Things To Do in EstcourtDrakensberg Ice Climbing
Where? 60 kilometres from Estcourt in the Drakensberg, KwaZulu Natal
When? Booking is essential.
How? Call Gavin on +27 (0)33 343-3168
How much? Price on request
While South Africa certainly is not known for its icy slopes, there are some high-lying inland regions that do not disappoint those with a penchant for ice-based sports and activities. Just 60 kilometres from Estcourt, a farming town in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, ice climbing has become a popular pastime.
During winter, the southern parts of the Drakensberg Mountain Range are bedecked in thick white snow in three main climbing zones. These are the Rhino Peak, Sani Pass and Giant’s Castle. It is here that there is consistent snow every year (usually between June and August).
The formal routes, which have been documented, include pure water-ice routes that are formed by the streams and seeping waters along the southern slopes, and névé snow routes (these comprise hardened snow that can be found in the long gullies and crevices of the south or east slopes). Thanks to the variety and natural diversity, there is an incredible array of vegetation and animals in the region. However, this varied nature also means that there may be some mixed-discipline climbing.
The ice climbing lessons will provide training and insight into a number of techniques, all typical of French-style climbing. The course includes information like how to front-point, ice-axe arrest, place ice protection, do snow belays and evaluate objective dangers.
The Drakensberg Mountain Range is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (due to its natural abundance), and the highest range in South Africa. It is frequented by holiday-makers and hikers that are awed by its splendour and variety. The most popular spots for hiking are Mount-aux-Sources, Cathedral Peak, Champagne Castle and Sani Pass. It is recommended that visitors take an experienced guide along with them to ensure their safety, as well as to provide interesting insights into this spectacular part of South Africa.
Peak High Mountaineering is a certified Mountain Development Trust (MDT) service provider. They are focussed on providing a fun and exciting experience while always maintaining the utmost levels of safety.