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Description

When the climbers first arrived at the Coven, the candles and grafitti made them wonder what sort of ceremonies were conducted here. Probably just a Zionist clan… anyway, this crag hosts a few amazing technical climbs. This crag used to be one of the busiest around but these days it‟s quiet, break the trend and go tick the classics; Lucifer Goes to the Gunks, Screaming Demons and Shout at the Devil and plenty of others.

Access issues inherited from Waterval Boven

Best is by car but see bus info below. There is actually no need at all to venture into Johannesburg itself (not that it‟s such a bad place, some people love it!). From Johannesburg airport (O R Tambo International) take the R21 south for a few kilometers then the N12 east towards Witbank, which becomes the N4. These are excellent highways and within two hours (several kilometers after the second toll gate) the turn-off to Waterval Boven is reached on the right. Note: the highway splits into two

1.5 kilometres after the second toll gate. Both are still signed N4 Nelspruit, but only one of them passes Boven! Keep straight, don‟t take the left fork, many first time visitors make the mistake of going left which leads in completely the wrong direction!

The expensive toll gate just before Boven can be fairly easily avoided by turning off (right) at Machadodorp, approximately 15 kilometres before Boven. Drive into Machadodorp then take the tar road towards Badplaas (signed) for approx 13 kms, then turn left towards „Nkmomati Mine‟. After 3.2 kms turn left onto a gravel road signed Waterval Boven. Keep on this, keeping left at the fork at 6.5 kms, the road leads past the Tranquilitas Adventure farm and the Wonderland crags and after another 8 kilometres or so into Boven town, about 10-15 minutes later than if you had gone through the toll. If it‟s been raining very heavily this road can be unpassable in a normal car, however it dries very quickly (within a few hours).

Once in Boven, Roc „n Rope Adventures is easily found, on the opposite corner is the Shamrock Arms pub. Stop in and say “howzit” and get directions, either to the Climbers‟ Lodge or to Tranquilitas. While in town pick up some beer and some cheap (but excellent) steak and boerewors from the butcher (Slaghuis), be sure to ask for the climbers‟ discount.

There are a couple of shuttle-bus services that leave/return to Joburg once a day. At the time of writing „Jereh‟ will drop you off at roc and rope. Contact them on 082 378 3614; they will soon have a website. The other service is the Lowveld Link

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(www.lowveldlink.com) but they only drop at the Boven turn off from the N4 but its only 1-2 kms from there to Roc and Rope. Expect to pay between R 300 and 400 return.

Approach

A. Drive up the hill from Roc and Rope. 300 metres past the hospital there is a gravel road on the left leading down the ACRA Retreat Bed and Breakfast. Park INSIDE the ACRA retreat – just ring the bell and the owners will welcome you. Be sure to have a beer on the deck afterwards, its stunning.. From the house. walk down the hill a little then diagonally down left along the cliff top. Cross over a small stream before finding an obvious gulley. Scramble down here and follow a trail keeping left and along the base of the crag.

B. Approach as for Flying is Fun. Then walk down a trail at the base of the route Midnight Mission, turn left and over a huge flat rock. Pass through the stream and up the other side.

Routes

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Grade Route

This climb is on the trail, 30 metres before the main crag is reached. Climbs the buttress just before a step leading up to the gulley.

FA: Darryl Margetts, 1996

The same as POD, but deviate neither to right nor left.

FA: Alison Cowley, 1995

On the smooth brown wall at the left of the crag. At Bolt#2 up a seam on the right till this becomes too hard. Back to the middle (bolt#3 hard to clip) then up using the crack on the left. Maybe a bit easier if you're tall.

FA: Clive Curson, 1994

10m left of the lunch spot. Pull the roof on wild holds!

FA: Clive Curson, 1994

A route with hangers just right of Lucifer and also sustained.

FA: Gustav Janse van Rensburg, 2000

Takes the thin crackline a few meters left of the main cave, past some well jammed blocks through the overlap.

FA: Clive Curson, 1994

5 bolts as for 666. Step right and break through the overlap near the right end (3-4m left of the BLACK MAGIC seam). Reachy.

FA: Clive Curson, 1994

Clip 5 bolts up 666, traverse right to a beautiful seam through the headwall directly above the cave. Take 2-3 super long draws. It is quite possible to do the route on a 50m rope. Can be done as a 2 pitch mission.

FA: Clive Curson, 1994

This climb starts from a u-bolt and hanger placed just right of the start of the last pitch of black magic. One can first do BM to warm up on or climb in from the TTGTH traverse from the right.

FA: Gustav Janse van Rensburg, 2003

Clip first five bolts of THE PIT and move left, blast through the roof to the right of the BLACK MAGIC seam and up the open book corner. Take a couple of long slings.

FA: Jens Richter, 2000

he very steep bulge has a bolt in it and anchors and is open for anyone to try..if you feel inspired.

A retro-bolted trad adventure. a) 17 (6D,A) Climb the PIT jamcrack just right of the cave to a stance. b) 20 (7D,A) Rail leftwards past the peapod to a stance. c) 21 (6D,A) Climb the BLACK MAGIC seam to the summit. Or just do it as one pitch with long slings and a 50m rope.

FA: Clive Curson, 1994

The first pitch of TRIED TO GO TO HEAVEN. Climb the crack to lower-offs at a ledge. Don't blow the 3rd clip.

FA: Clive Curson, 1994

The open book. A bolted trad-like classic.

FA: Clive & Barbara Curson, 1994

The blunt arete just right of BBGMG.

FA: Glenn Harrison, 1994

Phenomenal climbing on the steep face 6m right of the BBGMG corner.

FA: Darryl Margetts, 1994

The thin looking face just left of the corner.

FA: Darryl Margetts, 1994

The left-facing corner and roof crack. More trad stuff.

FA: Clive Curson & Cathy O'Dowd, 1994

The right hand variation after the roof. Fingery.

FA: Clive Curson, 1994

Very height dependent. One move, one star!

FA: Darryl Margetts, 1996

Starts 5m right of the HOWLING IN HADES corner. Good warm up route.

FA: Darryl Margetts & Andrew Lynch, 1994

Starts just right of DEVIL'S CONCUBINE up a vague corner. Pull the overlap and continue up the slab above to chains.

FA: Darryl Margetts, 1994

This climbs the root-infested gulley 10m to the right of DD. Shares chains with DEVIL'S DISCIPLE. Expect to get your ropes damp in the wet season.

FA: Darryl Margetts & Greg Devine, 1995

Starts up God of Small things then moves left then up on very small holds. Opened at 30! Alternative start bolted by A. Pedley, won‟t change the grade and nicer, being independent and direct. Opened at 30..! Needs a 2nd ascent.

FA: Jens Richter, 2003

Takes the line up the middle of the face on small holds. Superbly technical.

FA: Jens Richter, 2003

A fantastic line. Takes the right hand edge of the eye-catching face.

FA: Gunther Migeotte, 1994

Activity

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