“Tis is Afrika”

A BeBoulder Production from 2012.


“Tis is Afrika” Rocklands 2012 from Jeremy Thomley on Vimeo.

“Tis is Afrika” A short film about our climbing adventures in Rocklands South Africa.

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The first mention of this trip was a journal entry I had in December. It was planned during my hospital stay in Jan. when Elwood Hudson said he was down for the adventure. We soon made housing reservations with Ann Raybur and her boyfriend Moses Potter. After the 2,000$ plane tickets were bought we really didn’t plan anything else until Colin and I were trying to find each other in the London Airport June 28 on our way to Capetown. I was content with the rental car being 1,200$ for 5 weeks of full coverage rally car driving on the wrong side of the road. Even better I had planned on Colin driving the whole time and me attempting to navigate. Ha, not that I ever get lost:) Somehow we found Clan William and eventually our little cottage on the Travelers Rest Farm just 20 Min north of Clan William.  Ann had secured a place to stay and it was perfect. The two rooms with cozy beds shared a kitchen and fireplace area that we would call home until August 3. We had made it, not been carjacked, nor yet been attacked by a man-eating cat. So far so good:) The rest of our trip was exploring the most vast frontier of valleys and trails I have ever gotten lost in. Imagine Utah before it was settled, then add cobras and leopards.

The rock is an amazing sandstone with amazing texture. Most of the climbing that I sought out was big reaches and roofs. There were a few projects I undertook with crimpy finishes or slabs, but for the most part I stuck to “my style” of big moves to big holds. It was so beautiful and the areas so vast that most days we were lost at some point, even with Colin’s guidebook skills. ‘The Pass’ was the longest approach we found there, a 40min walk would put you in front of amazing features with wild mountains behind. The caren marked paths offered some emotional support as you wandered the overgrown sandy paths looking for chalk on rocks and pulling on cool features to test the rock as you walk. Colin was my beta calculator on this trip and together we spent alot of time driving and eating…and of course bouldering. The pictures can speak for the rock quantity, and i will attest to their quality. We both projected some hard things and for the most part came away with a proud list of sends that pushed us to the limit. We only had 2 or 3 days the whole time that we couldn’t climb due to weather. Even on the rainy days Ann would be psyched on how fast the wind would dry the rocks at the ‘8 Day Rain’ area and they would climb. When our fingers needed a break, we went to see friends in Capetown and penguins at CapePoint.

It was hard to want to leave this climbers paradise because of the friends we made and the close community built at the Hen House Coffee Shop. Becky & Sarah became good friends and our rest days became more and more meaningful. There were days when the coffee shop was a buzz of the ‘who’s who’ of climber world… but the Best rest day we had was after I had hurt my foot on my project. I had already rested 4 days when we had our big Arts day with the local children in the village. Each farm had a dozen or so homes on the farm for the workers there. About twenty children came on this day to make wildflower sculptures for their annual wildflower parade in August. Colin and I had collected trash and brainstormed all week on how to keep kids busy and climbers teaching or helping them paint or make junk into art. Luckily we had an able crew of friends at this point to assist in the madness of flower-making from shells scrap steel and trash. Becky, Sarah, Nancy, Colin, who was that blonde haired girl? and I all played for hours that morning cutting glass bottles into wind chimes and trash into flowers, drilling shells to be threaded onto stems and finally hung on our big craziness we called a sculpture.

Nancy and I headed up the metal sculpture while Colin and Sarah prepped the origami flowers and other trash blossoms. Becky was closed today but sill managed to feed us all and helped on all the projects and actually got the children there. It was a combined effort if there ever was one… I was very impressed at the kids and the ‘make it happen’ attitude of our climber friends, I have not felt that good in a while. It was a special moment when we realized that the kids were gradually loosing their shyness and becoming more and more rowdy- to get their atention again we turned on some music. We blared “I heard it through the grapevine”, “footloose”, and a few more until every body in the building was singing or dancing. It was amazing, many of them were great dancers, we laughed very hard:)  That day was so nourishing that I sent my project the next day, and another project the next day… it was the perfect end to our trip.

There were alot of firsts this trip… I’ll never forget when Justin Hawkins gave Colin 3 shots of Jager-His first Buzz ever was at the De Pakhuy’s campground Bar with me and a bunch of dirty climbers. I sent my first 7A, and Colin sent his first 7B.  Colin had never left the country before, I had never been to Afrika or seen PENGUINS.   I got to meet one of the climbers i admire the most, Philipe from France-When I saw his film I knew I couldn’t complain about hands or toes hurting. He is a really cool guy.  Oh yeah, i have 10 dreadlocks in my hair thanks to my dreadmother Sarah and Colin’s endless psych over dreadlocks- the ugliest coolest hair style there is. “Tis is our story”….

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