Climbers rock The Crag

Provincial competition in Baakens Valley promises feast for adrenaline junkies

The Valley Crag in the Baakens Valley. File picture
The Valley Crag in the Baakens Valley. File picture
Image: Valley Crag

Adreneline junkies from all over the Eastern Cape will take part in the Rock Climbing Provincials at The Valley Crag in the Baakens Valley on May 26.

Participation will be in various age groups and the winners will make their way to the National Bouldering League which will take place in Pretoria later this year.

One of the competition organisers, Margot Riley, said they were thrilled to host the event again after an absence of almost 10 years.

“These will be the first provincials that will be held in the Eastern Cape for a good while. I don’t think we have had a rock climbing team for five to 10 years,” Riley said.

“The team chosen from the provincials will be taken to Pretoria and they will take part in the National Bouldering League – it’s a type of climbing where you rock climb without any rope.

“The competition ranges from U11 to open, so it’s a wide-ranging age group. We are expecting more than 20 rock climbers to take part in the event, from all over the Eastern Cape,” Riley said.

“People can expect a lot of positivity and excitement. Rock climbing is a very exciting sport. Everyone cheers everybody on and that’s what makes the sport so unique.

“Even the competitors will cheer each other on. It’s not cutthroat.

“Entry is free for spectators and we will be selling food and drinks on the day.”

To take part in the event, climbers had to qualify from the rock climbing qualifiers, which have taken place at The Crag every Tuesday for the past eight weeks.

From there, the top five of each age group earned themselves a spot in the provincials.

Riley said they had added a new twist to the competition.

“Each climber will have to climb four routes and their competitors won’t see them climb, because we don’t want to make it too easy for the second and third climber [by having already seen the route and how best to approach it] when it’s their turn to compete.”

Jay-D Muller
Jay-D Muller

Top Port Elizabeth climber Jay-D Muller has received a free pass to participate at the nationals, as route-setter for the province.

In climbing there were problem routes which had to be solved, Muller said.

“The route-setter is usually the strongest and most experienced guy. If you are the route-setter for your province you automatically qualify to go to the nationals,” he said.

“I have been climbing for six years now, five years competitively. I started when I was in university during my second year in Potchefstroom. They have a climbing club at the North West University.

“Climbing is a very interesting sport in terms of the technical, physical and mental aspects.”