Steenberg Buttress: Rock Climbs, by Tony Lourens
From the guide Steenberg Buttress: Rock Climbs, written by South African climber Tony Lourens, the following chapter describes the local history of the climbing site.
History of Steenberg Buttress
In the late 1960s, Arthur Evans and Gorden Teubes put up a handfull of routes here - all about 5 or 6 pitches in length, then in 1970, along with Lulu Patrick and Andy Killick they put up a few more, totalling more than 10 routes. Although some of these routes have been climbed by some, the crag never gained recognition, being overshadowed by the relatively close Muizenberg Crag and of course the excellent climbing on Table Mountain. So, armed with an ancient photo and obscure route descriptions from the MCSA Journals, I went to explore this wall, along with Willie Koen, Alessandro Gelmetti and Rex Quick to see if there was in fact anything worthwhile to climb. Not only were we pleasantly surprised at the quality of the rock and climbing, but also at the amount of scope for newer and harder routes up clean striking lines. We climbed many of the existing lines, using the old vague route descritions. Undoubtedly we went off route in our endeavours, but we also tried to keep the routes as straight as possible to allow the climbs to follow clean direct lines. We also explored the unclimbed potential in the area, and put up quite a few new quality routes and there's space for so much more. After satisfying myself with a lekker bunch of new routes, I introduced Richard Halsey to the area, and he put up a clutch of steep hard routes.
Best time to climb
Essentially, Steenberg Buttress is an autumn/winter/spring venue, as almost all the crags and walls face in a northerly direction, getting sun for most of the day, only going into the shade in the late afternoon. Lakeside Ridge, which is on the right-hand edge of the greater buttress, faces more north-west, so stays in the shade till very late morning/early afternoon, with a stunning tea cave, beneath a big roof, at the base of the route, which keeps the shade the whole day. This route could be climbed in summer if you get a very early start. The Lab on Rocky Horror Buttress also keeps the shade till early afternoon in summer, but in winter gets the sun much earlier, along with the rest of the buttress.
Grades and star ratings
Most of the original routes from the 60s and 70s have been straightened somewhat, which has sometimes affected the grading, but by and large those routes still fall in the easy to moderate range. The newer routes range from quite a moderate grade 15 and 16, to routes of a more demanding nature, up to grade 25. But there are many excellent routes in the 17 to 21 range.
The rock, the climbing and protection
Steenberg Buttress is a huge expanse of rock, and although there will naturally be some areas of dubious rock, I was quite surprised by the general, overall quality of the stone - hard quartsitic sandstone, offering nice weathered formations, ideal for climbing, with Rocky Horror Buttress standing out from the rest - an impressive 25-metre-high buttress of impeccably hard and beautiful rock. All the crags and walls are adorned with plenty of rails, cracks and features, which besides making for great climbing, also offers excellent protection. Most of the climbing on the main walls constitutes fairly long moderate routes with good gear - up to 6 pitches in length, and escape from most of them is quite easy, as one crosses a few escape ledges which cut through the routes, including the Descent Route ledge. [...]
This is an excerpt from: Steenberg Buttress: Rock Climbs, by Tony Lourens.
Title: Steenberg Buttress. Rock Climbs
Author: Tony Lourens
Publisher: Blue Mountain Design & Publishing
Cape Town, South Africa 2019
ISBN 9780994712448 / ISBN 978-0-9947124-4-8
Softcover, 15 x 21 cm, 40 pages, throughout colour photos
Lourens, Tony im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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