Slanghoek Needle

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The first ascent of Slanghoek Needle is described in the 1923 Journal and a similar line-of-least-resistance route is described in the 1950 Journal. In the 1950 article Williamson writes: “That this striking and attractive peak has but few routes up it is not surprising when one surveys the towering cliffs which ring its northern flanks”.

In working ourselves up to our first attempt at the immense Slanghoek Amphitheatre nearby, for what was to become A Private Universe (see 2002 Journal), Dave and I were attracted to a clean alpine-style ridge line on Slanghoek Needle. The climb yielded all too easily but turned out to be a pleasant route in a big-mountain environment.

Approach: Park at the farm Breёland at the head of the Slanghoek valley. From the farmhouse walk up the jeep track for a kilometre until reaching an intersection with the kloof that comes down from the mountains on the left. Head up this watercourse for about two hours to a junction with a gorge coming down from the left. Head up this gorge for about an hour, to a fine saddle with two pinnacles on the valley-side. From this saddle traverse left and up to gain the impressive ridge that leads to the summit of the Needle towering above.

This nine pitch route follows the very prominent ridge on the north side of Slanghoek Needle.

Pitches 1 to 9. 300m 15 - 18: Climb the vertical faces, mostly around grade16, that form steps up the ridge ending near the summit. The route is very obvious and needs no further detail.

Descent: From the summit of the Needle head south to a position above the prominent high nek that joins the Needle to the main massif. Scramble and rappel into the nek and from there head directly down to rejoin the saddle below.

First ascent: David Davies and Hilton Davies, 29 March 1998.