It's always scary to do things we've never done before. When the challenge ahead is rock climbing "Exposure in F Major" you better be sure you know what you are doing. "Exposure" has been referred to "steep, intimidating and not for sissies". Ambassador Andy Court, tells us how him and his friend Teo put themselves to the challenge.
Taking On The Challenge
On a cool Saturday morning at 3:30am I found myself half asleep missing the turn off to N1 city where I was to meet my climbing partner Teo. After parking next to the McDonald’s, Teo and I set off for Du Toit’s Kloof in his bakkie. We were going to climb a classic route called Exposure in F Major. It is considered a “must do” route for the aspiring traditional climber. We did copious amounts of research on the climbing forum beforehand and were led to believe that it would be a serious test of our climbing ability. There are many horror stories about climbers suffering from dehydration, getting heinously lost on the descent, and bush-whacking through head height protea bushes at 12 o-clock at night. Thus we set off from the parking lot with serious faces, headlamps and 3 liters of water each. A somewhat sketchy walk back along the N1, lead us to the start of the walk.
Stance at the Micro ledge
An hour and a half later the sun was up and we were at the base of the wall. The route looked epic, an obvious vertical ridge stood in front of us. Route finding on a big wall is quite an art. We had an old written description of the route and a pixilated picture with a Microsoft Paint line drawn up it. We had been warned that losing the route above pitch 3 would land us in hot water and we would have to sacrifice precious gear to regain the route. With all this in mind, Teo set off up the first pitch gunning for an obvious grassy ledge. The aim for climbing a wall like this one is to be as fast and efficient as possible whilst remaining safe.
Fantastic exposed climbing on easy terrain
One must tread the line between climbing quickly and climbing dangerously. Loose rock, lichen and rope drag all need to be negotiated on the ascent. At the 4th pitch we managed to keep on route and traversed right around the corner. I was leading and ended up on a fantastically exposed micro ledge with my legs dangling over the abyss. That ledge alone justifies the climbs name. We continued up the ridge, climbing some spectacular 50m long pitches, as the cars on the N1 got smaller and smaller. We topped out the route about 2:30pm, way faster than we expected and with lots of water to spare. The view from the top was stunning, with views of Table Mountain, Yellowwood Amphitheatre and du Toit’s Peak.
Finishing so early gave us plenty of time to find the correct descent. The descent gully led us through a stunning forest and the onto the final scree slope to the road. We were back at the car, drinking a beer and gazing up at the route before sun set.
Get Out And Go
It’s incredibly satisfying to see how far you can go in one day. We found the route quite easy. We may have just gotten lucky, with conditions and route finding, or we were well prepared and climbed well. I guess what we learned from this climb was that you shouldn’t always trust what other people say and that getting out there and going for it is always a good option.