Table Mountain hikes: Left Face ‘B’ – 15 December 2016

Of all the 60-odd Table Mountain hiking routes, only 5 lead up the iconic front face of the mountain. And only one of these tackles the formidable cliffs head-on without escaping into a ravine or sneaking round to the less-steep back of the mountain. Left Face ‘B’, also known as Mystery B, picks an ingenious line through a seemingly impregnable part of the mountain, involving only basic scrambling and requiring no climbing experience. Seen from below, you never suspect a hiking route to lead up that imposing part of Table Mountain. Some Table Mountain hikes lead up an obvious feature like a ravine or open slope, but not Left Face ‘B’: it keeps you guessing all the way, keeps you in suspense as to where it goes next – which is of course part of the thrill and adventure.

Hiking Table Mountain via Left Face ‘B’ requires at least a moderate fitness level as well as a sense of adventure. It also requires at least a fairly good head for heights, as some sections lead along the edge of a cliff. The terrain is rugged for much of the way (bush, loose rock, scrambling), and the route-finding is tricky, so definitely a route to do with someone who knows it well or with a mountain-guide.

Left Face ‘B’ starts about 25 minutes up the well-known Platteklip Gorge route. It threads through a series of cliffs go eventually top out smack in the middle of the famous tabletop summit of Table Mountain. The route is not often done, so if you’re adventurous and love hiking off-the-beaten track, then this is certainly a route to consider. The route has a character of its own and offers unique and superb views onto the front face of the mountain, not to mention the city and Table Bay. A great addition to the diverse Table Mountain hiking routes.

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