|Roadside sector, Rocklands.|
My trip in Rocklands is over and I arrived at home on Sunday morning. Five weeks seemed long and sufficient, but when you do bouldering every day the time passes fast and the days are never enough. At the end I still had a bunch of problems which I would have liked to try or to see and the list counts always many good lines. The last two weeks were anyway good and in the second half of the trip, I started to work boulders I had already tried at the beginning of my stay. The first two ticked lines were in "tea garden" sector, "Black shadow" 8A+ and "Brown shadow" 8A, both in the same roof. In The first one I had some troubles in the middle, where I felt my leg too long to stay into the position and every time I would have liked to cut it. My feeling was bad and it made me quite nervous. In fact, the movement in the middle part was hard and I had to fight a lot to win one of the most classic ones of all Rocklands. In the same evening we went to the sad camping bar and a bad notice came out: from that day "tea garden" area was closed, this fact is due to some problems like trash, no walking in a unique path and no respect for the private area. It is really shameful hearing about this kind of problems, since many places around the world are not so respected by climbers or common people, who have fun by getting away its own trash like bottles, tape and other stuff.
Besides the usual problems, my adventure went on with other good climbing lines. On 28th of July , after a rainy/rest day the weather was still bad in the morning and I started to be bored at home. At midday the rain stopped and after one hour we decided to go to check the campsite, the closest sector. I was doubtful, it looked all wet from the view of our house. My plans were to go in solo mission to check a problem not so often frequented by climbers, which I found lovely. This one was the line on the right side of "gliding through the waves like a dolphin", put up by Bernd Zangerl on 2011 and called "sitting in a corner with depression". The line follows a wide arete, like a big orange/grey egg with moves in compression, spans and beautiful climbing. During the way to reach it I found the ground wet and I was not so sure about what I was doing. surprisingly, at the top of the hill the wind was optimal and every piece of rock was perfectly dry. Also the temperature was cold and I started to get warm extremely motivated. I put the pads under this gem I saw the first day and I was hit by its beauty. After some hard times, I had every move and I was super happy to be under a boulder like that, with grey sky but also with awesome friction and completely alone. The climbing is amazing, the line too and I don't understand why climbers usually don't attempt this problem. The wind was too strong, so I put my shoes and other stuff to lock them in the ground. After some rest I did it, and I would like to advice this line to every climber, since it is usually marginalized.
The days after I managed to do "The power of one" 8B, in Roadcrew. Also this one was always present in my mind by Progression film. I have to say that on this line I had a bit of luck, since for the last swing I was really close to the pad but fortunately I didn't touch it. Seeing the effort which It required me, I am not sure that I would have been able of doing it again after that attempt. The fourth week was dedicated to the most two desired problems, aka "el corazon" 8B and "moiste mooise" 8B. The problem of "el corazon" is to find a good day when also other people want to try it, since more pads you have and better is the fall. The 30th of July was my third day of climbing in a row and I decided to take a rest for the next day. In the evening Jernej passed from our house saying us he was syked to try this mega line the day after, and, despite a bit of tiredness, I knew I would have seized the opportunity. In the morning I rested, preserving skin as I could, and, in the afternoon we went there to prepare the landing. The boulder is only possible in ground up, a style which make it still better than it is. The big span to the crimp is simply one of the best move that a climber could desire and it looks hard not being dazzled under a line of this quality. It presents itself bigger than the videos and its shape is perfect. It looks like an amphitheater in front of you, with its majesty and its importance which make you feel smaller. The color is orange and the light, which passed form a big hole, makes the atmosphere still more motivated to attempt a gem like that. Descriptions apart, the first two tries I failed and bad feelings attacked me. I started to say in my mind that probably it was not the right day to do it seriously. I took a longer rest, while Jernej fell after the big move to the crimp. The attempt after the rest was good, but during the dynamic I lost everything, keeping the crimp with one arm and I was really bad to grab the last jug. I rested more and, during the try after, everything went as I wanted and I sent it. For sure, not losing the hand in the first jump is a big advantage.
|The Power of one 8B, Rocklands. Photo Nils Favre|
Two days later, I decided to come back in Riverside, to try "moiste mooise". Also Adrian had some projects there, so we planned a full day there. In the morning my friend Simo came at my house and he joined with us. I was happy about this, finally I was able of climbing with him in South Africa after one week that we were both there. After the warm up in "take off your shoes" we moved to "au bord du l'eau" 8A a historical wall with perfect sandstone pockets. The last hole was still wet as the first time I saw it, but I was too motivated to rest and I put on my shoes. after few goes I did it, but the way with a shoe off is definitively better for me. Having the bare left foot is an advantage since with the finger you really can grab better this particular foothold. As I knew "moiste mooise" remaines in the sun for all the day, so when the sunset came I decided to go. The friction was not as good as I hoped, in fact I didn't feel the slopers so better respect the first session in the morning during the days ago. After two goes with team shoes, Simo advised me the oldest soft shoes I had in the bag, and it worked well for the crux toe hook. With this soft shoes I could turn better my foot behind the corner and the move looked easier. The problem for me was when I started from the bottom, since I went on to fail it on the last hard move. The night came and we could continue to climb thanks to the Nils' big lamp. After other unuseful attempts I rested and I decided to do the last go of the day for quitting after it. Before start, I surprisingly felt a little source of energies and I decided to try to use them. I arrived before the crux move and I don't know how but I grabbed the last sloper remaining with my body on. I was a bit confused since didn't believe I managed to do it. Amazing emotion also on this masterpiece.
After that evening I felt really ok, I thought about my trip and I saw that the most part of the boulders I really wanted to do were basically done. I was happy because all the problems were chosen with a quality criterion after having removed the lines that didn't hit me. Having climbed "el corazon" "Caroline" "sitting in the corner with depression" and other ones, made me happy and relaxed. Anyway, The day after I decided to start to work a line which for sure would have required me more sessions of attempts. I decided to dedicate to "Golden Shadow" 8B+ in Roadcrew. I went there with Adrian again and we got warm just on the side of this cave where there is "orange heart" a 6C on some cool rails. I started to work the moves and the session went better than the last one of few days ago. I managed to find a good way for the exit, so the full second part was done and I did the middle hard sequences of five moves. At the end of the session I cut my index tip and it started to bleed: the hole seemed quite big. My mistake was to have not removed the higher skin with sandpaper, so the crimp raised the skin up the letting me the wound. I have nothing to complain, since this kind of stuff is not so usual in my skin. after a fast check in my mind I thought it wasthe second time that I cut my tip and I have to admit to have been lucky.
Two days later I came back with Simo and the resume of the days is this: In the morning, I used the softer shoes and in this way I could use well the new beta, with the toe hook on the right. since my foot was more free, I was able to put it deeper and not touching the stone during the exit. This way, if you don't touch the stone, it is easier that the original one. At the end of the day I fell three times when the boulder was basically finished, before the toe hook. During the little swing I touched twice the rock and for little dab I felt fair to quit and go down. In the evening I planned two days of rest, hoping in an improvement of my skin. I had to sacrifice some other personal project but I thought it was the right way to take. The choice was repaid three days later when I did it with Nils just before a storm and a big rainy day.
The day after we should have climbed just few hours since we wanted to leave at midday or so to go to Cape Town. Three friends of us started on Thursday and only Nils and I were still there on Friday. Nils had some troubles and he lost his phone, so he carried me to 8 days rain at 8 o'clock and his searching went on. I was alone in all the sector and after no kind of good felling in "quintessential", I went towards "golden Virginia" where a not so good surprise was waiting for me. I started to work it and I felt some steps going towards me in the path. In my mind I thought it was Nils', but after few seconds some bushes started to move and some scream drew my attention. I had a look and a bunch of four big monkeys where 30 meters in front of me and they looked quite angry. I was totally alone and I didn't know nothing about their behavior. I was fucking scary and I didn't have any idea about what I should have done. After few minutes, I checked the situation and one of them stood up of the bush and they looked at me moving at my sight. I kept hidden and I knew that the path was blocked. I choose the coward way and I decided for an alternative back path to reach the parking, letting all my thing under the boulder. Finally, after some effort in the wild I reached the parking where there was the car and Nils was going to search me. bad timing. I shouted and he answered me coming back to the car. After few minutes we went there in two and the animals had already left the place allowing us to take my stuff abandoned there like a stupid. It looks maybe strange, but being so close to wild big animals was scary for me and I passed big fear moments alone in 8 days rain. The trip finished with this wild experience and fortunately no fight between man and nature happened. :)
Also this travel is anyway done and during the five weeks I was really happy and glad to be there. The place is for sure one of the best I have ever seen and I liked a lot the natural contest which it presents. The rock has a high quality in the pass sector, while in other part like campsite or other place it has a medium quality in my opinion. For sure I don't feel to compare this kind of sandstone to the Bleau's one, since for me the Font's rock is on another step respect to Rocklands' one. The spot offers true gems to climb with amazing features and really good climbing, but I should say that some easy boulders are medium and not as good as a person expects seeing all this media pushing that Rocklands has. The most impressive thing is for sure the natural place, where you can really stay in the nature and climbing in amazing landscapes. I had really great time and I will come back one day for sure.
|Madiba 8A+, Rocklands. Photo Nils Favre|