Description

Rocklands Sportclimbing at The Pass yields a range of sectors and crags with different orientations, all fully bolted and single pitch. Routes across the grades from beginner to advanced, with some test-pieces including South Africa's first 9a, bolted by Frederic Nicole at Cedar Rouge Boulder.

This area holds the largest concentrations of sport climbing sectors and number and range routes - all good. Climbing is in a magnificent setting with sectors along the start of the path on left and right (Wild West Wall, The Island, Biscuit Wall, Chapelle Rock and others) ; and then by way of split either :
1) the good footpath path to right at large cairn after Wild West Wall path, to The Fortress and Bastille sectors, or
2) carry on the main jeep track until you reach the Roadside Boulders; all the sport climbing sectors are found along the foothill and the cliff band at the top; Cedar Rouge, Cattle Rustler, Orange Plasma and Sun Block walls stand out as particularly good.

The Pass can be 3 degree Celsius cooler than De Pakhuys and areas at the bottom of the pass. However, in summer it takes full sunlight.

In Summer while generally too hot and sun-baked, The Bastille wall may offer some relief depending on the time of day.

Winter is best, with walls such as the Wild West Wall and The Island <10-12 mins walk from the entrance, with some excellent routes at Wild West Wall in the 7a-7b range and a few others at lower grade. Higher walls such as Cedar Rouge, Orange Plasma and Sun Block hold some classic routes, in an incredible setting overlooking the bouldering along the Roadside area.

Sunset and twilight walk-outs along the jeep track, with head torches and pads snaking under the stars is just magic.

History

Jono Fisher, Sean Maasch and Paul Scholtfeldt with Mike Roberts, Andy De Klerk and Dave Davies first started opening sport climbing routes here in the early 1990s, and this area was hush hush for a while as prime lines were found; initially Cedar Rouge Boulder and then Andy opened some test pieces at the Sun Block area.

Todd Skinner came over and joined the crew for the sport climbing, and on his first visit jumped out the car when he saw the boulders, shouting and screaming. Rocklands was born - but not before Todd snatched some magnificent sport lines.

There was a bad patch for many years when climbing of all types was banned (all of the The Pass and the Campsite areas) - over years long with tedious, knife-edge negotiations with a public land owner who had never had to consider climbing activities before. Environmental Management Audits and Plans were drafted and redrafted and miraculously access was restored with careful conditions, against all odds.

This magnificent climbing destination was almost completely lost - sport and boulder.

Instead, the Permit system enables a balance of sorts. Take care. Clean up. Buy a permit every time. Stay on paths. NO BOLTING at all, ever, without going through the MCSA WC (Western Cape Mountain Club of South Africa to Cape Nature) for approval.

Later, Todd was to invite Fred Nicole and friends over to open boulder problems; notably at Roadside area which is on the walk-in to The Pass Sport Climbing - the first area to be climbed in Rocklands, and then the Campsite Bouldering area, because, well, it was near the old camping site.

The Rocklands Sport Climbing history is therefore part of the Rocklands Bouldering history.

While you'll want to bring your pads, I recommend to bring a light single pitch sport rack and enjoy some excellent athletic climbing on very hard orange sandstone.

Rocklands Sport Climbing The Pass Sectors

The area is access sensitive!

Cape Nature Conservation Area: Permit mandatory - I repeat absolutely mandatory for every single person visiting The Pass: you need a "Rocklands Bouldering Permit" (search this on web), and purchase day/weekend/longer permits from your phone or computer using the Quicket online link. Keep the electronic copy on your phone to show rangers.

Park at The Pass parking. Follow the jeep track until just past "Wild West Wall" (Sport Climbing Crag) visible on left, various crags are your left and right.

Alternately about 800m after Parking and after Wild West Wall take Right at large cairn on good single track for another 400m-600m and then Left off path using the path to The Fortress area, walking uphill. Follow the cairns carefully paying attention to the zig-jags until you come up under the Fortress and The Bastille areas.

Alternately if climbing at Cedar Rouge, Orange Plasma, Sun Block, The Outback, Skinners Boulder or Hueco Boulder follow the jeep track from Parking to Roadside Boulders and look for the lower sectors or find the cairn diagonally left and left past Creaking Heights problem from Nutsa Boulder to pick up the Cairned trail up past Cedar Rouge sport routes to the cattle Rustlers area, Orange Plasma, and Sun Block to the right near the top, alternately heading diagonal left facing up, past back of Cedar Rouge sport route takes you toward The Outback.