The Molar

20 Mar 2021 01:57 - 20 Mar 2021 02:00 #76631 by tonymarshall
The Molar was created by tonymarshall
On the second weekend of March AndrewP, ghaznavid and tonymarshall were at Injisuthi to climb The Molar, a climbing khulu on the escarpment to the north of Leslie's Pass.

All being Gautengers, we drove down together in Andrew's car on Friday morning, and walked in to tent at Marble Baths campsite on Friday afternoon. On Saturday we hiked up Leslie's Pass with our climbing gear, did the climb, and hiked back down to our tents, which we had left pitched with our other things in them for the day. On Sunday morning we hiked back out to the Injisuthi office, and then drove back to Gauteng.

The photo below shows Andrew (orange shirt) and Jonathan (blue shirt) on the hike up Leslies Pass, with the Molar, 3045 m, at the centre of the photo. The top of Leslies Pass is the low point to the left of the photo. 



Higher up the pass, we had these side on views to The Molar, where I have indicated the three climbing pitches. The approach to the climb is from the escarpment side (left in the photos). 

 


Once at the top of Leslie's Pass, we headed north east along the escarpment, skirting Leslie's Pass Peak, and approaching The Molar from the west. The photo below shows the view to The Molar from the escarpment, and we had a short scramble down through the rock band below where I took the photo from, and walked along the grass ledge to the base of pitch 1. 



Andrew led all three pitches, and the photo below shows him near the base of Pitch 1. The pitch starts with a stemming move up between the pillar to the left and the slightly overhanging face on the right, and in the photo Andrew has just stepped across onto the face while Jonathan belays from below. 



The two photos below show Andrew on the first pitch. 

 


I went up second, and the photo below shows the view down from the top of the first pitch, with Jonathan at the base between the pillar and the face. 

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Last edit: 20 Mar 2021 02:00 by tonymarshall.
The following user(s) said Thank You: tiska, Joe Welman

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20 Mar 2021 02:06 - 20 Mar 2021 02:16 #76632 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic The Molar
Jonathan took a long time at the base of Pitch 1, and eventually decided that he could not climb it, and told us to continue the climb without him. We were both sad to leave our friend behind, and I spent a lot of time wondering if I should rather have let Jonathan go second so that I could assist him from below.

We took our rope and walked along the top of the block we were on to the top of Pitch 2, and abseiled down to the chockstone. The photo below shows Andrew and Tony at the top of Pitch 2 above the chockstone (photo courtesy of ghaznavid).

 

We abseiled down Pitch 2 to the chockstone, leaving the rope in place for the return climb up Pitch 2 later on, and did the Pitch 3 exposed scramble. In the photo below, Tony is on Pitch 3 with the rope in the background at the overhanging Pitch 2, with the chockstone below.

 

The photo below shows Tony on Pitch 3 with Andrew belaying, and the chockstone at the left of the photo (photo courtesy of ghaznavid).

 

Once up Pitch 3, it was a short walk up a grass slope to the summit of The Molar.

 

Andrew and Tony on the summit of The Molar (photo courtesy of ghaznavid).

 

Our summit photo.

 

We then returned and scrambled down Pitch 3 to the chockstone, and did the tricky return up Pitch 2. Andrew prussicked up, standing on the chockstone high point to gain some height and swinging on the rope to the face of Pitch 2. Once up Pitch 2, Andrew tied some knots and loops in the rope for me to climb up on, and I also requested that he position the rope more to the right (see the Pitch 2 photo with the rope above) so that I could climb the lower height on the rope to the rock ledge on the right. So then I also swung into the face on the rope, and climbed up the rope, spinning randomly around, until I could reach the rock ledge, and then climb up onto the rock ledge, and then on the rock and grass to the top of the pitch.

We took the rope back to Pitch 1, Andrew set up an anchor on a rock, and I abseiled back down first. Andrew abseils down Pitch 1 in the photos below. Since Jonathan didn't get up Pitch 1, we retrieved the gear on Pitch 1 while abseiling back down.

 
 

So it was an interesting climb, and bagging of a technical khulu that I did not expect to achieve. I was very pumped to have done it, but felt quite sad that Jonathan hadn't. We scrambled back up the rock band to the escarpment, and had a quick lunch at some nearby water, before heading back down Leslie's Pass to our tents at Marble Baths campsite. It was great to arrive back at tents already set up with all our things inside (and untouched) in daylight, and to be able to relax and reflect on a wonderful day out.

Thanks to Andrew for inviting us to join him on the climb, for convincing me that I could do it, and for leading all the difficult pitches. Jonathan will post some more information of the climb, and share some more details and photos.

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Last edit: 20 Mar 2021 02:16 by tonymarshall.
The following user(s) said Thank You: diverian, Stijn, tiska, ghaznavid, Smurfatefrog, TheRealDave, grae22, Christinejvr, wildingo

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20 Mar 2021 10:23 - 20 Mar 2021 10:55 #76633 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic The Molar
Thanks for the writeup Tony!

It would have been nice to be on the summit as well, but I think I would really have struggled to get up from the chockstone to the middle summit - so it was a good call in the end, even if that wasn't the reason I made the call.

For context of exposure from that stemming sequence - here's a still from my GoPro:
 

Not much for me to add, Tony has basically covered everything.

Here's a video of Andrew abseiling back down pitch 1 in 4k:


My writeup is at this link

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Last edit: 20 Mar 2021 10:55 by ghaznavid.

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02 Apr 2021 15:58 #76668 by jackson
Replied by jackson on topic The Molar
Hey guys, lekker write up and it looks like a fun day out!
Was this a first ascent? I can't find a RD for this route anywhere in my collection, I only know of a climb on the Molar up in the Mbundini area. Would you guys mind putting up the RD, or perhaps letting me know where I could find it? Thanks
 

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07 Apr 2021 03:05 #76682 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic The Molar
Yes, I was quite surprised not to be able to find an RD on the MCSA database before we went to do the climb. It was certainly not a first ascent as there was a substantial cairn on the summit. We thought that this was probably a more popular climb in bygone days, and doesn't get much attention lately, like several other minor berg peaks.

I'll try to get an RD done with help from the other guys.

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