Climbing in the Quarry

in blurt •  6 months ago 


Last Sunday my son and I joined a couple friends for a morning climb at the Higgovale Quarry. We live in Cape Town, South Africa and this specific quarry has been only a kilometre away from my parents home since before I was born. It’s also special because it’s on the slopes of Table Mountain, a well known world heritage site.

We parked in Glenco Crescent and took a short walk along the single track path towards the quarry. It took all of two minutes to get to the fence and gate. If the gate is locked then just pop through the hole on the left hand side.

The quarry opens up into huge walls of Granite and is quite a site to behold. The other two that we were meeting were already climbing when we arrived and I was anxious to try out the routes. It was my first time climbing in the quarry even though I’ve wandered around many times as a child.

My son first climbed a trickier route. He has become quite a climber in less than a year. It’s his passion and I’m only too happy to be able to share it with him.

Then Seth set up a top rope for me to climb an easier route to the left of his route. It’s one of the easiest routes in the quarry, but its also a good place to warm up.

Climbing on granite in the quarry is quite different to the sandstone that we are used to at the Lower Silvermine Crags. I’ll post about that soon. The Granite is smooth and cool and edges tend to be sharp.

The shade of the morning was welcome.

I quickly started climbing and soon had to reroute as my son gave me directions from below on belay. Finding routes outdoors is also a while new experience from climbing indoors. Indoors the route holds are colour coded and graded with a sticker, but outdoors you have to rely on feeling the rock and looking for other climbers chalk left behind from previous climbs. This isn’t always possible if there’s been a big rain recently as all the chalk would be washed away.

Zoë climbing

The first section was a gentle scramble, more like something I would do an a good hike.

But as I traversed across the granite towards a narrow crack across the rock, I had to concentrate on my hand placement.

The foot placement was easy as I followed the crack with my toes. But the hand holds we’re a little more elusive.

Eventually I made it across to the vertical crack and pulled myself up to the next section where you will see the tree growing out of the granite on my right.

The final climb up was relatively easy and I made quick work of it to the top.

After this climb my dad had a go and made it to the top.

Then we moved over to another wall to the left of where we had been named Stompy. This was a more difficult climb that the better climbers were attempting. Seth flashes it getting straight to the top in just a few minutes.

Seth Climbing at the quarry

I then climbed another easy route on the far left before the sun started moving towards the cliff face and it was getting too hot.

It was a successful day of climbing outdoors and I’m keen to get back there very soon.

If you’re a climber out there pop me a message and tell me where you’re from and your favourite routes.

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