below the start of the route. That was one of the most exhausting days ever at Yellowwood.

19 and 20 October 2019

All the pitches on Time Bomb were led free. Ben Louw and I did a ground up with Ben taking just one fall on pitch 8 but freeing all the rest. Squeaks led pitch 8 free after spending the previous day working the top three pitches with Willem who also TRed pitch 8 free.
Last edited by SNORT on Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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climbcityrock
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Re: Time Bomb

Post by climbcityrock » Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:35 am

Nice one Snort and crew!

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