|Name of venue||Lesotho Ice Climbing, Maluti Mountains
Information courtesy of Gareth Frost’s route guide Ice Climbing for the Lesotho Maluti Mountains, Greg Borman and Ian McMaster.
|Brief summary of venue||Ice climbing meets in Lesotho take place either in the Central (Bokong) or Northern (Oxbow) Maluti Mountains between mid/late June to early August, conditions permitting. Novice ice climbers have an opportunity to experiment with ice-climbing tools and techniques on anything from short ice falls (boulder problems) to long multi-pitch routes. For more experienced climbers there are more technically challenging routes, some up to 60 metres long.|
|Permit/ permission info||No specific permits are required.|
|Approximate travelling time from Johannesburg||Between 5 to 6 hours.|
|Info on walk in||Walking in to all the ice climbing venues is generally flat and easy, except for Bokong where the terrain is a little steeper, yet still easy. Caution should still be taken, however, as sections along the walk-ins will be frozen and slippery.|
Climbers can sleep on the floor at the Visitors’ Centre (toilets but no shower) which has spectacular views of the Lepaqoa Falls, or in one of the two hikers’ huts right by the Falls (kitchenette and ablution facilities). See:www.golesotho.co.za/Bokong.htm
It is important to note that the Visitors Centre is a functioning office and restaurant, climbers need to respect this and leave the Centre before opening hour and in the same state they found it in. The restaurant’s kitchen and cooking equipment is off limits to climbers.
A number of accommodation options exist. Climbers can stay at the Oxbow Lodge, the Afriski Resort, or at the cheaper Camel Rock Guest Farm, which is on the SA side of the Calendonspoort border post, see the following links for info:
|Availability of water for drinking||Water is available at accommodation.|
|Climbing route guide||Online guide by Gareth Frost:http://www.climbing.co.za/topo/pdf/Lesotho_Maluti_Ice_rd.pdf
Online guide by Gavin Raubenheimer:
There are 3 main climbs with various, shorter and more easily accessible options in the vicinity:
Most of the routes in this area are accessible by car followed by a short walk. They range from short boulder-like problems to 60 metre routes.
|Child friendly||More suitable for teenagers than children. Make sure your teens are well kitted with adequate cold and protective gear.|
|Other attractions||Skiing at the Afriski resort is almost as much fun as ice climbing.
The Bokong Nature Reserve is a haven for hikers with hiking camps and trails ranging from 45 minutes to 3 days. The unique afro-alpine environment and its associated wetlands are of great biological interest, giving rise to an amazing variety of flora and fauna. Birders are sure to be satisfied with the many species endemic to the afro-alpine zone. For the more adventurous, Basotho pony rides offer a fun way of interacting with the environment.
For those with a more cultural / historical interest, there are ruins of ancient kraals and bushman paintings in surrounding rock shelters.
|Dangers||Ice climbing conditions in Lesotho can be very variable, which is why it’s important to have experienced ice climbers in your group. Falling ice can be extremely dangerous so make sure no one approaches the climbs without wearing a helmet and ensure that first aid kits are always on hand.|