Rocklands Expected to Reopen After Fire

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Photo by Fred Moix.

Photo by Fred Moix.

2/5/13 - Good news in the aftermath of the Cederberg fires in South Africa: According to a letter from the local tourism authority posted at Climb.co.za, climbing at Rocklands is expected to be permitted during the bouldering season later this year. An excerpt: "The news you have all been waiting for: Rocklands will be open during bouldering season!!! I have just spoken to...Cape Nature, [and] he said they are currently keeping Rocklands closed until they can walk through it to see what the damage is, but because the area is fairly flat it will not take long to recover.... We will however have to get the message out that people need to stay on the paths and not cut across to Rocklands as they have done previous years. If all obey the rules it will lead to a successful bouldering season in Rocklands again in 2013."

1/25/13 - A series of lightning-caused wildfires have swept across the Cederberg area of South Africa, burning part or all of the world-famous Rocklands bouldering area. The fires started January 16 and burned for more than a week. The bouldering area is believed to have been heavily affected. "The fire swept through the climbing zone…devastating vegetation throughout the reserve," said a report on Climbing.co.za. "The fire is mostly out, but Rocklands is among the 500 square km of land that's been burnt clean."

Tragically, one person died in the fire, and a number of buildings were destroyed in the area. Many wild animals are likely to have died as well.

It's summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and Rocklands bouldering is currently out of season. Rocklands is located within the Cederberg Wilderness Area, and it's unknown whether Cape Nature, the land manager, will close the area in the aftermath of the fire, or for how long.

Date of incident: January 2013

Sources: climbing.co.za, capenature.co.za, savageclimbing.com