African Time - ''ain’t a straight line'' (25) ****

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The route offers great quality climbing particularly from pitch 3. After making the halfway ledge, we found that other climbers had nabbed our intended continuation. After making a few abortive (and white-knuckle) attempts at a direct continuation, we eventually, in African Time, meandered towards other parts of the wall to resume our route on less-crowded rock.

The route starts approximately 40m left of Armageddon Time and about 10 meters right of a big flat boulder surrounded by Wild Peach trees. This is almost directly below the left hand edge of the large stepped roofs of Armageddon’s third pitch. The route follows close to a fairly obvious, vegetated, chossy looking, straight-line break that runs up the first half of the wall at about 10 degrees left of vertical. At the third pitch it rails right (through the large left-facing corner) and continues up a clean crack line that runs parallel and about 8 meters right of the main vegetated break.

Pitch 1: 45m, (20) This pitch starts up easy ground (loose flakes) in the very shallow recess, which forms the start of the break. Continue on small holds up the steepest part of the seam past an old peg. Higher up, pull steeply to a small bushy ledge. Follow the main vegetated vertical break above for about 10 meters, to where it steepens. Rail left at an orange patch of rock below a small roof and up, to stance on a good ledge in a recess (gear for the stance can be found several meters further up).

Pitch 2: 35m, (20) From the ledge climb a few meters up and right to a small ledge. Climb a steep, reachy finger crack for several meters until it is possible to step out right onto the arête. Climb the arête to a ledge at the bottom left of the large Armageddon roofs. From the ledge step left across the vegetated recess and then up it for about 10 meters to a hanging stance at the level of the first, thin rail that goes out right, across the overhanging, leftwards facing wall.

Pitch 3: 30m (22). Rail right for 5 meters to the skyline arête. The rail is thinnest at the start (crux) and widens later. Move up 5 meters to a ledge. Then climb up past a small roof (thin), and up to gain the clean, leftwards-trending crack up to a big, comfortable ledge.

Pitch 4: 45m (21). The route continues straight up the clean, leftwards tending crack line about 6 meters in from the left hand edge of the ledge. Climb this through layback moves, and two small roofs, to continue above leftwards around a small, blunt arête into less steep ground in a recess. Stem up the steep crack to gain a good rail 5 meters higher. Move up and slightly right to finish up a layback and thin face moves (the sting in the tail) to gain the halfway ledge.

The route continues way over to the right (towards Smalblaar Ridge). Walk along the ledge past Armageddon and the exposed step-over. Approximately 15 meters beyond this is an obvious break, where a steep vertical, very grassed-up crack leads into a roof. Three meters right of this is a leftwards tending, thin finger crack which runs up to the right hand side of the roof.

Pitch 5: 45m, (23). Climb the finger crack. Follow the wider crack above, through another roof and straight up to a big ledge.

Pitch 6: 35m, (25). Continue straight up the line of the last pitch for about 5 meters. Trend left on small ledges and faces to reach the base of the obvious overhanging crack just left of the big corner. Climb the crack (crux) and go left to a ledge above.

Pitch 7: 25m, (22). Go left along the ledge for about 3 meters. Climb the vertical finger crack, through 2 small roofs. Traverse a few meters left across the face above to gain (thin) a crack that is followed easily up to a ledge below a roof.

Pitch 8: 30m, (21). Climb the overhanging chimney / crack through the roof from the ledge (hard), into thin cracks in a face above and then straight up to a ledge. Climb one of the water runnels on the next face up to the top.

First Ascent: Johann Lanz and Robert Zipplies, February 2012


EITHER walk right to the gulley between Smalblaar ridge and the chesspieces. This involves three short abseils.

OR use the DOWN TIME Rap Route