Rocklands – FAF Chapter 4

Following in the Footsteps of Giants

Wimbledon, Augusta, Lords, Wembley—these are the hallowed grounds where elite athletes showcase their talents. However, gaining access to these renowned stadiums requires reaching the pinnacle of one’s sport. Yet, therein lies the beauty of rock climbing. On their very first day, beginners can tread where the titans of our sport have poured their hearts and souls. With enough courage, they can even attempt the very climbs written in myth and legend.

Among the greatest arenas in climbing stands ROCKLANDS.

The enchantment of Rocklands ignited in 1993. While some sport and traditional climbing had graced its terrain before, it was in 1993 that Todd Skinner arrived and uncovered what the local South African climbers had overlooked. While others fixated on bigger walls for bolting and traditional climbs, Todd beheld the boulders and recognized their otherworldly allure. A land that truly lives up to its name, a land of endless rocks.

Understanding what makes this place extraordinary is crucial. For a bouldering area to attain world-class status, it must meet specific criteria. Abundant boulders of ideal size, impeccable rock quality with just the right amount of features, a diversity of styles, and manageable access—all these factors must converge.

Rocklands scores a perfect 10 in each category and reaches the expectations that so many have bestowed upon it.

In the late ’90s, legends like Fred Nicole and Klem Loskot propelled Rocklands into fame. They etched out some of the world’s finest, Inspiring and most challenging lines, solidifying Rocklands as a premier destination, if not the very best. Among their feats was Fred’s iconic 2002 creation, Monkey Wedding. Nestled in the heart of the most frequented area on the most coveted boulder, he graded it 8C, making it the world’s second 8C climb (following Dreamtime in Switzerland, also opened by Fred). Even today, it remains a formidable challenge, a test piece for elite climbers worldwide.

The question isn’t whether you should visit Rocklands, but rather, when. I always tell first-timers the same thing: your first day in Rocklands is the first day for the rest of your life. The thought of returning will linger, especially for South Africans, who can rightfully take pride in this gem. Thousands have journeyed from distant lands to experience its allure, underscoring that it’s not a matter of if, but when.

Embarking on a voyage to Rocklands is indistinguishable to a sacred pilgrimage, a rite of passage every South African climber must take. And what better way to traverse this hallowed ground than with your closest companions? For the treasures unearthed in Rocklands transcend mere bouldering; they weave an unforgettable tapestry of experiences. From landscapes to people every moment will leave a mark on your life.

Here are some absolute classics in Rocklands that you simply cannot miss:

– Up the Spout 6A

– Girl on my Mind 6B+

– Demi Lune 6C

– Orange Heart 6C+

– Human Energy 7A

– Vanity 7A+

– Maniac 7B

– The Rhino 7B+

– Kingdom in the Sky 7C

– Eye of Sauron 7C+

– Pendragon 8A

– Shozaloza 8A+

– The Vice 8B

– Amandla 8B+

– Monkey Wedding 8C

Evan Margetts

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