Rocklands is a sandstone bouldering paradise in the Cederberg area of South Africa. Perfect orange and grey blocs litter the desert-scape, as if the whole area has been designed as a huge climbers’ playground. The climbing there was originally single pitch sport climbing on some of the larger cliffs, but as bouldering has taken off, the huge potential of the smaller rocks this area has to offer has slowly started to be realised.
Rocklands is one of the best bouldering destinations in the world, and right now conditions are perfect. Many of the world’s strongest climbers are there, and they are sending hard.
Clément Perotti has been updating his vimeo page with regular videos featuring climbers such as Daniel Woods, Dave Graham, Nalle Hukkataival, Antoine Vandeputte and Michele Caminati, to name just a few.
Top end bouldering is of course quite grade focused, and young men being what they are, there is always talk of downgrading, and a little bit of posturing and this year’s season in Rocklands is no different.
Finnish climber Nalle Hukkataival, undoubtedly one of the world’s strongest, recently made the second ascent of American bouldering specialist Paul Robinson’s boulder, A Simple Knowing, at the Topside area of Rocklands, which when first climbed back in 2011, was graded V15/8C and was considered one of the hardest blocs around.
Nalle dispatched this steep sandstone sloper-fest in less than half an hour, and proclaimed it to be, “a nice problem, but once again nowhere near the difficulty that I consider V15.”
It was only a week later that the slightly older, and perhaps more chilled out American climber Dave Graham made the third ascent, regraded it V14/8B+ and suggested that the only reason he and Nalle had found it easier than 8C was due to a new sequence they had discovered.
Regardless of who is the strongest, who is the best, and whether this boulder is 8B+ or 8C, it’s clear that there is a whole load of amazing climbers in Rocklands right now, conditions are crisp and perfect, and this desert bouldering paradise has a lot more to offer.
Nalle Hukkataival is showing amazing form, and as well as repeating loads of modern 8B+ boulders like: A Simple Knowing, 8B+, Golden Shadow, 8B+, and King of Limbs, 8B/+ he has grabbed the coveted second ascent of the famous Oliphant’s Dawn.
This problem, first climbed by bouldering legend Fred Nicole back in the year 2000, has lain unrepeated, despite attempts from the world’s best, including Adam Ondra. After his unsuccessful attempts, Adam Ondra commented:
“After one hour of sessioning I walked away having done none of the moves. And I heard that a bunch of people walked away with same result. All my esteem to you, Fred!”
Nalle managed the problem, and commented on its short and simple nature:
“It’s a pure power problem – 3 moves. Very straightforward which makes it possible to do it fast if you have the strength. It’s very specific and tricky to grade due to its simple nature.”
To keep up to date, get the beta, and see the top guys in action, check out these videos from Clément Perotti:
And remember: Much of the climbing at Rocklands is on Cape Nature Conservation (CNC) land and you need permits or a Wildcard from Cape Town or Porterville to climb there.