Kloof Fest 2023

Kloof Fest is an event we look forward to every year – and each year it’s a little bit different. This year there was a change of venue. Moving away from the classic Tonquani circuit, we explored the breathtaking Mhlabatini. Mhlabatini is a lekker kloof for many reasons. The beautiful pools and chill spots, epic kloof hike and of course the climbing. Whether you want to single or multi-pitch, chill on 15s or project some hectic 20s – Mhlabs has got you covered.

Initiate Operation Chill

Some of the crew arrived on Friday night, the rest on Saturday morning. Once everyone had their tents pitched we took on the first order of business – faffing. Climbers are a special breed. We can faff near all day, then hustle when the psych fills us. Basically we chilled and “tried” to get ready for about three hours before we descended into the kloof. Lekker.

To start the first day Al gave us a brief introduction to trad and placing gear. The trad-dads then set up a bunch of top-ropes for everyone to play on. For several peeps this was their first time roping up and gripping real rock – you love to see it. Once all the routes had been sent and the lunch chowed we moved on to the next mission. Hike the kloof.

Mhlabs has a truly epic hike. There’s no end to the gorgeous pools, trees and rocks in that ravine. There’s chilled sections of boulder hopping and some slightly hectic scrambles – which everyone managed with ease (kind of).

It’s kind of wild when you think about it. Just an hours drive away and you can be in some of the most scenic natural settings your dirtbag mind could dream of. Access to these beautiful properties would not be possible without the tireless effort of the MCSA. Their constant work with landowners allows us access to these stunning places. It is part of the ethos of the MCSA to get people outdoors and in nature – something Friends and Allies shares with them. Participating with the MCSA is stupidly easy. You just need to join on a few meets – which are regularly hosted – to become familiar with the various locations on offer and even make some new tjoms! When you think about it, joining is almost a no-brainer. You get access to dozens of crazy outdoor venues and you can even bring friends with to enjoy these places with you. Kloof Fest would not be possible without the shared psych from the MCSA and we truly appreciate they effort the expend each year to keep it a reality.

Regroup at the Chill Zone

The first night at the camp we all chatted about the day. The parts that blew our minds, the things we were excited for the next day. Camp food was compared, secretly and loudly. Suffice it to say, the Noodle Crew now knows how to eat bougie in the wild. Eventually everyone retired to their respective nooks and had a lekker sleep. 

The final day dawned with the promise of that blistering Magalies heat we all dread and fear. After a few riveting games of chess, the plan was laid out. Racks and ropes were distributed and the crew set off. There might have been a few firsts the previous day, but Sunday was the real winner. We had a few first trads, first multi-pitches, first abseils and even someone’s first piece popping!

Despite our best efforts to ignore it, the sun eventually started to set. Slowly we faffed a bit more in the kloof, packing gear, stealing last snacks, then we were off. The chilled hike back to the campsite was filled with epic retellings of the days’ events and super lame jokes. At camp we packed our bags, re-redistributed gear and set off to our cars.

This years Kloof Fest was a perfect mix of experienced traddies and gumbies. A big thanks to the trad-dads for holding everyone’s hands and making sure we all had an epic time. The crew got to experience the many treasures the kloof has to offer. Now we’re frothy for more missions in the gorgeous kloofs of Magalies. No need to wait until next year to experience them again. That being said, next year is going to be sick!

Kat Odendaal

Kat Odendaal

Gym Staff at Friends and Allies

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