Go back to South Africa.
Go back to Mooloo Face.
Low on Lucifer.
Some grocery shopping in Franschhoek and soon we were packing up at the trailhead in the stifling afternoon heat. A 90 minute walk through a game farm (did I mention it was hot?) and finally a pleasant hike up a vegetated and thus shady stream brought us to a nice bivy site inside the Duiwelskloof. This would be our jumping off point the following morning for a long route called Lucifer
(18 pitch, F-rated or about 5.9/9+ affair) located some 45 minutes further up the Kloof. That evening we enjoyed Ross’s cooking for the first time as well as a hip flask that was passed around.
Midway up Lucifer.
Up pre-dawn the next morning for quick breakfast and a 45 minute hike up to the base of the route. The 500 meter wall looked quite steep (multiple roof systems up high) but we were armed with a good written description of the route as well as the knowledge that we were aiming for an obvious dihedral system some 300 meters up. I was a little apprehensive as Ross had mentioned a possible runout on a steep pitch 2. As it turned out, once we figured out the line of the route, pitch 2 was neither steep nor runout; the excitement would come later in the day climbing the afore mentioned dihedral system. We did some linking on the first 5 pitches but later switched to pitching things out per route description (mostly to try and stay on the route). The crux of the route came somewhere at the third of the way mark where a tricky face traverse (multiple options made us re-consider a few times), with protection some distance away and left of one’s feet, was required. A handful more pitches put us in position for a second traverse of the day – this one seemed easier but was in a more spectacular position. As it turned out, the traverse put us at a hanging belay on the arête of the obvious dihedral system. The two subsequent, beautifully exposed, face climbing pitches (linked into one due to lack of anchor opportunity) with somewhat sparse and finicky protection were probably the highlight of the day. A few more vegetated pitches put us on a high ledge under improbable looking overhangs. The key here was to traverse the ledge system to a trivial gully which put us near the summit.
Long hike down.
Ross greeted us on top and, after killing off the lunch we had carried all day, we started the long (~4 hour) descent back to camp. Imagine something akin to descending off Resolution Arete
but with a longer and more complex “plateau” traverse (really a series of ups and downs of the rolling wall-top summits) to reach the head of a gully. Once in the gully, we barely made it down the only technical portion of the descent just as the sun went down. Back in camp sometime later that evening.
Strolling through the touristy Franschhoek before we head over to the trailhead (Dec. 2017).
A church in Franschhoek (Dec. 2017).
Packing up for our 2+ hour approach hike into the Duiwelskloof. This is a private game farm and so Ross had to secure a permit for us to access and park. It was tickling 30C (Dec. 2017).
Shirley hiking in the afternoon heat. Devil’s Tooth can be seen in the center foreground of the cluster of formations (Dec. 2017).
Interesting plant life (Dec. 2017).
Hiking through the game farm. Those are probably kudus (Dec. 2017).
Ross and Shirley nearing the entrance to the Kloof and very much looking forward to the shade (Dec. 2017).
More interesting flora (Dec. 2017).
Hot, hot, hot!
Finally in the Duiwelskloof. Look at those walls (Dec. 2017).
Ross and Shirley enjoying our stream side camp (Dec. 2017).
A refreshing soak in the clean cool water. For two weeks, we drank untreated stream water in the high country without any side effects (Dec. 2017).
Shirley recovering from the hot approach hike (Dec. 2017).
Chilling in our nice camp in the Duiwelskloof. Photo by Ross (Dec. 2017).
Starting up Lucifer belayed by Shirley. We’d combine the first handful of pitches but would pitch things out per description higher up to stay on the route (Dec. 2017).
More of first pitch (Dec. 2017).
Linking the first two pitches (Dec. 2017).
Wider angle view. Photo by Ross (Dec. 2017).
Shirley following the first two pitches of Lucifer (Dec. 2017).
View of Devil’s Tooth from low on Lucifer. Our camp is in the left of two vegetated forks below (Dec. 2017).
Shirley arriving at our first belay (pitch 2; Dec. 2017).
Starting pitch 3 (which we linked with 4) of Lucifer (Dec. 2017).
Interesting vegetation atop the starting buttress (Dec. 2017).
Shirley topping out on the low buttress that comprises the first 4ish pitches of Lucifer (Dec. 2017).
A pitch above the initial buttress on Lucifer (Dec. 2017).
Higher on the same pitch (Dec. 2017).
Shirley somewhere low on Lucifer (Dec. 2017).
Walls on the other side of Duiwelskloof (Dec. 2017).
Bit of vegetation – not well travelled (Dec. 2017).
This was the crux of Lucifer (our opinion); what the description recommends as alternative to FA’s pitch 6. Last pro (visible) is below and way left of you by the time you’re done with the crux moves. Note the two micro cam belay anchor (Dec. 2017).
Pitch 7 is a short chimney and we combined it with pitch 8 visible here. Devil’s Tooth dominates your view throughout the day (Dec. 2017).
A traverse on pitch 8 of Lucifer (Dec. 2017).
Leading pitch 9ish. This is the middle third of the route (Dec. 2017).
Shirley on pitch 9 or 10 (Dec. 2017).
Almost level with the top of Devil’s Tooth (Dec. 2017).
Topping out on the same pitch (Dec. 2017).
Arriving at a belay ledge before the money traverse pitch (Dec. 2017).
Starting the pitch 12 traverse on Lucifer – this takes you to the outer arete of the huge dihedral you saw from below (Dec. 2017).
And almost done with the traverse. A great pitch!
Shirley about to start the same pitch 12 traverse (Dec. 2017).
Quite spectacular (Dec. 2017).
Arriving at a particularly uncomfortable hanging belay at the end of the traverse (Dec. 2017).
Shirley topping out on pitch 14 (combined with 13 due to lack of a good belay anchor; Dec. 2017).
Shirley about to start a very vegetated ramp on pitch 15 of Lucifer (Dec. 2017).
Nearing the top (Dec. 2017).
Looking for the exit gully on pitch 18 or so (Dec. 2017).
Shirley arriving at the mouth of the exit gully (Dec. 2017).
The last pitch of Lucifer (18 per topo and about 500 meters above the start). Photo by Ross who once again met us on top – a Herculean effort (Dec. 2017).
Shirley taking us to the unroping spot. The descent gully is in the background…still so very far away. Photo by Ross (Dec. 2017).
Happy to be done! Photo by Ross (Dec. 2017).
Shirley on the long hike atop the wall to access the head of the descent gully (Dec. 2017).
It was quite pretty though (Dec. 2017).
Ross and Shirley hiking along the top of the wall (Dec. 2017).
More pretty Western Cape flora (Dec. 2017).
Traversing the endless plateaus and minor summits up top (Dec. 2017).
Shirley and Ross near the top of the gully (Dec. 2017).
Ross at the head of the descent gully. Still hours to go till we get back to camp (Dec. 2017).
Dropping back down into the Duiwelskloof (Dec. 2017).
Light bushwhacking in the descent gully…snakes were never far from our minds (Dec. 2017).
A bit of an oasis – the gully was very verdant (Dec. 2017).
Shirley pretty worked but not quite done with the long day (Dec. 2017).
Damp and drizzly conditions in camp the following morning…let’s have another cup of coffee (Dec. 2017).
Hiking out from the Duiwelskloof in a light drizzle (Dec. 2017).
Shirley and Ross in the Duiwelskloof – a very pleasant place (Dec. 2017).
Freshly shed skin of a Cape cobra we encountered on the game farm during the hike down. It’s been confirmed by both Ross and Snakes Of South Africa FB page – click the photo (Dec. 2017).
Celebratory beers in Franschhoek (Dec. 2017).
Shirley cheating on Benny with a cute pub pup (Dec. 2017).
Go to Du Toits Kloof Mountains.
Go back to South Africa.