big wall climbing in south africa using black diamond gear

Black Diamond Tradathon Report 2022

tradathon 2022 multi pitch rock climbing

Over 100 trad climbers gathered at South Africa’s only trad climbing festival, the annual Black Diamond Tradathon. The pop-up event was hosted at Karbonaatjieskraal on Karoo 1 Hotel Village property. The weekend was also the unofficial reopening of the crag as it had been tough to access for many years. 

Unreal venue + incredible people + trad climbing = an awesome weekend

The Black Diamond Tradathon was an all-out success with over 15 new routes established and sends up to 25.

The Venue:

Accommodation:

Karoo 1 Hotel Village was very welcoming to all the trad climbers and even allowed for camping on their lawns. Some climbers stayed in the very comfortable Karoo 1 Hotel rooms and others stayed in the brand new luxury Africamps Clamping Tents equipped with hot tubs, fireplaces, heated blankets and everything required for a comfortable time in the hills.

Crag:

Less than a two-hour drive from Cape Town looms an overhanging amphitheatre of bomber quartzitic sandstone, with the sort of placements you dream about (or pray for if you’re facing a cruxy run out) and beautifully-shaped positive holds that would make route setters weep with joy. Standing at 100m tall, Karboonaatjieskraal boasts at least 30 established routes on its incredibly steep wall, with many more first ascents up for grabs.

Neighbouring this north-north-east facing wall are two smaller and less steep faces (one to the east and one to the west), although these faces are smaller, they should not be underestimated as they feature many bold routes, perfect for those who are looking to take on vertical and off-vertical test pieces.

A few bolts have been added to some of the routes on the smaller walls to avoid the risk of a fatal fall in some tricky sections that offer no features to place protection, an example of this is the route Divine Dog (25) which has a total of 3 bolts.

The weather is good all year round, and the temperature is slightly cooler than Montagu due to its altitude. It is also possible to find shade to climb in at any time of the day on the main wall, thanks to its steepness and scale. The wonderful walls of Karbonaatjieskraal await you.

The Climbers:

The climbers made their way into the kloof on Saturday, some tested themselves on the main amphitheatre, and others enjoyed the Princess Di and Main wall. The newly opened three pillars and loft walls were particularly well used by the newer trad climbers as they offered very enjoyable and easier climbing. 

The star route of the weekend was the five-star (some would say 6-star) Dinkum Dog (17) on the junction wall. At one point on Saturday, there were 10 people on the route at the same time! 

The hardest climb of the day goes to Tiaan and Clinton who both climbed 24s. The hardest climb of the weekend goes to Gosia and Drew who climbed Divine Dog (25) on the main amphitheatre.

The Courses:

Not only is the tradathon an opportunity for avid trad climbers to enjoy meeting and climbing with other trad climbers but it is also an opportunity for new climbers to try out trad!

Three courses were run over the weekend. 1: Intro to Trad, 2: Intro to Trad Lead 3: Self-rescue

Intro to trad. following: This workshop is aimed at novices who have never climbed trad. and would like to learn something about the procedures when following a leader, before embarking on a proper route. It will cover twin rope management, tying on at a stance, gear removal etc. Half day of instruction.

Intro. to trad leading: This is a “taster” workshop. There is more information to be covered than a single day’s instruction can cater for so this workshop will focus on safely placing and removing trad. gear while on lead. This workshop is suitable for climbers who already lead competently on sport at grade 18. A full day of instruction.

 

A total of 12 people attended the various courses and we shall certainly be seeing new stoked trad climbers in the mountains because of the courses. 

Special thanks

Photographers: 

Paul de Villiers & David Naude 

Accommodation and catering:

Karoo 1

Guidebook:

Tony Lourens 

Work getting the crag ready for the event:

Charles, James, Eckhardt, Cath, George, Simon, Deidre, Tony.

Guest Speaker:

Brigitte PegadoA Full Circle, from starting trad at the Black Diamond Tradthon to teaching trad at the Tradathon.

Check out the photos

All the photos from this year’s tradathon can be found on facebook: Here 

The Winner of the 15K trad rack is:

Anthony Bertasso

Tradathon 2023?!

If you missed this year’s tradathon have no fear, the 10th edition of the tradathon will be taking place next year. Stay tuned for details, the only hint we can give you is this: it might just be out of the western cape! 

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