Brits in Rocklands - Hard Ascents and New 8B+/Cby Nick Brown and Jack Geldard Sep/2011
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A strong team of Brits headed out to Rocklands in the Cederberg Mountains of South Africa this summer. Whilst the temperatures for July were a record high for the past ten years, psyche prevailed and the team dragged themselves up a few boulders.
Scott Noy, Rocklands guidebook author and local climber, commented:
"Yes, this season in Rocklands was bad ass - so many strong climbers doing hard lines! The RockStock climbing festival was a blast too!"
Micky Page had a very successful two months, managing the third ascent of the Fred Nicole problem 'Golden Shadow' 8b+. He also climbed 'Black Eagle' 8b+, the third ascent of the boulder and first ascent since a hold broke after Paul Robinsons' ascent last year. It's worth noting that Fred put up these problems almost 10 years ago and they've survived many sieges from climbers over the years, unlike many of the new boulders of similar difficulty.
Looking for something different, Micky tracked down a project which had been tried a few times by others. After a bit of a battle and an extension to his plane flight he made the first ascent of 'King of Limbs', likely to be in the 8b+/8c region - although the grade matters little next to the climbing and the ascent.
"King of Limbs was an old project not far from the classic Leopard Cave. Following an obvious roof line, a good starting crimp rail leads to 3 hard moves at full extension then easier climbing above. It took me a while to build the specific strength needed at the crux and it was a battle to finish it.. Definitely a classic and one of the most challenging problems I've done."
David Mason was also on fire throughout the two months, quickly ticking his way through the classics of the area. His ticklist included a copious amount of 8a+'s including the classics 'Black Shadow' and 'Shoshaloza', along with a few 8a and 7c+ flashes.
Mina Leslie-Wujastyk showed the sexist Scandinavians her skills by ticking 'Nutsa', Fred Nicole's brilliant 8a, as well as problems like 'Black Mango Chutney' 7c+ and the steep roof 'No Late Tenders' 7c+.
Sam and Lucinda Whittaker had a successful trip, with Sam adopting his 'Smash on, smash through' technique to drag himself up 'Black Shadow' 8a+ (as did Richard Sharpe). Lucinda quickly equalled her previous best with a quick ascent of 'Caroline', a superb 7c+.
There were many other ascents by the large group, who came to the conclusion at the end of the trip that Rocklands is definitely world class.