Escaping Summer, Chasing Winter

Right after finishing my last exam, I packed my stuff and flew to Cape Town together with Tanja and Alannah. Since it was incredibly hot in Switzerland, I was glad to leave for some colder temperatures. We spent the first two nights in Kalk Bay, staying at the beautiful Chartfield Guesthouse ( which I would absolutely recommend, very pretty rooms and delicious breakfast! I tried surfing for the first time at the beach of Muizenberg and I really enjoyed it.


Photo: Alannah Yip

After a few hours of driving we finally arrived at the lovely Alpha Farm which would be our home for the next month. Although it was already my second time in Rocklands, I was still overwhelmed by the amount of rock, the beautiful landscapes and I kept tripping at night because I couldn’t keep my eyes off the milky way. Two years ago I could finish most of my projects before leaving, mainly because I didn’t try anything really hard. So this time I had a couple of harder problems in mind I wanted to try, yet unfortunately I felt a familiar pain in my finger already before leaving Switzerland. I tried to ignore it but after climbing on some smaller holds it only got worse and I had to accept the fact that my pully was irritated once more. That didn’t keep me from getting on the problem I wanted to try most. Springbok (7A+) is a tall line with a perfect dyno about halfway up the wall. We had tons of crashpads and the landing is nice and even, so I wasn’t scared at all. It took me four tries to jump high enough and I was incredibly happy when I stuck the good rail. The same day I managed to do the right start of Petit Hueco called An Amal Roof (7C). After Springbok I was super psyched to try more jumps and I could finish Battle of the Skink (7C), Lord Greystoke (7B) and Like A Squirrel (7A+). Otherwise I tried to go easy on my finger and climbed a lot of classics I didn’t have time to get on last time, my highlight being a flash of Slash and Burn (7B). I projected Macho King (7C+) for a bit but just couldn’t do the last move out to the lip. Our whole group was really motivated and strong, Ishan managed to climb the Hatchling (8A) and Alannah did Caroline (7C+), both setting new personal bests. Tanja flashed Barracuda Rail (7B), Viola finished up some projects from last time and we all did Zanzibar (7B), a sharp and tall but beautiful arrete. Nico injured his ankle falling between two crashpads but we’re all happy to say he’s climbing again and he’s making a lot of progress. Alannah and I had a successful day at 8 Days Rain where we both did Bushoning (graded 7C, felt more like 7B though) and Vlad the Impaler (7C), a brilliant line back at Ian’s Roof. Also I was especially happy to finish up Miss Cave (7B+), a problem I had no chance of doing two years ago. It was an awefully rainy and windy restday when Nora came up with the idea to run up to the Pakhuis Pass. To be honest, I regretted the decision at first but it turned out to be quite satisfying once we had made it up there. We spent most of the other restdays drinking Dirty Chais (delicious combination of chai and espresso) and eating Rhinos (french toast with lots of savoury toppings) at the Henhouse. A few times we went for a run down to the waterfalls and even took a quick swim on a really hot day. All together, I had a wonderful time with amazing climbing, some of the best meat and fish I ever tasted and great company. Here are two short videos with a few of the boulders we’ve climbed.

Rocklands 2015 from Serious Climbing on Vimeo.

Photo: David Tomlinson, Philippe Allenspach

Photo: Alannah Yip