Table Mountain hiking routes: Frustration Gorge – 4 June 2017

Frustration Gorge is a delightful route off-the-beaten track that leads up from Orange Kloof, a lush, secluded valley with restricted entrance located at the back of Table Mountain. The route follows a ravine choked with Afro-montane forest, a type of forest reminiscent of tropical jungle, and involves some B-grade scrambling with only one bit mildly exposed to heights. As far as Table Mountain hikes go, Frustration Gorge offers a few unique attributes and distinguishing features. The first is the enchanting jungle setting, often undisturbed for weeks at a time. It’s easy to linger along the way and spend time soaking up the mystical atmosphere and pristine surroundings. Water cascades down the gorge in winter, forming small waterfalls in places. In summer, the jungle offers welcome shade.

Table Mountain hiking offers much diversity in terms of views and terrain, and Frustration Gorge does so amply. Once past the major portions of the ravine, the jungle falls away, offering striking views back down the ravine and across Orange Kloof. The route tops out on the 12 Apostles, a chain of peaks extending behind the famous tabletop summit of Table Mountain, offering stunning views from an unusual angle across the Back Table and towards the tabletop summit in the distance. A far cry from the gloom of the jungle, you now find yourself on a shrub-clad plateau punctuated with wind-sculpted rocks, and a short distance on, the land falls away to the Atlantic Ocean far below.

Views aside, the route offers a superb wilderness experience with lots of peace and quiet. Solitude in abundance. If you appreciate communion with nature, the route will reward you on many levels. You’re unlikely to encounter any frustrations other than perhaps the route being too short. The gorge actually gets its name from the adjacent buttress, Frustration Buttress, named in 1935 by a party of climbers defeated a mere 5 meters from the top of their new route. Vintage Table Mountain hiking, Frustration Gorge packs a lot of Table Mountain for its low-key stature.

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