Access to one of climbing's preeminent bouldering destinations--Rocklands, South Africa--is now threatened. In fact, the area known as the Tea Garden, which is privately owned by a local farmer and houses the classic boulder problem Black Shadow (V12) among others, has been officially closed for climbing. Delaney Carpenter, Chairperson of the Rock Climbing Committee of the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA), reports that the closure is the result of graffiti found on the Black Shadow boulder, multiple "unofficial" trails leading to the area and the decimation of the landowner's nearby fence. Though Carpenter says that the MCSA "feels that the graffiti was not the work of climbers," the damaged fence and trails are suspected to be caused by the bouldering community. Despite the closure, the landowner has recently discovered toilet paper in the area, as well as fresh chalk on the Black Shadow boulder. "This has only served to anger her substantially and she has closed all her lands to boulderers," writes Carpenter. "The MCSA is doing all that they can to try to mend the relationship between the bouldering community and the landowner, but this may prove futile if climbers continue to ignore the ban and boulder there anyway."
Carpenter explains that climbers seem to be oblivious to the fact that Rocklands is privately owned by four farmers and Cape Nature--a public institution dedicated to biodiversity conservation in the Western Cape of South Africa. Carpenter notes that as Rocklands rose to international fame due to its world-class, sandstone boulders, the "land began to suffer and has sustained significant continuous damage." Due to the heavy environmental impact caused by boulderers, the relationship between the landowners, Camp Nature and climbers has become strained. As a result, on June 28, 2013, all the land belonging to one farmer--which includes the Tea Garden and Kliphuis down to Clanwilliam on both sides of the road--has been closed to climbing. "Anyone caught climbing in these areas will be prosecuted and probably fined by the landowner," writes Carpenter. "To continue climbing in this area will only damage the reputation of boulderers even further."
Carpenter would like to inform climbers of the deteriorating relationship between landowners and boulderers, and has proposed the following list of rules for climbers' to adhere to when visiting Rocklands.
1. Bury your feces and carry out your toilet paper. If the ground is too hard to bury your feces, please carry it out with you and dispose of it in the campsite bins. Poop bags are available for free at De Pakhys. (A special note about this: Tea Garden has been closed primarily due to this problem. Animals such as baboons may eat human feces and could contract diseases such as Tuberculosis and hepatitis, which could prove detrimental to the population)
2. Do not litter – carry everything you bring in with you back out with you and dispose of your litter in the bins at the campsite.
3. Stick to the allocated paths marked by cairns and as illustrated in the guidebook. Diverting from these paths causes far more erosion than is necessary and may cause the extinction of certain sensitive plants in the area.
4. No graffiti on rock surfaces. (Black Shadow boulder has been closed to climbing due to graffiti)
5. No pof is allowed in Rocklands. The resin damages the rock surfaces and this damage is irreversible.