On a trip to Africa, I visited the Spitzkoppe area in Namibia in July 2017. A beautiful and remote place, with adventurous climbing.
A quote of Climbing.co.za :
‘The inselberg Spitzkoppe in Namibia is one of three granite plutons in southern Africa. The others are Sheba’s Breast in Swaziland and Paarl Rock. These were formed by subterranean volcanic activity years ago and were slowly exposed as the surrounding ground eroded away. The word “inselberg” means, literally, island mountain, and apt description of Spitzkoppe. Not only does it, like Paarl Rock, stand out from the surrounding plain, it is also truly isolated. One has to travel through kilometers of flat remorselessly hot, treeless desert to get there and the first thing most people do on reaching the berg is to spend some time just soaking up the shade. Spitzkoppe is well worth visiting just to drink in the incredible scenery. ‘
Since a couple of years, half of the area around spitzkoppe is has been fenced off, so that animals could live there quietly. A shame, because they’ve built a high-end resort there, where rich tourists pay hundreds of euro’s per night to stay.. And they’ve baught some animals which didn’t live there originally.
So, because the fences prevent you from going to the foot of the Spitzkoppe where the original line starts, I initaited a little exploration trip. By car you are able to leave the campsite area at a closed gate, if you ask for permission. Instead of following the main road, you turn right just after the gate and follow a (not so good) dirtroad for around 4-5 km’s. Very quiet there. At the road’s end, there’s a fence. Turn right and there’s a site with boulders, where we left the car. From there you can start scrambling untill you reach the original line. After we found out that it was possible, we returned the next morning very early, to climb the ‘normal route’ on the Spitzkoppe.
After some time of following cairns, climbing little chimney’s and so on, we arrived at the ‘3-step chimney’. From here on, it’s a good idea to rope up (depending on skills, of course). Some sections are quite exposed here. There are two sections I fully remember, 1st is a ‘narrow-cave-like-chimney’ (quote from the topo) and the second is a very dark and narrow chimney in which we almost got stuck..
Still, this is not the ‘real’ climbing, but the approach 🙂
After the ‘narrow’ escape from the approach, you have to climb 20 meters down and rap another 25 before the 1st pitch starts. I thought this was the most dangerous pitch of the whole route. You need to climb way harder than 5th degree (according to the topo) to be able to safely do this. After a bad placement (yellow cam in a crumbling horizontal crack) you have to step onto a slab without good hands&feet to reach a badly placed bolt (way to high). As you don’t want to get hurt on this mountain (no cellphone connection/rescue service -of course-, very little ascents), the people that bolted this had to get some education of Piola for example before going here 😉
Anyway, the rest of the climb is very enjoyable and adventurous. I am not so used to climbing chimney in which you have to lean with your back on one wall, while pushing yourself higher and higher. A great experience!
Some other pics of Spitzkoppe area and Namibia, a beautiful country: