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Ascent of Kompasberg on 2020-01-22

Climber: Rob Woodall

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Kompasberg
    Location:South Africa
    Elevation:8212 ft / 2503 m

Ascent Trip Report

From N, Compassberg Farm, jeep road then scrambly ascent, I climbed NE face (YDS3) and descended SE ridge (YDS4 at crux bad step) 2h15 up, 4h30 round trip. nieu-bethesda.com/about/compassberg describes N ridge, suggesting 8h round trip and NB permission from farm needed. This was the only info I had.

Following Monday's Thabana Ntlenyana ascent, after a half day at Bloemfontein VW dealers getting my rental car serviced (!) I drove to Middelburg then 60km unpaved roads (mostly good, some washboarding, 2wd would be fine) thru fine arid Karoo scenery. Made Compassberg Farm by 7pm in daylight but no-one home to ask so drove 2km (high clearance needed) to a gate and parked for the night.

Next morning away 0525, already good daylight, 1h to end of jeep road (S31.74761° E24.54001°), investigated N ridge but in shadow looked unfriendly (but looked OK later in good light), so I skirted L to find easy angled scrambly groove (start at S31.75460° E24.54310°); above was brushy in places but higher up a string of short boulder problems, some quite technical but a YDS3 route doubtless available. Just below summit I joined a route in a shallow gully marked with cairns too small to follow. Bouldery summit has remains of 3 cylindrical trig pillars, one metal cased and re-erected close to the original position which still has the marker bolt in place, in rock slab, highpoint a boulder 1m E of bolt, S31.75918° E24.53994°, 2497m. Fine view N, a cloudy sea to S.

I reckon SE ridge route might make a less technical descent, but soon encounter a mauvais pas at a narrow gap with a boulder-hugging out of balance manouvre above a 40m drop. Exposed for a few mins then follow the OpenStreetMap route (unmarked) down, keeping to clean easy rock slabs to avoid scrub where possible, then cattle trods ease the way across lower slopes to rejoin jeep track.

Calling at the house, the son is there and fortunately unfazed by my unauthorized ascent! Rest of day travelling to Ladismith, initially another 90km unpaved. Very pleased to have included this bonus Eastern Cape peak on my itinerary.

Kompasberg photos

Note, as the above web page implies, there is a higher (less prominent) Eastern Cape peak, on the Lesotho border, KwaDuma 3019m P266.

The following day I climbed Seweweekspoort Peak.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2358 ft / 718 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 3(4)
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2358 ft / 718 m
    Distance:7.8 mi / 12.6 km
    Start Trailhead:5854 ft / 1784 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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