South Ifidi Pinnacle

19 Jun 2019 10:30 #75090 by allisterfenton

Heading out to climb South Ifidi Pinnacle (E) this weekend. Any recommendations for the rack? I'm thinking of going quite light as I'm pretty confident and a strong trad climber: 1 rope, a few draws, 5 cams (BD .4 - 2), 7 or 8 nuts, 2 hexes.

My real questions are about the approach and descent.

The rd says we will need to ab in (leaving a 50m rope fixed) and use that rope to ascend back to the escarpment. Would we be able to scramble around (up and down) in decent time or would the hassle of carrying the extra rope and gear to leave be more worthwhile than trying to scramble around? If we do leave the rope, how much prussiking is required and would jumars be a better plan?

Would we be able to do the descent abseils with a single 60? The longest pitch is 25m.



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19 Jun 2019 18:26 - 19 Jun 2019 18:30 #75094 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic South Ifidi Pinnacle
Hi Allister and welcome to VE.

For alpine basalt your cams are in the right range, that would be my choice. Having said that, I happen to have GoPro videos of the route, which I would otherwise have forgotten. AndrewP lead the first 2 pitches combined and only slung 3 chockstones.  I lead the top pitch and only slung one chockstone, placed a big blue DMM Dragon, and then slung a small wormhole - that was it. Its a straightforward enough climb that I think you could find protection without a No. 3 cam. For some reason that's what we had and that's what I used.

About the abseils, I seem to remember 2 well established abseil stations, and the 2nd abseil is very short. I can't say with 100% certainty that a 60m will be enough on the top abseil as I can't remember it clearly enough, but you are probably fine (we had 2x50m ropes). There are probably enough chockstones to make a plan if it isn't enough.

The view down the first abseil:

View down the second abseil:

The approach gully: we did not use the peg described in the RD nor did we look for it. We down-climbed the first section on the steep, grassy part next to the gully where the peg should be. This was quite precarious, and I recall using a system of little earthy mounds stuck to a rock slab, that moved as you stepped and held onto them. We then came back into the rocky gully and set up the fixed line that we did have but by then I think the worst was already over. Climbing up was not an issue for us at the time, even the part where we didn't have a rope in place we landed up going a different way which worked out OK. If you put your fixed line into the peg you might need to prusik. I would carry a fixed line in, the walk in isn't hard or far. I'm not sure you need as much as 50m (could be though), we did not have that much on us, but can't remember how long exactly. Hope this helps.

This shot shows the South Ifidi Gendarme on the left (which is a really cool but much harder climb) and the access gully on the right:

The fixed line we had in the access gully (we came down from the left of the picture and went up somewhere in that direction again, but I think the peg route is more direct):

Have fun and please let us know how it goes.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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Last edit: 19 Jun 2019 18:30 by intrepid.

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19 Jun 2019 20:08 #75095 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic South Ifidi Pinnacle

allisterfenton wrote: 2 hexes.

Not route specific - but does anyone ever actually manage to get hex placements in Drakensberg basalt? I have stopped carrying hexes on Berg trips. I find small nuts, cams and slings are the only gear placements I ever get. My DMM IMPS have been particularly fun - although until you fall on them, you don't know if they are actually any use.

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02 Jul 2019 09:26 #75129 by Macc
Replied by Macc on topic South Ifidi Pinnacle

ghaznavid wrote: does anyone ever actually manage to get hex placements in Drakensberg basalt?

Yeah, plenty of times...but if you are going to leave something in the car, a bulky hex does seem like a better idea than a cam of a bunch of nuts.

"The three rules of mountaineering: It’s always further, taller and harder than it looks."

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08 Jul 2019 18:38 #75142 by allisterfenton
Replied by allisterfenton on topic South Ifidi Pinnacle

Sorry for the delayed reply but life has been pretty hectic.

We had planned on doing the hike from Sentinel Car Park pretty quickly, but being rock climbers we're not very hiking fit and only got to Ifidi at 3pm, we decided we were too wrecked to go hard on the gnarly looking terrain and the early winter sunset was approaching too soon for us to feel comfortable. I think we made the wise decision to head to the cave and have an early cup of tea and watch the sunset (so beautiful, Caesars Palace is definitely worth a visit). Thanks for the help, definitely keen to go back with a better approach plan and get to the area with more time for climbing shenanigans. Maybe a Friday mission to camp at the falls, with an early Saturday hike and climb, then Sunday for the hike back would be better.

Many thanks


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