The Sentinel Rope Climb
Grade: *** A day’s outing; longish walk, long day.
Time in Hours Outward: 2.25hrs
Time in Hours total: 6hrs
The Sentinel Rope climb is NOT a walk for novices, as rope should be used for safety. There are two awkward spots; one at the base of the climb and the other is near the top, where one corkscrews around the sheer rock face. It might appear forbidding, but if you have an experienced “leader” who can negotiate the bad spots and knows the technique of belaying the ropes, then this climb can be tackled by most climbers. (The Witsieshoek Mountain Guides are not rope climbers. You will need to arrange your own leaders.)
From the Car Park, one proceeds on the normal Amphitheatre route, until just before the Beacon Buttress Gully, where a sketchy path takes one up to the rock face/chimney. After negotiating this very awkward spot, follow the “path” (a little sketchy) as it corkscrews up to the right and thereafter to the left, up to the crest of the north/west corner, where the second (exposed) spot is encountered. Continue corkscrewing around the top until the top Beacon is reached.
The climb to the top is about two hours, so there is no need to rush off from the Car Park at the crack of dawn. Again, we stress the importance of reacting quickly to bad or threatening weather, especially on this climb as the bottom chimney is most difficult when wet and impossible in snow.