25 Jun 2024 11:02 #79122 by grae22
Replied by grae22 on topic Column

A week ago, Geoff, Allen, Franco and myself climbed the Escarpment Arete route on Column.  Ernie unfortunately came down sick so spent the day manning the hut which turned out to be a rather useful job.  This is a good, fun route that involves some fun rock moves, really good exposure on the arete itself and a few honest moves on grass tufts to remind you that you are in the Drakensberg.  The climb seems to average an ascent every 18 months or so.
We knew that the lower 2 abseils had been bolted, but you still needed a whole lot of tat for the upper abseil(s).  Yes, really.  We decided to rectify the situation.
We placed 2 additional abseil points.

  • At the top of the lower summit, which is essentially the top of the Escarpment Arete route, you will find chains overlooking the large ledge 20m below, at a point near the arete you have just climbed. In the photo from Gavin's RD, it is very close to the A near the top of pitch 5.
  • The 2nd set of chains is on the rock forming a large overhang above the final pitch.  This is marked with the red arrow in the copy of the pic from Gavin's RD. We had 60m ropes, but by measuring the rope we had left over, it seems to be a 49m abseil directly onto the bolts next to the flake at the top of pitch 3.
 From here, follow the established line down the route you have climbed.  The abseil from the bolts next to the flake needs several m horizontal travel leftwards (facing into the rock) to reach the bolts at the top of top of pitch 1. In the process, we removed a large amount of tat from the flake (why nobody has removed it previously is of course a mystery, but luckily the summit book gives a complete list of all offenders).  A lot still remains at the boulders forming the end of the climbing and the original abseil down the upper section of the climb.  The amount of tat heading down Thomson’s route can only be described as impressive. Can future ascentionists please clean up some more tat. We placed an additional 2 bolts along the way.
  • The top of pitch 2 previously had as its primary anchor a piece of tat through a drilled hole.  This tat is years old, and none of our tat was going to fit the hole, so we were unable to replace it.  A single bolt now beefs up this stance.
  • I also placed a bolt midway up the aid section of pitch 2.  Now, some of you will scorn this, and some people might want to chop it.  But, before you do, consider this.  Several m of ghastly (and old) tat has now be removed from the pitch.  So, the pitch looks a whole lot cleaner now, and you can get up it safely instead of pulling on tat that is 10+ years old.

 Can confirm the abseil to the bolts next to the flake (top of pitch 3) can be done with 50m ropes (with a couple metres to spare).

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Powered by Kunena Forum