From Jeanette Louise Bryng:

A group of climbers from Lillehammer in Norway travels to Rocklands in South Africa every year, and last year I decided to join them. It may be a bit ambitious to travel this far for someone who has not climbed for a long time, but for me it was more about an experience for life. And do you really need to be an experienced climber to do journeys like this? My answer is no, definitely not! Experience will come to those who try. In Rocklands there are plenty of bouldering problems graded for beginners as well and there is room for huge progression during your stay.

Rocklands is a must to visit for climbers, especially if you love bouldering. The red stones, countless problems of all degrees and amazingly beautiful scenery. Once you’ve been here, you definitely want to go back.

I went to Rocklands in July (2016). Even though there is winter in South Africa at that time, there is a risk that it may get too hot and that the stone “sweat”. Then the friction becomes really bad, which makes the climbing more an effort than joy and it’s bad for your skin. The tour lasted 16 days, including 2 days travelling. We were lucky with the weather, only two of the days we had to take a rest day because of the heat.

IT IS YOU, YOUR FRIENDS AND THE ROCK!

We went to the Rocklands primarily to boulder, and that’s really the one thing you can do here. Rocklands is part of the Cederberg Mountains, and one would think that such a famous place would have a lot to offer. It’s a national park with little commercial stuff like cafes, shops etc. It’s you, your friends and the rock! Still, there is something liberating with so few possibilities! You really feel calm, have more than enough time to explore the rocks around and have fun together with the people you travel with.

TWO PLACES TO EAT

There are two places to eat in the “central” Rocklands. The first one is a small family owned restaurant with heavenly good food. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. A young couple runs the second place, a cozy cafe on a small farm. During the day and some evenings they serve homemade pizza right from the stone oven. At the restaurant or cafe you usually meet like-minded people, and it’s easy to find some new friends you can discuss bouldering possibilities and problems with.

 

VINEYARDS AND PENGUINS

On rest days it is a must to take a drive to the many vineyards only a short car drive away. From large, beautiful castles and mansions to smaller, cozy vineyards. It’s also possible to go to Cape Town for a day trip, which takes about 3.5 hours drive each way. Take a walk around the city; watch everything from slum to beach houses in the millionth grade. You should also see the penguin beach, eat a good meal along the coast and end up with a quick trip through the big shopping mall in the city center.

 

Conquering your inner bitch!

There are a lot of steep and dynamic bouldering problems in Rocklands. Not exactly my specialty, and both fingers and muscles got really sore. Therefore a day off is necessary, but of course difficult to prioritize. In the beginning I got a good dose of beating. I tried many problems in my “degree” which I did not master in the beginning, but eventually I finally sent 4-5 projects that I had been working on. The feeling of conquering your inner bitch is such an amazing feeling!!

I have no concrete goals this year other than just having fun and getting stronger by climbing a lot.

 

THINKING ABOUT A BOULDERING TRIP TO ROCKLANDS?

Then my advice is to exercise on dynamic moves and overhang before traveling. Bring some good books, down jacket and woolen underwear. You don’t want to freeze while taking a coffee break on your crash pad.

Follow Jeanette on Instagram: @jeanette.louise

Photographer: Bjørn Helge Rønning