Thursday, December 31, 2009

Exam Stress 8A

Marijus Šmigelskis has made the first ascent of "Exam Stress", The Classroom's longest standing project, which went down at around 8A. The new problem was the last remaining independent line at the area, which is home to many link-ups and eliminates and is notorious for it's sand-bagged grades. "Exam Stress" took Marijus several days of effort as the problem's brutally sharp holds only allowed for 2 or 3 serious send attempts per session.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fallen Fighter

Marijus Šmigelskis has added a sit start to Joe Möhle's "Rise Up Fallen Fighter" 7B at The Scree, and bumped the grade up to 7C. Marijus also straighted the line out a bit by climbing straight up a blunt prow on poor slopers and avoided the better pockets on the left side as per Joe's original line. This new method is certainly harder, but it may be the only option for shorter climbers, and certainly adds to the grade.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

JC at The Classroom

After a week of battling 40 degree temps in Rocklands, Julia Chen returned to Cape Town and visited The Classroom. The result was the first female ascent of the rather burly "7th Subject" 7A. Julia tried the first move a few months prior, a hard pull into high underclings, but had not attempted the other moves. This time, she sent the problem on her first try after working out how to do the opening move, flashing the top sequence.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Anro's first 7C!

Anro le Roux has climbed "Black Hoodie Rap" at the Vajra boulders at Redhill. This is Anro's first 7C and the 4th known ascent of the problem, which links the "Four Singers Extension" into the dyno finish of "Shark Lord Darren".

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dark Harvest

Marijus Šmigelskis established The Scree's hardest problem to date when he climbed "Dark Harvest" 8A+ last weekend. He had tried the problem earlier this year, but had to abandon his efforts during the rainy winter months as The Scree takes nearly 2 weeks to dry out. With summer on the way, Marijus resumed his efforts on the line, trying it during two night sessions after work last week and returning for the send on the weekend. The problems follows a series of tiny crimps up a steep prow and is possibly the best completed problem of the area.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Renz hits the G-Spot

Martin Renz made the second ascent of the sit start to "Hitting That G-Spot" 7C at Alicedale in the Eastern Cape. Willem Oosthysen opened the problem earlier this year on his thrid try, after flashing the stand start.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another Topside testpiece

Topside has received another likely candidate for the Cape's hardest problem. Marijus Šmigelskis climbed the sit start to an existing 7B called "Flubber" at The Cinema to create "Black Hawk Down" 8A+. Marijus thought the line might potentially be harder than "Koeberg"at Bonnydoon (currently considered to be the hardest problem in Cape Town), but he thinks it didn't quite feel 8B. Marijus spent a week's worth of sessions working the line until succeeding one evening in terrible wet conditions.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

CBD and Redhill action

Julia Chen made a fast ascent of one of Cape Town's best 7A's, "Purgatory" at the Bright Lights boulders at CBD. Julia succeeded on the problem after just a couple of tries, which climbs the face left of "Cross Purpose"...

Andrew Wood has made the second ascent of "Tears of a Rapper" 7C+ at Redhill's Easter Island boulders after two sessions on the powerful problem.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Planet Telex FFA!!!

Julia Chen has continued her incredible form of late with a fast send of "Planet Telex" at Echo Valley in Topside. After trying the problem briefly over a year ago, she returned and dispatched it on her first attempt after working out the crux in three or four tries. The grade of the problem has been debated in recent years and it was decided to upgrade the line to 7B from the original sandbag of 7A. Many climbers still consider 7B a stiff grade for this Topside classic.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

JC sends Seriola

The 3rd ascent of "Seriola" was made by Julia Chen at Easter Island in Redhill. Julia worked the line on two previous trips to the area and climbed it quickly on her 3rd session. The highly technical and somewhat powerful problem was originally opened at 7A, but after attempts by numerous capable climbers, all without success, it was decided to upgrade it to 7B (see the forum for comments).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September sends

Greg Streatfield put his newly accquired "Boogie Nights" power endurance to good use and made fast work of "The Untitled Symphony of Self Destruction" 7C+ at Redhill.

Mat Rowe took a trip to Rocklands over the long weekend and sent "Hole in One" 7C+ at the Plateau boulders after a couple of tries with only one pad and no spotters.

Staying in Rocklands, Jon Reading sent "Witness the Sickness" 8A, a compression problem close to the De Pakhuys campsite as well as the classic dyno "Hole in One" 7C+ at the Plateau boulders. At the Hidden Boulder, Scott Noy climbed "Throwing Yourself Away" 7C+ which is to the right of "Born Into Struggle" after a crucial hold broke.

eZemvelo has been closed to the public until the environmental assessment has been completed. Brian Weaver did manage to get in one more first ascent with "Escaping Paranoid Slopers" 7C.

Julia Chen made a fast second ascent of "Pyrrhic Victory" 7B, a low roof problem at Redhill before returning to Echo Valley at Topside to add a topout to "Shrek". "Shrek 2" 7B+ now climbs all the way to the top of the boulder instead of stopping at the good hold 2m up, adding dicey 6C climbing above a horrible landing.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Streaky does Boogie Nights

Greg Streatfield has finally made the 5th ascent of "Boogie Nights" 8A+ at The Summit in Topside after spending a year or two periodically trying the monster roof line. Afterwards, Greg warmed down by climbing "Blame Canada" 7C at the lip of the "Boogie Nights" cave. Also in Topside, Marijus Šmigelskis made a fast second ascent of "Duty Calls" 7C, in Echo Valley. The problem climbs a steep arete, crimping along the small footholds of "The Man Who Stepped off the Page of a Storybook".

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Durban Bouldering Comp 8

The 8th annual Durban Bouldering Comp was held at the UKZN MC wall and had an excellent turnout, especially in the junior age groups, which were split up into 2 categories. Benjamin de Charmoy put his Rocklands bouldering experience in to take the mens title, and Faye Brouard had a decisive win in the ladies field.

  Mens Ladies 
 1. Benjamin de Charmoy Faye Brouard
 2. Simon Lowe Illona Pelser
 3. Paul Bruyere Candice Bagley

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Topside repeats

Julia Chen made the first female ascent of "Shrek" 7B at the Graffitti Boulders in Echo Valley at Topside. The micro crimpy line was opened by Evan Wiercx at 7B+ and even at 7B, it does not see many ascents. Julia nearly sent the problem unexpectedly on her first try of the day, after a long break from trying the line. Later that same day, Julia headed up to Bonnydoon, where she easily sent "Full Throttle" 7A after a few tries.

At, Marijus Šmigelskis climbed "Bitter & Twisted", which is Topside's first 7C. The problem was opened by Jeremy Colenso and climbs a short blank wall with a very large span move to a tiny crimp. Marijus was just able to make the span and catch the crimp with two fingers, and managed to hold on for the long lock off to the next crimp, where the line eased off.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

August Ends

In Rocklands, Shaun Harris sent "Shadows of Ourselves" 7C at Kleinfontein, and Mat Rowe and Jon Reading made fast work of the classic "Crazy Leg" 7C at 8 Day Rain.

Back in Cape Town, Marijus Šmigelskis has continued cleaning up the projects at Easter Island in Redhill. This time, it was the eliminate project on the boulder next to "Storefront Cemetery". The problem is called "Tears of a Rapper" and starts on good underclings, but very poor (and high) footholds make using the underclings rather tricky. It climbs straight up an overhanging face and eliminates all footholds on the wall on the right, but it's rather obvious. The grade? Again somewhere in the 7C to 8A region.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

eZemvelo Action

Marc "Flex" Efune has made the second ascent of the eZemvelo classic "Flashpoint" 7C. The climbers campsite is nearly complete and the area is bound to become Gauteng's premier bouldering destination, with hundreds of problems on excellent quality rock.

Donovan Willis also opened a new 7C, near to the climbers' campsite. "The Deadly Mosquito" climbs out a small cave to round onto a slab, with the crux being a static pull off a poor sloper to gain the lip holds. Donovan worked the problem for a session and returned a month later to send it in better conditions.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cape FA's

Marijus Šmigelskis opened one of the prize projects at Easter Island at Redhill. The line, "Storefront Cemetery" climbs along the prow of a roof and then moves round onto the face for the crux. The grade is somewhere around 7C+ or 8A and future repetitions will decide. Marijus then visited The Lookout in Topside and made fast work of "Fit Birds", a 7C campus problem opened by Jerry Moffat a few years ago, before moving to boulder M and dispatching the roof project. This new problem, "Adult Swim" 7C, climbs out a small cave via little crimps to a wild cutloose crux off good sloping holds that face the wrong way.

Julia Chen also made a visit to Easter Island and managed fast sends of "The Brown Eye of Ra" 7A+ and "Insane in the Duane" 7A, both in a single session on the same day.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rocklands Round-up

Benjamin de Charmoy spent a few weeks in Rocklands after the Rock and Road trip and managed some remarkable climbing! He sent the classic dyno problem "Oral Office" 8A+ at Roadside and "No Late Benders" 8A at the Fields of Joy. Most impressively however, was his repeat of "Green Mamba" 8A+ after 3 or 4 sessions. "Green Mamba" was originally opened at 8B by Bernd Zangerl and only recently got down graded to 8A+. The problem starts off as for the popular "Black Spider", a 7C traverse until just after its crux, and then moves up a blank wall via a large move to a tiny crimp off a poor 3 finger pocket. Andrew Pedley made a short visit to Roadcrew and sent "Tommorrow I'll Be Gone" and "Purple Nipple Clan" (aka "Une Rhyme Stupide"), both 7C+ classics of the area.

Michael Janata has added another 7C, "The Brutal Minger" to the South African Area in Rocklands and at Roadside, Jon Reading finally managed to put "Nutsa" 8A+ in the bag.

An updated topo has been added for the Roadcrew boulders in Rocklands. Check it out...

Rocklands has been super busy lately with five new sectors being developed. The first is the Champagne sector, where Finnish climber Nalle Hukkataival just added a new 8C called "Livin' Large", which climbs an 8m high arete. This makes it potentially the 4th 8C in Rocklands after "Olifant Dawn", "Monkey Wedding", and "Golden Shadow", all of which are unrepeated Fred Nicole problems. Then at another new sector, Hoeksonderkoffie, Scott Noy opened "Swine Flu" 7C. In addition, the three other new sectors being developed are: Base Camp, The Lorraines and the Ernies...

Back at the older areas, Andrew Wood sent "Jaws" 7C at the Dihedral Boulders and Jon Reading climbed "Paula Abdul" at the Sassies and the classic dyno problem "Black Velvet", both 8A.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

This n that from here n there

In between attempts on "Boogie Nights", Shaun Harris has made possibly the second ascent of "Blame Canada" 7C at the Summit in Topside. The problem starts on the lip of the "Boogie Nights" cave, then campuses rightwards to join up an existing 7A+ and finishes as for that problem.

Martin Renz has provided some images of the bouldering in Alicedale, check out the gallery for more...

Julia Chen made a few trips to check out the Roysten Vasey boulder at CBD and managed some swift sends of "Bab's Cabs" 7A and "Papa Lazarou" 7B. These are first female ascent of both problems and each was sent after a single short session working the moves. Check out the CBD topos page for more bouldering info.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Adam Ondra in Rocklands

The South African climbing community is super hyped over the visit of Czech wonderkid Adam Ondra so a run-down of what he got up to in his week long visit to Rocklands seemed necessary.

Day 1
  • "Paula Abdul" 8A in 3 tries at the Sassies 
  • "Pinotage" 7C onsight at the Sassies 
  • "Shosholoza" 8A+ on his 2nd go at the Sassies 
  • "Splash of Red" 8A onsight at the Sassies, proposing a downgrade to 7B or 7C 
Day 3
  • "Tomorrow I'll Be Gone" 7C+ onsight at Roadcrew 
  • "The Vice" 8B FLASH at the Fortres 
  • "Armed Response" 8B FLASH at the Fortress 
  • "Out of Balance" 8A onsight at Roadside 
  • "Pendragon" 8A flash at Roadside 
Day 4
  • "Ray of Light" 8B at the Dihedral Boulders 
Day 5
  • "Derailed" 8B+ at 8 Day Rain in about an hour of work 
Adam's double 8B flashes are without a doubt one of the most remarkable feats in climbing, especially considering that "The Vice" is widely considered to be at the upper end of the 8B scale. He also spent some time trying "Sky" and "Amandla", both 8B+ as well as "The Quintessential" and "All I Need is a Smile" both 8B but was unable to send on his brief stay. In between hastily trying to show Adam the best that Rocklands has to offer, Marijus Šmigelskis managed to get in a quick send of "Royskopp" which is 8A now that a hold broke, altering the sequence. Adam also climbed in Alicedale in the Eastern Cape prior to his vist to Rocklands and managed to open "Ratatouille" and "Morphological", both 8A, and "Mad Man" 8A+. Check out Adam's send of "Ratatouille" below:

In other Rocklands news, Guy Holwill and friends have discovered "The South African Area", a vast new sector in Rocklands which already hosts dozens of problems including a 7C from Michael Janata called "Pronoid". Jon Reading visited the Fields of Joy and sent "Macho King" 7C+, a proud highball roof problem and Benjamin de Charmoy kicked off his three week stay in Rocklands with a fast send of "Pendragon" 8A.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

CityRock Boulder Comp

CityRock hosted their annual bouldering comp with a huge turnout. Andrew Wood managed to complete all 30 or 40 problems for the win in the mens, and Julia Chen took lead in the ladies category, as well a the ladies dyno comp.


Mens Ladies
 1. Andrew Wood Julia Chen
 2. Duncan Fraser Lynn Kerr
 3. Moritz Seiler Nadine Methner

Monday, July 27, 2009

Redhill and Rocklands

At Redhill, Andrew Wood made the second ascent of "The Crazy 88" 8A after two sessions on the line! Julia Chen continued her good form and sent "Dark Lord Sharon" 7A.

Rocklands local Jon Reading has sent a few more good problems. First to fall was "Winnie" 7C, above the Roadside boulders followed by "White Mazda Clan" 7C at Riverside and "Rasta Roof" 8A at the Campground boulders. "Rasta Roof" was originally graded 7C+, but after several holds broke off at the crux an upgrade has been justified.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Botswana Bouldering

Guided by a single photo found on the internet, a group of UCT boulderers set off for Botswana with rumours of granite covered koppies on the edge of the Kalahari desert. The village of Thamaga was the first stop, but the boulders did not yield many problems, although only a tiny fraction of the potential was explored, and the team moved further west to Moshupo. Here the stone quality seemed to improve and had more features. Gotau Hill was the focus of the trip and the first problem to fall, "Donkey Kong" 7B, was an instant classic and climbed a short overhanging prow. Andrew Wood moved further up the hill to establish a techinal arete problem dubbed "Hungry Lion" 7B. Marijus Šmigelskis spent some time exploring and discovered another cluster, in strong shade the entire afternoon which produced "Four Forces" 7A+ and "Twin Paradox" 7C. As the cherry on top, Marijus tried a blunt arete which seemed completely featureless at first, then after a few attempts only highly improbably, until somehow he pulled through the first move and sent the line to create "Dark Matter" 8A, boosted with extra energy from a mouthful of golden syrup. Check out the gallery and the video below.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tall Champs

It seems Topside's latest testpiece is a becoming a walk in the park for the vertically gifted. Two of the cape's taller climbers, Dom Riordan and Shaun Harris, visited "Real Champs Get Thirsty" in Echo Valley and dispatched the line with relative ease. Near 6 foot tall climbers can use a good heel hook for the entire length of the problem, making the poor opposing slopers easier to hold, and eliminating the finishing crux dyno over the lip off the poorest of the holds. Although the line will certainly feel 7C+ or even harder for some, an accurate grade for the line is open to much speculation, with Shaun finding it as easy as 7B...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Introducing eZemvelo

Gauteng boulderers' prayers have been answered and Jo'burg and Pretoria now have their own proper bouldering area, just outside of Bronkhurstspruit. Development at eZemvelo has been fairly under the radar over the past year or so but the results have been worth the wait. Schalk Erasmus has been the driving force behind this excellent new area and Donovan Willis has added several testpieces. The boulders lie in a river valley on a nature reserve requiring a mandatory game drive just to reach the remote climbers camp. After the USSA competition in Pretoria, the UCT team visited eZemvelo and were impressed with what they found. Highlights of their visit included repeats of "Animal Planet" 7C by Duncan Fraser and Marijus Šmigelskis, Andrew Wood and Marijus sent "Spoon" and "Girls Problem", both 7C and Julia Chen managed a flash of "Cry Baby" 7A and a fast repeat of "7biaatch" 7B. Marijus then went on to open several new problems including "Flashpoint" 7C and "Healing Power" 7C+ and Julia joined in on the action with the first ascent of the desperately thin "Release The Demons" 7B, a problem that stumpted most of the boys...

Check out the gallery here, and the vid below:

Monday, July 13, 2009

USSA 2009

The annual inter-university climbing championship (USSA) was held at The Barn in Pretoria, with lead and sport climbing events. The University of Cape Town dominated in the men's bouldering, claiming all three podium positions. Marijus Šmigelskis flashed all three of the finals problems, Andrew Wood topped out all three, flashing two and Duncan Fraser managed top out two, both on the flash attempt. Ilse Labuschagne climbed very smoothly and also flashed all three of the ladies finals problems. Julia Chen topped out all three, flashing one, and Emma Boyd got close but did not manage any top outs.

   Mens  Ladies
 1.  Marijus Šmigelskis   (UCT)   Ilse Labuschagne   (TUKS)
 2.  Andrew Wood   (UCT)  Julia Chen   (UCT)
 3.  Duncan Fraser   (UCT)  Emma Boyd   (WITS)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mat and Greg send

At Coppermine in Redhill, Greg Streatfield made the 4th ascent of "Pandemonium" 7C and Mat Rowe got the 4th ascent of "Panic Room" 7C+ on his second session on the line. Mat then moved on to Bonnydoon in Topside and did the second ascent of "Real Champs Get Thisty" 7C+ in only 20 minutes of work, proving suspicions that the line will be far easier for taller climbers.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two P's and an FA

The last weekend of June saw several good sends in Cape Town. At Coppermine in Redhill, Andrew Wood and Mat Rowe got the 2nd and 3rd ascents of the super classic "Pandemonium" 7C, both on their second sessions on the problem. Andrew then found an alternate sequence for "Panic Room" 7C+, bypassing the crux pull of a poor sloper pinch, but says it probably won't work for taller climbers. Dom Riordan then made 3rd ascent of "Panic Room" the following day, using the orginal method (which may be 8A according to several other cape boulderers). Andrew then continued his great sending form at Bonnydoon in Topside and established an excellent little compression problem named "Real Champs Get Thirsty" after a cheap softdrink company, also somewhere around the 7C+ mark...

Monday, March 30, 2009

March Hits

Andrew Wood made the second ascent of "Parthenon" 8A at the Deadwood boulder at TDA. He was close to sending the line before having to return home to KZN for the university holidays in December 2008. Upon his return, 5 or 6 more sessions yielded success on the problem.

One of Redhill's longest standing and most tried projects fell to Marijus Šmigelskis when he sent "Mayhem", at a fairly modest grade of 7C. The line features a big pull to poor pinch sloper above a sketchy two-tiered landing.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

February Hits

Surprisingly another new problem was put up at the main boulder at TDA. A fairly obviously line at that which somehow got overlooked over the years! Marijus Šmigelskis added an alternate sit start to "Skunk", starting as for "Invisible Monsters" and climbing straight up and slightly left to create "Monster Skunk" 7C.

At Redhill, Andrew Wood sent the classic traverse testpiece "Elfen Lied" 8A on his 1st try after two previous sessions working the line. Later that day, he made an impressive flash of the powerful "Madness the Magnet" 7B+. Marijus Šmigelskis added a harder finish to "The Crazy 88" which involved a big throw to poor slopers, to create "Pai Mei" 8A+.
Marijus on "Pai Mei".
 Edvinas Šmigelskis visited Turkey's premier bouldering area, Bafa Lake and managed to get some impressive sends in on his 2 week stay. The highlights were fast sends of "Epifanic" 8A+, the dyno problem "Kill Bill" 7C/8A and "Moon Safari" 8A.
Edvinas on "Epifanic".

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Redhill Additions

Redhill continued to see a lot of activity over January, with Emile Esterhuizen managing to climb "Elfen Lied", an 8A traverse and then continue to link it into the problem's reverse (dubbed "The Untitled Symphony of Self-destruction, a 7C+ on it's own). The result was a 25 move traverse which was jokingly named "There and Back Again by Emile Esterhuizen" and given an 8A+ traverse grade. Marijus Šmigelskis made a second ascent after adding a few new problems of his own. First to fall was "The Crazy 88", a powerful line through a roof, with hard pulls off small crimps and slopers which went at 8A. Next was "Black Hoodie Rap" 7C, which climbs the "Four Singers Extension" to join the crux dyno of "Shark Lord Darron". And finally, "Madness the Magnet" 7B+, a short burly problem sharing the same boulder as "The Crazy 88".
Marijus on "The Crazy 88".

Emile continued his good sending form to send "Caveman" 7C at TDA. The lines starts as for "Invisible Monsters" and joins "THC" and is probably Cape Town's most popular 7C.