Thatcher Route

Page Type
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Africa
Route Type:
Technical rock climb (trad)
Time Required:
Half a day

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Created On: Nov 3, 2004
Last Edited On: Nov 3, 2004


This route follows a nearly straight line between the "Angus-Leppan" and the "Standard" routes. The start is from a knoll, the highest point below the bulging slab-like faces of the WNW aspect of Sentinel. This line crosses the Standard Route on the broad grass ledge below the summit. After reading the RD, the significance of the name "Thatcher" should become apparent!

Route Description

Opening Party: Mike Scott, Paul Gray and Butch de Bruin.
Date: 12 September 1975.

30m C/D. Follow a diagonal line up to the right across faces and up grassy cracks, to reach a stance in a chute below a small prominent overhang on the wall on the right. Belay from a fixed peg behind a flake.

30m F2/A1. Climb the groove to the overhang where there is a fixed piton. Climb the overhang using either a sling in the piton or grass for aid. (laybacks and mantleshelves are involved). From here make another piton-assisted move (the knife blade piton was removed) in order to stand on a tiny foothold and gain entry to a long grassy groove. Follow this groove to a ledge.

45m E. Make a series of stepped traverses back to the left and up on easy, interesting rock. This contains only one E move next to a good knife blade-taking flake and ends in a lovely exposed traverse to the left. The traverse enables one to outflank some overhangs and then move up onto a long ledge.

28m E/F1. Climb the centre of the steep black face above, taking a meandering line in order to avoid first a bulge and then a loose block.
40m C/D. Climb an easy groove in a corner to a ledge. Traverse left and surmount some large blocks in order to gain the massive grass ledge below the summit cliffs. A scramble of a 100m leads straight up to a gigantic cleft with sheer faces on either side.

25m F1+. Climb the chimney with good protection. The move through the top resembles climbing around the eves of a thatched cottage. The stance is on a big grassy ledge. The "+" in the grade is for people who don't like tight jamming and chimney straddle moves in exposed positions.

25m E. Climb the continuation of the chimney past large chockstones - beware of loose debris on one of them. The summit is now only a short scramble away.

Descend by the standard route.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1975, pg 116.

Essential Gear

Standard trad climbing gear


Map #1 : G:23 : 3165m