James Blay - Rocklands, South Africa

30th Sep 2013

Wild Country's International Sales Manager James Blay managed a couple of weeks R+R at Rocklands during a visit to our South African distributor!!
Under the pretext of boulder mat testing(!!!) James managed to send a selection of the finest boulder problems on the planet, including a few meaty ones, here's his trip report!!

James has also made a cool video to go along with this report whch you can see here:

20.8.2013 – Area : Roadside;  Creaking Heights  6C. My first day in Rocklands and what a climb to get started with, trust your feet and push on… the good holds will come!

22.8.2013 – Area: Hidden Boulders; Zanzibar 7a. A nice looking arête with good climbing requiring balance, well placed feet and fast hands, the holds are far too sharp to spend to long hanging around!

23.8.2013 – Area: The Sassies; Pinotage 7B+ [stand start], Springbok 7A+, A Splash of Red 7C. I didn’t think I’d be climbing well at all this trip as I really didn’t do much climbing in the three months leading up to my departure so to climb these three one after another in a session was phenomenal! It was thanks to my friends beta and encouragement that I managed to get up them prior to the sun coming on to the block at around midday! They are all excellent problems but A Splash of Red is exceptionally good with a rumble up and along two large ledges of jugs to start with and then the fun really begins… Utterly immense and not hard at the grade, 7b+ climbing which you want to be absolutely certain you’ll get through without a drama, take 7c for keeping your head and topping out in one piece.

24.8.2013 – Area  Cedar Spine Gully; Cedar Spine 7B+. After trying this one at the end of my first day in Rocklands I never thought I’d have the arms for it but after my success from the previous day I rested all morning, warmed up and managed to climb this one after falling off towards the top on several occasions! A fantastic looking arête and the climbing really doesn’t disappoint, if you’re feeling strong this would be a good one to attempt flash, go for it!

26.8.2013 – Area: Roadcrew; Orange Heart 6C, When the day breaks from a stand [7b] and from a sit 7C+. What an immense 6c Orange Heart is, a sit start with moves up and left on ledges and edges to a nice top out, a great one to warm up on for the harder problems of the area too. I wanted to climb When the day breaks ever since seeing Nick Brown climb it in the film Tomorrow I Will Be Gone on Vimeo. I did the stand pretty quickly but the sit start took some real working out but luckily my fingers didn’t tire before I had it sorted and after pulling through the first couple of moves into the stand I knew I just had to go big and finish it off, what a move to the lip and then it’s a long lock to the top, awesome problem.

28.8.2013 – Area: Champside; Kingdom in the Sky 7B+. What a good looking line, the climbing is not as nice or as interesting as you might hope but the move to the jug at the top once you’ve trusted your feet and set up for it is great, the Rubis sur l'Ongle of Rocklands.

30.8.2013 – Area: 8 Day Rain; Barracuda 8A. Area: Sassies; Beer belly bandit 7A. What a morning, I warmed up in the rain on jugs and managed to climb one of the proudest looking problems I’ve seen in Rocklands with a short sequence of hard and diverse movements on a variety of holds. 8a or 7c+ maybe… Surly I can’t climb 8a in a session, haha who cares?! After an epic expedition up to the Sassies after lunch in our Mk1 Golf I still had enough juice in my fingers to climb the excellent left hand arête of the Pinotage block in the rain with a random sequence of hand movements! I’m sure there’s many ways to complete this problem all of which would utilise some cool holds and features, this one would definitely be at home in the Peak District and the rock almost feels like Gritstone.

4.9.2013 – Area: Riverside; Take off your shoes  5C, Bow down 6B+, Des Bacs pour Nini 7C. Great warm up problems with really enjoyable moves, I climbed them both twice! Des Bacs pour Nini (Jugs for Nini) had a bit of a reputation in our group as being really hard for the grade with harsh crimps that would only allow your skin a few tries per session. Fortunately the first two edges after the starting jug were quite decent and skin friendly and we managed to take advantage of the cooler conditions in the evening before dark and complete the problem in a few attempts. Committing move to the top, I’m sure I hit it all points off!

5.9.2013 – Area: Roadcrew; Tomorrow I will be Gone 7C+. It was very hot in the day so we headed up to Roadcrew in the early evening for this one, I managed to climb it after dark with lights and a head torch once the air temperature and that of the rock had dropped somewhat. Thoroughly exhilarating & precarious finish as you move out left to good holds after the crux of the climbing is complete!