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Day 64: The Rhino

If you’ve ever seen the climbing video Specimen there is one climb that stands out in your mind. The Rhino: a large, horizontally hanging block situated at the back of grassy meadow whose overhanging roof seems to defy the laws of gravity. From a distance it’s profile looks like that of a rhino’s. To any rock climber propelled by aesthetics, this boulder beckons to be climbed.

Upon first arriving in Rocklands, Paul and I were a bit concerned that this classic-looking boulder problem was not in any of the online guides we had with us. How could this amazing feature not be documented? Was The Rhino a top-secret gem that one had to trek dozens of miles through the bush and boulders to find? Our worries soon dissolved however, on our very first day hiking into the Rocklands proper. The Rhino was the first thing we saw.

Last week we endured an extremely cold and windy bouldering day up at The Fortress (the place where Paul and I saw the leopard!). Paul sessioned The Vice, 8b while Mike, Raquel and I put in sending go’s on Colin the Librarian, 7a. After numerous failed attempts at getting our fingers warmed up, Mike and I sucked it up and embraced the numb tips and sent (primarily so we could go put our gloves back on!). Raquel came oh-so-close on her go’s, missing the dyno jug by a mere inch or less. Meanwhile, Paul burled his way through more exciting links on his project.

After the planned ‘few hours’ turned into ‘the majority of the day’ up there, we finally decided enough was enough. We were all chilled to the bone and needed to head into the sun and down to lower ground, hopefully where the wind was less brutal. Time for warm coffee? I asked. Time for sunny bouldering, Mike and Raquel suggested. Time for The Rhino, Paul announced.

After some minor bushwacking and trail finding, we crunched our way through the dry grassy meadow and were soon standing under the belly of The Rhino. Surprisingly, the overhanging feature was a lot narrower than we had all imagined (compared to it’s massive length). The Rhino was quite a skinny beast! His mid-section spanned only about 3-4 feet. Also surprising to us was the cold fact that the wind down here in the meadow was just as strong, if not stronger, and the temps were starting to dip as the sun went down.

Cold or no cold though, if there is one trait readily apparent in my husband as a climber it’s his dang persistence, especially when it comes to amazingly aesthetic lines…even more so when the sun is setting and it’s time to head home, haha. He thrives on squeezing every last morsel of energy out of the day. If he says “it’s time for The Rhino,” he’s straight serious. There is no half-hearted ‘see how it feels’, ‘give it a few tries’, ‘save it for tomorrow.’ Oh no. Not Paul. It’s Rhino time, baby.

So as we all stood around shivering, hungry and cold, too tired and cooled down to give the moves any serious effort, Paul stripped down to his t-shirt, pulled onto the rhino’s skinny little neck, and promptly cranked out the climb with his trademark “woohoo!” Take a seat on Paul’s tick list, Mr. Rhino.


Paul sending The Rhino, 7c

posted by arr

This entry (Permalink) was posted on Monday, August 18th, 2008 at 8:04 am and is filed under Bouldering, Rocklands-South Africa. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response , or trackback from your own site.

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