Godbold's Frontal

Page Type
Natal, Lesotho/South Africa, Africa
Route Type:
Technical rock climb
Time Required:
A long day

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Created On: Jan 29, 2005
Last Edited On: Jan 29, 2005


This route may be approached in various ways - none of them easy. Route finding is simplest if you follow the crest of the ridge leading up from near Tseke Hut. This approach has a lot of thick bush in the lower stages and requires bypassing rocky knolls higher up - not recommended. The easiest approach is to cut across the spurs starting near the stream at the sharp bend in the contour path between junctions C7 and C8. Both of these approaches will require carrying water. It is also possible to start from the top of Organ Pipes Pass and to traverse in from the south. This involves crossing many gullies and takes longer than it may appear on the map. At least this approach means that you don't have to carry water up from below and you don't have to ab back down the route. Whichever approach you use ends up near the base of the huge rock wall to the left (east) of the massive cleft that splits the upper half of the peak.

Route Description

Walk to the right and scramble up a couple of short grassy gullies to reach a large nose of rock some 100m left of a point directly below the start of the cleft.

Climb up on broken rock and grass on the right of the nose (it may actually be easier on the left!). This involves about 60m of exposed, unpleasant scrambling which leads to the options of a horrible gully on the left or a more pleasant chimney on the right. From the top of the gully or chimney, walk across a good grass ledge leading to the right. There is a small bivvy cave midway along this ledge, but it would be difficult to reach this with full packs. Follow the ledge further to the right and around into the cleft. (The original ascent climbed a grass gully further right and traversed left to the cleft. This is not recommended.)

The cleft itself is then climbed. This simply involves a series of chimneys, separated by scrambles. The first two chimneys may be bypassed by a difficult, exposed 80m scramble, starting up a slab on the left, if so desired. Continue up the cleft climbing chimneys where necessary. The final chimney is short and overhanging with two good cracks. It is at least F3 but may be bypassed by making a few moves out of the main cleft on the right wall and then around and up an easy gully, parallel to the main cleft, to reach the top.

Notes: This is a fairly strenuous climb but is spoiled by the long and difficult approaches. The route is also long - do not underestimate the time that will be required. Several parties have been forced to make unplanned bivvies on the route. Dislodging rocks could prove a hazard to those below. The climb may be much more difficult if it is wet during the summer or icy during the winter. Autumn and spring are probably the best times to try this route. If you did not start from the top of Organ Pipes pass, then it will probably be necessary to ab back down the route. Scramble down the last pitch and from below the final chimney, 3 full 50m abs and 3 more 40m abs with some scrambling inbetween will get back to the grass ledge with the bivvy hole. Two more abs will reach the base of the route. Bring plenty of ab cord.

Essential Gear

Water, hiking gear for a day trip and trad rack

Miscellaneous Info

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