Watch top SA climbers competing in the first local Deep Water Soloing Climbing Competition on Sunday 30 March.
They will be climbing overhanging cliffs above a huge pool at Wilgepoort, an MCSA wilderness. No ropes, no bolts. Just shoes and chalk and lines they've never seen before.
Wilgepoort is a trad climbing venue about 45km north of Bronkies sport climbing.
The competition starts at 9h30am on Sunday 30 March. Sunday 9 March. The finals and prize-giving is planned to end by 2pm. It's a 2.5 hour drive from Johannesburg and about 1.5 hours from Pretoria.
Even better, arrive on Saturday 29 March 8 March for car camping inside Wilgepoort and meet the competitors and other rock enthusiasts in a beautiful, isolated mountain wilderness.
Want to know what Deep Water Soloing means to a trad climber? Top British trad climber of dodgy rock, Hazel Findlay, gives her take on the phenomenon here.
Guys Hard core: Has sent sport grade 24+ in the past three years.
Guys Working class: Has sent up to sport grade 24 in past three years.
Gals: One Open Category.
Alex Bester (current best red point at grade 30), Brian Weaver (33), Donovan Willis (not available), Ebert Nel (33), Evan Margetts (29), Falco Filotto (31), Grivin Roering (29), Ivan Van Der Tang (31), Johannes Hachmann (28), Jahne Theron (30).
Eran Waldeck , Gillian Bester, Illona Pelser (29), Karine Bezuidenhout, Mikhaela Levitas, Theresa Lourens, Tiffany Wells, Wiebke Toussaint.
Links to their 8a rankings and photos from climbing.co.za.
How the comp works
Thirty climbers will be competing in three categories of ten entrants each. Each climber starts off on two qualifier routes, one attempt each.
The top four from each category go through to the final, where each climber gets multiple attempts on one route. The comp ends with the Male Hard Core Final followed by the prize giving. Safety will be top priority at all times.
At any one time, two climbers from different categories will be climbing.
Sponsored by Black Diamond, the MCSA and the SA Climbing Academy for all categories.
Sunday only: R40 Cash only per person at the campsite OR your paid-up MCSA membership card OR your printed-out permit bought by Tuesday 4 March from the MCSA Magaliesberg Section with an EFT .
Saturday camping and Sunday comp: R80 cash only per person at the campsite on Saturday, or your paid-up MCSA membership card, or your printed-out permit bought by Tuesday 25 March 4 March from the MCSA Magaliesberg Section with an EFT.
Access to the comp
The camping is child-friendly. But getting to the comp is NOT suitable for children under 14 - the route is just too tricky. All spectators under the age of 18 must be accompanied by their parents or legal guardian. The route to the comp is short, but involves either a traverse 30m above Big Pool, or being ferried across another pool near the campsite and then wading across the river again if it is not too high because of rain. The Wilgepoort River is running high and fast. It is not possible to just boulder hop across the river at this time.
All spectators and competitors who are not members of the MCSA need to sign indemnity forms when entering the Wilgepoort wilderness, or when applying for permits with the MCSA Magaliesberg Section.
Wilgepoort is about 45km from Bronkies and north of the N4 highway. The last 6km is a dirt road. An ordinary sedan can reach the camp ground. Get the detailed driving directions map emailed to you when you buy access permits from the MCSA Magaliesberg Section. If you are a MCSA member, just ask the administrator to email you a copy.
What you can do on Saturday besides camping
DWS: Spectators are asked to NOT climb any Deep Water Soloing lines at Big Pool until the comp is over. After the comp, be our guest!
Slack-lining: Up your balancing skills on the slack-line near the cascades above Big Pool.
Sport Climbing: Bronkies is 45km away and a great place to spend Saturday morning
Bouldering: Ezemvelo's bouldering is top notch.
Trail running: There are no laid-out trails in Wilgepoort, but the roads in the vicinity can yield a workout.
Camping information about Wilgepoort
Bring your own drinking and cooking water: The river is OK to swim in, but not OK for drinking in quantities. Luckily there is a great choice of river pools to swim in to make up for the lack of showers.
No electricity, no toilets: The good news is it's wilderness and you won't believe you're on the edge of Gauteng, it is such a different world. The other news is bring the solar charger, a little spade and a willingness to walk a bit before doing your thing. We ask you to bury whatever emanates from you at least 15cm deep to keep the place as pristine as it is.
No garbage cans: Again, Wilgepoort is pristine wilderness, it needs our respect. Garbage from braaiing, drinking beer, all food waste etc needs to be removed by YOU. It's car camping, but there is no garbage collection at this place. Let's keep it gorgeous.
Camp fires: You can make a fire, but please bring your own firewood. We'd like to keep all the trees we have at Wilgepoort just the way they are.
More general information about Wilgepoort: At the MCSA Johannesburg Section website here.