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ken4ord

[TR] Panga, Rwanda- Angry Baboons 5.9+, G8, B9 2/12/2006

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Climb: Panga, Rwanda-Angry Baboons 5.9+, G8, B9

 

Date of Climb: 2/12/2006

 

Trip Report:

On my never ending quest of finding some decent climbable rock here Rwanda, last weekend my travels lead me to Panga.

 

3794Panga_21.JPG

 

It is area that is about 2 hour drive from Kigali, where I live. I caught wind of this place from a friend of mine who works at one of the local embassies; he was kind enough to set me up with topos of the area and old pre-genocide rock climbing guide book. The guide book was not much help considering the cliff is 2km long, 90m high and only listed 3 routes in the book.

 

When we arrived, we were immediately swarmed by people. I went to work to find a guard for my vehicle. Yep no PNW forest pass needed here, but if you want to return to your vehicle intact it is best to get a guard. Finding a guard took no time and before I knew it we were off. I was so excited to find a big, undeveloped, Gunks like cliff, I could barely keep myself from running to the base. My partners didn’t seem to be as charged as I was, but I think climbing to them is an interesting pursuit, unlike me, where climbing feels like air or water, basically a necessity.

 

We looked around for one of the routes listed in the guidebook, but we couldn’t find any signs of routes. One of the kids was really eager to get us to the left hand side of the cliff and from what I could tell was trying to show us a cave or a way around to the top of the cliff. Since we couldn’t find one of the three routes I went to work trying to find a line that made its way around the big roofs that seemed to be everywhere. Eventually I found a line that I thought I might be able to handle. We proceeded to rack and rope up with half of the village around us.

 

3794Angry_Baboons_Topo.JPG

 

The line that I picked started with some low angle 5.6 climbing. Then got to a short 5.7 layback flake and then easy traversing to big ledge where I was able to set a belay and relieve myself with some privacy. It was about 35m and good warm up to what was ahead. I brought up Isabelle and Keith to join me. I was stoked to be on rock that was higher than 30 feet and charged forward on the next pitch.

 

3794Panga_05.JPG

 

The next pitch headed up towards some roofs, unlike the Gunks these roofs did not have big horizontal holds and were quite feature-less. I tried going up over a short over-lap but couldn’t find any gear or holds, then I started to realize this might be harder than I originally thought. I tried a different way and started to work my way up a ramp that had some long grass growing out of the cracks. With a little bit of work I managed to get through the first ‘G’ section, this one went at G7- not too bad, a little scary though grabbing hold of a bunch of grass on a vertical wall and hauling off of it. For those of you unfamiliar with the G system, I am not too surprised because I just made it up, basically G7- feels like 5.7- difficulty with grass as your hold. After that first G section I climbed up a steep face, with big footholds that were so greasy that the slightest foot placement adjustment caused your feet to skate off the holds. Not only did I have to deal with polished holds, there was more grass, at least this time there were holds under the grass. The technique that I started to use was to drape the grass over my head and back so that I could see and brush off the holds hidden under the grass. 40m later I found myself on a nice ledge, similar the GT ledge on the Trapps. That pitch made me work a little harder and was 5.8 G7- B0.

 

I got a good long break on the Panga GT ledge bringing up my partners. They grunted and with a couple of hangs made their way up to the ledge. During this time, all of the kids that were down on the ground started making there way across the GT ledge towards our belay all the while I kept on eyeing the cliff looming above, layback flake, mantel, grass, chimney, grass, arête, and I couldn’t see what else above that, but I couldn’t imagine, what else could there be?

 

3794Panga_07.JPG

 

Once Isabelle and Keith were up on the ledge I immediately went to work restacking and racking, I didn’t want to lose my motivation, especially knowing there was a walk off bail point.

 

Once I got on belay I started up the first pumpy 5.9 section, fist jams to a layback and onto a grassy sloping ledge. A little bit of G4 and I was at the base of the flaring chimney. Down on the ground this looked like it would be relatively easy but now I could see that rock was extremely polished. The next 20 minutes, I would work my way up a few moves get some gear in and search desperately for the next hold under grass then make way down before I got spit out of the greasy flare. I did this a few times until I was able to get past the 5.9+ climbing to the next grassy ledge with a G8 move to get on the ledge. Above me was more polished flaring chimney with a big chock stone. I thought there is no way I have enough gear, especially after placing six pieces in the flaring hell I just passed, and then I remembered the arête. Damn that thing was steeper than it looked. I stepped out of the chimney and onto the arête; luckily it was peppered with holds, especially since I was running low on gear.

 

3794Panga_09.JPG

 

I start up it and it was awesome, nice exposed climbing at this point pretty high above the ground. I thought I was going make it, after doubting below, I only had 50 feet to go. All of a sudden I hear a familiar bark which shocked the hell out of me. I looked up and sure enough red assed baboons above, hence the B9 rating. There was a troop of 9 above me, it threw me off a little bit, but then I remembered how scared they are of humans so I continued climbing figuring they would take off as I approached. Well these guys weren’t too timid I was 20 feet below them under some roofs and they still hadn’t left. Even worse one of the little bastards started hucking dirt clods down at me and another was dislodging big ass rocks off the cliff, WTF! To top this pitch off I was 20 feet from freedom with one draw left under a roof with scary looking blocks. I sucked it up and attempted to give it a go, I got under the roof plugged in a shit cam that I had, grabbed the horizontal above the roof and attempted to try and step on the blocks ever so lightly, as soon my foot touch the blocks they shifted enough to make me want to cry for my mommy and crap myself at the same time. I immediately made my way down to the ledge, almost jumping to it. I was so amped that I built an anchor and proceeded to belay my partners up the 5.9+, G8, B9 pitch.

 

As I was belaying I was trying to calm myself so I could see the next 20 feet with a clear mind and find a way up through. The damn baboon’s hucking stuff at me, Keith hanging on the rope for all eternity and my deteriorating dirt grass ledge, and my two chock stone, single shitty cam belay weren’t making it any easier clearing the mind. Keith’s hour long battle ended in victory on the belay ledge, though he forgot to grab the gear I requested so I could back up the belay. Isabelle made it pretty damn quick with a hang or two. At this point I spotted holds out the face to the left with possible gear and the baboons had finally let us be. I took off with the rack and after one 5.8 traverse move to get on the face I was in chicken head heaven. I was able to wiggle in a cam that was ok and then cruised to the top.

 

3794Panga_12.JPG

 

At the top I was greeted by the 20 or so kids that had been down on the GT ledge below. They had made there way around the cliff and up to where I was now. Then I was shortly joined first by Keith then Isabelle. I enjoyed a little post funk up on top of the cliff, took in the views and shot some pictures. After we packed up our entourage led us back down and around the cliff.

 

3794Panga_13.JPG

 

3794Panga_14.JPG

 

On way down our friend who was trying to take us around the cliff pointed out some climbs that either some Belgium of French had established with some rusty bolts, homemade hangers and the names of the routes painted in black. So he wasn’t trying to show us a cave earlier, but where other climbers had gone before.

 

3794Panga_17.JPG

 

3794Panga_18.JPG

 

3794Panga_19.JPG

 

Back down below the cliff the rest of the village was waiting with big grins on there faces and hand shakes. It was weird being such a hero for doing the first ascent of Angry Baboons 5.9+, G8, B9. Oh well I guess that is the way things are here in Rwanda.

 

On the first 20km of dirt road on the way back to Kigali, we kept hearing people yell “Commera”, which mean ‘brave’, I guess the word got out to the other villages that the muzungus were climbing Panga again.

 

 

Gear Notes:

Used a full rack up to 3.5 Camelot down to .5 Lowe Ball. I wish I would have brought more draws and more small pieces.

 

Approach Notes:

Straight forward.

 

 

 

 

To be continued in the future........

 

This arete looked pretty good I might have to try it next time.

3794Panga_04.JPG

 

This section of the wall looked great. Maybe when my huevos are bigger.

3794Panga_03.JPG

 

 

Also forgot to note that I made it back for my french lessons the next day yellaf.gif

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You and Colin with your French lessons tongue.gif

 

Thats awesome Ken, thanks for the TR. This is going down as one of my all time favorite lines from CC.com:

 

The damn baboon’s hucking stuff at me, Keith hanging on the rope for all eternity and my deteriorating dirt grass ledge, and my two chock stone, single shitty cam belay weren’t making it any easier clearing the mind.
yelrotflmao.gif So what exactly was he flinging at you? Reminds me of a childhood trip to the San Diego Zoo. crazy.gif

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The damn baboon was mainly throwing dirt clods and ocassional rock.

 

As for hiring a guard, just pick the most trust worthy looking guy and ask him to the guard. I usually try asking french but most don't french or english. So it usually comes down to pointing at him and pointing at the car and he know he'll get a buck or two. They are usually pretty stoked. Though one time I had the kid watch the car and there were sticks stuck in the locks, I yelled at him didn't pay him anything.

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Any trip report with baboons in it gets 5 stars in my book

Now how about meeting a gorilla so we can use the chest beating ape GIF wink.gif

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As for hiring a guard, just pick the most trust worthy looking guy and ask him to the guard. I usually try asking french but most don't french or english. So it usually comes down to pointing at him and pointing at the car and he know he'll get a buck or two. They are usually pretty stoked. Though one time I had the kid watch the car and there were sticks stuck in the locks, I yelled at him didn't pay him anything.

 

I'm going to try that at Index sometime.

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Yeah at Index, you'll come back and yell and not pay him anything.

 

Dru I did go see the gorilla they are funny. They roll around in the jungle chomp on some food, get some sun, roll over to the next bit of food......it's like they are way stoned with the munchies. The silverback charged which was freaky but if you just stand there, he stops maybe two feet away and grab some more food and eats. It is pretty funny, they have it easy.

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As for hiring a guard, just pick the most trust worthy looking guy and ask him to the guard. I usually try asking french but most don't french or english. So it usually comes down to pointing at him and pointing at the car and he know he'll get a buck or two. They are usually pretty stoked. Though one time I had the kid watch the car and there were sticks stuck in the locks, I yelled at him didn't pay him anything.

 

I'm going to try that at Index sometime.

 

I don't think most of the Index locals know French either, except maybe "French free"

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Yeeehaw!!! fruit.giffruit.gif going back again. This time we are going to send the established lines on the cliff. I am stoked, to be climbing again.

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3794Panga1-med.jpg

 

 

First off appologys for the crap images, we all left our cameras at home, so all the picture were taken on a phone.

 

Well I made it out to Panga again, what a fun place. This time I went with some friends Ludwig and Jonathan. Our intent was to try and get on all of the established lines on the left hand side of the cliff. The first route we hopped on was this route called P'tits....... something something 5.9+/5.10a 25m. Ludwig started up the route which had homemade hangers, well who ever made the hangers fucked up and didn't drill the holes big enough, after some struggling we figured out that the only biners we had that would fit were Neutrinos, and even then they had to be worked onto the hanger. Ludwig made it through the crux was too flamed out finish it so I stepped up and went to work.

 

 

Just about to crank the crux.

3794Panga3.jpg

 

 

3794Panga2.jpg

 

After making it up Ludwig and Jonathan TR-ed it.

 

Jonathan on TR.

3794Panga4.jpg

 

After that, I eyed a new line, tossing out the idea of sending all the established lines on that wall, I started up Sloe Hildren 5.9+, 20m. It was up and left from the previous route and was a steep vertical, sometimes over vertical face with pockets. The gear was quite tricky and the route worked me, damn I wished I hadn't left my tri-cams at home in Seattle. Though without them I made it up even with all the mockery from the sloe hildren below.

 

Just about to top out on Sloe Hildren

3794Panga5.jpg

 

The sloe hildren

3794Panga6.jpg

 

Afterwards we kicked back for a bit and eyed the other lines. There was a cool looking line that went up very steep face, that I was itching to get on. After re-reacking and stacking I started up it. Well as soon as I got 7m off the deck my barking friends from before showed up. Without hesitation the bastards started throwing rocks down at us. Luckily I was pretty protected by the steep wall, but my belayer wasn't, so we hightailed it off the route and we went looking for baboon-less part of the cliff. On our way across the base of the cliff we chilled hahaha.gif and before we new it we decided to leave Panga and check out other cliffs in the area that I had seen before.

 

First stop was a small granite looking cliff outside a village. We crusied up the slope without packs to go check it. What looked like continous cracks from the base to the top, turned out to be seams to cracks, but it still looked good so we went back to the car to grab the gear and set a TR. The rock was funky, I have never climbed on stuff like it before, the texture was like sandstone, but it was hard like granite. The line we did was a steep slab with angled edges to a bomber fist jammin' crack. It was great climbing but too short lived. I really wanted hundreds of feet of the fist jammin'

 

Jonathan trying to tear his groin.

3794Panga7.jpg

 

The downside to this cliff was it was right above a village, so by the time we were done we must have had at least hundred people out watching. It's funny cause I remember reading a while back about Skinner, Hill and company traveling around Asia and climbing and seeing the pictures of the crowds they would draw when climbing, and couldn't imagine what it must be like to have an audiance of hundred or so people, now I know. It doesn't really faze me too much, I guess I just accept it and go with the flow.

 

After our TR session it was off to another area that looked like it might have a cliff or at the very least some bouldering. It turned out that there was no cliff, but off in the distance I spotted an other cliff I hadn't seen and there was a whole bunch of good bouldering. After a little fucking around on the rocks and more chillin' hahaha.gif we decided it was time to head back home to the girls. Over and out on another good day in Rwanda.

 

hahaha.gif with a view.

3794Panga8.jpg

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I wouldn't trust them they are mean, now a Vervet monkey on the otherhand would make a great draw monkey.

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