The Bronkies Files, A day of learning to climb!

When I started climbing, I never thought I’d become so addicted to it. Since my first day at the climbing gym, I met new people, learnt new things, braved many fears (sometimes terrifying). I have seen amazing places that are quite untouched by masses of people. Truth be told, I kind of feel as though I’ve stepped into an exclusive world of amazing people who have a lust for adventure. These people venture fourth into a world of amazing beauty to do what many fear. Surprisingly, these are some of the most down to earth and friendly people in the world.

In everyday life, we tend to forget about the great outdoors. People live in a rat race, full of cars, and big office blocks with air conditioning. They sit behind their desks and computers each day, climbing in and out of elevators, eating ready-made meals, sitting in front of a TV at the end of their day hoping for an escape from this reality that they live in, but never finding it.

What an amazing world we live in. There really is so much beauty in it, and all we need to do is pack a bag and head out of the city, even if it’s for a day.

So, as we check the gear, prepare lunch and have breakfast, that morning cup of coffee being an essential starter to the day, we pack the car and leave at around 6am. Our destination: Bronkhorstspruit Dam (or Bronkies as we call it in our little community). The task ahead: a day of climbing. Being the most experienced climber in the group, with Hannes being my second in command, it is our task to teach Tinus to climb, but I also have to teach Hannes a few things as well, because he’s been out of it for a while now. I really don’t mind though. I get to spend the day doing something that I love, and I also have the opportunity to spend the day with two of my best friends, and I get to usher them into the world that I am so passionate about.

A view of Bronkies from the Crag!

We arrive at the crag, pay the R20 entrance to the crag, as it’s on private property. We are some of the first at the crag. We head to the nearest rock face and begin to check our gear. The nice thing about Bronkies is that it’s in the shade the whole morning, and from around 2pm the sun hits the rock face, so it’s great if you don’t want to spend the day climbing in the blistering African sunlight. We proceed to gear up and then look for a great route to climb.

I haven’t climbed in about 6 months; due to a relationship I had until recently, so I’m quite out of practice, but am ready to give it a shot again. I’m glad to see that I remember everything that I learnt. I always emphasize safety, and Tinus and Hannes both know that I am very serious about it. When I got Tinus his gear, I spent the afternoon drilling him in proper use and safety when climbing.

So, once we’re all geared up, I check that it’s all good, and then, ready to climb. I start by heading up the route first, Hannes on Belay. I fly up Ticked Pink, a 13 (5.4 or 5.5) and place the draws up on the route. Then I top out and wait for my friends to follow. My aim being to teach them to clean the chains on a sport route, as it’s an important skill to learn.

Tinus heads up first, leading the route, great determination and excitement. He makes it up the route without any trouble, clips into the top draws and I begin talking him through the process. He’s a quick learner and makes good work of this task. He sails down the route, smiling from ear to ear, feeling really good about himself. What’s next, he says?

Tinus at the top of Tickled Pink, 13

Hannes then follows to the top of the route, also leading it as he goes along. I’m not too worried about Hannes. He used to climb back in his varsity days, and I’m constantly telling him that he’s got some serious talent. Truth be told, I don’t think he really believes me, but it really is true. I think it’s probably because he spent his time on the climbing wall at Tuks back at Varsity. As he progresses though I can see he’s beginning to notice his abilities. It’s truly awesome!

Hansie at the top of Tickled Pink, 13

Anywho, He makes it to the top, clips the last two draws and then begins cleaning the chains. Awesome! He does a brilliant job! Down he sails. He then leaves the rope up so that Bernie can top-rope the route. She also used to climb at Varsity but hasn’t done it in a while. I’m taking it easy on her today. She’s happy, we’re all happy and we’re all having a great time!

Bernie at the top of Tickled Pink, 13

I’ve achieved my task, they’ve cleaned the chains and all l good doing it! I’m happy to see their progress. I’ve stressed the important bits, and extra stressed the importance of checking the knots, not dropping the rope, and had the opportunity to take some great pictures of the endeavor.

The rest of the day was spent heading up some pretty easy routes at Bronkies.

I don’t really want to push myself too much as I really haven’t done much climbing until recently, Hannes still needs to build up confidence on rock as he’s only really climbed on climbing walls, Bernie’s not been climbing in a while and Tinus is learning. Hannes I do try to push a little though because I know that he can do the same grades that I can, if not more. Last time I tried, I could push 20’s and one or two 21’s (5.12c’s and 5.12d’s) with a lot of work. I’ve still got LOTS to learn, but I know that Hannes can do it too. Tinus has managed a 16 (5.8) the first time he was in Boven with us a few years back. Bernie only top-roped with us this fine day, but she’s still got to get back into it as well.

All in all, we had a great day at Bronkies, and ended up having a beer at a pub along the way back home. It’s a new place to me called Ed’s. Awesome spot for a nice relaxing after-climb drink, and maybe some food too… 😀

Me, Teaching Bernie the basics of Clipping!

1 comment

  1. You should really try out Bobbejaan’s berg / Mutango when you take out friends for some easy climbing again – it’s got a great little “beginners section” with about 10 climbs under grade 15 all next to each other.

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