Monteseel: Far Eastern Buttress RDs

The climbs on the Far Eastern Buttress have been separated into four major areas. These are listed in a sequence from left to right: i.e. from the most eastern end of the Buttress, moving back westwards towards the hut and parking area.


Vertigo Area (Necrosis to Grasp)

These climbs are approached via a steep scramble or abseil at the end of a spur below the view site at the extreme eastern end of the cliffs, i.e. where the road curves away from the cliff and back toward Monteseel village. Alternatively, there is a path that runs along the top of the cliffs for its full length. There is a prominent pole with TV aerials at the top of the slope above the scramble down. The climbs to the west (back toward the hut) are reached via a ledge that runs past Enema at the level of the bottom of the scramble.

 

Necrosis (15) * * * code: NS

First ascent: Brian Shuttleworth and Rich Smithers, 1978

Walk about fifteen metres left (east) from the bottom of the scramble. The climb starts just to the left of a small fig tree growing up against the face. The letters 'NS' are painted in yellow at the start. Layback up for a couple of moves to reach a recess. Continue straight up the recess to a small overhang. Side-step this to the right and then move up to another small overhang. Step out to the left to gain the face above the first overhang. Move up and right to reach a shallow recess. Climb this to the top.

Variation: From the second small roof, traverse out to the right for about 3m until the roof merges with the face. From here move straight up a shallow recess to the top.

 

Deliverance (13) * * * code: DE

First ascent: Rich Smithers and Brian Shuttleworth, 1976

The letters 'DE' are painted in yellow at the start which is about 5 m left from the bottom of the scramble. Climb a short recess to the overhang and then traverse left around a corner over two wedged blocks (well tested by a local heavyweight!) to the foot of a large, right-tending ramp. Climb the ramp keeping to the right hand side.

Variation: An alternative (grade 14) is to start from a point below, and slightly to the left, of the wedged blocks. Climb up, tending right and pull up onto the wedged blocks. A move or two to the left gives access to the start of the ramp.

 

Technical Ecstasy (20) * * * code: TE

First ascent: Adrian Hill, 1980

This steep, technical route is very photogenic from the scramble down. Start three metres left of Vertigo. Climb up and slightly left to a block. Climb steeply up to the left via two pockets to a rail (crux), then up to the top keeping right of the arete.

 

Clubbing Andre (23/24) * * *

First ascent: Simon Dellis

Date and star grading unknown, but it looks about three star. Follow the bolts up the thin face between Technical Ecstasy and Vertigo.

 

Vertigo (17) * * * code: VO

First ascent: Brian and Colin Shuttleworth, 1976

Three-quarters of the way down the scramble an obvious recess is seen on the left (looking up the scramble). Climb this and finish directly up the blocky face above. A technical line.

 

 Enema (14) * (* *) code: EA

First ascent: Carless Freer, Roy Gooden and Rodney Owen, 1977

Start about 10 m right of the scramble. Climb a short steep section to a large, dirty ledge. Continue up to a cubbyhole beneath a large overhang. Use a foot rail to move out to the right under the roof and then pull through the roof at its right-hand end. Climb to the top on the right hand face. Starting at the yellow letters 'EA' painted on the rock is much harder than grade 14. A start more in keeping with this grade can be achieved by starting about 3 m to the left and then climbing up diagonally to the right to reach the ledge. Not a great line, but worth doing for the excellent moves below and around the roof.

 

Apricot Jam (18) * * code: AJ

First ascent: Adrian Hill and Roy Gooden, 1981

Start five metres to the right of Enema at the foot of a small recess. The letters 'AJ' are painted in yellow at the start. Climb up for five metres and then move left into a small recess with a crack. Move around the bulge above and then left to a small ledge. Finish slightly left up the nose.

 

Hot Line (14) * * * code HT

First ascent: Roy Gooden and Adrian Hill, 1981

Starts just to the right of Apricot Jam - the letters 'HT' are painted in yellow at the start. Layback up the short crack to a ramp just to the right of Apricot Jam. Move left at the overhang onto a ledge and exit up the clean face on the left. Fun moves and well protected.

 

Bali Hai (11) * code BHI

First ascent: David Freer, Tim Foley and Caroline Biggs

Climb the obvious recess with a crack around the corner from Enema.

 

Rainy Day Dreamaway (19) * * code: RDD

First ascent: Steve Bradshaw and Adrian Jardin, 1980

Thirty metres right of the scramble is a recess with a tree at its base. Climb the crack on the right hand side of the recess, moving onto a block beneath a small roof. Pull through roof and finish directly up the face above.

 

Strawberry Jamb (14) * * * code: SJ

First ascent: Tony Dickens and John Cheesmond, 1974

Towards the right hand side of the ledge there is a big dihedral with a narrow, orange face on the left. This face can be clearly seen from the top of Hot Line. The letters 'SJ' were painted in yellow at the start but it currently looks like 'ST'. Climb straight up to reach a ledge below the start of an obvious fist jam crack. Climb the crack and move to the right near the top. This is hard for a 14 unless you can jam well - a variation more in keeping with the grade is given below.

Variation: Climb up to the ledge below the start of the crack. Move left and climb the corner for a couple of metres until it is possible to move out right on a good foot rail to gain the crack line about halfway up. Continue up the crack moving slightly to the right near the top. Short, but interesting.

 

Colonel Saunders (14) * code: CS

First ascent: Tony Dickens and John Cheesmond, 1974

Mildly strenuous, but well protected. Beware of loose blocks. Start around the corner from Strawberry Jamb and to the left of the large roofs. Climb up a steep broken face and traverse right below a projecting block. Move up and left into the large recess. Climb this for a few moves and exit to the left.

 

Et Tu (15) * code: ET

First ascent: Rich Smithers and John Fantini, 1978

Climb the recess ten metres to the left of Brutus.

 

Brutus (18) * * code: BS

First ascent: Rich Smithers and John Fantini, 1978

This line takes the obvious bottomless recess above the ledge. Climb the obvious corner and move out right to rest on the nose. Step left onto two "stepping stones" and then climb up into the bottomless open book, where the quality of the rock improves. Follow the recess to the top.

 

Flabbergasp (11/15) * * code: FP

First ascent: Des Watkins, 1955

(1) Climb up a short face to a stance at the foot of a recess.

(2) Move up the recess to a roof. Finish either to the right up a recess (11) or to the left up a face (15).

 

Hightime (18) * * code: HT

First ascent: Adrian Hill, Roy Gooden and Rodney Owen, 1979

A difficult take-off is followed by easier climbing. Start five metres right of Flabbergasp. Climb through a bulge to a ledge and then right onto a block. Climb up to the base of a crack and exit up the nose.

 

Athlete's Foot (18) * code: AF

First ascent: Carless Freer and Roy Gooden, 1979

Start at a small tree three metres to the right of Hightime. Move up to a large ledge, up the big recess and follow the curving crack to another recess. Exit left.

 

Grasp (14) * code: GP

First ascent: Rich Smithers and Ann Hayes, 1978

Start ten metres to the right of Flabbergasp, and two metres right of Athletes Foot next to a tree just before the ledge peters out. Climb the face to the ledge and then up to a second ledge over loose-looking rock. Follow the recess to the top.


Eviction Area (Long Drop to Tumbleweed)

These climbs can be approached by continuing down the Vertigo scramble to reach the true bottom of the cliff. However, it is cleaner and more convenient to abseil onto a ledge from a point approximately 100 m west of the top of the scramble where the edge of the cliff opens up to form a rock platform. This point is between Long Drop and Toe Jam. Codes marking the start of each climb are painted at the bottom of the cliff.

 

Long Drop (14) * code: LD

First ascent: Brian Shuttleworth and Rich Smithers, 1978

Abseil onto, or scramble up to the ledge around the corner to the right of Grasp. Climb the recess to a roof and then up the obvious bottomless chimney to the top.

 

Toe Jam (17) * * * code: TJ

First ascent: Rich Smithers and Ann Hayes, 1978

This is a worthwhile route on clean rock with an interesting jam crack. Start three metres right of the Long Drop recess. Climb up the face to under the crack in the roof. Break through and jam/climb the crack to a small roof. Traverse right across a slab to the corner. Climb onto a block and then up and left to exit.

 

Elephant’s Asshole (14) * * * code: EAE

First ascent: Mervyn Gans and Alex Simoni, 1978

The route was named because it was high and dirty, but was "wiped clean" to produce a very pleasant route which ought to be a classic. Either abseil onto, or climb up a short steep face to the big ledge about thirteen metres to the right of the Toe Jam corner and to the left of the large square recess taken by New Rope.

Climb the face to an overlap. Pull through this and continue up a short face on the left. Move into the obvious recess and climb this to the top.

 

New Rope (13) * code: NR

First ascent: Mervyn Gans, Rich Smithers and Mike Roberts, 1975

Unsustained with interesting moves, but spoiled by some loose blocks on the upper section. Takes the obvious square recess to the right of Elephant’s Asshole. Abseil onto, or climb up to the big ledge. There is a convenient belay tree on the ledge at the base of the recess.

Climb the recess keeping to the left-hand side. Move onto the left corner when the recess steepens, climb up on the left for a few moves and then step right above the steep section to a recess. Beware - the obvious block to pull up on to gain the recess is loose. Climb up using a hold on the left-hand side of the recess, which is followed to the top.

 

Eviction (14) * * * code: EN

First ascent: Mervyn Gans and Adolf Flockemann, 1975

Enjoyable climbing on clean rock - worthwhile. Scramble or abseil onto the ledge to the right of the New Rope recess. Climb the crack on the right to an obvious traverse across a smooth face on the left. Climb the slanting groove and continue to the top. Copyright: MCSA-KZN 1998 ©

 

Call of the Wild (17) * *

First ascent: Evan Wiercx and Deon van der Riet, 1989

Start on the same ledge as Eviction. Climb up on the right for a few moves, then traverse out left onto the nose. Continue up via good moves onto the face and then up the blank-looking face to the top. Gear is very sparse.

 

Sunset Wall (18) * * code: SSW

First ascent: Rich Smithers and John Fantini, 1978

Start near the corner between Eviction and A Twist of Sand. Climb the steep face, avoiding the roofs, up to a ledge. Follow a crack system to another ledge. Start up a steep wall moving slightly left, and continue straight up to a shallow recess on the right of an obvious nose. Layback up this to the top. The first fifteen metres is easy, but unprotected, and the last ten metres is strenuous and committing.

 

A Twist of Sand (11) code: TOS

First ascent: Roy Gooden and Rodney Owen, 1979

Overgrown at present, but useful as a reference point. Climb a short steep face to an obvious break in a dirty recess. Keep mainly to the left.

 

Tumbleweed (13) *

First ascent: Roy Gooden and Steve Bradshaw, 1979

Climb the big corner and chimney to the right of A Twist of Sand. Take your gardening gloves and hedge clippers to remove the thorn bush.

 

Quality Street Area (Quality Street to Psychopath)

Best located from the top and approached by an impressive abseil. The path along the top of the eastern cliffs passes between a prominent square-backed, red-coloured recess and a band of rock. There is another square-backed recess about fifty metres further on (eastwards) which contains Tumbleweed and A Twist of Sand. Quality Street lies between these two recesses.

 

Quality Street (16,16) * * * code: QS

First ascent: John Fantini and Brian Shuttleworth, 1978

This is an impressive line for its grade.

(1) Climb up an obvious corner to a large ledge. Move up from a small tree and move up and right to gain a small recess. Climb this until it is possible to traverse left to a stance at the base of a corner.

(2) Climb the crack in the corner to the roof. Keep traversing left and up to bypass a series of roofs in a lovely position.

 

Son of a Gun (20) * * code: SOG

First ascent: Rich Smithers and John Fantini, 1978

Takes the recess right of Quality Street up to the large ledge. Pull onto the face above and continue up a faint recess to beneath the top roofs. Climb through these to the top.

 

Wall Street (15,18) * * * code: WS

First ascent: Rich Smithers and John Fantini, 1978

Takes the red wall right of Quality Street. The crux (2nd pitch) is very run out.

(1) Climb the short crack to the right of Son of a Gun to a ledge. Move up diagonally right on blocks to a stance.

(2) Step off left onto a ledge and continue diagonally left to a small ledge. Climb straight up for eight metres and climb the middle of the face to the top.

 

Psychopath (19,20) * *

First ascent: 1st pitch: Mike Roberts and Rich Smithers, 1978

2nd pitch: Mike Roberts and Alan Manson, 1979

Scramble up to a large ledge at the bottom of the corner.

(1) Climb up the steep corner to below the huge roof, and then up to a small ledge.

(2) Move up from the left-hand side of the ledge for three moves. Move right and finish directly up the face above. Runners are scarce and tricky.

 

Tiny’s Toddle Area (Mother's Day to Lonely Line)

Reached by abseil down the Tiny’s Toddle/Ballet Mechanique face. About sixty metres west (back towards the hut) of the point where the path passes between a prominent square-backed recess and a band of rock, there is a blocky shoulder above a prominent clean east-facing wall. A bolt is clearly visible on the Ballet Mechanique face.

 

Mother’s Day (12) * * * code: MD

First ascent: Des Watkins, Rae Adams, Hugh Carbutt, Maureen Thomson, Pam Leppan, 1959

The only true chimney climb at Monteseel, with an exciting exit. Good for rainy days if you’re desperate to climb or can't afford to go to the pub! Climb the chimney to the left of the Tiny’s Toddle ledge. Stay well inside until forced to traverse out to exit around a block.

 

Umgodoy (19) * code: UY

First ascent: Paul Firman and Alan Manson, 1979

Takes the wall just right of Mother’s Day. Protection is tricky.

 

Pandora’s Box (20) * * *

First ascent: Andrew Russell-Boulton, 1988

Start three metres left of Tiny’s Toddle. Climb straight up the wall to exit left of the roof at the top. Gear is very sparse.

 

Tiny’s Toddle (14) * * * * code TT

First ascent: Sherman Ripley and Tony Ferrar, 1962

This is a Monteseel classic. It is fairly sustained, but is well protected. The climb takes the corner capped by a roof. Climb the crack in the corner from the ledge to just under a bulge. Bypass this by traversing left onto the face and then up to exit right under the roof.

 

Ballet Mecanique (23) * * * *

First ascent: Gerald Camp and Egmont Goedeke, 1988

Takes the smooth wall right of Tiny’s Toddle. Start at the right hand edge of the ledge and climb directly up past a peg and a bolt to exit slightly right. Friends ½ to 1½ are useful.

 

The Archetypal Herbivore (18) *

First ascent: Gerald Camp, 1988

Start as for Ballet Mechanique. Climb the corners and roofs to the right. Move around the corner at the last roof and exit up the short off-width crack.

 

Fulcrum (15) * code: FM

First ascent: Mike Roberts and Rich Smithers, 1978

Start around the corner from The Archetypal Herbivore. Climb the short face underneath the overhang, and traverse left and up onto a ledge. Follow the recess above, move left and continue up to gain another ledge. Take the break to the top.

 

Just a Touch (15) * *

First ascent: Alan Manson and Paul Firman, 1979

Start five metres left of Paper Plates and Crumbs. Climb up to the large ledge and continue diagonally left up a face to a chimney. Climb this until it peters out and then move up and left to exit. A short but pleasant climb.

 

Paper Plates and Crumbs (17) * *

First ascent: Paul Firman and Alan Manson, 1979

The route is better than its name suggests. Normally reached by scrambling onto a large ledge about twenty metres to the right of the climb and walking along to below the corner. Climb up from the ledge to the crack in the corner, which is followed to the top. Sustained.

 

Lonely Line (17) *

First ascent: Alan Manson and Paul Firman, 1979

A pleasant crux on an otherwise arbitrary route. Take the obvious jam crack seven metres right of Paper Plates and Crumbs. Finish directly above.

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