A) THE AREA
Grapefield is situated on the eastern point of Aruba, near Seroe
Colorado. It is reached by taking the road to San Nicolas and then following
the signs to Seroe Colorado. At a certain moment you'll reach a T-crossing
with a large anchor (a sort of sculpture / landmark). Turn to the left
and follow the road. You are now passing through Grapefield and you can see
Boca Grandi, the beach near Grapefield on your right. The directions are
clearly indicated by road-signs.
If you are following the correct road you'll see a cliff to your left with a
compound on it. It's Aruba's prison. Litter the area and they we will put you
in there!! Drive on for about one kilometer (yes, we know the road is
terrible..) and you'll see a sign to your left pointing out the location of
the climbing area.
The Grapefield area derives it's name from the so called "Grape trees"
which used to grow here. In the past the Exxon Company has dumped it's waste
here and most of the trees have withered and died. The Exxon Company has
removed the so called "Pitch" from the area before they left Aruba and the
Grape Trees are nowadays slowly recovering from this environmental
catastrophe. Hopefully the area will once again become covered by
them. Remnants of the pitch can still be found on the field and many holes in
the cliffs are still filled with "pitch-dust" . With combined efforts we hope
to get the area completely cleaned one day...
B) THE CLIFFS
Aruba consists of volcanic rock on which several layers of coral were
deposited by oceanic micro-organisms. The cliffs of Grapefield (also known as
the cliffs of the Fontein Coast) are a remnant of these prehistoric
reefs. It's from this origin that the rocks derive their unique
characteristics. As the original sharpness of the reefs has mostly eroded
away, the cliffs are now perfectly suitable for climbing.
C) THE WORKS:
In December 1996 a group of three climbers (living in the Netherlands),
with the assistance of Club Active Aruba, a local sportsorganisation, set out
on a great adventure..... Desperate to create a new climbing area and longing
for immortal fame they started to map and equip the rocks of Grapefield. The
humble writer of this topographic guide is one of them...
The enterprise was
done in about a month. We first climbed the rocks by parking our car on top of
them and using the turrel of the car to build a toprope. This can still be
done and is a handy and save way of exploring possible new routes. Afterwards
we placed tophooks (model Stubai Klebehaak). We then bolted a couple of routes
from the top down. The job was finished by placing name-tags and creating this
topo. During the whole enterprise there was a lot of cleaning activity and
there' s still a lot of work to be done.
Opening new routes in this area (in the future), is only possible with
permission of Club Active Aruba (C.A.A.), whose members act as hosts to the
site and take care of it. You'll find further information about C.A.A. in the
back of this topo.
D) CLIMBING IN GRAPEFIELD, ARUBA:
To climb in this area you'll need extra material such as slings and
carabiners to create solid relais points. Without this equipment the tophooks
are useless! If you don't have the required material with you, contact
C.A.A. for rental. The use of magnesium is permitted, but seldom
necessary. Climbing without guidance by C.A.A. members is at your own risk. We
completely disapprove of solo climbing, as it gives sportclimbing a bad name
and might crack your skull. Just don't do it.
The rocks of the "Tears Sector" are well shaded from 10 AM, because of their
overhanging nature. The other sectors are shaded from about 1:30 PM. Routes
are graded by the French grading system. If you want to compare with the
system you're used to, see the reference list.
Tristan giving instructions
Topo of all sectors.
"Love virtue, she alone is free. She can teach ye
how to climb. Higher than the sphery chime. Or if virtue feeble were,
heaven itself would stoop to her."
John Milton, Il Penseroso.
A) CONCLUDING REMARKS:
O.K., this is it. I hope that you will enjoy climbing in the Grapefield
area and that you will find this topo to be the excellent piece of work it is!
Comments on the topo are welcome, they can help to make it even better. The
distributor of the topo (T. Monzon, C.A.A.) is the man to contact. Happy
climbing and may the force be with you.
B) USEFUL NAMES AND ADRESSES
And he shall be as an hiding place from the wind,
and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as
the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."
Bible, Isaiah 32:2