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Summary

This incredible granite plug is a bit hard to reach, but once you are there, you'll be happy you came. Only trad climbed once, so a chance for second ascent and new lines abound.

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Description

About a 20 minute drive outside of Kaabong is the rock of Naita. We climbed it in four pitches, though it could have been done in less (see below). There was no evidence that anyone had climbed it before. We saw no pitons or tack at the top or anywhere along the way. Locals also told us that nobody has ever been on top. The top of pitch two and part of pitch three are accessible by a difficult walk and scramble up a chimney, so a local boy or two may join you along this section. One joined us, collected firewood and threw it down past us as we climbed. You can walk down from pitch two or three if you decide to turn around, though the hardest pitch is the first pitch, so if you send that one, you might as well go for the summit. We did this in rainy season and it wasn’t too hot or too bushy.

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Access issues

Free and unrestricted however expect to be asked for money. Only climbed once so access negotiations would be ongoing. We gave a small gift of rice.

The local community was very friendly, but unlike some other places in Uganda, it felt as though this community had experienced very few outside visitors. They greeted us with a mixture of excitement, expectation and fear. As leaving, we gifted some dried beans to a local woman and gave two men a lift to Kaabong. We were repeatedly asked for money, but didn’t give any. We departed with mostly good feelings all the way around, though a couple folks were clearly disappointed with our refusal to give cash. However, a local man assured us that we would be welcome back to climb again.

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Approach

Naita Rock, Village of Yorun outside of Kaabong, Lat 3.56607 Lon 34.14223

Drive and walk up: Leave Kaabong on the road to Kidepo, just outside of town, turn right by small mountain with the large radio tower, continue straight for awhile and then turn right. You will be able to see Naita Rock on your right. Decent village roads get you about 200m from the rock. There is an impressive local settlement manyatta called Yorun at the base of the rock, so there are trails all around the rock making scouting and access quite easy.

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Where to stay

There is a guest house in Kaabong or camp nearby, with local permission, of course.

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Ethic

This community seems to have encountered very little outside visitors. Be very careful not to alarm or quarrel with the locals. Naita and Yorun is their world. Be on your best behavior as very little is known about this community.

I took photos of local children and an aerial view into the manyatta from the top of Naita. I showed these photos to many local people who were nothing short of amazed.

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History

History timeline chart

First Ascent by U Pitsche and M Battani July 16th 2017

On the Geology: These (Naita and the row of connected rocks) appear to be plutons (plutonic stocks or diapirs of some sort to be more precise), which are igneous intrusions. Had they fully extruded through the ground from magmatic activity then they would have been volcanic, but these stocks form from magma welling up and cooling beneath the surface and their linkage may be expressed along what are called dikes which have left their expression as the long linear boulder remains between the stocks and which form from cooled magmas forming vertical walls along fractures. Erosion has brought the stocks to their current prominence (looks to be granite), which makes for great climbing. Volcanic rocks tend to not be very good for climbing since they tend to weather quickly into clay mostly, whereas granite is a crystalline matrix, which has lots of the durable mineral quartz. For more information you can Google plutons, plutonic diapers, and batholiths, which are related and are world known for great rock climbing. –Matt McCullough Geologist

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Some content has been provided under license from: © Matt Battani (Matt Battani)

Routes

Add route(s) Add topo Reorder Bulk edit Convert grades
Grade Route
1 18 30m
2 15 15m
3 8 20m
4 15 25m

Take all your big cams for this one.

  1. North face: (30m 18) Follow the left hand side of the partially attached broken pillar, which is actually a large flake. Make about three moves up to a chair-sized ledge with a tree that can be slung for your first piece of pro. Climb the crack, or just left of the crack to a small roof. There are excellent feet on this face and it is nice climbing, but there is no pro on the face itself, so stay close enough to the crack to get a few cams in on your right. When you reach the small roof, delicately traverse a couple meters left, around the large block and then above it for a comfortable belay. We placed four huge cams on this pitch (Black Diamond 4,5,6 and a large trango similar to a BD 5)

  2. North face: (15m 14) Could easily be combined with the first pitch and is barely more than a scramble. Follow an obvious system of boulders and pillars up to an enormous ledge. There are plenty of places for pro along the way. Rope drag is the only good reason to do this pitch on it’s own. The top of pitch two is a great place to explore around the rock and search for possible lines to the top. We saw several lines, but chose to move around to the west face on our way to the top.

  3. West face: (20m scramble) Scramble up and move around to the west face, anti-clockwise. We did this un-roped.

  4. West face: (25m 15) Belay from the lower shaded boulders for a comfortable stance. We setup a directional about 2m above the belay and then traversed right to the crack, up the crack and on top of a broken pillar. We managed to get in a couple pieces of pro during the traverse and a couple more in the crack. From the top of the broken pillar, there is no pro, but the climb is fairly easy at that point. There were good feet placements, so we just went for the top. Congrats! Enjoy the view. The aerial view into the manyatta is extraordinary.

Rappelling off: (one pitch) There is very old bush with a large trunk near the east face. We left a piece of tack behind and rapped of there. About a 25m rappel gets you to the enormous platform on the side of the manyatta, from which you can hike/scramble down. We moved about ten large flakes that could have fallen during the rappel as they sat near or under the rope, so be very careful with these. You should see the path we cleared. We saw a 1m coppery brown snake and some lizards up there. Several large owls make their home on this rock as well. There is lots to see from this summit. Check out the manyatta. The view inside is incredible. Also, you can see all the other plutons in Naita's row. There is much potential climbing in this "rim".

Hike down: You’ll see a narrow chimney from which we could squeeze down, but you could also rap down to the ground. From there, the path moves right along the edge of the main rock. Finally, scramble down a couple of ledges until you reach solid ground. Well done, you have made it back.

FFA: Matt Battani & U Pitsch, 16 Jul 2017

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