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Kloof - Boothill Crag

How To Get There

If you by-passed the "How to Get There" section on the main Kloof Gorge page then Go Back there and find out how to get to the Gorge and to the Ranger's office.

Starting at Stokers (next to railway line in Kloof village):
  • Drive alongside railway line on your left towards Durban through a circle.
  • Turn left onto bridge over railway.  Left again at T-junction. You are heading towards Pietermaritzburg with the railway line on your left.
  • Turn right at T-junction into Abelia road (there will be a church on your left).
  • This glides right into Emolweni road. Follow Emolweni past Kloof High school and a traffic circle. Turn right at T-junction into Buckingham (so far, same route as to Rumdoodle).
  • After couple hundred metres turn left into Windsor.
  • Park about 100 m up Windsor Rd on your left on a wide verge under trees – there is a gate in front of you with a sign to climbers (have you signed in?) and a sign warning about exposed cliff edges – this is where you need to be.
Once you're out of the car, continue as follows:
  • Go through the gate and follow the clear path, ignoring 1 vague turn off to left, cross a wooden bridge, ignore a steep downward turnoff to left, take next turn left ignoring the main path going steeply upward to right. You will see some houses on the main gorge edge to your left.
  • Follow the cliff edge till you are on a rock platform with magnificent views of Kloof gorge.  You are now above C’est la Bon. If this has taken you more than 3 minutes you either got lost or you shouldn’t be attempting to climb. (It is also a 3 minute walk from here to the top of the last climb (Tuxedo Junction) in the list below – there is a clear path all along the top of the crag which is somewhat exposed in places so leave the beers till later.)

The Climbing

This is a trad-climbing area (with a few bolts here and there and, as of Feb 2010, one fully bolted climb – "The Scream").  Most of the climbs are easily top-roped – a few nuts, hexes and slings will be needed. 10m of static rope (or a spare climbing rope) for extending to trees is very useful as is a rope-protector.

The rock is excellent, there is some loose gravel along some of the top-outs.  Crag is in shade in the mornings till midday.  As it is mostly slightly overhanging the faces do not get too wet during rain and there are very few seeps. Due to afternoon sun, dries out very quickly.

Boothill : Route Descriptions

The basis for these route descriptions was Gerald Camp's 1989 guide book - a * signifies additional later comments by Bruce Tomalin and Gerald.

Routes are listed from right (facing crag) to left.

* The first 3 climbs are “around the corner” on the houses side of the main crag.  In shade all day.

1. Nights of white satin (20) ***

FA B. Cooke and A. Alcock 1993.

Climb the break left of Little “R”. Two pegs

2. The Love Drug (23) ****

FA B.Cooke and A. Alcock 1993.

Takes the arête right of “Little R”.  Follow the bolts, generally staying right of the arête.

* These bolts are probably suspect by now!

3. Little R gets his Botty Spanked (25) ***

FA B. Cooke and A. Alcock 1993.

This route breaks through the roof right of the caves found on the lower walk in. Climb through the roof right of the caves and up to a cubbyhole.  Powerful moves take you out and around the next roof. Continue to the top.

4. The Dark Side (17) **. 

FA unknown, so no official name recorded (many ascents according to Gerald).

Immediately below the top out of Shapimus Minimus is an obvious crack line (ie 3m uphill from the arête upstream of the lunch blocks).  Take this to the ledge and follow the crack up to the SM exit face.  Better than it looks, pro is good. Always in the shade.

5. Shapimus Minimus (13) ***

FA B. Clarke 1989.

From the end of the buttress traverse out right on an easy slab below the roof. Climb up and into the corner.  Climb this to a ledge.  Move right around the arête and climb straight up.

* amazing exposure for a 13

6. Kotchimus Maximus (12) *

FA B. Clarke 1989.

Climb as for SM to the ledge. Walk to the left and finish up corner.

* Messy – only do it if you want to solo out…

* The next 3 climbs start on the “lunch blocks” directly below the middle of the obvious buttress as you walk in. You can scramble down to the right to get to the joint start of the previous two climbs.

7. Dynamatic (24) *** F

A G.Camp and D. vd Riet 1989.

A short but good problem. Start below the roof just right of C’est La Bon.  Climb straight through the middle of the roof then directly up the face on some dinky little holds. A no 1 friend protects the roof move. Thereafter gear is thin.  Quite scary and seen only 2 ascents as far as I know.

8. Mango Move (23) ***

FA C. Brummer 1989.

Start just right of C’est La Bon and climb diagonally right to a peg above the roof. Continue right to the peg on Dynamatic and finish up the wall above.

9. C’est la Bon (17) ****

FA B. Clarke and A. Russel-Boulton 1989.

From the platform at the end of the buttress climb the crack in the middle of the face for three metres and then move diagonally right. Traverse left for two metres to below the obvious crack and follow this to the top. This little number is no push over and has sent more than one hard man tumbling in the wrong direction.

* Classic 17 – pro for the first 3 m is interesting. A direct version goes straight up, about 18, less protection, about 15m.

10. Liquid Desire (19) ****

FA A. Russel-Boulton and B. Clarke 1989.

Climbs the face and cracks between C’est la Bon and Alien sex Fiend. Step down from the blocks and onto the face. Climb up the face past two pegs to a rail.  Follow the cracks to the top.

* A must-do.  Very varied climbing.  There is a new bolt below the 2 pegs mentioned which was added when the peg it replaced was smashed out in mysterious circumstances. Start by scrambling down to the left of the C’est La Bon lunch blocks onto a ledge. You can make it a 20m climb by scrambling down to ground level and using the same start as the next climb – a very large loose block has been removed at the cost of some skin.

11. Alien Sex Fiend (21) ***

FA A.Russel-Boulton and B.Clarke 1989.

Climbs the arête to the left of C’est la Bon.  The first few metres are contrived and can be avoided by stepping off the blocks below the platform.  * A truly magnificent route if you avoid all temptations to move onto better holds on Liquid Desire.  Top moves are committing and fantastic.

12. Pierre’s line (16) **

FA and route name unknown, but probably Pierre Bill, hence the name.

Up face just left of ASF arête to large ledge (shared with Remedial Interruption). This face start allows a separate line to RI (but is more commonly climbed as a variation to RI). 5m up face just to right of Remedial interruption crack (use crack for pro) and then layback strenuously into the obvious fist crack which tends to the right. 22m.

13. Remedial Interruption (15) ***

FA A.Russel-Boulton and B. Clarke

Climb the crack in the corner two metres to the left of Alien Sex Fiend to a large ledge.  Climb the corner to the top.

* Classic 15.  The usual start is around the corner from ASF through a gap in the overhang - somewhat hard for a 15. This then leads onto the very large ledge mentioned in MM and TF . It is very difficult to set up a top-anchor so anchor to the right of the exit to bring up your second and place a piece just before exiting. 21m

14. Midnight Madness (23) ***

FA D. vd Riet and G. Camp 1989.

Start on the ledge at the base of Remedial Interruption.  Climb straight up the face and up the thin seam past a peg.  Avoid moving left onto Terminal Frost.

15. Terminal Frost (21) ***

FA G. Camp and D. vd Riet 1989.

Start on the ledge at the base of Remedial Interruption.  Move out left onto the face and then up just right of the small roof.  Climb straight up the wall passing well left of the peg on Midnight Madness. Continue up the grey rock on good holds to a tricky exit.  This route passes close to Cowgirl Blues.

16. Cowgirl Blues (18) ***

FA G. Camp 1989.

Start at the base of the blocky corner to the right of Running on Empty.  Climb up the corner to a good rest.  Move a little left then up to a thin rail and then directly up the dark brown streak. Exit to the left on the clean rock.

* The left exit is easy, a consistent at the grade exit is to head straight for the distinct break in the overhang. There is a direct version starting up the initial short slab and small roofs (with convenient jugs) to the left of the corner. Continue as per the normal version or keep it a separate line by going left of the lichen patch about 3 m left of the Cowgirl crux bulge. Commonly top-roped as pro for the top half (and bottom half of direct version) is sparse. 22m

17. Running on empty (20) ****

FA A. Russel-Boulton and B. Clarke 1989.

Climbs through the roofs and onto the face left of Remedial Interruption.  Climb up some blocks to reach a crack in the corner below the roofs.  Climb up to below the highest roof and then move around the corner onto the face. Climb straight up the face.

* Start at the next corner 3m left of the Cowgirl Blues corner. Climb up and under big roof, then aim for vertical crack to left of roof. Can also exit roof to right onto slab.  Straight up slab exiting to left of protruding prow.  Start is a bit arbitrary so could be nicer to start on short face below Cowgirl Blues overhang and tend left to corner.

18. Time and arms delay (22) **

FA G.Camp 1991.

Start at the base of running on empty. Climb diagonally left across the blankish face up to the ledge which is visible. Gear is not that great.

* ie very shit!, ends on ledge.

19. Glory daze (23) ****

FA B. Clarke and A.Russell-Boulton 1989.

Climbs the centre of the next clean face to the left of Running on Empty. Starting just left of the lower roofs, pull up on jugs to start (roof one metre off ground).  Climb up over a loose flake to a short open book above.  Break through the roof where a block has fallen out (peg).  Climb directly through the bulge above, exiting up the crack.

* There is an aid route to the right of the next route that goes through the large roof and onto the superb face above.  Opened by Gerald Camp using 2 nut scratchers for hooks!

20. Living with the grannies (21) ***

FA G.Camp and I. Wallace 1991.

Start one metre to the right of Post Nasal Drip.  Climb directly up and through the roofs immediately left of the huge roof.  On up to a wide rail then a little right to follow the break of layaways. * Gives one the opportunity to climb the great wall above not accessed via other routes.

21. Post nasal drip (16) ****

FA G.Camp and B. Clarke 1989.

Start just left of the big roof.  Pull up on good holds on the corner and then move up and slightly left to the base of a short ramp.  Follow the obvious break/crack to the top.

* Long and fantastic – getting up the ramp is hard (could be 18)! 23m

22. An end to innocence (17) ***

FA A.Russell-Boulton 1989.

Start about two metres to the left of Post Nasal Drip.  After a cranky start climb up the face to the base of an obvious openbook. At the top of this move out left to finish on a grassy ledge.

* Alternatively move right at top to finish up the Post nasal drip crack. Much easier than PND! Tree now grows about 1m away from starting overhang – don’t use it, there’s a jug! Once on top of the start ledge after “crank start” (about 3m up), move 2m left to obvious crack,  then up, then left again to blocky easy ground till you reach a large ledge – traverse right till below the open book – here you can belay. Alternatively and better is to go straight up crack to left of start block till get to ledge and use large ledge for hand traverse.  A variation to the right of starting blocks is much harder (about 21). 24m. An excellent “big wall” feel and great training ground for multiple pitch teamwork.

23. Flashpoint (23) *****

FA A.Russel-Boulton and R. Uken 1989.

Takes a direct line up the centre of the wall right of the gully.  Start between the large crack to the right and the layback crack to the left.  Climb up to a bolt, and then straight up past several rails to a peg.  Climb directly up and through the top bulge to exit.  Fortunately a chain anchor has recently been placed at the top of this line so climbers no longer have the almost impossible, sloping and grass covered exit. However, one needs to rap down to get to the anchors to thread.  Not as much of a mission as it sounds, and well worth it. Without a doubt one of the best routes in Kloof Gorge.

* retro-bolted Feb 2010 by Gerald Camp with permission of the FA preserving some “flavour”.

* The large crack to right has either not been climbed or is unrecorded… Not too sure of exactly where the “layback crack to the left” is?

24. Vagina dentata (21) ****

FA B. Clarke 1989.

Starts just left of Flashpoint.  Climb straight up the face, moving slightly right near the top to a second set of chain anchors, place slightly lower than those on Flashpoint.

*  a piton is visible from the ground.

25. A Family Affair (17) ***

FA C. Brummer 1990.

Climbs the blocky and overhanging corner left of Vagina Dentata.  The start is located by a blade peg very close to the ground.  Apparently its much better than it looks.  * It is definately better than it looks.

* The next 8 climbs all start from a very large ledge (the Bare ledge) below a grass slope past the gully left of Family Affair. They are shortish at about 15m. These are great for moderate climbers looking for a few hours fun. * Good site for hornets nests.  Clean them out with a courageous swipe of the hand.  If you get the nest off first swipe you are safe.  If not, get the hell out of there.

26. Poer-poer (16) *

FA S. Salmon and B. Scott 1989.

From the Bare Essentials ledge traverse out right to the top of the large pinnacle on the skyline. Continue up to the peg (on the left) and exit out right.

27. Poer-poer’s Revenge (15) **

FA B. Clarke and M. Sutherland 1990.

From the pinnacle on Poer-Poer continue up to the ledge to the right of the layback crack above. Finish straight up without using the layback crack.

28. Solitaire (14) **

FA A. Russel-Boulton 1989.

Scramble up onto the big grassy ledge about thirty metres past the big crack.  Climb the crack/flakes on the right of the ledge, starting behind the tree in the corner.

* Far right of the ledge, somewhat off-width crack.

29. Drop the Pilot (16) ***

FA B. Scott and A. Haliburton 1990.

Start two metres right of Learning to Fly.  Climb straight up the recess and over the chockstone.  Be careful with the “not so chocked” chockstone.

30. Learning to fly (21) ***

FA A. Haliburton 1990.

Starts one metre to the right of the Bare Essentials.  Climb straight up to a peg which is passed on its left.  Continue up then exit right on small holds.

31. The Bare Essentials (16) **

FA A. Russel-Boulton (naked solo) 1989.

Climb the crack to the left of Solitaire to a jammed block.  Move slightly left and up a recess to an awkward exit.

* Obvious crack on left of ledge.

32. The Bare Necessities (16) **

FA A. Haliburton 1989.

A direct variation of the Bare Essentials. Start two metres left of the big crack and climb up past a peg to join the other line at the left hand end of the ledge.

33. Stalakdrama (21) ***

FA G. Camp and B. Clarke 1989.

Start left of the Bare Essentials in the middle of a short overhanging face.  A boulder problem start leads to easier climbing on the ramp above.  Continue up the face to the top keeping to the right of the arête.  * Trust your gear placing skill or don’t climb it.

* The next two climbs are on the full length face (about 23 m)  to the left of the large ledge (the Bare ledge):

34. The Whisper (27) ****

FA A.Russel-Boulton 1990.

Climbs the smooth wall right of the Scream.  Climb directly up the face to two adjacently placed bolts.  Thin move take you past the bolts and into a scary leadout.  A great route which may have additional bolts and anchors in the not too distant future.

35. The Scream (25) ****

FA G. Camp 1989.  5B, C.

Climbs the wall to the right of Signing Off.  Start on the small ledge just to the left of the tree and follow the thin seam past a peg and a fixed wire to an abseil point on the tree above.  (Bolted now).

* Can be easily approached by rapping in from the top off the Signing Off  big tree.  Just brush of the holds on the way down as heavy rain brings down dust. Opened  trad style, then retro-bolted Feb 2010 by Gerald. Probably best to belay off “big ledge” level to right of Signing Off.  Scramble up large crack to left and place gear for belay or belay from ground and hope you don’t fall before first bolt…

* Find this from the top by following a vague path along the grassy slope till you get squeezed between a small rock face on the right and the tree with the embedded rock on your left.

36. Signing Off (18) ****

FA A. Russell-Bouton and B. Clarke 1989.

Climbs the crack up the obvious openbook around the corner from the grassy ledge.  Above the route is a tree with a rock embedded in a fork.  This makes a handy abseil point to reach the ledge.

* Fantastic route – good protection. Best start is from ground 1m to right of large crack using a layback crack up to a big ledge. 22m

37. The Super Final (27)

E. Wiercx 1990 (during competition on pre-placed gear).

Somewhere between Signing Off and Tuxedo Junction.

38. Tuxedo Junction (21) ***

FA B. Clarke and G. Camp 1989.

Climb the crack up the centre of the face to the left of Signing Off.

*Outstanding – sustained, very well protected from crack which starts about 1/3 way up. Small cams in horizontal slot and small wires in back of a flare might work before that.

 * potential for new routes on the face left of Tuxedo, and off the ledge running for next 50m left of Tuxedo, and the large Boneyard style face (with a deep undercut) across deep gulley about 80m onwards.