of mountains and men | 9


“There is no single motive for climbing. Whole books have been written on the subject without really getting to the heart of it. However, looking back on those two trips to South Africa I can identify a few strong threads. There was the sheer exhilaration of finding adventure at my moderate standard on huge, dizzily steep cliffs. There was the sensual delight in beautiful rock, the fingery thrill of that final wall on ‘Celestial Journey’. And there was the pleasure of being welcomed so warmly by a group of people whose one common link is a delight in the wild mountains of southern Africa. It is a small climbing community and there is still a pioneering spirit—a sense of discovery in a land where the cliffs are big, wild and remote, often overgrown, sometimes a bit messy, untamed. To a European these mountains have a very special magical atmosphere and that magic was strongest at my final stopover in Namibia.”

Stephen Venables, Light and Space and Colour, MCSA Journal 1997

6 Responses to “of mountains and men | 9”

  1. HA! – YES! – the place – Oh how it calls…

  2. Steve, my first ascent was with you if I remember correctly? Do you remember our epic up the Pontoks though? We’ll have to meet there again soon, my kids can’t wait to have a go at it!

  3. Yes – remember climbing with Jaap on the Pontoks – heh heh what a scream.
    I also remember the epic when we tried that route up that chimney that just got wider and wider and I ended up trying to abseil down a fig tree root. that was not so funny – at least till it was over.
    I am so keen to get up there this year.
    I want to collect more information to paint from.

    And some magic

    I would love to stand on this summit again…

  4. Another special place..
    wild and filled with spirit of mountains..
    First attempt was one of getting lost ( what’s new?) and squezzing and strong winds and aborting …yet not despondent.
    Went back, with Gustav van Rensburg, got half lost again( what’s new) and decended in the dark! The view from top was as good as it gets!!
    And I was in serious trouble at work, missing board meeting to climb a mountain is not a valid reason it seems..

  5. Hi James,

    When do you want to come and climb the Aconcagua with me?



  6. Daniel, as soon as I can old chap. How about 2012?