Monteseel: Lower Middle Buttress RDs

Copyright: MCSA-KZN 1998 ©

The Lower Middle Buttress is located directly opposite (downhill from) the usual car park. Despite its name, there is no Upper Middle Buttress! The base of the crag may be reached in one of three ways. The first option is to take the path from the car park and continue down this path between the Eastern and Lower Middle Buttresses. The path forks near a very large block. The lesser path leads off to the right along a large ledge that runs along the base of the Eastern Buttress. The major path carries on down into the valley below. Follow this path until it is possible to scramble across to the left (facing downhill) to reach the bottom of the Lower Middle Buttress. An alternative approach is to scramble/climb down the bushy corner between A Sight for Sore Eyes and Penny in the Slot. An abseil provides the final alternative. The climbs on this Buttress are grouped into four areas.


Time is Tight Area (The Other Alternative to Sight for Sore Eyes)

This area comprises the eastern parts of the Lower Middle Buttress and contains the majority of better routes which are described (as usual) from left to right when facing the crag from below.

Lower Middle Buttress (Source: Roger Nattrass)

Topo Key:

A. The Other Alternative (22) * *
B. Blood on the Tracks (21) * * *   
C. Freewheelin' (21) * * *
D. Time is Tight (23) * * * * *
E. Countdown to Ecstacy (21) * *
F. Child in Time (21) * * * *
G. A Sight for Sore Eyes (21) * * *
H. Short and Sweet (16) * *
I. Divine Existentialist Mission (20) * *
J. Blood, Sweat and Tears (20) * *

The Other Alternative (22) * *

First ascent: Kevin Smith, 1988

Start on the boulder at the bottom of the short, overhanging east-facing wall. Climb the left-hand edge of the wall, keeping just right of the arete.


Blood on the Tracks (21) * * *

First ascent: Andy de Klerk, Steve Bradshaw, Craig Attwell and Chris Jackson, 1983

Start from the same boulder, but just right of The Other Alternative. Climb straight up to an obvious jug and then move right towards the niche in the corner. Move back diagonally left to another jug and finish straight up. The line is difficult to protect.


Freewheelin’ (21) * * *

First ascent: Mike Roberts and Ian Wallace, 1978

Start at the steep corner to the right of Blood on the Tracks. Climb the recessed corner to a rail with a peg. Pull through and continue up the corner to the niche. Move out right around the niche and then finish up the face.


Time is Tight (23) * * * * *

First ascent: Mike Roberts and Ian Wallace, 1979

This is one of the best routes at Monteseel. It starts one metre right of the Freewheelin’ corner. A boulder problem start leads straight up to the rail. Move slightly right then and up to two pegs. Climb up and slightly left from the pegs to reach a small rail. Continue directly up the face above.


Countdown to Ecstasy (21) * *

First ascent: Andy Russell-Boulton, Brett Clarke and Ron Uken, 1989

This is an eliminate squeezed between Time is Tight and Child in Time. The top section is contrived. Do a boulder problem start up the reddish streak left of Child in Time and climb up to the roof. Pull directly through the middle of the roof and continue up the face above. Finish just left of Child in Time.


Child in Time (21) * * * *

First ascent: Mike Roberts and Alan Manson, 1979

Start one metre left of the blocks on the right hand side of the face. Boulder up to a thin ledge without using the blocks. Move slightly left and up to the small roof. Turn this on the right and climb directly up the face above to finish up the obvious weakness at the top.


Sight for Sore Eyes (21) * * *

First ascent: Craig Robertson and Daniel Ryding, 1991

Start under the edge of the roof to the right of Child in Time. Climb straight up, keeping left of the tree branch, which can be used for protection. Finish up the obvious break.


Short and Sweet Area (Penny in the Slot to Blood, Sweat and Tears)

(Note: See "Lower Middle Buttress" topo above for these routes)

This area is to be found towards the centre of the Lower Middle Buttress. The easiest approach is probably to abseil down Short and Sweet onto the middle of the big ledge, or to scramble down the bushy corner next to Penny in the Slot.

Penny in the Slot (11) *

First ascent: Ginger Cairns, Penny Dodds and Rae Adams, 1953

Start up the corner left of Short and Sweet and then follow the obvious line to the top.


Short and Sweet (16) * * *

First ascent: Dave Shuttleworth

This is a pleasant and sustained climb at its grade. Start at the centre of a big ledge that can be reached by abseil from above, a scramble from below, or by an easy climb down the bushy corner between Sight for Sore Eyes and Penny in the Slot.

Climb up past a small bulge to an overlap which is passed its right (there is a convenient finger-jam for the vertically challenged). Continue to a thick, loose flake that feels dodgy but has held a few local heavyweights. Move right to finish up a shallow scoop between the blocks at the top. Copyright: MCSA-KZN 1998 ©


The Divine Existentialist Mission (20) * *

First ascent: Mike Cartwright, 1988

Start between Short and Sweet and Blood Sweat and Tears. Climb straight up the face to the top.


Blood, Sweat and Tears (20) * *

First ascent: Brian Shuttleworth and Carless Freer, 1978

Start on the right hand edge of the Short and Sweet ledge. From the edge of the ledge, move right into the big curving crack. Climb the crack and then hand-swing out right to the corner past a peg. From the corner move up and then left to finish up a short recess. Alternatively continue straight up from the top of the crack for a more worthwhile finish.


Gin and Vermouth area (Roy's D to Gin and Vermouth)

This is the western "tail" of the Lower Middle Buttress. It is reached by scrambling down beyond the left-hand side of the buttress (facing downhill). This scramble is just left of a prominent grassy shoulder at the outermost point of the path down to the bottom of the central buttress. The following routes start from a big ledge to the right of the scramble (facing downhill).


Roy’s D (12) * *

First ascent: Roy Denny, 1956

Start at left hand side of a tree, around the corner from, and to the right of Blood, Sweat and Tears. Climb the face and move slightly left to the bottom of a sloping ramp. Climb the ramp and short crack to reach a ledge. From the back of the ledge, ascend the steep face to the top.


Pink Gin (12) *

First ascent: Sherman Ripley and Martin Blades, c. 1955

Start about four metres to the left of Gin and Vermouth. Climb the face, stepping right to avoid a bulge. Move up to the ledge and exit.


Gin and Vermouth (13) * *

First ascent: Sherman Ripley and Martin Blades, c. 1955

Start next to a tree on a big ledge a few metres left of the scramble. Climb up a short, steep face past a battered peg and move left and up to a ledge. Climb diagonally right to another big ledge and finish up a blocky recess on the right.


Capital F Area (Rockwork Orange and Capital F)

These two climbs are on a small isolated crag between the Lower Middle Buttress and the Western Buttress. Descend the grass spur that runs down towards the valley between the Western Buttress and the Lower Middle Buttress. The climbs are located in the clean, orange-coloured corner, which is lower than the level of the Gin and Vermouth ledge. To avoid bundu-bashing, it is best to abseil to the start of the climbs.


Rockwork Orange (14) * *

First ascent: Adrian Hill, 1980

This is a short, but pleasant climb. Start two metres left of the corner (Capital F) and climb the clean face past a small flake to finish up the steep face above.


Capital F (12) * *

First ascent: Dave Castro, 1975

Climb the obvious corner to the top.