domenica 14 luglio 2013

South Africa, First week

King of limbs 8B, Rocklnds. Photo Nils Favre
At the end of a travel lasted 29 hours , last monday evening I reached Rocklands. The first week of my trip is basically over and I decided to write something about these days in African landscapes. As I said, the journey was obviously long from Milan; it was my first flight out of the Europe. The halt in Dubai lasted almost nine hours and we sat in a jack daniel pub to have a dinner. Sunday night we took the second flight and Nils and Gulham got the upgrade to Business class and I had to settle for the economy one. Next morning we arrived in South Africa and Nils bound our pads above the car, since it was really small for all the luggage. The driving lasted about three hours from the airport to Clanwillian, the closest city to Rocklands. We passed through the grasslands which was rich of sheep or similar animals and in the evening we were exhausted so we decided to go to bed early to be in shape for the day after.

Fortunately, on Tuesday we had a couple of hours to climb here and we checked the first sector close to our home in pakhuys camping . Finally I was able to try a few lines which I desired for years. We tried "ray of light", "glading the waves like a dolphin" and "el corazon" where I missed the ascent touching the top on my second go. Nothing was climbed during these first hours, but I immediately understood that the place would have been worthy and it would have offered me some awesome landscapes and sick boulders. The day after we went to the pass, probably the most famous area of all Rocklands, where I was finally able to crash some problems like "nutsa" 7C+, "out of balance" 8A, "green Mamba" 8A and "caroline" 7C. In the first three lines I always missed the flash at the last move like a stupid and I climbed them in the second go. I was really hit by the beauty of Caroline, for sure the best problems climbed in this week. The rock represents a perfection of pinches and cracks, probably made by the water and these features made it really unique. I really liked also Green mamba, which has a really lovely sandstone at the beginning and cool moves at the end. For Thursday I planned a day of rest, but it is really hard in a place like this to have a day with no climbing. In fact, in the evening I reached Benoit in "witness the sickness" 8A, since it is one of his project for this trip. At the beginning I was strong to withstand this inviting problem but at the end I fall in its temptation. Fortunately I climbed it fastly and after two goes I was at the top with no additional dangerous troubles at my skin. On Friday the time for "moiste mooise" finally arrived and Nils and I were extremely syked to put our hands on it after long period of waiting and dreaming. We got warm in a crazy and marvelous wall, which has some easy lines and I’d like to have always such easy and beautiful problems to warm up). It deals of a slightly overhang whit a black slab before the topout, it was amazing being under it. After climbing the four lines on this wall we put the pads under one of the meanest problems which I would like to do, Moiste mooise. It was completely at the sun and with 23 degrees it looked hard. My skin got worse after few goes and I wasn't strong enough to do it. I did it splitted in two sequences twice, hoping to get an improvement the next session. The riverside sector is really particular and nowadays everything is burnt after the big summer fire in January. Nils told me that last year It wasn't so simple to find the lines, because a lot of bushes and trees hinder the path. Now the area is bare and the boulders are pretty visible going towards the zone. This zone has also a little river, which makes it a bit different than the other ones I saw so far and this stream was a bit useful to refresh my hands, since they was burining after the two hours trying Moiste Mooise. In the late afternoon I was under "black shadow", knowing that the ascent would have been quite hard for me, because I felt tired again. In fact I failed miserably at the end of the problem. after calling the day, I decided to take one/two days of rest and I started to think a wish problems list by the selection done during the first days. For sure I will come back to try "black shadow","el corazon" and "moiste mooise" and during the next days I would also like to check other lines to put them in the working list and to climb other easier stuff.

After the rest I felt quite better and today, after the warm up in a classic like "the rhino", I could climb in few attemptes "king of limbs" 8B, a cave with a big gaston move and a powerfull finish.

The first week is gone and I’m going to have other four ones to visit new places and try other sick sandstone lines :)

Green Mamba 8A, Rocklands. Photo Nils Favre

The rhino 7B,Rocklands. Photo Nils Favre

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