The Valley of a 1000 Hills can boast of hills rolling off into the horizon – but last weekend we could also boast hosting a brand new, first-of-its kind, outdoor climbing wall that is nearly five stories high!
Astonishing acts of height-defying athleticism was seen at Kloof High School at the SA National Rock-Climbing Competition taking place on two brand-new bespoke climbing walls – the highest of which is 16 metres high (which if it were a building would be nearly five stories) as part of the four-day Rocktober Fest.
Rocktober Fest at Kloof High School
The Rocktober Fest was held at Kloof High School on 29 & 30 Sept, 1 & 2 Oct. The festival also featured two live music concerts, on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and an outdoor movie on Friday; there was an array of market stalls and family activities.
The SA National Rock-Climbing Competition saw more than 100 high school athletes from five provinces competing in 252 events in three rock climbing disciplines: Lead climbing (on the 16 m wall, using ropes); Speed climbing (on the 16m wall, using ropes) and Bouldering (on the 4.5m wall – freestyle climbing with no ropes).
This is the first time this impressive, specially-made wall is being used – which means for the first time the competition is taking place outside in a public place, which can accommodate a large audience on bleachers.
Typically, these competitions take place on climbing walls inside gyms. The walls at the competition are supported by an enormous scaffolding structure courtesy of sponsors.
The competition moves from province to province annually. It is the turn of KZN this year, and for the first time it takes place in Kloof in the Valley of 1000 Hills!
African Continental Cup
Athletes are competing for their provincial colours. This event is a qualifier for the African Continental Cup. Wall climbing – or Sport Climbing as it is known – is a sports genre gaining in popularity in South Africa. Competition climbing made its Olympic debut at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Two events were held, one each for men and women.
The format consisted of one combined event with three disciplines: lead climbing, speed climbing and bouldering. It will be included again at the 2024 Summer Olympics, scheduled to run from 5 to 10 August at Le Bourget Sport Climbing Venue in Saint-Denis, France, returning to the programme for the second time.
The Rocktober Fest was supper well organised and enthusiastically supported. It is hoped that this may be the first of many such annual rock-climbing themed events taking place amongst our hills.