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Orabeskopf, Brandberg, Namibia, where the new route Southern Crossing takes a rising line rightwards.
Photo by Peter Doucette
Dogbreath (yellow), Painted Giraffe (red), Southern Crossing (blue), Orabeskopf, Brandberg, Namibia
Photo by Gabe Rogel
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New rock climbs in Namibia


On a recent trip to Namibia the Americans Majka Burhardt, Peter Doucette and Kate Rutherford carried out the first ascent of two new routes on Brandberg.

At the end of May the Americans Majka Burhardt, Peter Doucette and Kate Rutherford travelled to Namibia in search of this county's vertical secrets. After an intial period atthe granite Spitzkoppe, the country's most developed climbing area, the three travelled south to the highest peak in "easy Africa", Brandberg 2606m. On the Orabeskopf they established two new trad routes, Painted Giraffe (5.9, V) in a single day and Southern Crossing (5.11+, V) after five days preparation.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the ascents is that these are probably the only climbs since December 1974, when the two Namibian climbers R. Lichman and R. Blumgart established Dogbreath 5.8, circa UIAA V+. It goes without saying that this is obviously a wild and remote mountain, far removed from the usual climbing destinations, requiring both a spirit of adventure and the ability to adapt to a harsh environment.

As Burhardt explains "Southern Crossing was made possible by the discovery of water at the base of the cliff—water that was first a sea of mud and algae in a 20X40 cm granite depression. Peter cleaned out the muck on day one, and each day after we were able to get 14-18 liters on our way back to camp. We spent a total of seven nights on the col between the face and the standard hiking route to the southern side of the Brandberg."

The routes on Orabeskopf, Brandberg, Namibia
Southern Crossing
First ascent:
Majka Burhardt, Peter Doucette, Kate Rutherford, 06/2009
Grade: 5.11+, V. (South Africa Grade 25)
Length: 450m

Painted Giraffe
First ascent:
Majka Burhardt, Peter Doucette, Kate Rutherford, 05/2009
Grade: 5.9, V. (South Africa Grade 18)

First ascent:
R. Lichman & R. Blumgart, 12/1974
Grade: 13-17 South Africa Grade (5.5-5.8 US Grade)

Namibia Video 2: Southern Crossing by Chris Alstrin and alstrinfilms.com





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