Monthly Archives September 2012

Quote of the week – September week #4: The appreciation of landscape

“There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country.  A fine landscape is like a piece of music; it must be taken at the right tempo.  Even a bicycle goes too fast.” Paul Scott Mowrer (d. 1971) – American newspaper correspondent. It’s doubtful Mr. Mowrer ever got to hike Table Mountain, but his sentiments on the appreciation of landscape certainly apply to
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Table Mountain hiking routes: What is a Route?

Table Mountain can be climbed from all sides and along routes of varying length, difficulty and character. It’s hard to say exactly how many hiking routes exist on Table Mountain, strange as this might sound. The reason for this is the ambiguity of what constitutes a route.  This has been an issue of perennial debate and discussion among hikers and cragsmen. In this first installment
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Photo of the week – September week #4: Kloof Buttress Arete

Top pitch of Kloof Buttress Arete (C) Pottering around in misty conditions on an unfrequented route on Table Mountain the other day, I was again forcibly reminded of how deceptive a route’s grade can be. Kloof Buttress Arete goes at a ‘mere’ C grade, which constitutes a steep hike from a climber’s perspective and a robust scramble from a hiker’s (scrambling being the grey area
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Hiking Table Mountain at the crack of dawn

With summer fast approaching, some things need to be said about the importance of starting your Table Mountain hike early in the morning. Heat can be debilitating and enervating, especially when you find yourself toiling up a mountain under the blazing African sun, still acclimatized to the northern hemisphere’s wintry weather. Hiking up Table Mountain is strenuous enough, and doing so under a torrid sun
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Hiking Table Mountain: to use a guide or not

Why bother with a mountain guide to hike Table Mountain? The two short answers: to ensure your safety and to maximize your experience. Let’s take a closer look at these. Safety: An experienced, attentive and competent mountain guide will minimize the risks associated with hiking and climbing a mountain. Table Mountain is still very much a mountain, despite its proximity to a city and the
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Quote of the week – September week #3: The way up

“So toiled they up the mountain slope With faint and ever fainter hope With faint and fainter voice the brook Still bade them listen, pause and look” John G. Whittier (1807 – 1892), American poet.   I dislike rushing up a mountain; feels more like work than pleasure. It becomes a superficial activity: conquer the mountain, grab some views, head back down. To each his
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Photo of the week – September week #3: Table Mountain from the west

Table Mountain’s iconic profile – the tabletop summit flanked by Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head – can only be seen when the mountain is viewed from the north.  Known as the ‘front’ or ‘face’ of Table Mountain, it has fascinated visitors from the days of the first explorers. Much less celebrated, and no less impressive, is the west or right side of Table Mountain –
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Table Mountain's scented little Snapdragon

There’s a small shrub with dainty white flowers (June to November) growing along some Table Mountain trails that most folk don’t even notice, let alone smell, yet it exudes a fragrance that will stay with you for a long time. Its name: Zaluzianskya capensis, of the Snapdragon family, commonly known as Drumsticks. Its flowers close up in daylight, only opening at nightfall and then releasing
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Table Mountain’s scented little Snapdragon

There’s a small shrub with dainty white flowers (June to November) growing along some Table Mountain trails that most folk don’t even notice, let alone smell, yet it exudes a fragrance that will stay with you for a long time. Its name: Zaluzianskya capensis, of the Snapdragon family, commonly known as Drumsticks. Its flowers close up in daylight, only opening at nightfall and then releasing
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Photo of the week – September week #2: Tablecloth

3 September: the first Tablecloth of the season. If there’s one thing that marks the end of the winter, then it’s the arrival of the Southeaster wind and the accompanying formation of the Tablecloth, a veil of streamlined cloud that engulfs the mountain. I was privileged to witness the first Tablecloth of the new season take shape, building up on the mountain’s eastern ramparts before
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