Monteseel: Far Western Buttress RDs

Copyright: MCSA-KZN 1998 ©

Jack the Ripper / Paralysis Areas

This section of the western cliff extends from the western side of the buttress forming the skyline seen from the central buttress and MCSA hut to the prominent "island" abutting onto the cliff that marks the start of the Utopia area. Climbs are reached by abseil, and are best located with reference to Jack the Ripper, which takes the obvious crack in the corner on the western side (i.e. out of sight from the MCSA hut) of the buttress. Codes painted on the rock at the base of some climbs are also useful.


Jugular Vein (15) * * Code: JV

First ascent: Dave and Carless Freer, Barbara Gordon-Bagnall and Gail Tumner, 1980

Start three metres left of Jack the Ripper. Be careful of loose rock in places. Take the left break on the first roof and continue up the corner on small jugs. Break through the second roof and continue to the top.


Jack the Ripper (12) * * * Code: JTR

First ascent: Des Watkins, Bob Suter, Rae Adams, Pam Winter and Jean Watkins, 1953

A classic route in the lower grades, it takes a direct line up the shallow corner on the western side of the prominent buttress. For its grade, the line involves interesting and varied climbing techniques. If the line has not been climbed for a while then it may be necessary to remove the odd bit of vegetation.

Climb a face on good holds to reach the recess. Continue up this, moving right to avoid a small roof. Continue up, climbing on the outside of the crack through a steep section to easier rock above.


The Road to Recognition (24) * * * * *

First ascent: Roger Nattrass, 1990

This thirty metre pitch takes the centre of the big orange face to the right of Jack the Ripper. One of the best routes at Monteseel and one of the few sport routes at this venue. Rap off the anchors using two ropes or a sixty metre line. The route starts from a small ledge about six metres off the ground. Climb it!!


A Perverted Fear of Violence (25) * * * *

First ascent: Roger Nattrass, 1990 

Climb the first half of The Road to Recognition, then move left and up to a small roof, past an additional three bolts. Watch out for a surprise pump-out after you pull through the roof, thinking you have this line in the bag.


Motorpsycho Nightmare (24) * * * * Code MN

First ascent: Andy de Klerk and Steve Bradshaw, 1983

A direct line up the wall to the right of The Road to Recognition. Excellent climbing but poorly protected. Rap to the small ledge. Climb straight up, passing a poor peg to a second peg.Move up slightly right and back left to a third peg. Move right and through the roof, then back left to an easy groove to finish.


Bee Sting (15) *

First ascent: Rich Smithers and Ladson Hayes, 1977

Climbs the crack between Jack the Ripper and First Annual. Climb the crack and continue to exit slightly left of First Annual.


First Annual (12) *

First ascent: John Woods

Takes the obvious crack to the right of Jack the Ripper. Some interesting moves. Follow the crack to the top.


Tangerine Dream (17, 20) * * *

First ascent: Paul Firman, Alan Manson and L. Camp, 1981

Takes the same line as the direct on Spider, but traverses onto a stance on First Annual.

(1) Climb up into an open recess and then move out diagonally left and up to a rail above a tree and a roof. Traverse left for about three metres to a belay.

(2) Reverse the traverse to the bottom of a broken crack. Continue straight up this, moving out left to exit at the top.


Spider (18, 12) * * Code: SPR

First ascent: Kelvin Giles and Gordon Bulter, c.1965

First pitch variation: Mervyn Gans, Carless Freer and Brian Larter, 1976

An unsustained route that wanders across the face. Start at a left-sloping ramp to the right of First Annual.

(1) Climb the ramp to a ledge and traverse right on a steep wall using the obvious handrail. Pull up onto the ledge using a loose-looking bollard. Continue up a steep face for two metres and traverse left into a corner. Traverse around the corner into a recess and climb this to any convenient stance. A variation at the same grade avoids traversing right by following a break up to the left.

(2) Continue up the recess until an easy traverse to the left is reached, exiting next to First Annual.


Paralysis (14) * * Code: PS

First ascent: Des Watkins, late 1950’s

Enjoyable climbing. Scramble onto a grassy ledge to the foot of a large recess. Climb the recess to a roof, move left and up to avoid it. Continue up the recess to the top.


Spooky the Tuff Li’l Ghost (15, 13) * *

First ascent: Dave Cheesemond and Alan Whittaker, c. 1971

A meandering and unobvious first pitch spoils the route. The take-off is out of keeping with the rest of the climb if one avoids the Paralysis start. Start two metres to the right of Paralysis.

(1) Pull up the short, steep break through the roof. Continue left and slightly up to a traverse line which leads past some loose-looking blocks to a ledge in a recess.

(2) Climb the right-hand wall at the back of recess and move right to gain a second recess. Climb this to the top.


Pee Wee (17, 13) * *

First ascent: Gordon Bulter and Kelvin Giles, c. 1965

A pleasant route although the quality of the rock on the first pitch does not match up to that of the second.

(1) Climb the face to a long ledge under a roof. Traverse right to a break and pull through to a large ledge.

(2) Move right along the ledge until the right-hand side of the steep face can be climbed. Traverse five metres left above the ledge to a recess. Climb this to beneath a large roof, traverse left and climb a short face to the top.


Fig Tree (9, 9) * *

First ascent: Unknown, c. late 1940’s

A very good route for its grade. Starts in a shallow corner. The fig tree is long gone!

(1) Climb the corner for two metres and then move left onto an easy face that leads to a ledge. Traverse along the ledge to the base of a second corner.

(2) Climb the corner to a blocky ledge and traverse left a few metres to exit up a short recess.


Con Mucho Gusto (15, 18) * *

First ascent: Rich Smithers, Mike Roberts and Brian Larter, 1976

Good climbing on the top pitch. The route takes a crack line to the right of the top pitch of Fig Tree.

(1) Climb the face below the crack, through a tree, and up a crack to a ledge.

(2) Climb straight up the crack to a bulge below a V-shaped recess. Climb through the bulge into the recess to exit.


The Utopia Area

Reached by abseiling onto a prominent "island" abutting onto the cliff, and scrambling down (westwards) to reach the base of Utopia which is capped by large roofs. Climbs past Utopia are generally reached directly by abseil.


Highway for Fools (14) * *

First ascent: Ian Manson and Craig Attwell, 1982

Start five metres left of Morsel. Climb an awkward corner to a roof and move right around this. Move up the face and duck off left to exit. A better, direct finish has been top-roped.


Morsel (15) * * *

First ascent: Rich Smithers and Adolf Flockemann, 1976

A short route with an exciting take-off followed by good climbing. Start on top of the "island". Step off the high, narrow block and pull onto the face above the roof. Move left into a shallow recess. Climb up a short distance and move left onto a face. Continue up crack to a ledge and scramble to the top.


Eff Six (11, 16/18) * *

First ascent: Roger Fuggle and Tony Dick, 1970

A grotty first pitch leads to a pleasant second pitch. Scramble about halfway down a gully from the top of the "island" to an obvious traverse to the right.

(1) Climb diagonally right and then up a recess to stance at the foot of a large open-book.

(2) Climb up the open-book for two metres and traverse left across a face towards a corner. Move up and onto the ledge on the corner (awkward). Move left to stand up and climb the face, moving right to a ledge. Climb a short recess to the top. A harder alternative (18) continues up the recess instead of traversing left, until forced left to avoid a roof.


Abstentia (15, A1) *

First ascent: Tony Dick and Roger Fuggle, 1973

Start as for Eff Six. Continue right across the face and up to a stance in a hidden recess. Move left using a sling to get through the small roof to reach a ledge with a tree. Continue to the top on good holds. Copyright: MCSA-KZN 1998 ©


No Name (11, 19) * *

First ascent: Tony Dick and Roger Fuggle, 1973

A good route but fairly serious. It uses the first pitch of Eff Six to avoid bad rock

(1) As for Eff Six

(2) Traverse right from the stance along an obvious rail until a diagonal flake crack is reached. Climb up this and traverse right into the corner. Continue traversing right across the lip of the roof into a shallow recess. Move right for two metres and then up the steep face to the top.


Utopia (13, 11, 14) * * * *

First ascent: Brian and Colin Shuttleworth, 1970

A classic route that has seen many epics and late night top-outs. Reached by scrambling down from the "island", the climb starts in a corner capped by huge roofs on the left-hand side of the large face.

(1) Pull up into the recess and continue up to under the large roof. Use the obvious rail to traverse right across the face to a shallow cubbyhole. Continue to belay in a second cubbyhole.

(2) Continue traversing right over a step-across and past another cubbyhole to a large blocky ledge.

(3) The start of this pitch is marked by a vague cairn and arrow scratched on the rock. Climb up a short, steep face, past some fixed pegs, moving right beneath a small roof to a ledge. Move right to the foot of a juggy face which is climbed to a ledge. Walk right to reach the foot of a short recess which is followed to the top.


Rubber Arm (22) * *

First ascent: Charl Brummer, 1979

A direct start to Utopia. Start directly below the second cubbyhole (i.e. the stance at the end of the first pitch of Utopia). Climb straight up the wall to the stance.


Cardiac Arrest (15, A2, 13) * *

First ascent: Mike Roberts, Roy Gooden and Rodney Owen, 1976

Exciting aiding in an exposed position. Start as for Utopia.

(1) Climb up for ten metres and traverse along an obvious rail above the lip of a roof to a stance. Move directly up to the cubbyhole stance at the end of the first pitch of Utopia. Alternatively aid along the lip of the roof (A1) before climbing up to the cubbyhole.

(2) Aid directly out of the cubbyhole and up the wall to under a large roof. Move right and break onto a small wall above. Continue up the wall to a small ledge.

(3) Climb the wall from the right-hand edge of the ledge to the top.


Hades (17) * * * *

First ascent: Brian Shuttleworth, Carless Freer and Tony Conning, 1978

An excellent route, with great climbing on good rock. Starts in a corner to the right of the finish of Utopia. Abseil to the start.

Climb a steep face past a peg to a ledge. Climb the short recess to under a roof. Turn this on the right and continue up a crack to the top in a superb layback position.


The Kakamas Cling (24) * * *

First ascent: Andrew Russell-Boulton, 1992

One of the steeper routes at Monteseel. Start around the corner to the left of Hades. Climb up and past a small overhang and continue up the slab to the overhanging wall. Continue straight up the headwall, passing two bolts.


Pipsqueak (13) *

First ascent: Colin Shuttleworth and Bobby Dickman, 1970

Not a route that has aged well. Climb the crack to the right of Hades.


Land of Nod (15, 18) * *

First ascent: Mike Roberts and Ian Wallace, 1979

The first pitch is hard to protect (large hexentrics/Friends) and the second consists of tricky climbing on good, but poor-looking rock. Start at the foot of Pipsqueak.

(1) Traverse out right using the obvious rail. When this runs out, move up and across to a small stance.

(2) Climb up the shallow recess, moving right in the middle to overcome a hard section.


Dance the Instinct (21) * * * *

First ascent: Andrew Russell-Boulton and Grant Cockburn, 1988

Rail out from the bottom of Pipsqueak until directly below the peg. Move up on thin holds to the rail (peg), then up and slightly left to exit on thin holds. There is a long lead-out to the peg.


Clematis (16) * *

First ascent: Mick Hafner and Alan Manson, 1983

Climb the first pitch of Land of Nod. To the right of the second pitch is an obvious line with a finger crack which is followed to the top.


Silver and Gold (25) * * *

First ascent: Mike Cartwright, 1991

One of the steepest lines at Monteseel. This short, but powerful line is found on the overhangs at the end of the Western Buttress. Rap or terrify yourself scrambling to the ledge halfway up the face. The climbing is completely protected by bolts, but gear is necessary for both belay stations.