A Crag Guide gives an extensive view of all sub areas and climbs at a point in the index. It shows a snapshot of the index heirachy, up to 300 climbs (or areas) on a single web page. It shows selected comments climbers have made on a recently submitted ascent.
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Table of contents
- Unique Features And Strengths:
Monteseel is all Trad climbing on sandstone.
- Access Issues:
No form of booking, notification or registration is required to climb at Monteseel. Although the public currently has right of access to these crags, the usual norms of civilised behaviour obviously still apply
The Monteseel crags are roughly half way between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. From either city, take the N3 toll road and turn off at the "Hammersdale" off-ramp (exit 34). If approaching from the Pietermaritzburg side, then turn left at the end of the off-ramp, follow the road round a sharp bend and back in the direction of Pietermaritzurg. If approaching from the Durban side, you obviously turn right at the end of the off-ramp, cross the bridge over the N3, then follow the road round the same sharp bend. Continue on for about two kilometres, cross a bridge over a railway line, and then, a couple of hundred metres further, take the turn-off that leads sharply back to the right. This road winds up a hill, past Cordies Hotel (formerly the Colorado) on your right, and reaches a T-junction about a kilometre from the previous turn-off. At the T-junction, turn right and follow the road that winds up to the top of Inchanga Hill. About two kilometres from the T-junction, just before the top of the hill, take the turn to left that is sign-posted "Monteseel". Drive about 100 m up a small hill to another T-junction and turn left into Albert Street. Take the second turn to the right into Seeles Drive. Follow this gravel road for about half a kilometre and park on the side of the road adjacent to a T-junction formed by a gravel road on the right. The Lower Middle Buttress and near Eastern Buttress are barely 50 m away on the left.
Climbing is allowed as long as no plants are dammaged. No bolting is allowed. Most pegs have been cut. No damaging the rock in anyway. There are people living below so no throwing things off the cliff. There are also people living above the cliff so be respectfull.
The line that sticks mainly to the left of the face left of Cain.
The standard beginners route on excellent rock. Takes the furthest, obvious easy angled face visible from the path that leads down between the Eastern and the Lower Middle Buttresses. Start just left of a small tree below a big corner. Climb directly up the middle of the face and exit up the shallow crack.
An excellent layback crack climb with good protection. Start in the big corner, on top of the blocks to the right of Cain. Follow the crack in the corner to the top.
FA: Des Watkins, 1960
Child of Darkness
A superb route on a steep wall. Start as for Adam. Pull through the small triangular roof and continue up the wall keeping to the left of the Think Twice corner. Move left and then up to the bolt. Finish up the break.
FA: Andy de Klerk, 1985
Child of Darkness Direct
Instead of moving left at the bolt on Child of Darkness, move right and finish directly onto the block above the Think Twice finish. There is a three metre runout at the top.
FA: Steve Bradshaw, 1985
A good route with an interesting crux. Harder for people of restricted growth. Start on the same blocks as for Adam.
Climb the steep face to a peg and continue up the recess to a roof. Pull through the overhang, initially using a crack on the right, and then move left onto the face and up onto the block.
FA: Mike Roberts, 1968
One of the most popular routes at the crag, and one which lives up to its name. This gently overhung face is usually the culmination of any beginner’s first day at the crags. Start slightly right of Think Twice, below a block jutting out of the face above.
Climb the steep face on good holds to a thin ledge with a peg on the left. Continue straight up and move right onto the obvious block. Climb directly up to the top exiting up a steep crack.
FA: Sherman Ripley and Jim Thomson, 1963
FA: Andy Alcock and Bryan Cooke, 1988
Paragon of deception
The climb starts to the left of No Feet, about 1 meter from the corner. This is a direct line. Always try to keep as close to the corner as possible without straying from the root. This climb is best done on trad lead. This is not for beginners in trad as the placements need to be bomber due to the longer lead-outs. It is a fairly simple beginning but after the second placement it becomes smooth and very balancey as you move from ledge to ledge. This crux is not one for the body but one of the mind. After a long leadout and very balancy moves you will pull up onto a ledge with nowhere to place gear. The next placement is not far but it is where people will get scared and bail out. Overall a great climb on lead and a good top rope for beginners.
FA: Luke Davis, 2014
The original line, opened by Archie Cockburn in 1956, takes the corner with the tree and traverses left near the top to finish up a recess. It has been superseded by a much better line up the middle of the face which is well protected with small to medium wires and Friends, contrary to statements in previous guides. Takes the face around the corner to the right of Think.
Climb diagonally left for a few moves and then move right to the middle of the face. Continue straight up finishing on the right hand side of a prominent block at the top.
FA: Unknown, 1975
A steep traverse in a fine position. Start in the corner of the No Feet face below a tree. Climb the corner to just past the tree. Step right onto the face at the level of the obvious hand rail. Traverse at this level until it is possible to climb up diagonally right to a cubbyhole on the corner. Move around the corner and climb the vague crack in the face to the top.
FA: Tony Ferrar and Arthur Aylen, 1960
A variation of Nog High using its foot rail (at the level of the tree) as a hand rail.
FA: Sherman Ripley and Jim Thomson, 1961
Contrived, but technical with some good moves. Start as for Nog High and continue on this climb until four metres along the traverse from the tree. Climb straight up from this point keeping left of the shallow open book. Move right to exit.
FA: Mike Roberts and Pete Muir, 1978
Sleep of Unreason
Start as for White Rider/Stalking the Nightmare to the blank section with two bolts. Thin moves past the bolts lead to the top
FA: Andy de Klerk, 1988
Stalking the Nightmare
FA: Evan Wiercx, 1988
Probably the first route of this grade in South Africa. Starts below a short face to the left of a section of crumbly rotten rock. Climb the short face up to the roof using a layaway. Move slightly right and pull desperately onto the wall above. Continue straight up the face and finish as for Noggon.
FA: Mike Roberts, 1981
FA: Rogers Natrass, 1989
A very popular route that lives up to its name - follow the splodges. Climb the recess on the left-hand side of the crumbly rock and pull through the roof onto the wall above. Continue past a flake to the Nog High rail. Move left and pull through the roof above to finish straight up.
FA: Steve Bradshaw, Andy de Klerk and Andrew Forsyth, 1983
Awaiting His Return
FA: D. Woods, 1992
|16||Paragon of deception||20m|
|20||Awaiting His Return|
|24||Child of Darkness Direct|
|25||Child of Darkness|
|26||Stalking the Nightmare|
|27||Sleep of Unreason|