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Paul Robinson in South Africa

Posted on 31. Aug, 2011 by in News

A few years ago I wrote about Paul Robinson repeating Echale and lamenting that it was so manufactured. I also wrote previously about how the younger generation should be stepping out and developing not just new problems but new areas. Nearly every climbing legend has reached such status because of their willingness and ability to go and develop incredible new climbing. Fred Nicole, John Gill, Dave Graham, the list goes on.
This summer Paul took his first step towards making a significant impact at a new bouldering area in South Africa called Topside. Highlights include The Steady Plums V13 (does this elude to Paul putting up a steady stream of good new lines?), Mirta V14, and A Simple Knowing V15, as well as many, many others. Regardless of whether or not these problems hold their grades, this is the kind of significant contribution which should stand the test of time. Paul is to be commended for his efforts and for going out on a limb to find and develop new and difficult boulders. Well done!

17 Responses to “Paul Robinson in South Africa”

  1. big poppachosscrush

    31. Aug, 2011

    THE GOLDEN AGE OF BOULDERING CONTINUES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111111

    SILVEN’S NEW ALPINE V7-9s! …. AND HARD STUFF BY PAUL!!! AND SWEEDEN STONES REVEALED TO YANKEES! AND EVANS RIGS! AND IDAHO POTATARD FINDS!!!!

    WILL IT NEVER STOP???

    HOW AM I TO CONTINUE TO BREATHE WITH THE WEIGHT OF ALL THIS STONE CRUSHING THE WIND AND LIFE OUT OF ME? HOW CAN I EVER KEEP UP?

    IT’S DEPRESSING!

    i can’t wait till the impending and final oil crisis makes rock climbing impossible in light of the daily struggle to simply provide sustenance and clean water. only then will i be saved from the eternal torment of new climbs and areas stacking up on my to-do list longer than santa’s naughty/nice list.

    my to-do rock climbing list counter: http://galen.metapath.org/popclk.html

  2. Amandla

    31. Aug, 2011

    What exactly is your definition of “new” Jamie? I mean Jerry Moffatt was climbing at Topside and doing Font 8a there in the late 90s so I kind of thought it was “established”.

  3. B3

    01. Sep, 2011

    This is B3, so I guess I must define the phrase “new climbing” or “new bouldering area”. In the same way that Lincoln Lake was established by Colorado locals like Will Lemaire, Bart Stregge, Chul Lee and others, and then redefined by Dave Graham and Daniel Woods with the establishment of problems of a world class difficulty (essentially putting the area into the pantheon of American bouldering areas), Paul has singlehandedly ushered in a new era of hard climbing in South Africa with his V14 and V15 FAs. I don’t think I have ever not expressed interest in hearing about the achievements of others and B3 has always been a place where I have given people a chance to freely speak. I will continue to stand by that and I am happy to hear about the history of the development of the Topside bouldering area. My exclusion of Jerry Moffatt was not intended as a slight, simply a lack of information.

    I guess I’d like to know what your definition of established is? Does having Jerry Moffat climb there constitute the establishment of an area? Can you list the names and grades of the problems he established? Are they comparable or more significant than Paul’s contribution?

    Thanks for your information!

  4. FATTY

    01. Sep, 2011

    I had heard of a Moffat 8B at Topside (or some nearby Capetown area) called “Ard Ay”….maybe it has since been downgraded…

    I think that calling Topside a “new” area is incorrect; however, it has been thrust into the international radar with Paul’s ascents…

    Sherman defined an area’s Golden Age as having three star routes in all grades still waiting to be done….Once this is over, I would think an area is “established” Sure, there will be three star standard pushers that await Paul or Dave Graham, but this doesn’t mean that they are “establishing” an area.

    Also, there are behind-the-scenes steps taken in establishing areas. Trails, landings, cleaning, etc. Ever wonder how that NM zone had no brush growth near unclimbed walls?? Not an accident…

  5. B3

    01. Sep, 2011

    I’m not sure i follow. Jerry Moffat put up a V13 (potentially at Topside) and this constitutes the area being developed?
    What other evidence exists that demonstrates that Topside isn’t a new area?

    The second part of the statement is harder to follow.

    “Sherman defined an area’s Golden Age as having three star routes in all grades still waiting to be done….Once this is over, I would think an area is “established” Sure, there will be three star standard pushers that await Paul or Dave Graham, but this doesn’t mean that they are “establishing” an area.”

    So John Sherman decides whether or not an area is considered established?

    Who determines whether not a problem gets three or four stars and when all of those problems have been climbed? What if there is still a 4-star V10, that for whatever reason hasn’t been climbed in an area like Squamish. Would you say that Squamish then has not been established?

    You wrote, to the effect, “once the three star routes in all grades have been done, then the area can be called established.” Doesn’t that imply that Topside wasn’t established until Paul did the three and four star V12-V15s? So an area isn’t established until someone e.g. Paul establishes the three and four star problems, but “that doesn’t mean they are ‘establishing’ the area”? That is really confusing.

    In regards to your last sentence, I don’t understand your implication and it would nice for some clarification. Is it that Paul doesn’t understand what goes into developing an area? Or that I don’t?

  6. sidepull

    02. Sep, 2011

    Ah! So many slippery definitions in our fun little enthusiast community.

    Jamie, I have said several times that I love the blog and your overall reflective and insightful take on things. The recent Alaska trip, especially the imagery, was, in many ways, a referendum on what makes bouldering meaningful. Sadly, I have to disagree with your take on things here.

    It seems that “develop” in the original post has more to do with “create public attention.” For example, take your recent trip to Alaska – were you developing the area? I would argue that you were taking advantage of a foundation that had already been laid by others and picking off prime problems that might have been above their heads. I’m not disparaging what you did, but I am pointing out that, because of your status in the community, the only real developing you are doing is developing public attention of the potential for bouldering in Alaska. Similarly, Sharma didn’t develop Priest Draw or Squamish or Lake Tahoe bouldering when he filmed Rampage, he just arrived at these places and locals showed him plumb lines or, showed him around and he was able to see undone lines because of his higher abilities. If you were to push me, cherry picking high-end problems after someone has already laid a foundation for the area by 1) finding it in the first place (which likely took some bushwacking and snooping); 2) exploring 3) trail building 4) cleaning 5) securing access … etc. These steps, and more, are what I would call capital “D” Development. When climbing allstars arrive and pick off the area project, I would call this lower case “d” development since what they are developing is predicated on the work that someone else has done.

    Now let me go on a tangent. As much as I am a Paul fan and I am glad that he’s had such a successful sending spree, I would hardly call this development, since I doubt he did most or any of steps 1-5. I wonder if the reason you are so eager to call attention to it is because, as revealed in earlier posts where you questioned the difficulty of Paul’s FA’s, you are actually over-compensating here and trying to throw Paul a bone. Even if that were the case, the clarifying clause, Regardless of whether or not these problems hold their grades, “Regardless of whether or not these problems hold their grades,” read in light of your earlier posts, suggests that you think these ascents probably aren’t as groundbreaking as we might believe and so we should celebrate the development (which is actually minimal) rather than the virtuousity of the difficulty (which you suggest is also likely minimal).

    Finally, I though Fatty’s post was pretty clear.

  7. FATTY

    02. Sep, 2011

    No no no….three separate thoughts not necessarily connected… The moffat problem history had nothing to do with the terms of Topside being “established”. You stated that you wanted to hear the history of it. Turns out this was the single thing I knew about regarding Topside. As far as other evidence that Topside isn’t new, I have none, and was only shedding light that Moffat may have climbed there many moons ago, that is all. Further black and white implications you are drawing are faulty.

    Quoting Sherman was used to define what constitutes an area’s Golden Age or in other words, establishment phase. I agree with his description. He does not decide, nor do I, but I am allowed as you stated previously that I may express my opinion.

    Who determines a problems star rating? You. Sherman. other guidebook authors. General consensus. Your point about Squamish…let me be more specific….It is MY opinion that an area is still being established when 3 star problems in all grades are PLENTIFUL and ripe for the picking…so, yeah, Squamish is pretty well established even if a new 4 star V10 is out there.

    I wasn’t trying to suggest anything about whether or not Topside was an established area or not; for all I know, they could be finding plenty of ghetto simulators, mushroom roofs, and martini roofs… I was simply trying to define what establishing an area means…you know, here at B3 we express opinions…
    Paul’s recent problems can probably be called the rounding out of establishing Topside or something to that effect as he helped fill in the upper grades…no disagreement there.

    There was no implication with that last sentence. Climbing media usually glosses over ugly development tactics that come with establishing an area. Ugly as in cutting trees, trundling stones, ripping moss, cutting brush, etc. The reason I had mentioned NM was because rumor had the Boulder crew commenting about how weird it was that no brush grew up against an untouched wall…as if the locals efforts to prep problems at the new area were completely overlooked

  8. Justin

    02. Sep, 2011

    http://www.climb.co.za/wiki/index.php/Topside according to this page there was (as of 2009) an already out of print guide to bouldering at the Topside by Guy Holwill. It also says that there (were) 25 sectors with hundreds of problems from 2-8a+. This suggests that the area had been developed long before Paul’s arrival, BUT it obviously does not mean the area was completely developed.

    The same could be said about Jamie’s trip to Alaska. While, yes others had come before Jamie, he and Brian absolutely contributed to the development by discovering, brushing and climbing new lines.

    Well done Paul and Jamie.

    Also, it does bother me when I hear somebody say, “so n’ so totally helped develop such n’ such area” when really the ‘developer’ was just taken to a previously cleaned line by some generous soul and happened to be the first to climb it from beginning to end.

  9. B3

    02. Sep, 2011

    First of all, Justin, great information. This is the kind of example I was looking for. It demonstrates I was wrong in writing that Topside was a “new” area. I retract that statement in regards to this evidence, which until now had not been provided.

    I wrote “new” because I read this statement from Paul on his blog: “Now, with nearly everything developed in Rocklands it will be amazing to hop off the beaten path and head to new areas with just as good of rock as the rocklands and nearly untouched!”

    In regards to sidepull, again, you’re analysis of my motive for writing is flat out incorrect.

    But first, I will address a point of yours that isn’t clear. By your logic, the first people to ever visit a climbing area wouldn’t actually be the Developers because they are only standing on the shoulders of the RoaD CreW who built the road, who were only standing on the shoulders of the APeS from which they evolved, who came about because of GOD, and who created the creator? Talk about a slippery slope!

    I do think the person who climbs a boulder first is the one who should get credit for the development of that boulder problem. And that doesn’t take away from someone who built a landing, or cleaned it initially. They should get credit for the ground work they laid. If the potential FAists are willing to hike, build landings, scrub lichen, then they will have the opportunity to earn more FAs. While Fred Nicole did little of that in Hueco, I still think he had an enormous contribution in the development of hard climbing there, and he should certainly be commended for that. Almost anyone is capable of moving rocks around or scrubbing lichen, which is dirty work, but it is much more difficult to actually climb the problem. And while Nicole’s efforts in Hueco are incredible, they don’t diminish John Sherman’s or Bob Murray’s efforts for developing the classic more moderate lines.

    Secondly, while the locals had done a great job developing a number of excellent problems in Alaska there was an almost overwhelming amount of rock to be seen. And the locals were ready to admit that they hadn’t hiked in any number of valleys, not for lack of motivation, but simply for lack of time. I commend Todd, Will and Drew’s efforts in Alaska. It’s a tough place to climb and they are extremely motivated and that is motivating for me. Every day we were in Alaska we were hiking around for hours looking for new rock, often off-trail, bushwhacking and with soaking wet shoes. Everyday we went out we were scrubbing new lines, untouched and unseen by the locals (I write this not to take away from the locals, simply to demonstrate the amount of rock that is there). I think on average we hiked around 3 miles a day, often in the rain, in an area where we knew there were grizzly bears, on the hunt for totally new rock. The locals did develop a number of problems, and some of the projects we tried and cleaned were tried by the locals. The majority of the things I saw, tried or cleaned were not. Alaska was by far the most physically demanding trip I’ve ever taken, and that’s because so much effort was put into developing and exploring. It was huge days, and every night my head hit the pillow I was out cold. It’s frustrating to read that after putting in so much time and effort doing all the things you suggest should go into Developing, and then being seemingly criticized for not doing that. Perhaps this speaks to the disconnect that exists for not seeing me out at the boulders.

    Also, you are incorrect in your analysis of the following portion of my post. Making the assumption that I think those problems will be downgraded is presumptive. I don’t know what will happen to the grades, and I was simply stating that. They could go down, or up, but what matters is that Paul went somewhere and put up new problems, bringing this area into the forefront of the climbing world. On a number of occasions it seems you have read into something that is not there. I am telling you my intentions, even if you fail to see it that way.

    Salo, thanks for your comments, I always appreciate them, your second post is far more clear. Thanks for writing with more clarity.

    I know who Salo is, I know Justin, who are you Sidepull? You’ve never written your name as far as I know. If you don’t write your name I am much less inclined to post your comments.

  10. big poppachosscrush

    02. Sep, 2011

    ok children, big poppa gotta step in and clean up the spilled milk…

    the amount of hiking that jamie does at ALL areas to try to find new rock on his own is stone cold astounding. i have a list of no less than 5 gems that he found and showed me that i fully plan to snake from him if i can divert his attention to some stupid 8b somewhere else.

    regarding what constitutes development, i would side with fatty and sidepull on this. just because big names show up and send big numbers does not mean that they are area developers. or, at least not in the area ‘pioneer’ context that is usually intended by that term. i do fully agree that area developers are the ones who find the stone, blaze the trails, and start building the psych for the community. on the other hand, if the would-be developers are not inclined to disseminate information, no matter how slowly, then they lose their very honorable status as developers and just become hoarders.

    in this vein, i would argue that chris gatzke, austin geiman, nick anderson, and byron tyrone jones aka tojo aka bryan are the original developers of newlin creek bouldering. the reason for this is the while gill may have done some of the trailside rigs, he was just passing through. he was a drifter, dotty. or, he just didn’t care to clean and establish the best rigs in the joint and bring down all his friends. there’s nothing wrong with that, but he wasn’t a developer. he was a subsistence hunter/gatherer. after being shown the goods, i would argue that then myself and hayden too became developers of the area…. working hard to find and establish new climbs. in many respects, there was a level of silver-platter serving up of some of the lines by byron, nick, and especially gatzke. on the other hand, we also worked hard to apply our own vision to the stone. later, silven and betterton followed suit.

    this is distinguishable from the efforts of others, who did not find the area, did not scrub lines, and only sent what was presented as a pre-packaged single serving of FA goodness. chuck is an example of this later category. we showed chuck a variety of pre-cleaned rigs and he later went on to send two of the most classic hard rigs: schatner and cousteau.

    is chuck a lesser man because i do not consider him a developer? no. he is greater because he was able to execute what the rest of us could not. not being a developer in my completely subjective definition is not a sleight on chuck, who i consider a good friend.

    so, with my subjective conception of what constitutes a ‘developer’, is paul robinson -a- developer based on the information we have access to? YES. suck it up. sounds like he’s been looking for lines iwth his own eye and has executed the psych to top em out. does this mean that he was the original pioneer of the area? NO. does this mean that he should tip his hat to those locals and other travelers who led him to this area when he is asked about ‘development’? YES. does this mean that he should support any trail building efforts and other access/sustainabilty efforts when in the area and by verbal/online support when he is not? YES. would any of us know about this topside and its v-too-hard turds without paul’s efforts? NO.

    in the legal world, there are laws. laws with numerous exceptions. even when there is no exception, it is often the case that business and financial realities and reasonableness compels someone to just let something slide, even if the law is on their side. it’s not worth it. it’s a pyrrhic victory at best.

    that’s what’s going on here, as is always the case with climbing disputes.

    you’re welcome for sorting you out.

  11. big poppachosscrush

    02. Sep, 2011

    point about pyrrhic victory taht i dropped the ball on: just because a law says someone is in the right, doesn’t mean that a seasoned judge will not berate them and throw them out of court for wasting the court’s time on trivial matters when there real issues to deal with in other cases.

  12. sidepull

    02. Sep, 2011

    A few thoughts that you can post or not post since most are directed at you:

    1) As I mentioned above and as I have noted in several of my posts here, this is by far my favorite climbing blog.

    2) I re-read my post and I realize that my thoughts about your trip to Alaska were overly simplistic and less nuanced than intended. I think we’re actually making similar arguments but from different ends of the spectrum. You are using a “where does it begin?” strategy – does the person that makes a map, paves a road, or upload Google satellite images get credit for developing an area? Obviously not. You know that wasn’t my point. I’m using a “where does it end?” argument. Does Chris Sharma showing up in Mallorca and climbing Es Pontas after someone else has found and shown it to him count as development? I’d agree with Fatty and his reference to John Sherman which seems to follow a logic that development is usually about the person putting in a lot of grunt work across the climbing grade spectrum to make an area’s potential knowable, accessible. As with Fatty I am not saying that Sherman lays down the law, I’m saying the guy that puts up the most routes, put in the most sweat, leveraged the most insight is the person that deserves the most credit. As Justin rightly points out, that is not what Paul did in South Africa.

    I think all too often, given the itinerant lifestyle of most professional climbers, it is hard for them to really develop an area because they aren’t based anywhere long enough to do real leg work. Instead, they show up, camera crew in tow, and some local that wants to see an already discovered, often named, project go down and giddy with the opportunity of being in the presence of a climbing star, spoon feeds them a killer problem that gets featured in mags, 8a.nu, vids, etc. As I mentioned, this IS development, but it is development by publicity. People in Flagstaff are still mad that anyone ever showed Priest Draw to Sharma because they never wanted that sort of development.

    My point is, that I think we probably agree more than we disagree about development but we also probably emphasize things a bit differently. Adding a 5 star V15 is part of developing an area. But if that area has been around for a decade and has 100’s of problems, it is not a significant amount of development, it is just a climb of significant difficulty.

    3) I’ll let go of the notion that you have a secret itch to second guess Paul. I don’t know him and I don’t know you, I’m simply reading between the lines. I like the overall vibe of your posts, photos, vids, and blog enough to give you the benefit of the doubt so there’s no reason for me to harp on perceived slights that seem to be my view.

    4) I’m not going to post my name (although it wouldn’t be that hard to figure out). I try to only post intelligent stuff here and I’m fine if you choose to leave out my comments. I’ve never bouldered in Colorado and so the likelihood of us crossing paths is pretty low. That said, I do have a pretty healthy dose of respect for you and if I did see you and I wouldn’t feel odd introducing myself.

    Good luck at the boulders and keep up the great blog!

  13. NickT

    03. Sep, 2011

    hey…here’s a lil Cape Town bouldering history lesson…..sport and trad have been established for ages before bouldering arrived in SA…Guy Holwill and his friends started developing the Topside areas in the early 90’s…the areas are very spread out and each generally has one or two classic problems that have been developed….Jerry Moffat came to SA and set up Ard Ay (font 8a+ now if i’m not mistaken), this and Captain Graffiti (8a+) at Echo Valley (a topside sector) were the two hardest problems set up until a bit of a bouldering boom between 2000 and 2010 where Marijus Smigelskis went on a development spree and set up numerous problems all over the Cape area. A new area was discovered during this time (Redhill sectors), in which marijus set up a number of 8’s and one 8B…the peach line being a large overhanging arete called Pandemonium….the redhill area is another CT area that has a lot of potential but access issues are currently being sorted out…apart from this there are a number of other boulder spots dotted around the peninsula…these vary from classic single boulders (e.g. classroom boulder in newlands forest..paul added a sit start to an established 8a to create ‘The Dropout’……..to small developed areas…

    The Steady Plums is a reference to a Cape Town suburd called Plumstead where the group of climbers that showed Paul around live :)

    if anyone wants to follow what is happening on the SA bouldering scene check out Marijus Smigelskis blog..
    http://cutloosebouldering.blogspot.com/

    On another note….’Rocklands’ itself ‘might’ be reaching its ‘developement’ potential….rocklands itself is only a miniscule part of the cedarberg mountain range…the only difference is the accessibility and ease that the campsites in the area offer…if anyone that ever reads this and comes to SA to climb in rocklands….do yourselves a favour and drive the dirt roads through the mountain range….your eyes will be opened to the potential that this mountain range has to offer…some small developement has already been started at another campsite in the central Cedarberg…nothing super hard..up to about v10 or so……

    To sum it up…the western Cape (in my humble opinion) has more rock than anyone can imagine….we just need a few more hard boulderers to come here with time and an adventurous mindset and go exploring….a couple extra Dave Grahams would do wonders for SA climbing….oh if DG reads this ever…please leave your US and Europe regular spots and come and see what we have to offer….there is endless potential here :)

    Cheers
    Nick

  14. NickT

    03. Sep, 2011

    ok..so here goes…well here is some of the basic history of bouldering in Cape Town……think this might give a broader scope or idea of what there is in the Western Cape, what has been developed, where to find info on it etc etc..

    Bouldering started in the Cape sometime around the early nineties or possibly even 80’s….The developement of the Topside areas has been ongoing for the past two decades and is still going strong (as you can see by Paul’s recent FA’s). I dont know who exactly started developing the Topside areas, but what I do know is that Guy Holwill and his friends and visiting climbers spent most of the 90’s developing the topside areas. These were mostly low to mid range problems (5’s to 7C or so) at the numerous different areas. Guy produced a comprehensive guide of the topside areas (can be downloaded from http://cutloosebouldering.blogspot.com/ as can the rest of the CT area’s topos)….through the late 90’s and into 2000 to present guys like Dom Riordan and Greg Streatfield began establishing lines along with Marijus Smigelskis. Marijus has definetly been instrumental on the bouldering scene on the Peninsula and has been at the forefront of area development for some time. Marijus and Emile Esterhuizen then ‘discovered’ the Redhill areas and these soon became the most popular areas because the walk-ins were a bit more gentle (Redhill is currently closed due to access issues with SA National Parks and will hopefully be resolved soon)…Topside itself contains hundreds of problems, with the best and least developed area being Echo Valley and the ridge above it…this is where most of Paul’s FA”s were (also the Cinema and one or two others)….Now dont get me wrong, the bouldering around Topside is awesome and is definetly worldclass…..but not every area in topside contains classic problems…some are good for beginners, some the average boulderer and now some for the super human! So, i guess to put the development issue at rest…Topside has been ‘developed’ and has been continuously developed over the past 2 decades and will continue to be developed for a while I think…The Magik bloks were only ‘discovered’ and ‘developed’ this year for instance…Topside basically refers to all the areas on the top of the mountains in the Cape Peninsula in Silvermine Nature Reserve..these areas are all pretty loosely connected and can be accessed on well maintained footpaths…the downside is that the walk ins are generally pretty long and steep…

    OK enough on Topside….Rocklands…developed? my ass…
    depends on if you are referring to the areas that have been ‘developed’…these areas are only but a tiny miniscule portion of the possibility that the Cedarberg mountain range offers..The reason that Rocklands itself is so well developed is the access and availability of campsites and the support of local farmers, providing easy access to all the areas…the support of local farmers in the area has been amazing and has certainly contributed some of the best bouldering that rocklands can offer..mostly on private land! this does not mean that there is no more potential…the biggest ‘problem’ is convenient access…Jamie..if hiking and adventuring and camping out in the middle of nowhere is your thing then you should seriously come and do some development in some of the more out of the way regions of the Cedarberg….if you go to rocklands and use it as your base camp (somehow without being distracted….) and drive out a bit deeper into the cedarberg you should find some amazing areas..The central Cedarberg around Beaverlac has seen some recent development although I dont know the potential available….oh and i forgot..a completely undeveloped field of boulders just on the northern side of the Du Toit’s Kloof Pass….only a 45min drive from Cape Town…..oh well..guess i shouldn’t spill the beans too much…don’t want Cape Town to become overrun with climbers…

  15. Adam M

    07. Sep, 2011

    Now THAT”S how you state your case Nickt! Well done. Ladies, gentlemen, take some notes. To the point, factual, informative, non-combative, inviting, educational, and a little good clean sarcasm at the end. I likey…

    Cedarburg range is HUGE. went looking for new spots with PRob down there along the range. Road became what could be called a little “treacherous” for most rental cars! Lot’s of rock, no easy access fosho. But if “rocklands” refers to those areas at the top of the pass, then yes…developed. Might need another name for the next areas that go up besides Rocklands Since they are so far apart. IMO.

    Paul crushes all the time. What an assh0le for not using the correct verbage, or using too many words, when describing his FA’s in SA. 😉

  16. NickT

    10. Sep, 2011

    Bumped into Guy Holwill today at echo valley…seems like ‘another rocklands’ has been found….developement started last year and the area is called ‘the South African area’…so apparently there is a place pretty close to Clanwilliam that is basically a 5km stretch of ‘roadside’ bouldering of similar quality as that of rocklands…and only the first 300m or so has been developed….so if anyones serious about development, there is most certainly potential for A LOT more boulders to be put up….i’m not gonna give directions or anything, but it seems like its about a 30min drive from de Pakhuis campsite on a good dirt track….

    @ Adam M…thanks ..think a local needed to put a word or two in….guess rocklands in terms of the pass and the lower areas could be deemed as ‘developed’..but i think there probably a good amount of potential for variations and the odd more cryptic line…..unfortunately this year there has been little focus on area development in rocklands, with most focusing on repeating hard climbs…
    RE:paul….the climbing community in the Cape is small…guess if anyone who is strong enough to repeat paul’s FA’s need only get hold of Marijus on the cutloose website for any details….the Topside guide is very cryptic and takes a lot of getting used to and A LOT of aimless walking trying to find stuff…you basically need a guide to guide you through the topo….looking around the peaks around echo valley today definetly made me realise a bit more about the potential…there are (from the looks of things…from a distance…) definetly a few more areas that can be developed…

  17. cipher

    20. Sep, 2011

    To take nothing away from Paul and his efforts, adding 10 or 20 problems at the upper end of the grading scale to existing areas does not constiture development. Paul was lucky enough to pitch up and be strong enough to climb the projects that other people, mainly Marijus, showed him. Good on him – we now have hard, inspiring lines to try, but the real work in the development of Topside was done over the last 10 or 20 years by people like Guy Holwill, Evan Weircx, Jason Whyte, Michael Janata and, later, Marijus, and that’s where the credit must go. Guy is the most avid developer of new climbing areas that I’ve ever met, and Evan had, up until he left South Africa a few years ago, probably climbed every problem in the Topside over 7A.

    What Paul’s trip achieved was to kickstart a new wave of interest in the Topside amongst Capetonian climbers who hadn’t necessarily bouldered there much, and that’s far more important than a few hard problems.

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