Go back to Cape Peninsula.
Go back to South Africa.
Our day and a half of leisure went by all too quickly and we were picked up by Ross in the early afternoon on Boxing Day. We headed back to the Du Toits Kloof Mountains and a different MCSA hut; this one reachable by car. It would be our home for most of the second week of the trip.
Up pre-dawn the following morning for a 15 minute drive to our next objective. We parked on the side of a highway and started hiking up through a burnt out wasteland. Fynbos fires are a natural and periodic occurrence and this latest one passed through the area a day or two prior leaving some smoldering patches. The hike got progressively steeper and we finally arrived at the base of our climb some 3 hours after leaving the car. The goal for the day was a handsome looking ridge on the right side of Yellowwood Amphitheater (site of new and intensive route development; almost all strictly trad no less).
The route, Smalblaar Ridge
, was not long and we combined it into 3 or 4 long pitches. We were enjoying ourselves (outstanding views) and stopped for a leisurely lunch on the summit. I guess things were a bit too leisurely since by the time we made our way down the partially burnt out descent gully, Ross was surprised by how long we were gone up top. Things were warming up and conditions were positively stifling when we hit the freshly burnt area for the final 45 minutes to the car (upper 20s C). Thankfully, there was a beer-serving oasis at a roadside bar some 5km down the highway. This would be our routine for the next two days: climb, beer in the bar, wine over dinner in the hut and a nip of scotch for sweet dreams.
Shirley at the Du Toits Hut – our home for the next four nights (Dec. 2017).
Spacious interior – though maybe not quite as cozy as the Agtertafelberg Hut from a few nights prior (Dec. 2017).
The hut had an outdoor pool. Here Shirley is checking for any swimming Rinkhals (click photo for more detail – not ours, but a screen shot of a Snakes Of SA community page on Facebook).
Wider angle view of the pool and the hut (in the trees; Dec. 2017).
Shirley and Ross starting the approach hike up to the Yellowwood Amphitheater early the next morning. 3+ hours to the base of the route with the initial hour through this freshly burnt out area (Dec. 2017).
Bit of a wasteland (Dec. 2017).
Interesting flora on the hike up (Dec. 2017).
Views of Yellowwood Amphitheater from the approach gully. Smalblaar Ridge forms the right edge (Dec. 2017).
Looking back at the approach gully (Dec. 2017).
Shirley and Ross traversing the Yellowwood Amphitheater on approach to Smalblaar Ridge (Dec. 2017).
Looking at the left side of the Yellowwood Amphitheater – our goal for two days later is visible just left of center (Dec. 2017).
Shirley near the base of Smalblaar Ridge (Dec. 2017).
Base of Smalblaar Ridge. Chest Pieces formations form the backdrop. Photo by Ross (Dec. 2017).
Racking up for Smalblaar Ridge. Photo by Ross (Dec. 2017).
Shirley (red) and I (green) scrambling up to the start of the technical climbing on Smalblaar Ridge. Photo by Ross. Click photo for full resolution view (Dec. 2017).
Leading the first pitch of Smalblaar Ridge. Photo by Ross. Click photo for a full resolution version (Dec. 2017).
Leading pitch one of Smalblaar Ridge – much longer than the description implies. Click on photo for full resolution version (Dec. 2017).
Shirley topping out on pitch 1 (Dec. 2017).
Looking towards the Chest Pieces from Smalblaar Ridge (Dec. 2017).
Shirley on pitch 2 of Smalblaar Ridge (Dec. 2017).
Shirley on the short crux of Smalblaar Ridge. This is pitch 2 (Dec. 2017).
Topping out on pitch 2 or 3 (Dec. 2017).
Leading pitch 3 of Smalblaar Ridge (Dec. 2017).
Shirley on a fun fin pinching move on our pitch 4 of Smalblaar Ridge (Dec. 2017).
Shirley nearing the top of Smalblaar Ridge. We stopped about 30 feet below the summit mostly for the cool photo op (Dec. 2017).
Views towards the beer from high on Smalblaar Ridge (Dec. 2017).
Topping out on the route (Dec. 2017).
A nice lunch spot (Dec. 2017).
Views towards Worcester on the “other” (vs. Cape Town) side of Du Toits Kloof Mountains (Dec. 2017).
Summit views (Dec. 2017).
Hiking off the top out point of Smalblaar Ridge and towards the descent gully (visible on left; Dec. 2017).
Some kind of bird of prey but not sure which (Dec. 2017).
Shirley in the descent gully. Lower portions were freshly burnt (Dec. 2017).
The last short rappel in the descent gully. Photo by Ross (Dec. 2017).
Shirley out of the descent gully in a burnt out area up high. Photo by Ross (Dec. 2017).
Ross, Shirley and Smalblaar Ridge (Dec. 2017).
Shirley covered in soot during our descent through the freshly burnt out areas (Dec. 2017).
Yellowwood Amphitheater (Dec. 2017).
Resting on the long and hot descent. Photo by Ross (Dec. 2017).
Subtle beauty of the Du Toits Kloof Mountains (Dec. 2017).
Shirley and Ross heading in for a beer session at the rest area bar in the Du Toits Kloof Mountains (Dec. 2017).
Go to Paarl Rocks.
Go back to South Africa.