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Secret Valley

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Summary

The routes may be short (30 feet), but the location, just minutes from the heart of Kigali, and the scenic setting on the steep slopes of Mt. Jali make “Secret Valley” very popular.

Description

The most popular routes are in close proximity, starting on the right (facing up) with the prominent couloir (note the name “Couloir” in fading white paint at is base). Routes are described right to left.

Access issues

To reach the cliffs, drive toward Gitarama but, before leaving the crowded environs of Kigali (and well before the turn off to Ruhengeri), take a hidden dirt road down an embankment, over a bridge, across a soccer pitch, and then right following the river with several bridges that lack railings (drive carefully, especially if wet!). After 10 minutes, you will see the cliffs high on the hill to your right. Turn around and park 200 meters further back.

Descend on a trail to the river and cross it (former bridge was washed out so the river may need to be forded – making Secret Valley not ideal after heavy rains). Pick up a series of steep trails which first traverse left then head more or less straight up. After 20 minutes or so from the car, traverse left to the base of the cliffs or continue higher and the head left across a slab to reach the cliff top (where a lone tree provides a top rope anchor). An extra rope is needed to extend the anchor 50 feet down to the cliff edge. Also, the rope crosses over a walking path, so it may be wise to pay a "guard".

From the top, a scramble descent to the right (facing down) is possible, but use care as there is some exposure.

We parked at -1.926225, 30.027343 or 1°55'34.4"S 30°01'38.4"E, which is on the road about parallel to the cliffs. Be careful of the river; it hadn't yet started raining where we were but the river rose rapidly and we had to ford it on the way back.

Approach

With such a long distance to the anchor, people should keep rope stretch in mind. The face is so short that you could potentially deck hard on a fall if you use two dynamic ropes.

Routes

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Grade Route

Hard- A steep face to the right of Couloir. 5.9

FA: unknown

The best route at Secret Valley.

Climb the couloir to a steep crescendo finish. 5.7 +.

FA: unknown

The stepped buttress to the left of Couloir . 5.9

FA: unknown

The gully/corner to the left of Escalator. 5.3

FA: unknown

A nice, sustained face climb to the left of Easy Up. 5.7 Reportedly a frog was first observed climbing this route, hence the name.

FA: unknown

Just left of Frog I, pull up the steep wall and finish. 5.8

FA: unknown

The short face climb on the boulder just below the climbs described above. This is the same outcrop where the kids gather to watch the climbing. You need a very large sling to set up an anchor over the top of the boulder.

Rating unknown 5.8+ is a guess.

FA: unknown

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