WJ Wybergh and Lt NM McLeod first climbed the Sentinel via the standard route on 29 September 1910.

The KZN section of the mountain club of SA plans to celebrate this ascent on the weekend of the 4-5th September 2010. The idea is for as many people as possible to ascend the Sentinel via any route they wish on the morning of the 4th and then have a celebratory jol at the Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge that evening. (We are happy to provide top-ropes on the two pitches on the Standard route so you won’t need a climbing partner for standard route.)

Entertainment at the dinner will be provide by Anthony van Tonder (slides/video on modern day climbing in the Drakensberg), Gavin Raubenheimer (50th anniversary of first ascent of Angus Leppan route on the Sentinel – pictures by Cesar de Carvalho) and hopefully someone to tell us about the golden era…

Accommodation options at Witsieshoek lodge (special rates for this event):
1. Double Sentinel rooms: R310 pp sharing (includes breakfast).
2. Bungalow rooms: R280 pp sharing (includes breakfast).
3. Camping with ablutions in adjacent bungalows: R90 pp.

1. Witsieshoek have offered us a fixed evening meal for the Saturday at R75 (including desert), but there is also an a la carte menu in the main dining area (we will hopefully be in a separate area for the presentations and possibly dinner, at this stage not sure if the a la carte option will be available there).
2. The cash bar will be stocked.

Contact details for Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge:
Phone: 058 713 6361/2 or 072 223 9744
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.witsieshoek.co.za

Entry fee at the gate on the road: R10 pp.
The permit to hike is R25 pp.

So, if you are keen:
1. Let Hannelie or myself know via our e-mails. We will start a mail list so you can exchange info, look for climbing partners, lifts, etc. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2. Contact the Witsieshoek lodge as above to book accommodation. Mention you are on the MCSA Sentinel centenary weekend (to get the prices above!). All payments to them please.


Source: MCSA

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intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #2083 09 Dec 2010 08:27
For those that are interested, in the latest issue of SA Mountain Sport is an article titled "The Berg is for Baboons and Vultures" which is the story of the climb on the South East Arete which was part of the centennial climb. Two climbers got stuck on the route as you may recall. Our little group had just topped out on McLeod's Variation when our ropes where whisked away to set-up an approx. 70m top-rope to help them to the top.

You can read the introduction here:
intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #1727 14 Sep 2010 10:07
I've created a special gallery for this event. Please upload your pics here .

I'll upload more of my own pics in time to come. Have also posted GPS tracks from the event in the download section for those that are interested.
intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #1695 07 Sep 2010 21:51
@gollum: my party was alone at the summit too (ClimbyKel, Roy Turner, and myself).

We got to the base of the first pitch of the Standard Route at 9h45 and had a very long wait until the three of us were finally at the top of that pitch at 13h00! We hit the queue at a very bad time! Less than 20 minutes later we were at the base of McLeod's Variation though. By the time I got to the top of that pitch, most of the crowd had moved off the summit - John Hone and Terrence Jonker came to say hi briefly while the others were belayed up. Then Tony Van Tonder and Gavin Raubenheimer came to chat about borrowing our ropes. They had aborted their attempt on the South East Arete earlier that day (because the going was too slow) and had come up the Standard Route. Their 2 team mates had continued on the route, which eventually proved too much for them and they radioed for help. Our ropes were tied together to make about a 70m top-rope, which got them to the top just at sunset (this was after we had left)! After our lonely moment at the summit cairn we headed to the top of the Standard Route just in time to catch Nigel Bailes and co topping out on Angus-Leppan, and just in time to be the last to ab off the Mountain Club rope. We caught up with a small group of folks cleaning up the gear at the bottom pitch.

So, Standard Route had a little over 50 ascents (exact number to be confirmed). McLeod's Variation was only done by our group. Angus-Leppan had Nigel Bailes' party (around 3 I think?) and gollum's group (how many?). Another 2 aborted the route due to lack of time. An attempt was made on Paradigm Shift, but was aborted on pitch 2 due to loose bolts. South East Arete had 2 ascents (albeight on top rope for the last bit), and 2 aborted but summited via Standard Route.

No attempts on Here Be Dragons, Thatcher Route and Blood On The Rocks, as far as I am aware.
bigberg's Avatar
bigberg replied to: #1692 06 Sep 2010 21:11
the climb was great and meeting every one made it worth while. its a pitty there are not more events like this. :)
gollum's Avatar
gollum replied to: #1691 06 Sep 2010 11:26
I'm sorry I couldn't meet you guys on top - had to wait an hour or two on Angus-Leppan for other parties and then topped out at sunset. We were the very last party off the peak (so had to abseil off that single peg again :S). Luckily we always climb big routes with head torches.

intrepid, climbykel, was great meeting at last! See you in the berg sometime again!
mike's Avatar
mike replied to: #1689 06 Sep 2010 09:01
Yes what a fantastic event,even got the t shirt lol B)
Thanks to the organizers for putting it together

Was great meeting you all to ,can finally put a face to a name!
intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #1688 06 Sep 2010 08:45
The event was awesome! More than 50 people summited via various routes. Will post more details and pics later.

mike, Bigberg, gollum, John, and many others: was great meeting you guys!

Also a big thanks to various individuals of the KZN MCSA who co-ordinated the event, and many who spent the entire day belaying people at the stances of the standard route.
ClimbyKel's Avatar
ClimbyKel replied to: #1685 03 Sep 2010 09:35
@ Frosty Ice I dont think we can all wait up at the cairn til later in the year, so I gues we'll have to meet you another time. Too bad you'll miss it. Have fun.

@ Intrepid George Thompson, ha? Well he must be a pretty handsome devil then.
Frosty Ice's Avatar
Frosty Ice replied to: #1681 02 Sep 2010 12:19
Hi all, would have been super keen but will be spending the next week in the Transkei on some adventures to be had there, enjoy and please posts Loadsa pics! :-) I will probably climb the route later in the year.

intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #1680 02 Sep 2010 10:22
Climbing in socks, like some of the pioneers did? :lol:

Ja we'll probably all meet up on the summit, seems like its gonna be a long wait until we are allowed to descend back down via standard route - there are heaps of people coming up it.

Looking at the list of people attending, I think there are several more VE members.

PS I bear a striking resemblance to George Thompson...
gollum's Avatar
gollum replied to: #1679 02 Sep 2010 10:05
No, I think our VE insignia should be missing boots! :laugh:

Yes, we must be sure to meet up at the cairn!
ClimbyKel's Avatar
ClimbyKel replied to: #1677 02 Sep 2010 08:10
HI guys - looking forward to seeing you all this weekend. Make sure you find us. Shall I wear a rose in my hat or something? :P
gollum's Avatar
gollum replied to: #1676 01 Sep 2010 22:54
Yes I offered to assist/guide people with the descent down the Std route wherever necessary. That is if we complete our ascent of the Angus-Leppan route in time. Descending the Angus-Leppan will be nothing short of suicide! The only practical descent routes I know off Sentinel is down the std or rapping down Paradigms Shift.

Two people from our group will hopefully ascend Paradigms Shift - although today one of our strong climbers dropped out, and of the two now left for that route one has a slight injury. It will be awesome if we can snap photos of them from Angus-Leppan!

See you all there - drive safely!
mike's Avatar
mike replied to: #1673 01 Sep 2010 15:19
Yeah we will walk up light at about 22 00 on Friday night and either bivvy at the base of the Sentinel or take Sentinel cave.We will have to pop up the ladders bright and early to fetch water. tho

We will be relying on the top rope so will stick to the std route.
Looking forward to it :P see you on Sat
intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #1672 01 Sep 2010 14:52
We're probably going for McLeod's Variation, though we may fall back onto Standard Route. We'll have to take our place in the queue for the top rope on the bottom pitch regardless though.

Mike you guys are sleeping over on the mountain? And which route? We managed to get a camping spot at Witsies today due to a cancellation, so gollum we probably won't see you at the car park (except maybe Saturday morning bright and early) but will see you somewhere on the peak or at Witsies.

Anyone still looking for climbing partners or trying interesting routes?
mike's Avatar
mike replied to: #1671 01 Sep 2010 14:14
Hi Gollum

I beleive you helping ppl down on Sat
Are you descending via Angus Leppan route or std route?

Intrepid and ClimbyKel which route will you be doing?
gollum's Avatar
gollum replied to: #1670 31 Aug 2010 16:25
\m/ :evil: \m/
mike's Avatar
mike replied to: #1667 31 Aug 2010 13:56
YEs :woohoo:
myself and Bigberg