Pontok 3: Beyond Plaisir
Namibia, Spitzkoppe Range
In early May, Timmy ONeill and I climbed a new route on the South Face of Pontok 3 in the Spitzkoppe Range. This huge, clean granite slab is wonderfully featured, but with essentially no cracks for gear, bolts are the only option. Placing bolts on lead with a power drill (and only one battery) was new for Timmy, but he was a quick study. On the first day he brilliantly led three 60m pitches, placing three protection bolts on each before we all were drained of energy.
The next day, Timmy looked down from the middle of pitch five and proclaimed, “Let’s take it to the top today.” Two infinitely run-out pitches later, we were basking in the sun on top. Timmy named the route BEYOND (the Bachar Yerian of Namibia). Having made an early repeat of the notoriously bold Tuolumne route years before, it seemed fitting. Around the campfire, however, we lamented that, if better equipped, our new route could become a classic.
I returned with Franziska Garrett in August. Borrowing the Swiss term “plaisir” to identify well-protected long climbs, we offered Beyond Plaisir (12 pitches, III 5.10a/20).
– James Garrett, USA