American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Slanghoek Amphitheatre, Ruby Supernova

South Africa

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Paul McSorley
  • Climb Year: 2017
  • Publication Year: 2018

On June 15 and 16, Ines Papert (Germany), Joseph Pfnür (Germany), Luka Lindič (Slovenia), and Paul McSorley (Canada) established Ruby Supernova, the second route up the Slanghoek Amphitheatre in the Du Toits Kloof area. The 13-pitch route is 520m long and rated ED1 7b+ (VI 5.12c). The team used no bolts or fixed protection, finding mostly excellent quartzite that protected well with removable gear. A handful of stoppers and pitons were left behind at anchors for rappels.

The team began their trip to the region by making a two-day repeat of A Private Universe (550m, ED1 7a A1), established in 2002 by South Africans Hilton Davies, David Davies, and Mathew Sim, and later free climbed by Dave Birkett (U.K.) and Tinie Verseveld (South Africa) at 7b+. The 2002 team used 100 bolts for anchors and protection on the 19-pitch original route up this impressive wall.

Papert, Pfnür, Lindič, and McSorley then set to work on a new line up an obvious corner system on the right side of the wall. In two separate teams, they pushed the route to within a hundred meters of the top, onsighting every pitch, before the storm of the century hit, smashing mature timber like toothpicks, depositing snow in the mountains, and causing widespread flooding throughout the Western Cape.

Over the next week, the team escaped to the inland areas of Rocklands and Montague while they waited for the line to dry. Returning with photographer Franz Walter, the foursome climbed nine pitches of familiar ground to a good bivy ledge and completed the climb the following day. They descended by rappelling roughly the same route.

Papert, Pfnür, Lindič, and McSorley are tremendously grateful to Hilton Davies, who provided them with logistical support, invaluable route beta, and gracious hospitality. After completing Ruby Supernova, they had the pleasure of climbing with Hilton and Tinie Verseveld on Table Mountain, enjoying the classic climbing with two pioneers of the zone.

– Paul McSorley, Canada

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