Monthly Archives July 2012

Photo of the Week: August week #1

  On the top pitch of Kasteels Gully, a C-grade route on the Twelve Apostles. Also known as Cups & Saucers (because of oddly-shaped rock that resembles this), the route leads up Kasteels Buttress, providing some tricky and exposed scrambling that makes the use of a rope advisable. It was opened in 1912 by K. Cameron and party and ranks as one of the best
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The origin of some Table Mountain route names

At its best, a route name hints at the nature of the route, or encapsulates the story of its opening ascent, or makes reference to a prominent feature found along the way; at its worst, it describes the route’s principal physical feature in unflattering or prosaic terms. An example of the former is Desperation Corner, a climbing route opened in 1938: the name evokes images
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Quote of the Week: July week #4

General  Jan C. Smuts (1870 – 1950) was a prominent South African statesman, military leader, philosopher, conservationist and mountaineer who had an abiding passion for Table Mountain. Below is an extract from his speech at the unveiling of the Mountain Club of South Africa’s War Memorial at Maclear’s Beacon (highest point on Table Mountain) in 1923. The memorial was erected in tribute to Club members
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Photo of the Week: July week #4

  I’ve come across some odd things in the years I’ve been hiking Table Mountain, but this find ranks as one of the weirdest. You could hike a lifetime on Table Mountain without finding a wheelbarrow, but there it was, laying on its side in tall grass, buckled and rusted, its wheel charred by previous fires. And what makes this find really bizarre is the
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Table Mountain flora – Part 2: What exactly is fynbos?

A restio tussock   Most hikes on Table Mountain leads across slopes of fynbos (pronounced fain-bos), the characteristic shrubland of Table Mountain. Fynbos is a generic name for the shrubby vegetation of the Cape Floristic Region. It’s actually an Afrikaans word derived from the Dutch term fijn bosch, which translates to ‘fine bush’. Two explanations exist for its origin: firstly, that it makes reference to
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Quote of the week: July week #3

“Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares
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Photo of the week: July week #3

  The Lion’s Mantle… A fogbound Lion’s Head as seen from halfway up the India Venster route on Table Mountain’s north face. This is a fairly rare occurrence, around  5 to 8 times a year, usually in Autumn (March / April) and Spring (September / October). It happens when warm, moisture-laden air wafts in from the west and condenses on contact with cooler air above
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Photo of the week: July week #2

  There are few more ingenious and sensational hiker’s traverses on Table Mountain than the Right Face-Arrow Face Traverse. Located on the north (front) side of the mountain, the traverse follows a narrow ledge that pinches out at an obscure rock slit. Squeezing through this brings you to a cave-like corridor formed by a piece of cliff flaked away from the mountainside. Out the other
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Table Mountain flora – Part 1: Nature's botanical garden

  “… a botanic garden, neglected and left to grow to a state of nature; so great was the variety everywhere to be met with.”  WILLIAM BURCHELL, English naturalist, 1810, after climbing Lion’s Head. I’m not your garden-variety plant lover. I appreciate vegetation as it occurs naturally in all its forms – jungle, shrubland, swamps, thickets – but I do not study plants or read
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Table Mountain flora – Part 1: Nature’s botanical garden

  “… a botanic garden, neglected and left to grow to a state of nature; so great was the variety everywhere to be met with.”  WILLIAM BURCHELL, English naturalist, 1810, after climbing Lion’s Head. I’m not your garden-variety plant lover. I appreciate vegetation as it occurs naturally in all its forms – jungle, shrubland, swamps, thickets – but I do not study plants or read
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