Monteseel: Near Western Buttress RDs

Copyright: MCSA-KZN 1998 ©


Pieces of the Sky to Angel Dust Wall

Approached by abseil or by scrambling down the obvious easy flakes below the drainage gully at the low point looking across at the western cliffs from the path above the lower middle buttress. There is a (sometimes vague) path that starts approximately below the MCSA hut which leads westward and down to the top of the scramble. There is a large block to the west of the scramble marking the top of the west facing Angel Dust wall.

Note that the large pillar that formed the Sewer chimney referred to in previous guides collapsed after an earth tremor in January 1994. As a result, the climbs Rigor Mortis, Sewer and Spiral no longer exist.

Near Western Buttress (Source: Roger Nattrass)

Topo Key:

A. Pieces of the Sky (23) * * * * *
B. Wilderness of Pain (26) * * * *   
C. Barrier of Spears (26) * * * * *
D. Warchild (24) * * *
E. Jean (16) * * * *
F. Problem Child (17) * * *
G. Reformatory (15) * *
H. Return to Fantasy (17) * * *
I. Monkey Heaven (24) * * *
J. Dusklands (27) * * * *
K. Out of the Blue (25/26) * * * *
L. Walk of Life (24) * * *
M. Suicide Wall (20) * * * *
N. Christmas Wall (20) * * *
O. The Edge of Eternity (21) * * *
P. Couchant (17) * * *
Q. Stone Judgement (24) * * * *
R. Angel Dust (24) * * * *
S. Angel Dust Direct (24/25) * * * * *
T. Direct Insult (21) * * * *

Coprophilia (15) *

First ascent: Dave Freer, Barbara Gordon-Bagnall and Jim Frew, 1979

A filthy route as the name suggests. Climb the obvious crack 50 m left of Jean, breaking out right onto the face near the top.

 

Exit from Reality (15/19) * *

First ascent: 1st pitch: Carless Freer and Bern Henriksen

2nd pitch: Mike Roberts, Carless and Dave Freer, 1979

Start seven metres left of Warchild.

(1) Climb through a small overhang up diagonally right to a large ledge and cave.

(2) Move up to the left-hand side of the cave and rail right to break through another overhang and exit.

 

Pieces of the Sky (23) * * * * *

First ascent: Steve Bradshaw and Adrian Jardin, 1984

Climbs the wall to the left of Warchild, starting under the roof by a tree. Pull through past a peg and up to a rail. Continue straight to the top.

 

Wilderness of Pain (26/27) * * * *

First ascent: Andy de Klerk, 1985

Climbs the wall between Warchild and Pieces of the Sky, starting at the break between the two. Pull through and climb up to the next roof. Go straight through past two pegs on the left. Climb diagonally up the wall to a short vertical crack. Climb straight up to exit past a peg. The crux is the last move.

 

Barrier of Spears (26) * * * * *

First ascent: Roger Nattrass, 1989

Starts as for Wilderness of Pain. Climb up to the roof and pull through to continue straight up the wall on micro edges, passing two bolts.

 

Warchild (23) * * *

First ascent: Mike Roberts and Ian Wallace, 1979

Start five metres left of Jean. This route sports a rather large lead-out, and has sent almost every local climber on such a huge whipper that they should probably have packed sandwiches for the trip! Climb a shallow recess to a rail on the left of a bush (pegs). Continue straight to the top.

 

Jean (16) * * * * Code: Jean

First ascent: Colin, Brian and Dave Shuttleworth, 1970

A fine route with fairly sustained climbing. The route was first top-roped by Colin and Dave Shuttleworth. Start at the bottom of the left-hand corner (facing the rock) adjacent to the scramble down. Climb a short steep ramp to a rail. Move around the corner to the right and pull up to a jug. Traverse back left for approximately three metres using the rail as a foot rail. Pull up and climb slightly right to a peg. Move left and pull up to a small ledge, and continue past another peg and slightly right to gain good but rounded holds. Continue up a shallow recess to the top.

 

Dreamscape (17) * * *

First ascent: Gerald Camp, 1989

Start on the smooth face just to the right of the ramp that forms the start of Jean.Boulder up to the rail and stretch through to the jug. Instead of traversing left, climb straight up the shallow recess on the corner. Carry straight up to the top after the recess peters out.

 

Dingleberry (18) *

First ascent: Chris and Mark Leslie-Smith, 1983

Starts just before the bottom of the scramble, about five metres above and to the right of Jean. Climb up the broken rock to the small roof on the right of the corner. Traverse left just before the roof for two metres to a peg. Traverse back right and climb through the bulge to the top.

 

Problem Child (17) * * *

First ascent: Colin and Brian Shuttleworth, 1970

A short route with some technical face climbing. Start at a tree on the right of the scramble down. The upper section route is reasonably protected with small wires and Friends, contrary to comments in earlier guides. Climb a short steep face to a small ledge. Climb the face past a peg directly above and exit slightly to the right.

 

Reformatory (15) * * * Code: RY

First ascent: Rich Smithers and Mike Roberts, 1978

Enjoyable, well protected climbing with a variety of moves, especially if it is linked with Problem Child. Starts at the tree below the first recess to the right of the scramble down. Climb the recess up to a roof. Side-step and pull around the roof to the left into a corner below another, larger roof. Traverse left across the face below the roof for about two metres and then climb a shallow crack until it is possible to traverse right for about three metres to a sloping ledge above the roof. Exit up the crack (can be greasy) and face to the right. There is an alternate line that breaks through the roof to the base of the exit crack (16).

 

Reformatory/Problem Child (17) * * * *

A popular option is to combine the lower sections of Reformatory with the upper section of Problem Child in a single pitch. This includes the best of both climbs and leaves out the arbitrary start to Problem Child, and the greasy exit crack of Reformatory. Highly recommended.

Start, and continue on Reformatory until the end of the shallow crack. Instead of traversing right above the roof, traverse easily left onto the ledge below the fixed peg and continue as for Problem Child.

 

Delinquent (17) * * Code: DT

First ascent: Rich Smithers and Mike Roberts, 1978

A tricky route similar to Reformatory in character. Starts in the recess to the right of Reformatory. Climb the steep recess and face to under a small roof. Side-step this to the left to gain the face above. Climb directly up past a flake on small holds until ones feet are level with the flake. Traverse right for two metres and then finish directly up the face to a tree. Poor protection after the roof.

 

Kids in America (17) * *

First ascent: Ian Manson and Chris Jackson, 1981

Takes the face between Delinquent and Return to Fantasy. Climb the face to a ledge at the base of a shallow recess. Move up into the recess and then diagonally right and up to another ledge. Follow the easy face and recess to the top.

 

Return to Fantasy (17) * * * Code: RTF

First ascent: Mike Roberts and Bern Henriksen, 1978

This is one of the classics in its grade at Monteseel, offering varied and interesting climbing with a fine exit crack. It was considered the standard 17 against which other routes were graded. Start at the overhanging recess to the right of Kids in America.

A gorilla take-off is followed by an easy shallow recess to a ledge. Climb diagonally up to the right of the roof and then step left onto the face and follow a shallow crack to a narrow ledge. Climb the obvious recess and crack to the top.

 

Lord of the Rings (22) * *

First ascent: Andy de Klerk, Adrian Jardin and Steve Bradshaw, 1983

This route supersedes Mithril, opened in 1980 by Adrian Jardin and Steve Bradshaw. Start two metres right of Return to Fantasy.

Climb up the face to a bulge. Climb through this and onto the slab below the roof. Move right to the obvious break in the roof. Climb straight up to a ledge and finish up the crack.

 

Monkey Heaven (24) * * *

First ascent: Roger Nattrass, 1988

A route just left of the prow between Lord of the Rings and Out of the Blue. Wander up the wall to a large step in the roof where there is a peg. Pull through the roof (bolt) then past two more pegs, following a flake line to a fourth peg. Climb up to a rail and finish straight up the grey face.

 

Dusklands (27) * * * *

First ascent: Roger Nattrass, 1990

An improbable looking line up the prow to the left of Out of the Blue. Start as for Monkey Heaven but move right around the roof and then straight up the blank headwall, passing a second bolt. Your belayer must give you a few feet of slack should you fall off the crux to ensure that you fall below the roof and not swing into it.

 

Out of the Blue (25/26) * * * *

First ascent: Steve Bradshaw and Craig Attwell, 1984

Start at a thin crack to the right of Monkey Heaven/Dusklands. Climb the wall to the roof (peg). Move through the roof, past a peg to a jug and then left to a layback. Continue up this to the top. There is a long fall off the headwall which is "well protected" by two adjacently placed No. 1 Rocks. Some of the older climbers used to refer to it as "Out of the Blue....and into the Loony Bin" as it can be somewhat terrifying.

 

Walk of Life (24) * * *

First ascent: Andy de Klerk, Chris Jackson and Steve Bradshaw, 1985

Climbs the wall to the right of Out of the Blue. Pumping and tricky. Start just to the right of Out of the Blue and climb up the wall to below the roof. Pull through the roof at a bolt. Climb the wall past a peg and a bolt to the top.

 

Suicide Wall (20) * * * * Code SW

First ascent: Mike Roberts and Brian Shuttleworth, 1978

A bold line through an overhang to gain a fine face. Starts seven metres right of where Sewer used to be. Climb up to the overhang on rounded holds. Break through the overhang, past two pegs, and then traverse one metre right. Climb directly up for six metres, traverse left and climb a smooth face to a ledge. Continue up to a second ledge and then up to a crack on the right which is followed to the top.

 

Christmas Wall (22) * * *

First ascent: R. Kohle, 1992

The line is recognisable by the large glue-in ring bolts to the right of Suicide Wall. Climb straight up the face. Some additional gear is required.

 

Edge of Eternity (21) * * * Code: EOE

First ascent: Mike Roberts and Ian Wallace, 1979

Starts from a ledge just around the corner from Christmas Wall. Technical. Traverse left for three metres, move up and continue left to the edge. Pull through a small roof to reach an awkward cubbyhole. Move right and up to a sloping ledge. Continue up a smooth face to the top, keeping just to the right of the edge. Poorly protected on the last section.

 

Couchant (17) * * * Code: CT

First ascent: Tony Dick and Roger Fuggle, 1970

A line that has acquired a bit of a reputation for its grade over the years, but is well worth doing, with exciting moves on a steep wall. Start on the blocky ledge common to the starts of Edge of Eternity and Angel Dust. Climb slightly left to a protruding block on the face. Climb onto the block and up the face to a recess. Climb this and move left to exit.

 

Stone Judgement (24) * * * *

First ascent: Gerald Camp, 1989

Start just to the left of Angel Dust, below the first Peg. Climb the face above, past another peg, to a rail. Pull onto the small ledge on Angel Dust. Climb directly up (i.e. left of the Angel Dust headwall) passing the small triangular niche on the left. Finish straight up the face above. There is a gripping lead-out at the top.

 

Angel Dust (24) * * * * Code: AN

First ascent: Mike Roberts and Ian Wallace, 1979

This is one of the climbs that marked the start of a new era of hard climbing at Monteseel. Starts on the ledge two metres to the right of Couchant, below a thin crack in the middle of the face. Climb the thin crack to a rail. Traverse left for one metre to a resting place. Move up slightly right and then directly up the wall to finish up the break at the lip. Gear on the headwall is sparse but good.

 

Angel Dust Direct (24/25) * * * * *

First ascent: Andy de Klerk, 1988

This is an eliminate between Direct Insult and Angel Dust. The moves are harder than Angel Dust, but are better protected. Start as for Angel Dust. Climb the crack and continue straight up past the big rail, and then directly up the wall above keeping to the right of Angel Dust. The finish is marked by a short crack.

 

Death Wish (20) * * Code: DW

First ascent: Mike Roberts and Ian Wallace, 1979

Committing climbing in the middle sections. Start up a very shallow corner to the right of the start of Angel Dust. Climb a section of poor rock up to a large rail and traverse right onto the corner. Move left and then up three metres to a second rail. Traverse left to a narrow ledge and then climb up for three metres and move right to a ledge, traversing to the right of the ledge before getting onto it. Move back left, pull onto the wall and traverse right for two metres to exit.

 

Direct Insult (21) * * * *

First ascent: Steve Bradshaw and Andrew Ashford-Jack, 1984

A direct line through Death Wish. Start as for Death Wish to the rail and continue straight up the open-book until level with the ledge. Move diagonally left and then back right to finish directly above.

 

Space Odyssey (15) *

First ascent: Carless and Dave Freer, and Jaap Earle, 1978

An obvious line giving uninspiring climbing. Start immediately to the right of the crack in the corner (Right Angle Overhang - described in Odds and Sods) to the right of Death Wish. Climb up to under a slanting roof. Pull through this into the obvious recess that is followed to the top.

 

Two Thousand and One (16) * * Code: 2001

First ascent: Brian Shuttleworth, Dave Cheesemond, Mervyn Gans and Steve Cooke, 1978

A line that tends to sand up but is worth a clean as it gives fine climbing. Start in the openbook to the right of Space Odyssey. Climb the openbook to an overhang. Pull through this and finish up the left hand wall above.

 

Daylight Robertsry (22) * * *

First ascent: Mike Roberts and Adrian Jardin, 1982

Short, but superb corner to the right of the vegetated corner that forms UFO (described in Odds and Sods). The climb starts from a ledge with a tree. It is easier to abseil to the start.

 

Jackass (15, 15) * * *

First ascent: Gavin Peckham and Gavin Raubenheimer, 2000-04-20

Scramble up onto - or abseil down onto - the top of a small, flat-topped column of rock located 5 m to the left of Boris the Beanstalk and next to a large euphorbia tree. The top of this column is currently covered by a wiry creeper.

(1) From the top of the column, step left onto the face to gain the start of a recess. Climb up towards the left-hand end of a small roof. Climb the recess on the left of the roof to gain a stance on the right hand end of the Daylights Robertsry ledge. The stance on the ledge is at the base of a short open-book.

(2) Climb the open book and then take the line of least resistance to the top.

The first pitch is excellent but the second pitch needs a lot of cleaning. Until this is done, it might be better to walk to the left along the ledge and top out up Daylights Robertsry.

 

Boris the Beanstalk (14, 15) * * *

First ascent: Des Watkins, 1953

One of the older classics. It offers varied, interesting climbing and deserves more ascents. Start by scrambling onto a large ledge 5 m to the left of Gates of Delirium.

(1) Climb up from the left of the ledge, past a small ledge, and up a recess to a nose. Move up and left to under the roof, and continue left to a crack in the roof which is climbed to a ledge.

(2) Climb the recess on the left of the ledge to under a small roof. Traverse left onto the nose and continue up to a ledge. Climb a short recess and continue to the top. Copyright: MCSA-KZN 1998 ©

 

Gates of Delirium (18/21, 21) * * *

First ascent: Mike Roberts, 1978

Originally opened by Dave Shuttleworth and John Collings as Deliberate (15, A1), the route was "re-opened" as Time Warp by Mike Roberts and Roy Gooden before being freed by Mike Roberts. There is an alternate, harder first pitch opened by Mike Roberts and Mick Hafner in 1979. Start at the base of a steep wall with overhangs on the right.

(1) Climb up a broken face for four metres and then traverse left on dubious rock to a small nose. From here either (a) Climb diagonally right to under a small roof, moving left onto a stance with a peg (18), or (b) climb directly up a steep shallow recess to the stance (21).

(2) From the stance, climb diagonally right into the big corner and move up to under the roof. Traverse out left and move around the roof to gain a small recess. Climb up the recess past a peg. Move left and follow another break to the top.

 

Rampant (A3) *

First ascent: Tony Dick and Roger Fuggle, 1973

An aid route that takes an unobvious line through the large, blocky overhangs. It is doubtful whether this route has had a second ascent. Start five metres to the right of Gates of Delirium. Break through several routes, taking a fairly direct line to the top. 

 

Penny’s Perch (14) * *

First ascent: John Woods, c. 1958

Some interesting climbing which unfortunately only offers good climbing over short sections. Erroneously graded as 17 in previous guides. Start on the easy face left of the Fear of Flight ledge. Climb the face to reach a corner under a small roof. Pull through and traverse left to a rest. A tricky move left gains a small recess which is followed to the top.

 

Earth, Wind and Fire (21) * * *

First ascent: Mike Roberts and Ian Wallace, 1979

Short and strenuous. Start on the left-hand edge of the Fear of Flight ledge. Traverse left onto the face and move up to reach an off-balance ledge. Continue up a short, shallow recess to a second ledge. Pull onto the roofs and continue through them for five metres. Move out right onto the face which is followed to the top.

 

The Shadows Wall to Cryptotermes Buttress

This is a broken and vegetated section of the cliffs with climbs tending to start from ledges that are best reached by abseil. The Shadows Wall is the clean overhanging wall above a big ledge. Cryptotermes takes a line up the prominent buttress seen as the skyline of the western cliff from the main climbing area and MCSA hut. Local knowledge, and reference to the topos in "A Climber’s Guide to Natal Rock" by Roger Nattrass is recommended.

Shadows Wall (Source: Roger Nattrass)

Topo Key:

A. Umbrellas in the Drizzle (24) * *
B. Umbrellas . . . Direct (26) * * *   
C. Shadows in the Rain (26) * * * *
D. Fear of Flight (23) * * *
E. Petrified Ice (24) * * *
F. Way Wad Wodger Weturns (22) * * * *

Umbrellas in the Drizzle (24) * *

First ascent: Andy de Klerk and Ed February, 1987

Start from the blocks on the left of the Fear of Flight ledge, below an imposing, clean wall. Climb the wall past a peg to the ledge. Break through the roofs and continue up to another peg on the left of the Shadows’ headwall. Move left on undercut holds to finish.

 

Umbrellas in the Drizzle Direct (26) * * *

First ascent: Andy de Klerk and Ed February, 1987

Instead of moving left to finish, climb straight up to the top from the second peg. Run out.

 

Shadows in the Rain (26) * * * *

First ascent: Steve Bradshaw, 1984

An imposing face offering excellent moves on superb rock. Unfortunately the face gets very dusty and covered with sand, hence the four star rating. You have to brush the entire headwall beforehand in order to enjoy the line, but rest assured that half an hour of brushing is well worth the effort. Start just left of the crack at the base of Fear of Flight. Pass a bolt and climb up the thin seam to the roof. Move left along the rail to below a peg. Pull through the roof and up to the rail. Move slightly right and up the headwall.

 

Fear of Flight (23) * * *

First ascent: Mike Roberts and Brian Shuttleworth, 1979

Start on the big ledge below the clean overhanging wall. Climb the crack to the roof and continue straight up to a small ledge. Climb directly to the top.

 

Petrified Ice (24) * * *

First ascent: Roger Nattrass, 1990

Climbs the narrow face to the right of Fear of Flight. Good climbing past two bolts, but a little contrived as you shouldn’t step off the wall at the second bolt.

 

Daydreamer (20) * * *

First ascent: Mike Roberts, 1978

Start on the ledge around the corner to the right of Fear of Flight. Traverse left across the wall to the foot of the thin crack. Climb up the crack to where it peters out. From here, move diagonally right across the face to finish up the vague recess. This has superseded the original line which traversed lower down the face, but is very contrived. It is also possible to finish directly above the crack.

 

Way Wad Wodger Weturns (22) * * * *

First ascent: Gerald Camp, 1989

A more direct version of Daydreamer offering aesthetic moves on clean rock. Climb directly up the middle of the face. Supplement the bolts with a medium (No. 2-3) Friend and two opposed No. 1 Rocks near the top.

 

If Rape is Inevitable (18) * *

 First ascent: Charl Brummer and Bern Henriksen, 1981

Climbs the steep wall to the right of Daydreamer. One can abseil onto the ledge from a tree. Climb up from the ledge on a ramp leading to the corner for nine metres, then traverse right to the base of an overhanging crack. Climb up to a ledge with a small tree on it. Move right and do a hard move to gain the obvious block. Climb up this and continue to the top. Loose!!

 

Sabbatarian (16) * * Code: SN

First ascent: Brian Shuttleworth, Carless Freer and Mike Roberts, 1978

The route starts around the corner to the right of Daydreamer. The first and last six metres provide the interesting climbing. Climb up a rounded face moving left around a small roof into a small recess. Climb up past two small bulges to a ledge. Continue up a recess to below a roof, traverse right and up a chimney to the top.

 

Desperation Dash (17) * *

First ascent: Brian Shuttleworth and Henry Bro, 197 

Start immediately right of Sabbatarian in the dank recess below the obvious water chute. Climb the recess for fifteen metres, moving right at one point. Traverse two metres right and finish up an easy recess.

 

What A Way To Go (17, 19) * * * Code: WWG

First ascent: Adrian Hill and Roy Gooden, 1981

Start in the same corner as Come Short.

 (1) Climb the corner to a large rail. Traverse left for two metres, pull up and move left to the base of a huge recess. Climb this moving right at one point to avoid a roof. Traverse right at the top of the recess to a good stance.

(2) From the stance, move up for two metres to an overhanging recess with a peg. Climb up around the bulge to a ledge. Finish slightly left.

 

Come Short (15, 15) * * Code: CS

First ascent: Carless Freer and Harry Bourquin, 1972

The second pitch is somewhat different, being easier for people of restricted growth, hence the name. Start at the base of a huge corner.

(1) Climb a short recess for three metres and traverse left onto a ledge, continuing up to a second ledge. Climb a shallow recess and move diagonally left onto blocks. Continue left and then up to a large stance.

(2) Traverse left along the obvious grassy rail and exit easily to the top.

 

Satin Motion (28) * * * *

First ascent: Roger Nattrass, 1991 

The hardest route at Monteseel to date. Fully bolted. Abseil onto the big ledge halfway up Sunshine Chute where there is a two-bolt belay on the ledge. Long cranks on tiny, yet positive edges are the solution to this continuous problem. Have a good pair of edging shoes.

 

Sunshine Chute (15) * * Code: SC

First ascent: Des Watkins, 1953

A surprisingly clean and interesting line up the vegetated recess to the right of Come Short. Climb the right hand side of the recess to the top.

 

Schadenfreude Direct (15) * * * Code: SD

First ascent: Alan Whittaker and Paul Bridgman

A short route that is well worth doing. Completely separate from Schadenfreude. Starts from the left hand side of a large ledge that is easily reached from the bottom. Climb onto the face and move immediately left to a small recess. Ascend this to a ledge on the left and continue up a steep wall to a rail. Traverse left to the corner and climb up, moving right to exit behind a large block.

 

Sigmund Freude (18) * * Code: SF

First ascent: Mervyn Gans, Rich Smithers and Carless Freer, 1977

The route takes a bold break through the big roof to the right of Schadenfreude Direct and has an airy crux. Start from the same ledge as Schadenfreude Direct. Climb the large crack to a ledge under the roof. Pull up into the roof and traverse left to pull onto the nose of the roof. Climb the off-width crack to a ledge and continue easily to the top.

 

Schadenfreude (13) * Code: SE

First ascent: Des Watkins, 1953

A short route following a large crack in the corner to the right of Sigmund Freude. The climb is spoiled by a heavily vegetated top section. Pull up on blocks to gain the recess and follow this to the top.

 

Violent Haze (22) * * * *

First ascent: Kevin Tonkin, 1992

Starts on the huge ledge about one third of the way up the arete. Climb the overhanging arete on excellent natural gear.

 

Arachnophobia (17) * *

First ascent: Kevin Tonkin, 1992

Starts beneath the ledge on Violent Haze. Climb the arete then move to the left of the Violent Haze ledge. Climb the blocky face to the left of the arete.

 

Cryptotermes (15) * * Code: CYS

First ascent: Des Watkins, 1953

A worthwhile route, but unfortunately spoiled by some poor rock, particularly the first pitch. Start around the corner to the right of Schadenfreude.

(1) Climb up through a roof onto a steep face. Traverse to the right, around a block, onto a good stance. A more strenuous alternative is to start just right of the tree halfway up the face and climb the short recess to the stance.

(2) Climb a steep face to reach a recess. Climb this and move right to exit.

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