South African Big Wall

Clinton Martinengo, Charles Edelstein and Stewart Middlemiss established the most difficult big wall line in South Africa on Blouberg North's main cliff, a thousand-foot-high and mile-wide quartzite wall in the Limpopo Province. The route ascends the relatively blank, bulging and then slightly overhanging headwall. On six trips over four years, Edelstein worked on Dog of Thunder (30+ [5.13] with one point of A0, 13 pitches), but it was not until he returned with Martinengo that progress was made on the difficult upper sections.

Full report with topo on the Alpinist website

The Blouberg area is in the North of South Africa, and features routes of up to 350m in length. The faces are characterised by positive horizontal breaks, with often desperate climbing on the blank sections in between. The local ethic is to place traditional gear where possible, resorting to drilled protection on blank sections. Charles Edelstein has been a regular Blouberg devotee for several years, taking the long trip North from Cape Town to explore the remote towers and walls. This encyclopaedic knowledge no-doubt played a significant part in the successful ascent of Dog of Thunder.

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