The Chosspile

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Sport and some Trad clmbing on quartzite above the Hartebeespoort Dam.


All year round. Hot in summer with occasional thunderstorms, climb in the shade and you should be fine. In winter it gets warm during the day and cool in the evenings.


Compact Quartzite


Sport Rack & 50m rope The Chosspile is a crag above the Hartebeespoort Dam wall. Unlike the crag's name there is actually good rock here with fine routes. The rock is a hard sandstone, semi quartsitic. There is a bit of a slog to walk in to the crag but you will have plenty shade in the trees at the base of the cliff. The sun leaves most of the face by early morning.

Getting there / Access

Please adhere to under mentioned access arrangements religiously. The Chosspile was closed due to a spate of muggings and later re-opened following negotiations with the landowners and huge effort from the climbing community led by Neil Margetts and friends.

Some of the history:

Procedure for climbers or walkers at Chosspile

  • Every person must first report to Mount Amanzi and sign the indemnity
  • Every person must pay R30 (Those who want full access to all facilities of Mount Amanzi such as heated pool, restaurant etc. pay R55, see
  • Those who buy year passes must have their name on the list. Their pass expires when the date expires.
  • Every person must be a member or accompany a member of one of the following clubs who must show the membership card with current date sticker on reverse:
    • Mountain Club of South Africa
    • South African National Climbing Federation
    • University Student Card with their climbing club sticker on the reverse of the current year. (Pretoria Univ, WITS, UJ, Potch Univ, UKZN, Rhodes, UCT )
      • Note: These university clubs can gain free entrance if they take groups of under privileged people climbing. They also get a number of free entrance credits. This must be arranged in advance with Mount Amanzi.
  • Each member may take one guest, who must also sign and pay R30.
  • There is a guard at the crags who gets R5 per visitor, you may tip him additionally if you wish.

Please stick to these rules to keep the access open and the crag safe.



SA Mountain Magazine - Issue No. 5 June 2003. A comprehensive Route Guide is hosted on the SACIN Website

Route Guide

Here follows the route guide as sourced directly from

Harry Potter Area

This is the leftmost part of The Chosspile. It lies uphill from the ablutions as you drive into the usual parking spot. The best way to reach the Harry Potter area is to walk to the dam end of the car parking in the picnic area, then take the path which traverses uphill and left, taking you alongside a concrete sluice channel. Don't go along the level path at the end of the parking area. You should be going uphill and left. After approx. 100m you will see a plank bridge over the concrete channel. Cross this and head upwards. After 20m turn left
at a T-junction in the path which will take you over a stony, dried-up watercourse. Follow this path as you go up the hill to the crag. You can top out at three sites along the crag, depending where you want to be. Take the middle path first which brings you out at the classic Slitherin (14), then you'll learn where the others end up. Rory Lowther, Roland Magg, Debbie Mulder and Neill Margetts have been developing this lower section to the Chosspile. The best climbing is done in the morning before the crag gets the afternoon sun.

10th January 2010: The route guide below has been unchanged for some time. New routes have appeared at the crag and have and not been added to this guide. There is some confusion about grades and in places, even about which climb is which. Today's edit is intended to help with this and also to suggest some consensus grade changes. The grades have been discussed with the author of the forthcoming new guide to this area. Grade suggestions are shown after the current name and grade. This Wiki guide should not, however, be taken as definitive. Wait for the new guide, then start arguing about it!

Climbs are described left to right.

DRAKO 24 ** [7D,A]
1. 21 [7D,A] ** The route starts on the right of the big Roof, scramble up easy rock to first bolt then climb slightly right to first stance on ledge just below roof. Currently no chains at stance to abseil from, but large tree stem out right works well to. 2. 21 [7D,A] Continue through small roof by doing an early crux move, finish the route with 15m easy climbing to chains. On 50m rope do two abseils to ground or two 50m will make it from top to ground. First Ascent: Unknown. Retro-bolted by Rory Lowther

1. 15 (F2) 40m Climb the face left of HARRY POTHEAD, starting 7m left of HP. Tricky poorly protected start. Fire up to the top past two trees. Last 15m also poorly protected. First Ascent: Apr 2004 Stephen Mallory, Wessel, Cara

Short route with easy start, follows large flaring crack up to end of small roof on the left with anchors just around lip. First Ascent: Rory Lowther

Climb toward the left crack in the small roof. First Ascent: Rory Lowther

Route starts 8m below small roof with decent climbing into a corner below roof then follows right crack out of corner and through crux roof to anchors on the face above. First Ascent: Steve Dunnet BB: Rory Lowther

DOBBY 23/24 *** [8D,A]
Just to the right of Chamber of secrets, climb overhanging rock on the right of small roof to anchors in small open book. First Ascent: Rory Lowther BB: Debbie Mulder

DODGY GLUE 19 *** [B,A]
To the right of DOBBY. A cruxy start next to a large root. Glue in anchors have been used.

MAN THANG 24 *** [B,A]
To the right of DODGY GLUE. Glue in anchors used.

(this route was originally called The Philosophers Stoned. The name given here may be a typo. Suggested new grade 21, due to the sustained nature of the route) Starts 3m right of Man Thang. Climb the overhanging start, to the arete on the right. Stay slightly left of the arete following bolts to a cruxy last move with a decent jug. First Ascent: Rory Lowther

Easy climbing for 20m, starts to right of the Philosophers Stone in the open book, up to a stance on a ledge with big tree to abseil off. First Ascent: Rory Lowther

Starts 20m to right of The Philosophers Stoned, on a rock ledge. Line follows middle section of rock, with face climbing until over bulge of rock then into a small roof with the crux. First Ascent: Roland Magg

New Route -- SALAZAR suggested grade 18
Start 5m right of Moaning Myrtle. The route takes an almost straight line to the bolts, with a crux at 1/3 height and a tricky move onto the top of an overhang near the top. Good climbing. First ascent: February 2010 Daniel Hannah, bolted by David Tapp

SPONGIFY 22 ** [8D,A]
(Suggested new grade 21) Start 2m to the right of SALAZAR. Climb into early crux move and continue to easier, fun climbing on face above. Beware a ground fall from the low crux. The small tree at about 2m has been used as a hanging belay to make an early ground fall less likely. First Ascent: Rory Lowther

VOLTAMOR 19 **** [8D,A]
(Suggested: only two stars) Climb through 3 small roofs to ledge with chains above the last roof. First Ascent: Rory Lowther

DIFFINDO 20 ** [7D,A]
Short line with easy start, until crux move getting onto and through small roof. First Ascent: Rory Lowther

The crag now moves uphill and steps back to a long face with a corner at its left end.

Start in the corner, just left of the chimney. Move left onto slab and then a few metres higher up, move right into a short right-facing corner. Climb this to ledge, then move left into left facing corner. Steep moves at the top take you to the chains. Some long draws are useful just as you go into to top corner to avoid rope drag. One can also climb the right arête at the bottom. There is a dire warning about rope drag written on the rock at the base of this climb. Please ignore it but do take care to ensure that the rope runs clear from bolt to bolt, doesn't get trapped under the tree or round any rocky bulges. First ascent: 2008 Neil Margetts.

QUIDDITCH 23**** [7B,A]
(Suggested consensus grade 22) This route takes the hanging slab right of the previous route. Start as for THE BLOODY BARON but branch right to the base of the hanging slab and up this to the top. There is a bit of a run out from the top bolt to the chains, but it is safe. First ascent: 2008 Neil Margetts.

New Route -- THE BALLS OF HAGRID suggested grade 20 [9B,A]
Climb THE BLOODY BARON for five bolts, then break right across a slab until under a black corner with a prominent crack. Swarm up the crack to an overhang and move left through it to the slab and chains above. First ascent: David Tapp January 2010. Bolted by Neil Margetts

New Route -- THE SLAB OF SNAPE suggested grade 16 [15B,A]
The first route on the main face. Climb a series of ledges then up to good holds under a small overhang. Move left under the overhang and up the slab (crux) to the chains. PLEASE NOTE: 60m rope essential, 15 quickdraws.
First ascent: Neil Margetts January 2010. Bolted by Neil Margetts/David Tapp

Start about 6m left of Slitherin, 3m left of HCRH. Straight up to the chains with one bolt right of the line at half height. The crux is in the first 3m. First Ascent: May 2004 Dylan Morgan

Start just left of Slitherin. Turn the overhang with one hard move before following the shallow recess to the ledge and face above. This route shares its upper section and anchors with HCLH. First Ascent: May 2004 Mike Grant

SLITHERIN 14 **** [10D,A]
Climbs the obvious corner to the left of centre on the face. Climb to the short layback crack and into an undercling, step out left to easy climbing up an open book corner. Fun climbing for 20m. First Ascent: Rory Lowther

A variation of Slitherin 18
heads right, onto the face at the overhang. The climb can then be finished up the face to the right of the arete or straight up the arete. It's a little artificial but if you climb the arete try not to resort to footholds other than on the arete. Move slightly right at the top to the anchors of Raven's Claw. Both anchors are now 100% as of 16.1.10

RAVENS CLAW 17 *** [9D,A]
Follow the obvious line of bolts to the right of the Slitherin variation, face climbing for 20m to chains. Both anchors are now 100% as of 16.1.10 First Ascent: Roland Magg

GRIFFENDORE 17 *** [10D,A]
This route is to the right of Ravens claw and heads up the middle of the face/slab with 3 crux moves otherwise some good climbing. First Ascent: Rory Lowther

HUFF 'N PUFF 18 *** [9D,A]
(Suggested new grade 19) Cruxy, bouldery start and crimpy end, but easier section in the middle. First Ascent: Rory Lowther

Starts 2m right of Huff 'n' Puff. Step up right onto a ledge to clip the first bolt. Move left and then up. Fun climbing, with the last bit the crux. F.A. Neil Margetts 2007

Approximately 8m to the right is...

New Route ROWLING'S RAMBLE 13 (suggested grade) [6D,A]
Start to the right of a big green bush. Follow a groove to a large ledge, then up another groove on the right to finish on a second prominent ledge. The anchors are to the left and up, on the left side of a massive block. A direct variation goes from the first large ledge straight up the headwall to the anchors. Suggested grade 16. First ascent and bolted by David Tapp January 2010

Starts 4m right of ROWLING'S RAMBLE, on a rocky ledge in a corner. It has a tricky start and an easier top out. First Ascent: 2004 Louis Smit & Wiliam Graham

New Route DRACO'S SNAKE 11 (suggested grade) [6B,A]
The start of the route is to the the right of CRAMCAKES AND SCUMBAGS and about 4m lower. Take a path which passes under the start of C&S heading towards one of the descent routes of the crag. Beware the nettle trees! The climb starts up a corner/groove to a large ledge/terrace, then follows another groove onto a face to finish on a comfortable ledge. There are two anchors which only become obvious when topping out. First ascent: Lize Boshoff January 2010 Bolted by David Tapp

Lord of The Rings

This is the central 'cave' area just left of the top of the prominent gully splitting the hillside. This was the first developed area and sports the majority of the hardest lines and some projects. The crag is shaded most of the day, gets some sun late afternoon. To get to this area follow the path to the Wall of Aglarond and keep going left following the obvious path uphill to the crag which can be seen across the gulley.

PIPE WEED 22 ** [8D,A]
Starts with an easy scramble about 5-10m left of SHORTCUT TO MUSHROOMS. The first bolt is about 3m off the ground, scramble up carefully. Continues on a straight line through a cruxy roof to an easy end. First Ascent: Dewald Kloppers

FRODO 18 **** [9D,A]
Following the crackline through a small mantleshelf and a cunning ending. First Ascent: Rob Brinkworth

The leftmost route on a yellow, lichen covered face which gets sun in the afternoon. Excellent route.

Starts just around the corner and to the right of A SHORTCUT TO MUSHROOMS, try stay out of the corner higher up.

GANDALF 25 ** [B,A]
A nice route about 2m right of VOICES OF SARUMAN, tends slightly right with a single crux move. Used to be 26, but is easy 25.

About 2m right of GANDALF, finishes on same anchors as GANDALF.

Use the first three bolts of MOURN NOT OVERMUCH, follow the bolts slightly right up a dark pillar. Finish on the chains of GOLLUM. Bouldery. First Ascent: Jun 2004 Andrew Pedley

GOLLUM 25 **** [B,A]
1m right of MOURN NOT OVERMUCH, tending slightly rightward, quite cruxy. Take care of the lower-off as the edges are sharp on the rope. Was 24 but is 7a. Great climb.

The second pitch to GOLLUM, no details available.

THE NEW BULLY ****(open project 29is) [B,A]
Instead of starting in the cave, start from the ground and enjoy the extra 20 moves of pump. The longest line at Chos and the way it should have been opened. Do not pull into the cave for a rest, that would be a grade easier and less pleasing. BB: Wesley Black. Bolts sponsored by MCSA - JHB/MAG Section

Scramble up to the big cave in the middle of the crag. Move left to where you will see the first bolt and clip with long sling. Move out and left onto the face. Great. Low in grade. First Ascent: Peter Lazarus

Same first bolt as Bully, then move right to jugs then hard up the face rightwards to chains. Brilliant steep rock. First Ascent: Willem le Roux 2006

Pieter Martin's project started in 2001. Scrambles up as for BULLY FOR BRONTASAURUS and then right from the cave, through the roof on the first x bolts of Richard's old project and then up the bulge to the top. First Ascent: BB Pieter Martin

Very steep and radical movement; this is a big prize to whoever opens it, one of the best hard lines in SA, it has been tried plenty. Start up the prow down and right of the cave. Originally bolted by Pieter Martin. New start and rebolted by A Pedley.

DON'T LET GO 28 *** [BA]
Climb to the chains of Don't Deck and rail out left. Head through the three roofs and top out. Make sure you don't let go! At least 4 60cm slings are required to reduce rope drag. First Ascent: Brian Weaver (2011)

DON'T DECK 23 ** [B,A]
This route starts about 3-5m left of FOSSIL FUEL. It ends below a roof where another route continues but we have no details for it. Retro-Bolted by Rob Brinkworth & Mark Olver. A classic route.

Link-up between DONT DECK and FOSSIL FUEL. Follow DON'T DECK but avoid the top corner. Traverse right and then climb through the final roof section of FOSSIL FUEL. Mark Olver's old project. First Ascent: Harry Crews (June 2009)

SHELOB 24***[B,A]
Starts just right of the tree, a sustained route that climbs straight up to end on DONT DECK chains. First Ascent: Wesley Black. Bolts sponsored by MCSA - JHB/MAG Section

ANDURIL 31*** [10B,A]
Starts a couple metres right of the cut tree stump. Super cool climbing through the roofs with some effort. Very bouldery. Break through the roof and merge into Fossil Fuel to move through the big roof. First Ascent: Joey Kinder, 2011; BB: Wesley Black. Bolts sponsored by MCSA - JHB/MAG Section

FOSSIL FUEL 31 *** [B,A]
Low in the grade. Starts off the sloping ramp a few metres right of the cut tree stump. Some thin moves tending leftward into a cunning knee bar, then pumpy climbing leads to some final thuggery through the capping roof. First Ascent: 2000 Ralph Brucher (BB Peter Lazarus). Rebolted in 2009.

Ralph Brucher's project just right of FOSSIL FUEL started a few years back! This one is also into the thirties, probably harder than FOSSIL FUEL. I would say this is a super asthetic line and deffinitly worth getting on, the grade is probably 33/34 so if you capable then give this a try. May be dusty so take a brush along.

Project bolted by Pieter Martin just right of RALPH'S PROJECT, this is into the thirties!

The steep line between GRIMSLADE and PIETER MARTIN'S PROJECT, this will probably go in the thirties too. Started by Colin in 2002.

GRIMSLADE 26 (7b) ** [6D,A]
The last well chalked climb on the right of the crag. This route was once called SLANTED & ENCHANTED, some good power moves on small grips moving left and over the lip. Take care lowering on this route there are some rough edges for the rope. Was 26 and is still 26.

This route needs the first bolt cheat-clipped. Starts just right of GRIMSLADE climbing diagonally right and then finishing up about 1m left of where HOBBITRY IN ARMS FINISHES. Take care not to venture onto HOBBITRY IN ARMS as it makes the route much easier, also do not start the route too far right either.

A short line with some long moves.

RAMBLE ON 18 ** [B,A]
The rightmost route on this section of the crag starting just left of the gully and just right of a large crack in ther crag. Take care there is still some loose rock on this climb. It is marked as a 19 on the rock.

Wall Of Aglarond

The rightmost section of crag, to the right of the prominent gully splitting the hillside.

This route is between RAMBLE ON & LADY OF LORIEN. From RAMBLE ON go back over the gully and carry on at the same level until you get to the base of the next cliff on your right. The first bolt is very high, please take care.

Starts 3 metres to the left of MR GAMGEE. Keep left, and use the topout on the small roof. First Ascent: Apr 2003 Derek Pienaar & Andries Smit

MR GAMGEE 20 ** [9D,A]
Crux is reachy, but fun. Route has its own topouts, dont use TKOTGH's topout. First Ascent: Apr 2003 Andries Smit & Derek Pienaar

The route starts about 10m on the same crag and to the left of LADY OF LORIEN. A pleasantly sustained climb with some fine moves to get over the first nose. First Ascent: Sep 2002 Derek Pienaar & Andries Smit

LEGOLAS 22 **** [14D,A]
A splendid route almost reaching 25m with a number of stylish moves on some fairly sizable grips. Keep left at the small roof. Gets quite pumpy at the top. First Ascent: Aug 2002 Derek Pienaar & Andries Smit

LADY OF LORIEN 22 *** [11D,A]
As you walk up the normal path to the crag you will get to a cliff right of the main crag, it is well before you cross a small gully and at a lower level to the main crag. As the path gets to the base of the cliff walk a little left & you should see this line of bolts. A long and pumpy, but fun 22.

ARAGORN 21 *** [14D,A]
Two types of climbing styles on this route. A bouldery climb to a flat area in the middle, and then some balancing needed to proceed past the crux. Interesting. First Ascent: Nov 2002 Andries Smit & Derek Pienaar

UNKNOWN 22/23 [B,A]
This route goes up left of a recess. First Ascent: Unknown.

This route goes up the arete halfway between the unknown route and Sauron. Also left of a recess. First Ascent: Unknown.

Immediately right of Smeagol. Starts in or just right of the recess 5m left of Sauron. First Ascent: 2008, Unknown.

SAURON 18 ** [7D,A]
This route has the first bolt quite high, take care as the second bolt is placed on a hollow section of rock. The hanger is missing from the final bolt (Jan 2010), causing quite a lead-out to the chains (crux) with the potential of decking on the ledge below. Climbers pushing their grades beware! First Ascent: Unknown

The route is about 20m right of SAURON on a low slab with a crack running down the middle. First Ascent: Rob Brinkworth