Rock Climbing: All You Need to know

Rock Climbing: All You Need to Know

Blessed with soaring mountains and stunning views, South Africa offers some incredible opportunities for rock climbing. If you’ve been looking for an outdoor activity that will build your stamina and make you more flexible, give rock climbing a shot. It’s an adrenaline rush that’ll make you go back for more.

Getting the basics right

At its core, rock climbing involves using your hands and feet along with climbing equipment and specific techniques to reach the summit of natural rock formations like mountains, cliffs, hills and ridges. Rock climbing is a dangerous but exciting adventure sport and is among the most popular adventure/outdoor sports in the world. 
 

But before you decide to get out of your house and climb the nearest summit, you will need to learn several climbing techniques (drop knee, match, foot switch, high step, cross through etc.), hand techniques (pinch, sloper, crimp, gaston, side pull ), and foot techniques (edging, flagging, smearing, backstepping, toe hook ). Take classes and practice bouldering before taking on the more risky routes. 

Rock climbing gear

It is extremely important that you procure the right rock climbing equipment before you head out to climb the cliffs. Make sure you have the following essentials:

Belay devices
Descenders
Safety harnesses
Climbing ropes and webbing
Carabiners
Crash pads
Protective gear (helmets, Camalot Cams, Pitons, Hooks, Astro nuts, tricams, hex etc.) and climbing shoes
Quickdraws
Slings
Chalk bags, medical tape, resin, bouldering mats, and haul bags

 

Rock climbing spots in South Africa

Thanks to its mountainous terrain and craggy shores, South Africa has some amazing and diverse rock climbing routes, some of which are still unexplored! No matter which region you're in, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to rock climbing in South Africa. Try the following spots (difficulty levels vary; start with the easier ones):

Western Cape – Multipitch Climbs, Vanrhynsdorp, Montagu, Swartberg Pass, Table Mountain and Krakadouw.
Eastern Cape – Pinnacle Gorge, Kleinrivier, Morgan Bay, Windmill Hole and Hogsback.
Limpopo Province – Blouberg, Makapansgat, and Wellingtons Dome.
Mpumalanga – Croc River Canyon, Waterval Boven, Blydepoort and Wilgepoort.
Gauteng – Melville Koppies, The Chosspile, Strubens Valley and Bronkhorstspruit.

Although rock climbing can be risky and requires a lot of stamina, its rewards are immense. First, it affords you breathtaking views that very few people will ever be able to see in their lifetimes. Physically, rock climbing builds endurance, burns calories, keeps your heart healthy, sculpts your muscles, and makes you more agile. The mental benefits of rock climbing are also significant; it gives you a tremendous sense of achievement, personal satisfaction and boosts your self-esteem.