7 Weird And Wonderful Rock Climbs
We love a perfect splitter or a bullet-hard crimp line just as much as the next person. However, what we're always most exicted to see are the climbs that lie a little outside of the norm. The type of routes that people often decribe as 'esoteric'. In short, the weird and the wonderful of the climbing world. Here are seven of our favourites.
Unquestionably the most famous route in South Africa, and possibly the continent of Africa as a whole, is 'Digital Warfare' (8b+/5.14a). The line is one of the most striking anywhere in the world, climbing the proudest line on the breathtaking crag known as 'The Wow Prow.' The route is ascended almost entirely on one and two finger pockets, a style of climbing common on the limestone of the German Frankenjura, but much rarer on the sandstone crags of South Africa. The route's unique style and clear aesthetics made it a target for many local activists, but it was visiting American Paige Claassen who eventually made the first ascent. In this photo, Austrian climber Kilian Fischhuber makes an ascent of the route on only his second attempt!
'Ancient Art' is given the grade of 5.10a, but in truth the climbing on the route's final pitch is practically ungradable. One of climbing's most iconic summits, the tip of the tower is accessed by first 'walking the plank' along the tower's top ridge, then bellyflopping onto a diving board like protrusion of rock before finally ascending the corkscrew spire to the summit. Although many climbs in this area of the Fisher Towers look and feel like they might collapse at any moment, 'Ancient Art' is more solid than most and for this reason, (as well as its incredible appearance), it is one of the most popular routes in North America.
As a trad route, 'Natilik' is already an unusual climb for the world-famous sport cliff of Céüse, but its third pitch makes it even more outlandish. The pitch starts with a section of crawling, half-on and half-off the ledge pictured here, before the traverse then continues by more conventional climbing techniques. As uncomfortable as this section may appear, it is arguably less intimidating than the final pitch that awaits you at its end; an awkward 5+ groove protcted by just two bolts!