Copyright: MCSA-KZN 2013 ©
The climbing at Mt Everest is on Cave Sandstone. There are over 200 fully bolted sport routes ranging in grade from 7 to 28. This includes several fully bolted multi-pitch routes with 2 to 6 pitches and grades from 11 to 28. There are also about 20 trad routes with enormous potential for new lines. All of this is located in a private game reserve that is crammed with attractions and activities for visitors and yet retains a genuine 'out of Africa' atmosphere. There is also a range of accommodation to suit every pocket. All in all, Mt Everest has proved to be an extremely popular venue for local and visiting rock climbers.
The information provided in these pages has been obtained from several sources. These include the Mt Everest Game Reserve staff and the route book prepared by Ruth Behr from information collected by Clive Curson - this is available for inspection at the Reception. Alex Steyn, Jacques Raubenheimer and Gavin Raubenheimer provided information about many of the lines, especially the trad lines. Other assorted scraps of information were obtained from various climbers whom I met at the crags. Gaps in the information have been filled in from the published route guide - see details below. All of us owe a debt of gratitude to the various climbers who took the time, trouble and expense to bolt these routes and thus provide an excellent selection of safe climbing for the rest of us. In this regard, particular mention must be made of Mike Cartwright who put an enormous amount of effort into opening and bolting routes, especially in the initial stages of development at the venue. The following people also made significant route opening and bolting contributions: Clive Curson, Grant Murray, Ian Guest, Mike Behr, Ruth Behr, Glen Harrison, Arno Naude, Gustav van Rensburg, Gunther Migeotte and Gerhard Kruger. Apologies to anyone who might have been omitted.
Mt Everest (Eagle Mountain Game Reserve) is located in the Free State just north of Harrismith. It is about 250 km south of Johannesburg and about 350 km north of Durban. If you are approaching from the south, get yourself on the N3 and by-pass Harrismith on the ring-road. About 4 km north of the town, just past the top of a hill, the N3 intersects the R722. At this intersection there is a well sign-posted turnoff to the right onto the S1204 labelled, 'Verkykerskop'. If you are approaching on the N3 from the north, you will obviously turn off left at this point. Follow a tarred road for about 13 km to a crossroad where the R722 intersects with the S1204. At this intersection there is a "Mt Everest" sign. Turn right and follow the dirt road for about 6 km. The entrance to Mt Everest is a large, thatched gateway on your right. Note: The entrance gate is closed at night between 9 pm and 7 am from Sunday to Thursday and from 10 pm to 7 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Amanda and Petrus
Tel: 079 8863101 or 083 6682472
Campsites, caravan sites and self-catering chalets are available. You can obtain more information using the contact details given above. The campsite is available at R 70 per person per night as well as chalets which can accommodate from 3 to 10 ranging from R 700 per night for the smaller ones, up to R 1300 for the bigger ones. It is essential to book if you want to make use of a chalet, but it is not necessary to book if you are planning to camp. Day entry is R60 per person.
Please note that the reserve is under new management and now offers a restaurant, with DSTV facilities in the reception area. Apart from rock climbing, you can hike or ride (with your own mountain bike) along a variety of trails of fly fish for bass and trout in the dams. The setting is magnificent and the views are stunning, especially from the tops of the mountains. There is a good stock of various buck and antelope that may be viewed.
Summers are typically hot with occasional rain storms. Winters usually have magnificent, mild, sunny days with night time temperatures plummeting close to zero. Winter snowfalls are not unknown. Cold fronts sometimes bring cold, wet weather for several days at a time. These usually move up from the south over a period of days and their progress can be followed on the national weather reports. Despite this general pattern, the weather at this mountain resort can be unpredictable and can deteriorate rapidly. The wind can sometimes howl for hours on otherwise pleasant days. Fortunately, the various climbing areas have different aspects and you can usually find somewhere to escape from the wind, the cold or the sun. April to October are probably the best months for climbing at Mt Everest, but even during the summer heat you can find many climbs with a shady aspect.
An excellent guide to rock climbing at Mt Everest has been published. It is strongly recommended that climbers purchase a copy of this very serviceable, pocket-sized route guide. It is an absolute mine of information and has maps and topos of all the sport routes. The guide can be purchased from Reception at R100 or a copy rented for R10 per day. The route guide can also be downloaded from the Climb ZA website.
The Cave Sandstone has been eroded to form three separate peaks on the resort. From north to south, these are Arendskop (Eagle's Head), Mt Everest and Mooihoek. The resort is primarily a sport climbing venue. This is mainly due to the general lack of natural protection and to the fact that the Cave Sandstone can be soft and friable in some areas. Sport routes have been bolted at several areas on all three mountains and on several of the larger boulders that are scattered about at their bases. There are about 120 fully bolted sport routes ranging in grade from 11 to 28. This includes more than a dozen fully bolted, multi-pitch routes with 2 to 6 pitches and grades from 11 to 28. Despite the emphasis on sport climbing, the crags have yielded some excellent trad lines and there is potential for many more. Most of the trad lines are multi-pitch affairs that follow massive, on balance faces or major dihedrals.
Apart from the predominant sandstone, there is also a huge layer of steep dolerite overlaying the sand stone on the top of Mooihoek Mountain. This also has tremendous potential for new trad routes - mainly long, uniform crack lines in a variety of widths.
Many of the trad RDs are rather vague. Some of them have been written down by the first ascentionists long after they were first opened. There have been a few instances where several RDs were received for the same route from different sources and they did not even agree on the total number of pitches, let alone the details for any individual pitch ! So, we would be grateful if you can help by supplying any corrections, suggestions, useful information or constructive criticism. Contact Gavin Peckham at: email@example.com. We look forward to receiving your comments, and to the RDs of your own new routes!
1. Climbers must report to reception before starting to climb and again before leaving the resort.
2. No climbing is allowed on the climbing wall unless the prescribed fees have been paid.
3. No climbing is allowed at the Bushman Complex or after sundown.
4. No pets, loud music or open fires are allowed
5. Camping is only permitted in the designated camping areas.