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The following chart compares most of the available grading scales. A mistake often made is to combine the Australian & South African grades as the same, in fact they are about a grade apart and even more at the upper grades. The Old SA grading was used in many of the older traditional climbing areas but is seldomly used today. It is very difficult to compare the bouldering grading systems to the route grading systems.


Below is a table indicating the codes & conventions used in this guide :

4B This indicates that there are 4 Bolts, 6B would mean 6 Bolts etc.
N The route requires natural (traditional) gear.
2P There are 2 Pitons or Pegs, 5P would mean 5 pitons or pegs etc. 
A Top Anchors or chains exist (sometimes C is used)
The route is fully protected with fixed gear (could still be run out though)
R Risky or Run out (usually both)
A2/F24 This means the route has an Aid 2 section which can be freed at grade 24.

An example of a route with a full explanation follows :

NAUGHTY DAUGHTER (ND01)                                                                       15 (F2) R ** [N]
Start upstream from Longdrop, immediately above the worm-hole descent.
1.    15 (F2) 20m  Climb the right hand crack topped by an overhang, hand traverse left from under overhang...
2.    13 (F1) 20m  Climb a chimney which slants left. Then climb through an obvious recess.

First Ascent: Aug 1975 C Ward

The Climb Name is followed by the optional climb code in brackets (sometimes referred to on the topos). The New SA grade follows on the right (15) and then the Old SA grade in brackets (F2). Then the R indicates True Right NOT Risky or Run out, L would indicate True Left. In kloofs if you face downstream then true left is on on your left & true right on the right. The stars indicate the Star Rating as follows :

* Not that good, possibly unpleasant
** OK, nothing to write home about
*** Fairly Good, an enjoyable route
**** Very Good Route, really satisfying
***** Excellent route - only given to the best quality routes.

Please keep in mind that the star rating can be very subjective. If Star Ratings are missing then it means that we have no idea how good (or bad) the route is.

After the Star Rating all the Codes follow in square brackets as shown in the above table, in this case the route uses Natural gear - [N]

A brief Description of the route & where it starts is given followed by the information per pitch. Each pitch includes the New Grade (Old Grade) & optional length/height of the pitch, usually this is the climbing distance.

Finally the First Ascent information follows.

Climbing is a potentially dangerous sport with significant risk of personal injury or even death. SACIN recommends that you only partake in climbing after proper and professional instruction has been received. You should become familiar with the risks and take responsibility for your own safety and that of those climbing with you.

All the information on this web site has come from many sources and SACIN & it's authors make no warranties regarding the content, completeness, quality or safety of the information, or it's application for any purpose. SACIN is striving to keep the data as accurate as possible but it is impossible to verify all the information. We would appreciate any feedback with errors and inaccuracies you may spot.

SA Climbing Information Network (SACIN) & it's authors specifically disclaim all warranties with respect to this publication or your use thereof, express, implied, or otherwise, including without limitation, all warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non infringement. In no event shall SACIN & it's authors be liable for any special, incidental, indirect or consequential damages, or any damages whatsoever, including, without limitation, the loss of life or limbs, damages due to personal injury, the loss of data or profits resulting from or in connection with the use, misuse, or performance of the information herein.

The authors assume no responsibility for errors or omissions on this web site or other sites or documents referred to by this site.

Many climbing areas are privately owned and access to these properties must be confirmed before climbing on them. Also keep in mind that ownership of these properties changes from time to time, don't simply assume that since you had access a while ago that it is still open. It is your responsibility to gain permission from the current land owners. Please respect that the property is private and treat it with respect, removing your litter and adhering to any any rules set out by the owner(s). Doing anything that might put climbers in a bad light can ruin access for other climbers - please behave and gain the respect of the land owners.

Bolting is only allowed in certain areas and any climbers wishing to bolt must obtain the owner's express permission and should also adhere to the current bolting ethics.

All brands, logos, trademarks and product names are from their respective owner's and holders, no infringement on such marks is intended.


Attend an accredited course on Climbing if you have not already done so and get your belayer there as well;
2. Get proper and professional instruction on how to use your equipment (many accidents are due to improper use of gear);
3. Always double check your harness that it is double backed as well as your partners, check each other since you are both responsible for each others safety;
4. Always tie a knot in the bottom end of the rope if it is not tied in to your partner. Several people have already been lowered off the end of a rope before, make it a habit so that when it's needed its not forgotten, even on sport routes!
5. Throw old worn gear away - don't take a chance with your friends or your own life. Not only the uv from the sun but also time will deteriorate your ropes, slings and harnesses etc.
6. If you drop any of your aluminium alloy gear from a height onto rocks it could have stress fractures which can cause it to fail. Throw the suspect gear away & don't give it to anyone. (You can get the gear professionally checked out with x-rays to check for stress fractures as is done with aircraft.)
7. Before abseiling make sure that you have knots in both ends of the rope, your harness is fitted properly and doubled back, your screw gate is in good condition and connected properly to your harness and tightened. Make sure the abseil anchor is secure and back it up where possible - a sling or some gear left behind is worth it, if it saves your friends or your own life. Never abseil off a single bolt or piece of gear;
8. Wear a helmet, not only for protection against falling rocks but also to protect your head should you fall against the rock.
9. Never use Static ropes to climb with, they cannot absorb much shock and hence will exert huge and potentially dangerous forces on you, your harness, the quick draws and even the gear or bolts. Dynamic ropes must be used to climb on and static ropes can be used to haul and abseil. Remember that slings and quickdraws are static as are harnesses;
10. When climbing with two half ropes never clip both ropes through the same carabiner since the impact force can double, clip each rope into separate pieces of gear. Only twin ropes (clearly sold as such) can be clipped together. Remember that half ropes cannot withstand large factor falls;
11. When clipping the second bolt or piece of gear you are usually at risk, keep this in mind and take care.
12. Always be safe and try to set a good standard for others to follow - if someone learns a bad habit from you and they get injured you are effectively responsible. If you see others climbing unsafely then tell them tactfully.
13. Don't trust pitons and pegs, they fail very often, are usually rusted and were often placed MANY years ago.
14. Also check bolts even though they are usually very safe they may have been badly placed or have rusted etc. REPORT any bad bolts you spot - don't wait for someone to get hurt or killed.
15. If you are bolting routes please get proper instruction and make sure you do it properly, use stainless steel, place them such that no one can fall and hit ledges or obstacles, place two secure top anchors etc. If you bolt a route you are responsible if it is unsafe due to improper bolting or materials.


PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN.... Please read the safety recommendations above and follow them, most of the accidents could have been prevented if the steps mentioned above were followed.

In the event of an accident there are a few important steps to follow :
To be completed soon.

For Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Northern Province, Northwest RESCUE NUMBER : (011) 315-0203
For Kwazulu/Natal RESCUE NUMBER
For the Cape
From any Cell Phone : 112 (You do not need to enter a pin code to dial this on most phones in South Africa)

We recommend you check your medical aid/insurance in many instances climbing related accidents are not covered. Often the medical aid or insurance requires that you specifically inform the company that you are a climber. Many rescues and medical treatments can result in very expensive bills (often in excess of R30,000). Keep your medical aid/insurance details on your person (in your helmet etc.) so that should you be incapacitated you can still be admitted to a private hospital. Without a medical aid number or a large deposit entrance to private hospitals is often refused.

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Copyright 2004 SACIN
Send news, corrections, new routes, adverts etc. to
Please read our Disclaimer



Copyright 2004 SACIN
Send news, corrections, new routes, adverts etc. to
Please read our Disclaimer