Erongo Massif, Namibia
The hidden climbing eldorado
The exalted rock landscapes of Ameib.
In the meantime we have learned quite a lot and we adjust our daily routines much better to the conditions of the desert.
We get up at the latest by 5 o’clock, so we are already on the rocks at sunrise at about 6 o’clock because of the short approaches. By that time the rocks comes up with good friction. We achieve our comfortable temperature level at about 8 o’clock, but usually we climb until noon. In the heat of the midday we are doing siesta. From afternoon until sunset it is possible to climb routes up to 5 pitches – great, mostly clean routes with beautiful natural lines on rough granite and impressive views of the vastness of the desert. When we achieve our car we close every climbing day with a cool Windhoek Lager. Gradually the satisfaction comes to us. After the disaster at the Spitzkoppe, we found here an unexpectedly lovely place with very challenging routes.
The whole climbing area covers from drilled baseclimbs for beginners to clean multi-pitch routes a wide range of climbing styles. In addition, the area offers even more attractions: the famous Phillips Cave with interesting rock paintings like the white elephant, the huge granite boulders of Bull’s Party and the Elephant's Head with the Wagner scene, a breathtaking rock formation. There are the two Märchen towers, Lohengrin, Kriemhild and the Nibelungen tower – rocks that are unique in Namibia.
On our trip through the desert, we have found that there is a free-standing rock tower north of Erongo: the 35 meters tall Vingerklip, a conglomerate rock tower, proudly standing above the valley of the Ugab terraces in an ancient landscape. We wanted to find out whether it is possible climb or not. The tower is on private property and the owner has expressly forbidden to climb there, but we can make up some interesting lines on its western face that are partially bolted.
The Orabeskopf Wall on Brandberg has a couple of new routes lately. The big problem there is the logistics: gear, food and drinking water has to be carried in for a whole day’s walk from the road to the base of the wall. There are no local water fountains. Therefore climbing in the hot summer months isn’t possible. For this reason we let the Brandberg untouched and save our time for our next destination: the Tiras Mountains east of the Namib, which is the oldest desert on earth.
Let’s see where it is:
The Ranch Ameib on the southern edge of the Erongo Mountains is located 30 km north of Usakos, just one hours by car over gravel road. The ranch offers some campsites and chalets, a swimming pool, shower and toilet.
S 21° 47' 07", E 15° 39' 48" (» Google Maps)
Our route highlights:
» Sensemann, Mondgesicht
UIAA III – VII.
Latest Topo guide with detailed description of the routes is available at the Ranch.
Beware of scorpions behind rock flakes and in cracks, especially before it starts to rain!
60 m double rope, 1 set of Stoppers, 1 set of C4-Camalots up to #4.
» Vingerklip Lodge (www.vingerklip.com.na)