I was warned about the rain and was nervous. In truth we’ve been lucky. Compared to last winter it has been all but bone dry according to everyone here. That isn’t to say that being involuntarily stopped from climbing is ever really fun. To begin with, our new cottage is somewhat cut off from the rest of climber society. Our time at the Alpha Farms expired a while ago and with it the familiar community of climbers and friends. Luckily our friends Nikki and Caroline had a birthday the week before so we left with blurry vision and brutal headaches. All the photos here, with the exception of the shitty ones taken with my iphone, are Lisa’s (baehrschn.clan-hbg.de).
We’re staying at Traveller’s Rest for the remainder of our trip. Charity, the owner, is kind and took time to show me what antelope shit looks like. We have a real internet connection now and a fireplace. They sell cans of Coke with sugar – not syrup – and cheap firewood in the office. Our corrugated tin roof leaked when it rained. It leaked for a few days after it rained, really. So we were relocated to a nicer cottage and things are pretty good. We have a hotplate instead of a stove and the place is much smaller and more remote than the Homestead. There are baboons and antelope that pass through here in the night – and destroy your house if you fail to close your windows while you’re out, as some fellow Americans found out last night. But, all said both places have their perks. If you’re planning a trip here I’d suggest seeking out Alpha Farms first. Traveller’s Rest is not exactly roughing it though and can be rather nice with a good fire and a pot of rooibos.
The real problem with the rain here is that it doesn’t really fall – it’s hurled. Instead of a steady downpour, the tin roof is barbarously pelted for a quarter of an hour, after which gale force winds rattle the windows. That’s when the roof starts to drip and the whole process continues for hours or sometimes days. Sleep becomes next to impossible.
Geckos hate rain too and we’re consequently rooming with two of them. They’re often spotted sticking their heads down from above beneath the bamboo thatching of our ceiling. Last night they were both hanging out behind the fridge and scampered out to see what we were doing for dinner. There are of course baboons and antelope. Springbok, ostriches, donkeys, emus and God knows what else are also roving around this place. In fact, the word from the locals is that there’s a place not far from here where you can get pretty friendly with some of the larger fowl. We’re waiting for Randy and Dr. David before getting into that though.
It isn’t all birds and beavers over here though. We’re still bouldering a little. Ethan is on a serious tear and hates wearing pants. Yesterday, our friend Phil took a minute off of chain smoking and not drinking water to hike his way up the beautiful Amandala (8B+). Lisa’s ankle is looking very Miyamotoish after an unfortunate spill at the Sassies. I’m trying to stay consistent and have had continued success in punting like a pro. I did stumble into my first first-ascent thanks to the guidebook being less than clear and there being no chalk on the wall. It’s called Pot Committed and is next to Alex Savage’s highball, All In.
Time here is about half gone. It is already moving much too quickly. The weather looks promising and I have enough projects to keep me busy for the rest of my life. Look forward to seeing those of you in San Francisco soon. But not too soon.