The rock-climbing bug has bitten. I never thought this would happen but it has. Like love, it manages to find you unexpectedly and without warning or choice. I need to remind myself that my first love and passion is hiking! Not just any old hiking but B+ scrambles! The harder awkwardly challenging ones! No ropes! Just adrenalin and your own skill but….
When the HPAC rock-climbers said that they were going rock-climbing on Sunday, I said ‘Come I go with’ (this was before the bug bit me) but when I was told what it would cost, I was like ‘Never mind’. They attended their final training session.
Then in the Climbing chat, Llewellyn sent out an invitation that he was going to climb at Lakeside Pinnacle and I then confirmed my attendance. I did not/don’t have any climbing gear and was told that I could hire the gear at City Rock or Hangtime. Missions! Driving from Southern Suburbs to Obs/Pinelands, back to Lakeside and back to Obs/Pinelands and back home again T_T. I loathe driving, I suffer from road rage and curse all the other drivers lol BUT I wanted to climb and I needed the gear so didn’t have a choice hey. Meh
So Llwellyn went to check out Hangtime in the week as they are relatively new in Cape Town and when he chatted to the owner and me needing gear, the owner, whom just having met Llwellyn, offered me his harness! How generous is he! I just needed to hire the shoes which is half the price of City Rock (just FYI)
Went to pick up gear but didn’t catch the lady’s name who assisted and she gave me some advice prior to the climb as she could tell right away that I’m a n00b ^_^
Long story short, I bummed a lift with William and off we go to Lakeside Pinnacle at around 12pm (I only had an inkling of an idea where it was. If I went on my own, I would have to look for it – and the route mind you). John together with his son and daughter and her boyfriend was there already but Llwellyn isn’t haha and we were late to begin with. Never mind, the climbing community all seem to know each other. If they don’t, quick introductions are made and the guy who was there already, was at some Montagu climbing festival few weeks back.
William is setting up a climb and I watch and take photos of the views and take my book out intending to read as setting up climbs and waiting to climb can be a tedious process but I was distracted by the setting up of the climbs and watching other climbers pass difficult pitches. Watching others lead different grades is nerve-wracking!
There’s no ‘Chain of Command’ of who gets to climb first and offers are made to whomever wants to go and John goes first and I’m patient enough as I knew I’m going to climb anyway and snap away. There are others around the corner and go watch them as well and snap away. Justin who is new to Cape Town is also there and he was looking for climbers on Climbing.co.za Later these guys came looking for their food that they may have left behind in the area but it’s nowhere to be found. There’s also a dog named Diva (breed unknown) and she is verrrrryyyyy friendly J Later while Justin (John’s son) was eating, Diva went off with his Tupperware lid haha! They found the food in the area they were climbing.
Anyway, I opted to climb after Dane’ and while she is climbing, Llwellyn is setting up an 18! (After googling now and confirming the grades, I see that my climb was actually a 15 and not a 14) and ask William to tighten my harness appropriately and do the rope thing as well as I don’t know how to do the knots hehe. I climb and it’s easy peasy. This what I thought originally a 14 graded climb can actually be scrambled without rope. Getting down would be the problem. I’m on top and Llwellyn, who is setting up this 18 climb, takes a photo of me ^_^ YAY me! Thank you Llwellyn and thank you to my belay. I just had to take a moment to think who that was as I couldn’t remember lol. It was John as I asked William to take photos of me. Thank you John and thank you William ^_^
I’m safe down and now watch Farzana attempting the 18 and falling and after a few tries, it was not her day. We all have our off days. Hiking included when a hike just sucks coz you are just not feeling well.
Anyway, more and more people arrive slowly but surely and we are introduced to each other, chatting about this and that and encouraging and boosting and cheering each to other through each lead, climb and each difficult pitch.
My aim was to do 2 climbs on Sunday and wanted to attempt what I thought was a 15 and now that I know it was a 16, I don’t feel as sucky that I couldn’t do it! But wait! Lemme first tell you why I couldn’t do it haha
So while sitting around and patiently waiting…oh yes its getting very hot with the sun burning on our backs sheesh….Llewellyn suggests I attempt the 18 which I originally thought to be a 17 and ask him if he is nuts?! How can you expect me to do that when I first need to do the 15 (actually 16) haha. He convinces me that I can do it and so I try. I tell him I can’t tie my knots so he said I should do it. I’m like ‘What! I’m not putting my own life into my own hands!’ (I then thought what a stupid thing to say coz I put my own life into my own hands each week doing B+ scrambles – without rope)
Anyway, he shows me how and I’m over the first pitch (NOTE VERY NB! I don’t know the lingo so may be getting it wrong hey) and onto the second one and I struggle. Llwellyn (my belay) plus others around me are guiding me and giving advice (with lingo I don’t understand) and I struggle….and I fall…swinging round and round…first time this happens and falling isn’t scary lol as my belay has my life in his hands. I try again, nope, fall again…I try yet again, nope fall again. Each time I get to certain point, my finger slips and I fall. Too much strain on my arms now and I take a break.
Watching another couple preparing a climb, I notice one of them wearing a helmet and I say hey! We are not wearing helmets! He says that he forgot them in the car ^_^ Well it is re-iterated by our chairman that we wear helmets with B graded hikes but we don’t so no biggie that we are climbing without helmets.
I attempt the 15 (actually a 16) and I fail and fall each time. I can’t get over the first pitch as my arms are way too strained at this stage. I take another break. Thank you Farzanah for belaying me and I tie my own knots now after Llwellyn kindly taught me! ^_^
William then shows us a technique by pinching your thumb on your finger for stronger finger holds and I try it on the boulder and it works! Why didn’t he show us this before grrr!!! He replies by saying I should read climbing books. I guiltily and sheepishly refrain from replying as I haven’t read anything about climbing lol and there’s climbing youtube videos as well 😛
Justin sets up the 21! Goodness gracious! Getting over the last pitch had his limbs quivering and I eeek for his part! Gawd that’s so dangerous! Ok he will only fall as far as his last thingie was hooked but still! We are rooting for him for successful climb! We watch others do the same climb and Harvey (grrrrrrrrr) only his second outdoor climb and he go and do it! I feel little bit better about myself when he couldn’t get over the last pitch but it’s understandable as it is extremely tricky and takes a lot of strength as apparently it’s just a tiny pinch thingie to hang onto and pull yourself up and over. Illana just makes everything look easy but looks are deceiving hehe Rock-climbing (the higher grades) are so much more harder than scrambling and we have a little debate about this lolz. Rock-climber vs Hiker 😛 we came to the conclusion that Rock-climbing is harder but safer and scrambling is easier but way more dangerous.
William is setting up an 18 climb around the corner and I sneak a pic and go back to watching the others. I attempt the 16 again with Llwellyn belaying me and I asked to be let down as I’m climbing without chalk LOL! Anyway up again and nope, I can’t do it. Attempting that 18 just took too much out of me and I’m done for the day feeling a little bit despondent.
But you know what? It’s this when I realised I need to go back to finish those climbs I couldn’t do. The need is real. The desire is real. I MUST CONQUER THOSE 2 CLIMBS!!! I should be able to do the 16 at least as I’ve done one before (read previous blog – Midweek Rock-climbing)
I returned the shoes and lady at Hangtime was very friendly with more advice about post climb stretches for my fingers and arms as even lifting my coffee cup was eina haha
Then Llewellyn informs us that they are doing Peers Cave on Sunday and info are being shared and I look at the grades and I gulp! BUT THEN! Llwellyn offers me his spare harness and helmet and I’m oh so tempted! It will be the last Sunday (maybe – depending when the moon is sighted) for any outdoor activity prior to Ramadaan and I need/want to be with my club but I want to climb as well! He then suggests that he will teach me to lead a 9! OMGEEEEEE!!!! The temptation! The only downer is the shoes which I have to hire again and that’s schlepp. I need to get me climbing gear but I have other financial priorities and this shiz is expensive!
That was so much fun guys thank you! The climbing community is so filled with friendly and helpful comradery that one can’t help but want to be part of…
Reminder to self: I am a hiker!
I’m torn between my new found love and my long time love…sigh
Until my next hike/climb, thank you for reading and ciao for now
PS…we were in the area from 12pm until just before 4pm and not once did I open my book to read lolz