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Africa, Namibia, Spitzkoppe, Summary

Spitzkoppe, summary. This stunning granite outcrop in central Namibia has some of Southern Africa’s finest climbing, with bouldering to 14-pitch trad and sport routes, and delicate face climbing to crazy cracks and chimneys. Spitzkoppe is located in the middle of the Namib Desert, one of the driest places on earth, and due to the hot temperatures it is recommended to climb only between April and September.

The summit of Spitzkoppe was first reached in 1946, and since then the number of routes has slowly been increasing. In the late 1980s and early 1990s several big new routes were opened with the use of bolts, thus allowing the huge slabs of the southwest wall to be climbed.

The new millennium has seen a surge of big new routes being established on the South West Wall, both trad and sport. These are summarized on the accompanying photo, which uses the South African Grading System. Additional info: Spitzkoppe and Pontoks, Namibia: A Climbers Guide, by Eckhardt Haber (Blue Mountain Publishers, 2004); and www. alardsbigwallclimbing.com.

Alard Hüfner, Mountain Club of South Africa