Bannerman's Rib to Giants Castle, Sandleni Pinnacle

Copyright: MCSA-KZN 1998 ©


Opening Party: Tony Dick and Rob Stewart.

Date: 1 January 1966.

Time: 3 hours of climbing.

The climb follows the crest of a ridge that reaches to the top of the escarpment. The approach from Bannerman's Hut to the start of the climb takes about 1½ hours. Proceed straight up the ridge behind the hut through the first basalt band. Then traverse to the right into the rocky gully that runs up to the left from Bannerman's Pass. Follow the gully up towards a prominent fang. Alternatively, the fang may be reached in 1hour by walking diagonally uphill southwards from Spare Rib Cave. Either way, continue up the gully that runs up to the left of the fang, passing a big chimney on your right, until another gully branches off to the right. This gully(*) runs straight up to the top of the escarpment and lies immediately adjacent to the south side of the Bannerman's Rib Ridge. Turn into this gully which branches off to the right.


  1. a) Climb straight up the nose of the ridge for a full rope-length to a broad, grassy stance. This is E grade with two F moves (original RD).


  1. b) Alternatively:- Walk about 30m up the gully to where a horizontal grassy ledge traverses right all the way to the arête. Near the middle of this ledge is a 1m crack system starting about 2m above the ledge, in which to place gear. After a tricky takeoff move to get up to the right of the crack, climb easily diagonally right up to a vague horizontal ledge, below another crack with a piton at head height. From there traverse right past an off balance bulge with only side pulls to hold on to, stepping down diagonally onto small foot holds, (crux) reasonably well protected by the piton. This leads onto a broad grassy sloping ledge on the crest of the ridge.
  2. Start with an F move (easily by-passed by doing an exposed move around the right side of the arête) and continue upwards - a C scramble - to a large cleft block where friends can be placed to belay. (Pitches 1b and 2 can be combined, but be sure to place protection for the second doing the crux on pitch 1b).
  3. Climb up through three rock bands (E/F) (this can be avoided by a grassy gully to the right but not recommended). (The original RD also mentions an open book recess here, grade E/F, after the 3 rock bands). You end up on a shoulder left of and above a very narrow nek that connects the ridge to the fang mentioned above. The top of the fang is about 15m above this nek but looks unclimbable.
  4. Scramble 30m (C) up to the next vertical rock step.
  5. Climb up about 3m onto a small ledge, then climb the obvious 3m crack at the left, and continue to the top of the nose.
  6. A scramble across a sensational, narrow horizontal knife-edge leads to the start of the next pitch, which involves climbing an E grade nose. (Beware of the loose block up on the right with a tempting crack behind it. It looks solid but slides and is only just held there by friction!). (The original RD mentions climbing a 10m crack to the left of the nose with enjoyable F grade jamming?)
  7. A 30m scramble leads to the base of the next nose, graded E. Climb up to a big ledge with a fixed peg at the left end. Then do a nice exposed move up a short face on the left, and continue up to finish right of the nose.
  8. A 4m scramble on the left allows one to walk off to the left, or do a final optional pitch on the right by a number of routes.

Descent: Descending Bannerman's Pass is the easiest, but the gully to the left can also be used.

(*) This gully provides an easy line to the top of the escarpment and is a good snow route when conditions are suitable. (There is a small chimney visible high up in this gully, so it may not be so easy)

Ref: MCSA Journal 1966, pg 98.

ERSKINE: North East Ridge (F2)

Opening Party: Gavin Peckham and Richard Knott.

Date: 29 March 1997.

Time: 3 hours climbing.

The north east ridge abuts onto Erskine about 100m north of the highest point on the peak. The ridge rises as a series of four steps that are clearly visible from almost anywhere in the vicinity of Langalibalele Pass. Walk up the pass until the path crosses the Bushman's River about half way up the pass. Continue up the pass for about another 300m to a point where the path crosses a side stream coming in from the left (south). Up this side stream is a black face, over which the stream falls (in summer). Leave the path and walk up towards the black face. Scramble up through the rock bands on the left of the face. Continue for some way, heading up and left towards the base of the ridge. The final part of the scramble goes straight up a steep grassy gully, through a rocky outcrop near the start of the ridge.

  1. 40m F2. Scramble up the centre of the first rock step making a couple of F1 moves to reach a narrow grass ledge which runs off to the left. Traverse left on this ledge for about 10 m to where it peters out. Climb up about 5 m to an overlap. If you are good, climb straight up for another couple of meters to the grassy shoulder above. Lesser mortals need to move out left - two or three F2 moves on tiny hand holds and friction footholds to reach a good jug which enables you to pull through and up onto steep grass. These committing moves are very exposed but look much more impressive than they actually are.
  2. 40m F2. Scramble up just left of centre on the second rock step to reach a short, awkward open book. Stem up this and exit diagonally left up onto a grass shoulder. Walk a few meters around to the right until able to climb up easily to a stance behind some loose blocks at the start of the next pitch.
  3. 20m F1. Walk around to the right of the third rock step and then climb diagonally right, up a groove in a slab. From here 2 or 3 moves up and to the left take you to easier ground. Belay at some blocks on a large grass shoulder.
  4. 30m F2. Climb a slab for a couple of meters until it is possible to mantleshelf onto a narrow rock ledge. Balance diagonally left up a groove on the left of the ledge. Climb easily, straight up to a small overhang. Move out to the left and then up on good holds to the grass ledge above.
  5. 30m C. Scramble to the top by one of several possible routes.

Comments. The route can be reached in about 4 hours from the NCS offices at Giant's Castle or in 30 minutes from a camp site half way up Langalibalele Pass. To facilitate rope management it may be a good idea to split the first pitch into two. This is a good route which is easily accessible. Descend via Langalibalele Pass.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1997, pg 233.


BOND: Frontal (East) Ridge (F3)

Opening Party: Gavin Peckham and Anthony van Tonder.

Date: 5 April 1997.

From the contour path near Langalibalele Pass the main east ridge of Bond is prominent and is broken about half way up by a single, major rock band which may be negotiated by one of several possible routes. Once above the rock band, head for a prominent rock turret further up the ridge. If approaching from the north side of the ridge, then walk left around the base of the turret to the south side and scramble up to gain the nek between the turret and the upper part of the ridge. From here easy scrambling on mixed rock and grass continues for some distance until the gradient of the ridge suddenly steepens.

  1. 45m F3. Climb the steep vegetated gully just to the right of the ridge to reach a stance in a cubbyhole off to the left hand side of the gully. Horrible, but generally easy with a few tricky moves.
  2. 30m D. Climb out left from the cubbyhole then continue up the ridge to a large grass ledge. Walk up across the grass ledge then scramble through a short rock band to a second large grass ledge. Walk up to the highest point on the right hand side of this grass ledge and belay here. Some meters above and to the right of this point, an obvious and initially overhung crack line leads to the summit and awaits those bold enough to try it.
  3. 25m F1. Climb up towards the start of the crack and then turn and move up into a left sloping gully which is not visible from the stance. Climb up and left on a short slab with good holds until able to traverse left and around a corner onto a narrow rock ledge which leads across the base of a large slab. Belay at some good cracks half way along this ledge.
  4. 25m F3. Climb straight up from the stance using friction and tiny holds. After about 5m the slab leans back a little. Continue straight up with assistance from a good crack on the right. Exit by moving out right and then up for the last few meters.

An unpleasant first pitch spoils this route. However, the top two pitches are excellent. Descend via Langalibalele Pass.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1997, pg 234.


POTTERILL: Frontal (East) Ridge (E)

Opening Party: Gavin Peckham and Eugene Parsons.

Date: 14 December 1997.

Start where the prominent east ridge of Potterill cuts the contour path. Walk straight up the crest of the broad grass ridge for several hundred metres until the first rock band is reached.

  1. 20 m C. Scramble up the rock band keeping towards the left. Continue walking up the crest of the grass ridge to a small nek at the base of a second rock band.
  2. 30 m D. Climb straight up the centre of the rock band. Continue up the crest of the ridge to the next, major rock step. On the way, it is necessary to scramble up a short, narrow rock arete and, further on, up a 5 m vertical rock step.
  3. 25 m E. Start a couple of metres left of the crest of the ridge and climb up an easy broken recess to a narrow grass ledge. Climb the right hand side of a short, orange open book. Step left across the top of the open-book and continue to traverse delicately left for a couple of metres until it is possible climb straight up on easier rock. Scramble up for about 150 m along an easy rock ridge to reach the summit.

Descend via Jarateng Pass (closest) or Langalibalele Pass. The gully between Potterill and Mt Durnford looks very quick and easy, but we have not actually tried it.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1998, pg 136. 


KAMBULE - Frontal (East) Arete (F3)

Opening Party: Gavin Peckham, Anthony van Tonder and Bruce Sobey.

Date: 17 June 2000.

The main east ridge leading up to Kambule is broken by several rock bands. The highest of these is a large, continuous band of black rock that stretches right across the base of the peak. A prominent frontal arete starts above the centre of the black rock band and leads straight up to the top of the peak. Low down on the arete there is a small gendarme that is separated from the upper part of the arete by a nek. The route starts in this nek and then follows the frontal arete to the summit. To reach the nek, walk up the easy grass gully that leads to the top of the escarpment between Kambule and Carbineer Point. - i.e. the gully on the left (south) of Kambule. Continue up the gully until it is possible to walk out to the right along the broad grass ledge above the prominent band of black rock. A short gully of mixed rock and grass leads from the grass ledge up to the nek.

  1. 45m F3. From the nek, climb easily up the arete on mixed rock and grass for about 10m to the base of a smooth-sided, vertical recess. To the right of, and below, the base of the recess there is a steep, exposed slab. Traverse to the right, for about 3m across this slab to gain easier ground. Although the rock on this traverse is generally bad, with some care, a few small but secure holds may be found. Traverse low rather than high and avoid standing on the large, suspect block at the start of the traverse. Apart from gear on the arete leading up to the slab, the only protection for the leader on the traverse is a loose peg (in place) in the base of the recess above the slab. Another peg in this recess would be highly desirable. Immediately after the slab there is an excellent 'Friend' placing. It is essential to find this placing in order to protect climbers following the leader - all climbers should carry prussik loops.
  2. Once across the slab, continue easily, moving diagonally up to the right on mixed rock and grass to reach the base of a short (3m) open-book/recess. The crack up the back of the recess is blocked by a dense growth of tiny, grey plants. Because of this it is easiest to climb the clean rock on the right hand side of the recess, using excellent, but tiny holds - tricky.

    From the top of the recess, continue up for about 5m, tending slightly to the right, to reach a small, exposed belay ledge. There is a good peg in place a metre above the left hand end of the ledge and another, less secure peg placing may be found towards the right hand end of the ledge. This pitch potentially dangerous, hence the detail given above.

  3. 15m E. From the belay ledge, descend about 5m back down the route until it is possible to move out left and gain the base of some grooves that lead up diagonally left to the left hand skyline which is about 5m away. Climb the grooves on excellent, exposed, but well protected rock to regain the crest of the arete. Belay at any one of several convenient spots on the arete. With 50m ropes it should be possible to combine the first two pitches and thus avoid the less than ideal belay ledge.
  4. The next +/- 100m up the arete involves easy scrambling with the odd C or D move. After this the arete steepens and the final +/-100m up the arete to the summit, involves easy climbing of about D grade. The rock on these sections is good and belays (if necessary) are abundant.

Descend by walking off the back of the peak and then down the easy grass gully that leads up between Kambule and Carbineer Point - i.e. the same gully used to approach the route.

Note: The severity of the first pitch is out of character with the rest of the climb.

Ref: MCSA Journal 2000, pg - yet to be published. 



There are a number of good routes on this peak and there are several good camp sites at about contour path level. Giant's Hut, directly below the Giant provides a more luxurious base if required.

The easiest route to the top is via Giant's Pass. However, as a descent after climbing, this may be a somewhat lengthy detour depending on the location of the chosen base camp. A direct descent is down the Eastern Gully. This gully has some very dangerous loose sections near the top, and helmets are advised. At least one abseil is necessary down this route. To attempt it without a rope would be very dangerous (if not impossible). It can be climbed, avoiding the waterfall by keeping to the left (South). This gully makes an excellent snow route in the right conditions.

A better descent is down the top part of the Sherman's Frontal route. Scramble down the east ridge until following it becomes impossible, then traverse left to an abseil point. One further abseil reaches the grass ledge from which Scholes' route starts.

To get a good idea of the 'lie of the land' and the locations of the numerous routes on the Giant, look at the aerial photo, with marked routes, facing page 38 of the 1955 MCSA Journal, and at the sketch on page 86 of the 1993 Journal.

A large gully splits the eastern extremity of the Giant into two ridges. The smaller ridge to the north of the Eastern Gully is generally referred to as the east ridge. The huge ridge to the south of the Eastern Gully terminates in The Gable and The Needle. Although this large ridge runs east-west it is known, for some inexplicable reason, as the South Ridge.


GIANT'S CASTLE: North Face: Lammergeier (H1/A3)

Opening Party: Started by Andrew Russel-Boulton and Gerald Camp. Completed by Peter Janschek and Volker Schweinbenz.

Date: 21 - 29 June 1997.

This long and very hard line climbs the massive north face of the Giant. The only route description available is a detailed sketch in the reference given below. Anyone attempting this route should preferably not do so without first consulting this sketch and the accompanying article.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1997, pg 49.


GIANT'S CASTLE: Scholes' Route (F2)

Opening Party : Ted Scholes, Joan Knox, G Burrow and Robin Forsyth.

Date: April 1950.

Time: About 5 hours of climbing.

This is one of the more popular Berg routes due to its length, variety of climbing and generally good rock. During winter, ice could be a problem and obviously in wet weather climbing could become more interesting.

If approaching from near Giants hut, walk up the amphitheatre below the summit, heading for a nek on the right. From this nek, traverse right to an obvious rocky gully that leads to the upper grass ledge. This gully can also be reached from directly below. The route follows the huge, prominent, left-tending crack/chimney that runs up the north face to the summit. Scramble up the crack as far as possible.

  1. 10m F2. Starting from a cubbyhole, move left out of the gully until able to move up and back into the gully above.
  2. 10m F2. Pull through a bulge blocking the gully. Belay just beyond an obvious wormhole that leads off through the wall on the left. Pitches 1 and 2 are easily led as one. Scramble up to the base of a chimney.
  3. 10m E3. Climb the chimney. This is easiest at the outer edge but there is no protection. Scramble up to a huge chockstone / step in the gully.
  4. 25m E. Climb the wall on the right of the blockage to reach a fixed peg, then move up and left on easier ground to regain the gully above the blockage. Scramble for some distance up the gully to another blockage formed by a small chockstone/step. This is passed with a very difficult move or two on its left. Just beyond this blockage the gully becomes an overhanging chimney where upward progress would become extremely difficult.
  5. 25m C. Traverse left out of the gully to reach a strategically placed narrow grass ledge that leads around a corner to a grassy shoulder. Note that there is a similar and obvious grass ledge near the top of the previous pitch. Do not be tempted by this ledge, but continue up the gully to the higher one.
  6. 40m D. Climb up diagonally to the right, around a corner and then straight up onto a large, level patch of grass. Cross the grass and climb straight up the rock on the far side.
  7. A 20m scramble leads to the summit.

Variations abound but few are well documented. Most, if not all, of the ridge to the left of the gully has been climbed. This ridge can be gained via the wormhole mentioned in pitch 2 above and can be used to bypass the chimney if it is too wet or icy. The overhanging chimney above the start of pitch 5, was climbed by Gordon Bulter, Gary Glass and Trevor Marsh in 1966, but is not recommended: MCSA Journal 1968, pg 87. Copyright: MCSA-KZN 1998 ©

Ref: MCSA Journal 1950, pg 45.


GIANT'S CASTLE: Sherman's Route (E)

Opening Party: Sherman Ripley, Lorna Peirson and Margery Bromhead.

Date: 1955.

Time: 5 hours to top from hut.

From Giant's Hut follow the east ridge on the north side of the Eastern Gully. At the first major rock band traverse left for about 100m to an obvious break. Climb this recess involving a couple of D/E pitches. Scramble up to the large basalt band over some distance of C ground. This band is negotiated just on the Eastern Gully side of the ridge by two full rope D/E pitches. The next rock step on the ridge is large and difficult. It is avoided by making a detour to the right, then up through a rock band and finally back left to regain the original line. The details of this detour are as follows:

Walk to the right for several hundred metres along a grass ledge and ascend the rock band just to the left of an obvious gully/chimney(*). This pitch involves 20m of D climbing. Immediately above this and almost centrally below the main face is a chimney of loose D standard rock (20 metres) which brings one via a short dangerously loose E traverse to the wide traverse below the main face. The chimney and loose traverse can be avoided by climbing a 20m scooped face (E) slightly to the left. This alternative pitch is recommended and involves an interesting layback move near the top.

Finally, walk back to the left along a grass ledge to regain the east ridge. This leads straight up to the summit via easy scrambling and a few D grade rock bands.

(*) If your base camp is further to the north of the Giant, then the lower pitches may be avoided altogether by approaching as for Scholes' Route. From the start of Scholes' Route walk to the left along the grass ledge and around a corner to reach the gully/chimney and then continue up the upper part of the route described above.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1955, pg 38 and photo facing pg 38; 1961, photo facing pg 51.


GIANTS CASTLE: Sherman's Route Direct (F)

Opening Party: Colin Inglis and party.

Date: July 1961.

A more direct and satisfying climb may be achieved by cutting out the large detour in Sherman's Frontal Route and by climbing straight up the east ridge. At the point where Sherman's Route traverses off to the right carry straight on up the ridge as follows:

The arete (which Sherman's party avoided) forms a smooth nose with a sheer drop into the Eastern Gully on the left. Start slightly to the right in a shallow open book recess and then move left on to the crest. Exposed climbing leads to a small ledge (F1).

Continue up a steep narrow slit directly above the ledge and then work across to the right to a shallow recess which leads to the top of the pitch (F1).

Easier climbing leads to the foot of the next rock band. This consists of a steep nose with a breakaway slightly to the right of centre. This breakaway is actively eroding and contains a large, hollow sounding basalt flake. In order to avoid using this flake, a piton is used in the rock to the left, With the aid of the piton it is possible to cover a metre or two of bad rock to reach a tiny ledge diagonally up to the right. This pitch is F and could be climbed free, but not very safely.

From a stance at the foot of the next rock step, where the arete narrows, a rather awkward take-off is followed by a pleasant pitch leads straight up to the point where the original route rejoins the arete. Scramble to the summit.

Except for a few feet of crumbling rock, the arete route provides a very satisfactory and direct line to the top of the Giant.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1961, pg 52 and photo facing page 51.


GIANTS CASTLE: Frontal Route Variation (F2)

Opening Party: Mervyn Prior and Bernie Schumacher.

Date: July 1982.

Time: Approximately 7 hours including the walk-in.

  1. Climb the C/D ridge directly beneath the top of Giants Castle. Traverse to the left about 8m below the top of the small gendarme that tops the ridge to gain the lowest grass ledge.
  2. 20m F2. From the highest point on the grass ledge, use a nut and sling to get started and then climb the face to the next grass ledge.
  3. 10m E2. Start near the right hand corner of the grass ledge and climb an easy chimney to reach a higher grass ledge. This is the chimney of Sherman's route (?).
  4. 20m E2. From the highpoint of the grass ledge climb a short chimney to a narrow ledge. Traverse leftwards along the ledge to a point 10m to the left of a ridge, which contains an obvious cubbyhole.
  5. 35m F1. Climb the face veering slightly right to gain the ridge.
  6. 80m C. Scramble up the ridge to the summit.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1983, pg 118.


GIANT'S CASTLE: Colli Extendenticum (G1/A2)

Opening Party: Tony Dick and Roger Fuggle.

Date: October 1971.

The route follows the thin, obvious line to the right of Scholes's Route on the Giant. Begin by scrambling over the first slab at the bottom of Scholes's Route and move out to the right to the nose between the two lines.

  1. 20m F3. Climb up the nose immediately to the left of the recess to a belay in a small cubbyhole.
  2. 40m F3/A1. Pull through the roof of the cubbyhole then traverse to the right into the recess, where bolts give dubious protection. The recess becomes easier, leading to slabs. Belay from a peg at the foot of the slabs, since the narrow chimney above offers no protection (beware of the loose chockstone).
  3. 10m struggle. Climbing outside the crack may be dangerous, so remove all excess gear to ease into the chimney. Your second may push you through if you are sufficiently thin. Belay reasonably comfortably where the chimney widens slightly (human nut runners).
  4. 40m G1/A2. Traverse to the right under the roof where the chimney ends, hand-swing around the corner and pull up to good footholds. Poor pegs make the next 20m desperate. Climb a thin crack slightly to the right of the corner and traverse to the right to a second crack where the first ends. Here better pegs and clogs are placed and the difficulty eases slightly after 10m. Move back to the left and climb up to a stance on a large block in the main break.
  5. 15m G1/A1. Stretch to place a narrow channel (difficult), then climb the open book directly till it ends on a ledge one meter by half a meter. This is the halfway mark and the only ledge on the route.
  6. 25m G1/A2. Continue up the obvious break, moving on pegs to the right through the overhanging section. Climb up the recess for 10m to a stance where it deepens.
  7. 15m F2. Climb to a stance on footholds at the base of a serious-looking overhang leading into the continuation of the recess.
  8. 45m G1/A2. Move up on pegs until a large clog can be thrown into the crack above. Pull up on this and move into the crack (strenuous). The recess soon becomes more relaxing, on rough rock. Continue past a large block (F2) and bridge up to a good stance.
  9. 35m F2. Climb a steep 'open book', then an easy gully until 10m of chimney leads to the final beacon.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1971, pg 102.


GIANT'S CASTLE: Winter's South Ridge Route (F)

Opening Party: Martin Winter, Gillian Bettle and Neil Fairall.

Date: 29 August 1954.

Time: A very long day.

Start on the south side of the Gable. Scramble over the low rock band and then traverse back to the east end. Scramble up to the crest of the ridge leading up to the Gable. Climb a 4m C chimney and then down on the other side to a grass shelf on the south side. Continue along the shelf, round a rock corner and up an open recess to regain the crest of the ridge, which is followed, with C grade scrambling to the summit of the Gable.

Descend down the west side until progress is prevented when the narrow ridge is blocked by a large block perched on the ridge. Bypass this by working down, mainly on very steep grass on the south side, aiming for a grass ledge that leads to the nek between the Gable and the rest of the ridge. To reach the grass ledge, a 10m F pitch is down-climbed. This starts with 3m down a face, a balancy traverse and a further climb down the face. At the nek, cross over to the north side and walk along a narrow grass ledge below the first spikes of rock in the nek. Climb through a 2m diameter hole in the wall and continue traversing on the south side past the remaining large spike of rock in the nek. Scramble up out of the nek, first on the left corner, then on the crest of the ridge.

Continue up to the first grass ledge that traverses out along the north side and follow this until the crest is again regained. Scramble over a 3m high rock band on the crest and then continue the traverse on the south side of the ridge. The traverse passes and below a large flat-topped turret and a sharp pointed gendarme and reaches a small rock ridge that connects the grass ledge to the crest of the main ridge.

Scramble (C) 15m up this ridge, climb a 10m E chimney, traverses a few paces to the right and then scramble 5m up the ridge to a grass stance. Climb 3m up the face and traverse left (tricky - E) to a large recess. Climb through the chimney above (D). Scramble to the crest of the ridge just beyond the gendarme. Long and pleasant C scrambling now leads via the blocky crest to the summit. An overhang near the top is avoided on the left.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1954, pg 32 and 1955, photo facing page 38.


GIANT'S CASTLE: South Ridge Variation (F)

Opening Party: Des Watkins, Margery Bromhead, Barry Anderson and Sherman Ripley.

Date: 1955.

This route includes a short cut that avoids the Gable, and a variation to the crux.

Boulder hop up Eastern Gully as far as the foot of a subsidiary spur buttressing the SE ridge. This spur is the only break and yields C-D scrambling to the crest of the ridge where a nick continues the route to the grass traverse on the southern face. Winter's route is now followed to the buttress connecting the traverse to the crest of the ridge. 15m of C and 10m of E are climbed as per Winter's route, but then continue straight up the nose for 35m of delicate F on good rock. Only the scramble up the knife-edge remains.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1955, pg 38 and photo facing page 38.


GIANT'S CASTLE: The Needle (F)

First known ascent: Gordon Bulter, Gary Glass and Trevor Marsh.

Date: 1966

Time: 3 hours

Two enjoyable climbs that can be done from Giant's Hut are the Needle and a small but prominent pinnacle just to the east of it. Looking south from the hut, the Needle is immediately to the left of the South Ridge. An hour's walk up the left hand ridge takes one to the start of a knife-edge that leads to the top of the Needle. There are two pitches; 20m easy E on lousy rock and 10m F on better rock to a tiny summit. Abseil with care to the nek between the Needle and the pinnacle. With careful route finding, one pitch of easy E grade leads to the top of the pinnacle.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1968, pg 88.


GIANT'S CASTLE: South Wall - Elandshoek Ridge (E)

Opening Party: Des Watkins and party.

Date: 1960.

This is a route up the south wall of the Giant from the Elandshoek valley in the Loteni catchment. It joins up with Winter's South Ridge route where it climbs back to the crest beyond the gendarme. Graded E in places, it is best followed by referring to the photo in the 1960 Journal.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1960, pg 127 and photo facing page 128.



Opening Party: Ringo Harding-Goodman and Carl Fatti.

Date: November 1977.

Time: 13 hours round trip.

Ngaqamadolo is a dome shaped peak on the edge of the escarpment to the north of Mkhomazi Pass. A deep cleft cuts into the north east side of the peak. The route goes up inside this cleft which is an impressive, sheer-walled gully. Camp near the base of Ngaqamadolo Pass and walk over a spectacular rock arch en route to the base of the climb. A smooth waterfall at the foot of the cleft is avoided by an F pitch on the right, then walk up past an imposing gendarme into the cleft proper. The route involves B/C scrambling most of the way, except for five or six massive chockstones which are by-passed by short pitches of E to F2 climbing. At one chock, a shoulder and nut for aid were used. The final chock is by-passed on the right by climbing a short wall to a big grass ledge. This is followed to the left again and a short, tricky traverse leads back into the gully (E) which is then followed to the top. Descend via Ngaqamadolo Pass.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1981, pg 58.



Opening Party: Ian van der Lingen, Lionel Ashley, Archie Cockburn and Len Holland.

Date: 1 January 1954.

This free-standing pinnacle lies off the end of a buttress running out from the escarpment to the south of Mohlesi Pass. The simian profile of the pinnacle gave rise to its name. Scramble to the nek between King Kong and the escarpment.

  1. 15m E. Two vertical cracks run up from the nek and provide a way up through the rock band. Continue between two large rocks to a comfortable grass stance.
  2. 30m E. Traverse slightly to the left above the rock band to the base of a vertical crack. Climb the crack with a tricky take-off for 6m, move left and continue up to a large, rocky ledge.
  3. 15m D. Climb to the summit by any of several lines.

Descend in three abseils, back down the route. The rock is reputedly excellent.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1953, pg 71.



Opening Party: Des Watkins, Lionel Ashley and Lenny Mantle.

Date: December 1952.

Start on the loose and scrubby north side. After three D pitches, traverse to the southern face (better rock) and climb an E pitch. Then, traverse back to the north face and climb a 10m E pitch to a stance below the summit. The last pitch is on "the most perfect rubbish I have found anywhere in the Berg." Abseil down the south face.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1953, pg 65.



Opening Party: Brian Shuttleworth and Carl Fatti.

Date: 17 December 1979.

This is a small pinnacle a few hundred metres south of Sandleni Pass. Sandleni Cave makes an ideal base. The route can be clearly seen on the north side of the pinnacle both from the escarpment edge and from the cave. Scramble to the nek between the pinnacle and the escarpment. Scramble up and diagonally left then traverse further left on a narrow grass ledge which leads around to the north side of the peak.

Start up a 1m wide recess in excellent, clean rock except for the first couple of metres at the bottom which is grassy. Do not stop at the small rock platform on the right, but continue straight up to a stance on the left. This pitch involves about 25m of F1 climbing. Traverse left on a good rock ledge and around a corner, then scramble up to the summit.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1981, pg 58.