Lower Warrior Wall

Copyright: MCSA-KZN 1998 ©

Routes on the Warrior Wall are described in two sections, the Upper (upstream) and Lower (downstream) sections. These are separated by the 'Sands of Time' dihedrals. There is a large, permanent sandbar across the base of the Upper Warrior Wall but the base of the Lower Warrior Wall is usually covered by about a half a metre of water.

The quickest approach to the Lower Warrior Wall is to scramble up to the Access Ledge on the Power Wall and then walk downstream along this ledge until you reach the Rocky Gully between the Power and Warrior Walls. Scramble up the gully and then walk downstream across the open veld to reach the top of the wall. Use the convenient chains at the top of 'Dad's Army' to abseil down onto a large, clean, rock ledge known as the Big Ledge. Most of the routes on this end of the wall lead up from the Big Ledge. Routes upstream from here may be reached by a very easy traverse, about 1 m above the normal water level. It is often possible to continue this traverse upstream, all the way (40 m) across to the permanent sandbar that stretches across the base the upstream end of the Warrior Wall. There is an access scramble (about grade 8 or 9) that takes the corner, at the extreme downstream end of the Big Ledge. In winter the water level is often so low that the base of the wall is exposed and you can just walk in along the sandbar from the Upper Warrior Wall.

The routes on this wall are mostly bolted and tend to be short (8 m to15 m) and relatively easy with little exposure. This makes the Big Ledge and ideal spot to bring beginners. The climbs are listed in an upstream sequence from left to right. The 'Inkosi' corner on the Big Ledge is an obvious reference point for climbers new to this venue.

These routes were mostly opened on trad gear, but because the gear was extremely sparse, most of the routes have been retro-bolted.  A couple of lines in this sector remain unbolted because the permission of the opening ascentionist has not been forthcoming.

1. Oslo (20) ***

Opening party: Ryan Castle (16 June 1997)

Start about 5 m downstream from 'Splash' at a tiny bush growing from a crack in the rock near water level and climb to the top. The line has no significant gear and needs to be bolted. To reach the route you can wade downstream from the Big Ledge. Alternatively, if you want to keep your feet dry, walk along the top of the crag to a position about 10 m downstream of the route and then scramble down and traverse upstream just above water level to the start of the route. If you follow this approach, then the route starts at the second tiny bush on the traverse. The name is an anagram describing the manner in which the route was opened.

2. Splash (17) ***

Opening party: Richard Knott and Bryan Palmer (26 April 1999)

The downstream side of the Big Ledge ends at a huge triangular block. The downstream side of this block has a smooth overhanging face and forms a corner with the adjacent wall. Start on the small rock platform in this corner. This is often under water in summer! Climb up past a rail to a second rail under the roof in the corner. Swing out right from under the roof and mantle onto the block. Move back left up a bulge on the face above the corner and then continue up the face to the top tending slightly left. Named after the manner in which it was opened!

3. Toy Soldier (9) [5B;C] ***

Opening party: Gavin Peckham and Rodney Owen (15 April 1995) Retro-bolted.

Teach your grandmother to climb - start at the downstream end of the Big Ledge. Climb the left-hand side of the easy slab to the left of the scramble. A nice variety of moves for the novice climber.

Access Scramble (8)

Opening party: Roy Gooden (15 September 1996)

Follow the easiest line up the corner between 'Toy Soldier' and 'Rorke's Drift'

4. Rorke's Drift (15) [3B;C] **

Opening party: Gavin Peckham and Rodney Owen (26 April 1997) Retro-bolted.

Start in a small, angular recess about 3 m to the right of the downstream end of the Big Ledge. Climb up easily to reach a short, smooth face and then up this onto a narrow rock ledge - reachy - short climbers may need to use tricky intermediate holds to reach the ledge. From the right hand end of the ledge, climb to the top tending slightly right. Variation (17): From the ledge, step to the right and slightly down onto a small block then climb the short face to the top - a fairly arbitrary route, but worth a 'tick'.

5. Saving the Colours (17) [4B;C] ***

Opening party: Gavin Peckham and Rodney Owen (26 April 1997) Retro-bolted.

Start in a recess about 3 m right of 'Rorke's Drift' and directly below a large, overhanging block at the top of the crag. Climb up passing just to the right of a small, narrow roof then continue straight up to the chains under the overhanging block. You can top out by making a nice exit move to the right to reach another set of anchors. A good climber can probably pull straight through the roof instead of ducking off to the right.

Variation: >From a point about a metre below the first, narrow roof, take a big stride to the right to reach a blocky recess and follow this straight up to the top - no bolts yet, and trickier than it looks.

6. Old Bullets (17) [4B;C] ***

Opening party: Rodney Owen and Gavin Peckham (23 September 2000) Retro-bolted.

Start at the right-hand edge of the broken recess between 'Saving the Colours' and 'Mpande'. Climb the steep wall on good, but spaced holds up to a small arête / corner. Exit up the face on the right of the corner. Avoid stepping left into the broken recess that forms the alternative exit to 'Saving the Colours'.

7. Mpande (12) [3B;C] ***

Opening party: Gavin Peckham and Rodney Owen (15 April 1995) Retro-bolted.

About 5 m upstream from the overhanging block at the top of 'Saving the Colours' there is a prominent, left sloping and left facing corner in the top half of the face. Start below the top end of the corner and climb up diagonally right, along the obvious line to a small block that juts out of the face at the base of the corner. Move up the corner, then step left onto the face and up to the anchors. Very easy except for the last two moves.

Variation : Mpande Direct (14) ***

Climb only about half way up the diagonal line to the right and then climb straight up the smooth face to the anchors.

8. Deuce (19) [5B;C] ***

Opening party: Gavin Peckham (02 February 2002)

Start just to the right of a point directly below the small jutting block on Mpande and then climb straight up the face to the top using small holds on the face and big holds out to the left on the edge of the Mpande recess.

9. Rifle Drill (19) [4B;C] **

Opening party: Rodney Owen and Gavin Peckham (20 July 1997) Retro-bolted.

Just to the right of 'Mpande' there is a shallow, vertical recess that starts about halfway up the face. Climb easily up to the bottom of the recess. Step left onto the face and climb strenuously up through the bulging face to the top. Fingery.

10. Firing Line (18) [5B;C] ***

Opening party: Rodney Owen and Gavin Peckham (02 September 2001)

In the top half of the crag, just to the right of the shallow recess on 'Rifle Drill', there is a distinct, left-facing corner that runs up diagonally to the left - similar to the 'Mpande' corner but a couple of metres to the right of it. Climb straight up through an overlap to reach the base of the corner and follow this to the top keeping just to the left of the corner.

11. Dad's Army (15) [4B;C] ***

Opening party: Rodney Owen; Gavin Peckham; Jonathon Wigley (27 October 1996) Retro-bolted.

Start where the Big Ledge is at its narrowest. Climb up, tending slightly right initially, then continue straight up and though a small overlap to the top.

12. Stuhla (22) [4B;C] ***

Opening party: Scott Sinclair and Dave Drummond (24 September 2004)

Start about 3 m to the right of 'Dad's Army'. Climb straight up to the overlap that is split by a crack and then up through this to the chains. A fun, power problem.

13. Inkosi (15) [5B;C] ***

Opening party: Gavin Peckham and Rodney Owen (15 July 1995) Retro-bolted.

Start at a prominent left facing dihedral 3 m left of the upstream end of the Big Ledge. Balance up a small ramp and into the corner which is climbed on big holds. From the top of the corner, do not exit right, but step up left onto the face and continue up to the top.

14. Induna (12) [3B;C] **

Opening party: Gavin Peckham (20 July 1997) Retro-bolted.

Start at the upstream end of the Big Ledge. Climb straight up onto a small triangular ledge - reachy. Step right to a shallow right-tending recess that is followed to the top. Probably 14 if you are short.

 

Note: If necessary, the following routes, may be reached by a very easy traverse about one metre above the water level, starting by scrambling down from the upstream end of the Big Ledge.

 

15. Impi (12) [5B;C] ***

Opening party: Gavin Peckham and Neil Peckham (10 June 1995) Retro-bolted.

About 6 m upstream from the upstream end of the Big Ledge, there is a small open book. This starts down at water level and is capped at about 3 m by a small roof. Start in the open book, pull through the roof and move up to a shallow recess that is followed to the top.

16. Usuthu (14) [7B;C] ***

Opening party: Gavin Peckham and Neil Peckham (10 June 1995) Retro-bolted.

Start about 3 m to the right of 'Impi' and directly below a small roof near the top of the crag. Climb straight up and mantle through the centre of the roof to exit. Use a longish sling on the bolt under the roof, do not clip it at all, or remove your draw after you have clipped the bolt above the roof.

17. Red River Rock (14) [8B;C] ***

Opening party: Gavin Peckham and Grant Tunmer (24 November 2003)

Start between 'Usuthu' and 'Red Coat' on convenient ledges immediately upstream of the only large clump of grass growing at the base of this section of the crag. Tend slightly left up the line of bolts. After the 6th bolt keep moving up and slightly left (crux), then traverse to the right to reach the 7th bolt and cruise up to the chains. When the river is high, it is easy to abseil in to this route off the chains, or (less conveniently) to traverse upstream from the 'Big Ledge'.

18. Redcoat (19) ***

Opening party: Richard Knott; Gavin Peckham; Jonathon Wigley; Robbie Dyer (28 June 1997)

Climb easily up the narrow, left-sloping ramp immediately left of 'Khehla'. From the top of the ramp climb straight up a strenuous layback crack and then straight up the narrow face above. Do not exit left or right.

19. Khehla (19) ***

Opening party: Gavin Peckham and Richard Knott (28 June 1997)

About 15 m downstream from the U-bolted line 'Hummer' there is a distinctive, flat, overhanging slab near the top of the wall. Just to the left of this, at the base of the wall, is a large recess. Climb the recess, tending slightly right, to reach the slab. Continue up the steep, narrow ramp on the left (crux - blade pegs are essential for protection) and then exit straight up. I'll get around to bolting this in due course.

20. Gogo (16) [6B;C] ***

Opening party: Gavin Peckham and Richard Knott (28 June 1997) Retro-bolted.

Start in the recess about 3 m upstream from 'Khehla'. Climb up easily, tending left until you reach a position at the base of the ramp - i.e. the route touches 'Khehla' at this point. Instead of climbing the ramp on the left, lay-away out to the right, using tiny footholds to reach the base of a narrow recess that leads to the chains.

21. There's Life in the Old Dog Yet (16) [6B; C] ***

Opening party: Gavin Peckham; Martha Gurtz and Thomas Gietl (27 May 2005)

Start about 4 m upstream from 'Gogo' and just to the left of the 'Hummer' recess. Climb up 2 m to a ledge on top of the grey rock. Climb up on the LH side of a smooth, right-sloping recess. At the top of the recess, step across to the right and then continue straight on up to the chains.

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