High Time 22

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Posts: 1351
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:53 am
Real Name: Charles Edelstein
Location: Cape Town

High Time 22

Post by SNORT »

One of the most striking walls in all South Africa is the flat blank appearing west face one passes when walking up Yellowwood ravine. It is visible straight ahead when driving along the N1 from the toll tunnel. It appears so blank from afar as to be non-descript as a climbing destination and brings to mind one of those dreadful bolt guns to even consider climbing it. Its west facing aspect also results in it acquiring, in places, a lovely greenish furry coat of lichen and other vegetation that suggests that any attempt to contrive a route up there would necessitate the services of “The Constant Gardiner”, my dear old friend Tini Versfeld. Over the last few years he has been gardening routes into climbing condition at the Maverick Crag and the Africa Amphitheatre face on Table Mountain. He is gotten so good at it that he contrived what is the best multi-pitch route on Table Mountain and indeed of the best in South Africa. He called it Africa Safari. His friends call it The Constant Gardiner.

But I digress. On Saturday 21 October 2017 I headed up to Yellowwood with my NBF Teodor Iliev. We are a on a roll having fashioned with Brent Russel two excellent new routes at Yellowwood. Crunch Time and Terrific Time over the last month or so. In 2014, with Bruce Daniel, we climbed a route called Not the Best Time to the left of this wall. This route started on the grey clean pillar buttressing the left of the High Time wall. The pitches on the pillar are of very good quality and the headed on into grotty scary rock that denied it anything more than a 2 star rating. To the left of this route is Black Waterfall Face a route of yester year. Further left of the waterfall, in places is clean looking rock that I thought might justify exploration.

On reaching the base of the grey pillar I cast a jaundiced and critical eye onto the massive blank expanse above and right and though it was High Time to give it a go even though the Constant Gardiner had not been solicited.

The start of the route was up a grey pillar and onto red dodgy looking rock. At least it was clean. Hand holds and foot holds were revealed but it was steep and pumpy and required lots of careful checking for loose rocks, blocks and flakes. Crux layback moves up a short black left facing corner bothered me as I was not sure if the rock was sound. So, with a good excuse to weight the gear and de-pump I tested the pillar by reaching up high and banging it with my fist. It was good enough and launched myself up it. Some tricky climbing led me to a wet cul-de sac but a step down left and then up brought me to a hanging stance below the obvious off width crack line that I was heading for in the first place.

Teodor followed cleaning and gardening as he went. He then aided the overhanging off width crack cleaning off loose holds and the like to exit
right of the tree at the top. He then went and made a hanging stance. I started off and promptly took a plummet when a lay back hold broke off. I started again and freed the pitch on top rope.

The next pitch involved a lay back move up a short right facing corner and then a step race on to the face. Tricky moves including kneeling at one stage brought to the base clean right facing corner topped with overhang. (This is where there is a bomber no 6 or 7 wild country rock makes for an abseil point.) At the overhang I moved right into a shallow recess and then continued up past a monster pyramidal block that made the next move feasible by standing on it. At last a comfy ledge up the right made for a sitting belay. Teodor followed doing a fine job of cleaning including trundling the monster rock. It made for a spectacular impact on the scree below dislodging and even larger boulder. By removing the block I wonder what grade that move is now.

Teodor set off up and left and climbed on markedly improved rock quality to a stance on steep moves. I then did the last pitch of the day that required a tricky move past a short overhang and then bombed straight up the grey wall, (avoiding the more inviting chocolate brown scoop on the right) on scary appearing but actually quite easy moves to a comfy stance on piled blocks. It was after 4 pm and it was time to bale to the bar as we were hot and dehydrated.

It seemed like we had done at least 3 rope lengths of climbing but one 50m abseil and another just over 40m got us to the ground. So far, the route has been extremely complex and engaging with no easy but also no very hard moves. There numerous climbing moves on each pitch hence the sense of the vertical height being climbed seemingly more than reality. Classic Yellowwood
HIgh Time photo topo low res Oct 21 2017 cropped.jpg
HIgh Time photo topo low res Oct 21 2017 cropped.jpg (110.24 KiB) Viewed 4912 times

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Re: High Time 22

Post by emile »

Will you please name one of you're routes "Hammer time"? :jocolor:
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