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Cape Town

The Mother City of South African climbing. By far the widest selection of rock climbing and bouldering in South Africa all with easy access from one of the finest cities to visit in the world

The cosmopolitan euro-centric hub of South Africa, Cape Town is the gateway to climbing and bouldering in the Western Cape (incl. The Cederberg). As a city it boasts a good safety record (for the areas generally visited by travellers and climbers) by South African standards.

Seasons:

The Mediterranean Climate means that from an adventure / climbing point of view the dominant considerations for us are avoiding the heat and the summer wind and to a lesser degree the winter rain.

Summer (Nov-Apr):

Dominated by the South-Easter (a gusty and low-level wind) which give Table Mountain it's fabled Table Cloth, it affects most of the climbing in the Peninsula. Summer days are long but hot, definitely aim to climb or hike in the Shade of the day. Peak Tourist season is also something to consider: mid December - late January can be unpleasantly busy.

Autumn  (Apr-Jun):

Our preferred season for general climbing and adventuring. The days do start to get short but the wind and heat go away. The only real note is the saying: It always rains over the Easter Weekend.

Winter (Jun-Oct):

Historically Cape Town was known for its long periods of rain in the winter, however global weather change seems to have reduced that drudgery. Early winter (1st 2 weeks of June) often has some of the finest days of the year! Winter is not over until end September with September actually offering some of the worst as far as storms go. The Rocklands season is best from Jun-late August where temps are crisp. Peninsular crags can be cold in the shade and actually quite pleasant in the sun.

Spring (Oct - Nov):

We've given Spring a very short window primarily because of the late September winter storms and the arrival of the South Easter in late November. The difference between Spring and Autumn, from a climbing point of view, is related to the high water table / saturation after the winter rains which in extreme and rare cases impacts crag seepage. Other than that, a fine time of the year to adventure.

Travel:

Within the City itself the public transport system is very good - by South African standards - however, as with everywhere in South Africa, it is very difficult to rely on public transport to get to the crags (and hitchhiking carries its own risks)

Shopping:

Many shopping malls and so forth cater very well to the shopping needs, and Cape Town is the most Vegan / Vegetarian friendly City in South Africa. Climbing gear stores are limited (due to South Africa's small climbing community), but the available range is remarkably wide and comprehensive. Visit our store here.

Climbing Gyms:

Cape Town plays host to the largest Indoor Climbing Gym City Rock as well as the largest Bouldering gym Bloc11, both being very good facilities.

Bouldering:

The Peninsular Bouldering is remarkably good and only relatively unknown because of Rocklands being a 3 hour drive away. The majority of bouldering requires a committed embrace of walking uphill, the advantage being it's often a little cooler than the sport crags.

-- We Rent Bouldering Pads --

Sport Climbing:

Crags close to the sea have systematically been re-bolted after a number of bolt failures due to Stress Corrosion Cracking (SCC) - please consider donating to the Anchor replacement Fund, an MCSA initiative.

In general:

  • Permission is required to bolt new routes - THIS IS TO PRESERVE ACCESS FOR EVERYBODY - contact us for more info.
  • Please Top-Rope off your own 'draws to preserve the lower-off-rings
  • Please respect I.P routes

The South Easter (wind) makes many Peninsular Crags unpleasant, and some are prone to becoming coated in salty grime (colloquially called schlauk) - the worst affected being The Mine and The Hole.

If it's rainy, The Mine offers some protected routes or, better yet, head to Montagu for a day or two. The Cederberg is only 60km from the Atlantic coast and is often susceptible to the same cold front as Cape town.

-- We Rent Sport Climbing Gear --

Trad Climbing:

Blessed with exceptional traditional climbing, the trad community is remarkably small - please respect the community. The routes on Table Mountain and Lionshead have equipped abseil anchors in strategic locations, to make your life easier and to limit abseil tat - please try to keep it that way.
The compact Sandstone / Quartzite rock offers, generally, good protection (wires & cams), but is characterised by many horizontal rails (rather than vertical cracks). As a result the routes often traverse a bit and the use of half-ropes is advised (also useful for some of the longer abseils).

In general:

  • DO NOT RETROBOLT
  • Please respect the ethic of no new (as in since '90's) bolts in trad areas
  • Absolutely NO bolts on Table Mountain / Lions Head
  • Headpointing is accepted (just be honest when spraying about your send)

-- We Rent Trad Gear --

Alpine Rock Routes (Country Routes):

The Cape Fold Mountains offer great adventure climbing (aka Alpine Rock). While not remote in distance terms, they are remote from a rescue sense - please take that into consideration. The nature of the tectonic folding inherently makes the routes prone to sections of loose / dodgy rock quality, not helped by the infrequence of ascents. Be careful.

In general:

  • DO NOT RETROBOLT
  • Please respect the ethic of no new (as in since '90's) bolts in trad areas
  • Absolutely NO bolts on Table Mountain / Lions Head
  • Headpointing is accepted (just be honest when spraying about your send)

Regions Serviced by

Cape Town

Cape Town & Peninsular

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Bouldering
Sport
Trad
Big wall
Alpine
Ice
Loosely following the metropolitan boundary (but including Kleinmond crags) of Cape Town, stretching from the Southern area's of Noordhoek to the Table Mountain Massif.
3
km -
30
km
from
Cape Town
0
m -
1000
m ASL

Little Karoo

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Bouldering
Sport
Trad
Big wall
Alpine
Ice
List of Climbs in the Overberg
160
km -
km
from
Cape Town
300
m -
640
m ASL