Table Mountain, The Ledge – January 21st 2019

Arrived back in Cape Town yesterday, checked into the Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Foreshore for my two remaining nights in ZA, got settled and cleaned up before meeting a couple of friends for dinner.
We went to a really nice Thai place, unfortunately not really up to par on the portion sizes and we had to get some starters after the main course to be satisfied.
I met Eva and went for a short hike with her in 2017, yet it’s the first time her boyfriend Mike and I meet in person, good conversation and lots of fun, they’re both wonderful people and very including. Being a guide in the area, Mike points me to a route up the eastern side of table mountain and later they send me photos from one of the rare guide books describing this route.
I decided to try it out, knowing that I might have to turn around if it gets too sketchy, and being totally ok with that. Starting from the hotel it takes some walking to get to the trailhead up towards Devils Peak where I started up the mountain.

Hiking up to the saddle following the main trail is easy and comfortable, my main concern being to find the right fork where to turn off from the train before it’s a descent down on the other side of the saddle.

Turns out it’s not that hard to find (and, yes, I mindfully chose not to point it out as the route is frankly not suited for most people) and soon I’m heading along the smaller trail up towards the table. First, it’s just a faint and rather steep trail up the mountainside, yet after passing over the ledge that gave the route its name, it starts to involve some vertical climbs and becomes increasingly harder to navigate.

On a few occasions, I have to double back and find the trail again after hitting a dead end. More and more climbing, at one point coming through a crack in the rock almost resembling a tunnel, I contemplated turning around a few times yet always finding a good hold for hands and feet and being able to carry on.
Finally I found myself standing on a narrow ledge with a sharp drop off to the left about 100m or more (300ft) and looking at the uppermost part of a steep ravine with nowhere else to go but up, I have to admit the only thing that got me to continue was the simple fact that climbing back down seemed even more sketchy than climbing up the ravine.

Obviously, I made it, though slowly and consciously, and always keeping three limbs on the rock, cautious not to slip on the wet and muddy spots and staying away from the grass and bushes barely finding grip with their roots in the superficial soil.

As usual, after completing a route like this, the feeling coming out at the top is indescribable, that last stretch really got some adrenaline pumping and I enjoyed the aftermath of the rush while making my way across the table towards the station on the western side.
A friendly woman at the coffee bar kindly refilled my water bag and soon I made my way down the mountain, once again following the India Venster route, that admittedly felt very timid and easy compared to the adventures coming up. Please see previous posts in referens to that route, ok?

Arriving back at the hotel I had been out moving for just over seven hours and had definitely earned my dinner, and this being my last night I went for a fantabulous Prime Rib to close off an intensely fun day filled with adventures in nature!

Thanks for checking out the post, please leave a comment below and let me know what You think, ok?

Peace be the Journey // Claes

Table Mountain on the India Venster Route, January 2nd, 2019

After a really good nights sleep, I felt the urge to compensate all my sitting on a plane the day before with a good chunk of hiking.
Staying at a hotel downtown and with local transport being more of a joke, it seemed just right to start by walking the few km’s up to the trailhead.
Already on beforehand I decided to hike up India Venster, definitely my favorite access way to the mountaintop from last time I was in Cape Town.

Lucky enough, the wind was too strong for the cable car to operate and so I already suspected that the top would be nice and quiet.
Not many people on the trail, I passed two couples pretty soon after starting the hike and then didn’t meet anyone until close to the end of the trail, when two guys who originally came up Platterklip gorge and had planned for the cable car on the way down, passed by in the opposite direction.
Here I decided to backtrack my way down to the starting point once having checked out the upper station.

I was pretty keen on a coffee and have to admit being a little disappointed when it turned out nothing had opened up for the day… The thought that all the people working up there, of course, got transported with the cable car, hadn’t crossed my mind, and I had built up some expectation of the tasty Flat White I would enjoy once finishing the climb. Anyway, water did have to suffice and soon after my arrival I headed back down, only wearing shorts and a t-shirt was quickly getting chilly in the wind.

Lots of fun going down the same route, just take it easy when it gets steep. You might have found out Yourself it’s sometimes faster going up than down when the gig involves some climbing 😉

Met a few people coming up the trail and passed a group going down after having climbed the Platterklip Gorge and originally wanting to go down by cable car.
Frankly, I was a little baffled by the choice to take this route as an alternative to the cable, it’s definitely not the easiest one!

Anyway, once at the contour path crossing I decided to call it a day and return to my hotel, naturally making a stop for some good coffee on the way!

Please let me know if You tried this route or plan to do so!

Peace be the Journey // Claes

Devils Peak from Newland Forrest

To avoid getting into the traffic of Cape Town I planned my hike up Devils Peak to start from the east and Lance dropped me of at the Fire Station in Newland Forrest just before 10:00 in the morning. This being the day after my India Venster hike I expected some soreness in my legs, early on during the hike I know I was right in that regard – this was going to be a slow day 😉

Looking at the map ahead of the hike my choice to follow the “Rim trail” up to the Newlands Gorge turned out to be an interesting one. The trail started out as a beautiful small path that soon got fainter and then even fainter, at times it was almost invisible and it became clear that it was used mainly by game, not hikers. Lots of fun, though, to climb over and crawl under obstacles and I did not at all mind the hour it took me to reach the contour path.

The climb up the gorge was steady and, due to my tired muscles, pretty slow without any difficulties. Reaching the saddle I could easily detect the rest of the trail towards to top of Devils peak and continued in a steady pace until I reached the summit.



Sky was clearer than previous days and the view over Cape Town just breathtaking!



The wind from N/W was pretty hard and I hope You can live with the sound on the video:


Going down I had to abandon my original plan of following the
knife edge, that path was simply indiscernible, and
instead I descended down to the Upper Traverse path following this around the northern edge of the mountain aiming to get down to Kings Blockhouse.

Parts of the trail offering a lot of fun, steep descents 😀



The contour path took me once again back to Kirstenbosch garden where I got picked up by Lance for the ride back to the house.
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Peace // Claes

More Table Mountain – India Venster to Skeleton Gorge and Kirstenbosch


Starting at the lower Cable Car station the India Venster (meaning Indian Window in Afrikaans) trail soon crosses the contour path and runs steeply up the mountain side. It is generally considered to be on the more difficult side and partly closer to climbing then hiking.

The trail passes under the cable car several times during the first part and every time I see the car pass by me I get this mixed feelings of envying the easy transport and pity the passengers missing out on this beautiful and fun hike!
I have to admit that the trail is so much fun, I have to remind myself to stop and enjoy the view every now and then!

Getting even better during the second half of the trail, almost vertical at times yet with great grips and threads not really difficult to climb. Still I recommend anyone being advert to heights to chose another route up this mountain. Some parts are very close to the edge along impressing drops!

Heading for the Café at the upper station for a nice double Cortado I made a new friend from Perth, Australia and got company for the rest of the hike. We took the trail leading south to the Woodhead reservoir, crossed the dam and turned east heading for Kirstenbosch Garden through Skeleton gorge.

Just before reaching the gorge and at the most eastern end of the Hely-Hutchinson reservoir there´s a fantastic sandy area almost forming a beach right on the mountain. Had swimming in the reservoirs been allowed, this had been a great place for a refreshing dip 😀

The decent through Skeleton Gorge soon follows a creek carrying no water this time of the year yet should be impossible to pass during rain fall. Leading through beautiful shady forrest and offering fun climbing parts and even a few ladders it´s a treat after the scourging sun on the top af the mountain. A short walk after reaching the bottom of the gorge lies the botanical garden of Kirstenbosch, unfortunately I didn´t have time to explore the garden itself, got that saved for another day!

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Peace // Claes

Table Mountain from Constantia Nek January 4th 2017

First shot at hiking Table Mountain was on Wednesday January 4th 2017, I started out from Constantia Nek just before 9:30 after Lance got me a ride there. Following the trail and keeping left for the jeep trail I met a couple and got pointed even further west where I found a marvelous little nature trail leading up the mountain side.
The spectacular view at times almost dangerously distracting as the hike became more of a climb in some sections!
Weather was amazing, warm and sunny with a nice breeze cooling me down every time I got over a ridge.

Not many people on the trail, I passed a total of 6 persons before reaching the first reservoir and bumped into a party of four with three dogs bathing and enjoying the cool water.
The planned route west of this reservoir was heavily overgrown and, swiftly adjusting plans, I followed the jeep trail north just passed the … cabin where a water faucet was placed serving hikers with amazingly cold and tasty water. After drinking my fill and washing head and face, leaving my hair wet to cool the head, I soon continued north along the mountain side, aiming to follow Smuts Track up to the peak of Table Mountain.
The day getting warmer and covering quite a lot of elevation taxed my water supply harder than I planned for and I actually ran out of water on the way up. Reminder to self: always fill the container with fresh water even when I don’t think I need it ?

From the peak it´s an easy walk crossing the plateau to the cable station where they established a café serving a few lunch dishes besides coffee, other beverages and sorted sandwiches.
I had beef stew that contained more bones than meat, pretty lousy value for money and, to be frank with You, I´d recommend You pack lunch if You plan on having lunch on the mountain!
After spending around an hour at the café, eating and resting it was time to follow the north ridge of the plateau back to Platteklip Gorge and decent along the trail down the gorge.
Usually steep decent are slightly uncomfortable for knees and quads, this one being no exception, I took it pretty slow and easy downhill. Also I was rather surprised to see that the fence partly following the trail at the steeper parts was made out of barbed wire… Please don´t grab if You fall, and don’t fall onto the fence… ?
Once out of the gorge there are several forks in the trail and the one to follow runs along the mountainside right to the point where the cable car crosses the trail. From there just use the trail leading down to the station.
All in all it was a majestic and beautiful hiking day and I can highly recommend the route. Getting back up on the mountain again and, of course, right back to You with the next report!

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Peace // Claes