My foothold has just broken off. The
resulting shock load has broken off the twig I had for my left hand. Above me is a band of grass that does not inspire confidence. Life is
not good right now, and I have clearly tugged on one grass tuft and
trusted one dodgy piece of weetbix too many. I slowly reach down to my
last piece of gear and hope it is good as I load it as a means of
retreat. I am halfway up the 5th peak of the day in the high
Drakensberg and things are not going well . . .
Hector had come up with the idea a year or two before: to climb all
the peaks along the Eastern Buttress ridge, starting on the outside up
Lion Ridge and working inwards as close to the skyline as possible
(Lionheart Pinnacle, Eastern Buttress, Devils Tooth, Toothpick, North,
Central and finally South Inner Towers). We would then climb onto the
escarpment and descend via the peaks on the other side of the
Amphitheatre (Beacon Buttress and Sentinel) to complete the traverse. The rules of the game were simple: to do the entire thing on foot, in a
single, alpine-style push. In order to do this, we would have to take
all our gear across most of the peaks (9 summits in total).
In August 2011, we had our first attempt - on that occasion, a heavy
snow fall made it impossible, but we had a great time out, and vowed to
come back. The key lesson was that we could hike Lion Ridge in the
Read the full article on climbza
Story by Andrew Porter (with edits from Hector Pringle)
Photos by Andrew and Hector.
IMAGE: Hector traversing towards Devils Tooth.