Table Mountain hiking routes: Level of difficulty – 26 May 2017

All Table Mountain hikes are graded A, A+, B, B+, C or C+. Grading denotes technicality, not physicality. Put differently, the grading gives you an indication of the hardest move required to complete the route, NOT how strenuous the route is. An A-grade route involves no technical difficulty, while a C+ route involves some elementary rock-climbing. Proper climbing (with ropes, gear and harness) are generally graded from D upwards. Some C-grade routes are less strenuous than A-grade routes, though more challenging in terms of technicality and usually exposure to heights.

When it comes to Table Mountain hiking, the following all contribute to a route’s difficulty: elevation gain / distance, terrain, technicality, exposure to heights. Only technicality is factored into the grade of a route. Rugged terrain (bush / loose rock) can add both to a routes technicality and physicality, and should not be underestimated. Exposure to heights can make a route difficult, not physically, but mentally – which in turn can make it feel harder physically. If you’re afraid of heights, you need to take into account the severity of exposure found along the route you intend to tackle.

To many, hiking Table Mountain is about the challenge as much as the views. The greater the challenge, the more sense of achievement to be had on the summit. But be realistic in the challenge you set yourself. An experienced mountain-guide can help with self-assesment and route selection, thereby optimizing your Table Mountain hiking experience. The best Table Mountain hikes are either strenuous or technical with some exposure to heights, so if you want to get the most out of the mountain, you have to be up for some sort of challenge, either in terms of pushing yourself physically or mentally. Motivation, determination and enthusiasm go a long way in tackling a route that takes you outside your comfort zone.

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