Monthly Archives October 2012

What is scrambling?

Most people think of eggs when they hear ‘scrambling’. But when it comes to hiking up mountains, scrambling constitutes a very different activity than whisking eggs. Google defines it as making one’s way quickly or awkwardly up a steep gradient or over rough ground by using one’s hands as well as one’s feet. A pretty accurate definition, but as far as hiking on Table Mountain goes,
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Quote of the week – October week #4: Escape to the mountains

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”  John Muir, American naturalist and conservationist (1838 – 1914)  Despite its proximity to a city, Table Mountain does not lack in nature. There might be a cable car to the summit, complete with restaurant and souvenir shop, and
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Photo of the week – October week #4: Hout Bay Corner

On the top pitch of Hout Bay Corner  When viewed from above, the Table Mountain massif roughly resembles a molar tooth, its crown representing the ‘Table’ (summit plateau) and the two roots the Twelve Apostles and Eastern Buttresses respectively. Given its shape, the mountain features four distinct corners, each of which offers a route to the summit. On the northwest corner (left side of the
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Quote of the week – October week #3: Why hike Table Mountain

“It is hard to give reasons for the ascent of particular mountains. Some we take for their fame, and some for their obscurity; some for their rock ridges, some for their ice-slopes; some for their ease, and some for their difficulty. But very few people go up very few mountains for the view alone, and it is to be hoped that they have more sense
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Photo of the week – October week #3: Lion's Head Southeaster

Pieces of Table Mountain’s Tablecloth cloud-formation scudding past the summit of Lion’s Head on the back of a raging Southeaster. Anyone familiar with Table Mountain hiking will tell you that Lion’s Head is sheltered from the Southeaster wind. True – most of the time. There are days when the Southeaster blows with such ferocity that, instead of falling flat as it comes off the front
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Photo of the week – October week #3: Lion’s Head Southeaster

Pieces of Table Mountain’s Tablecloth cloud-formation scudding past the summit of Lion’s Head on the back of a raging Southeaster. Anyone familiar with Table Mountain hiking will tell you that Lion’s Head is sheltered from the Southeaster wind. True – most of the time. There are days when the Southeaster blows with such ferocity that, instead of falling flat as it comes off the front
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Hiking in the Southeaster

After the rain-bearing northwesterly winds of winter and the languorous spring weather, it’s the time of the Southeaster – Cape Town’s prevailing summer wind. As its name suggests, the Southeaster blows from the southeast … and blows and blows, and then goes on to blow some more. And at supersonic speeds – almost. Most locals detest it, even office workers! who, from the sheltered confines
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Photo of the week – October week #2: Mistbows

  I’ve seen a lot of weird cloud formations and atmospheric phenomena in the years I’ve been hiking Table Mountain, but nothing like this. Rounding the northwest corner of Table Mountain onto Fountain Ledge, the Atlantic Seaboard fogbound, I came upon a rainbow riding in the vaporous air directly ahead of me, drained of color and tubular in dimension. A remarkable sight in itself, considering
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Photo of the week – October week #1: Klipspringers

 Klipspringer pair on Table Mountain summit   Once plentiful on Table Mountain, the indigenous klipspringer (an Afrikaans word that translates to ‘rock-jumper’) antelope is a rare sight nowadays. Uncontrolled hunting led to local extinction by the 1930s. In 1999, the Table Mountain National Park reintroduced klipspringer to sections of the Cape Peninsula.  The first introduction of 19 animals was into the Cape of Good Hope section of
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Strange sightings on Table Mountain

With literally thousands of hikes and climbs on Table Mountain behind me, and having spent many more hours in the company of her crags, vegetation and whimsical weather, you’d think I’ve seen just about everything there is to see on the mountain. Not so, in light of two uncanny sightings the past week. The first occurred on a traverse across the Eastern Table (east side
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