Monthly Archives December 2012

Photo of the week – December week #4: The eastern Table

  Table Mountain’s tabletop summit is a rectangular rock mass that runs east-west. Seen from the city – from where its iconic profile shows up best – the right-hand corner, the western tip, features a conspicuous blip: the upper cable station.  The above photo was taken from the opposite end of the ‘Table’ – the left-hand or eastern edge (and in an easterly direction). This
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Quote of the week – December week #3: The way to the top

“To live for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.” – Robert M. Pirsig –  To put it another, somewhat jaded but succinct way, climbing a mountain is a journey, not a destination. All the growth and discovery (self as well as otherwise) and adventure happens along the way. As a nature- and mountain-lover, I’ve
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Photo of the week – December week #3: Puff adders

  Off the 22 species of snake found on Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsula, the puff adder is commonly regarded as the most dangerous, though not the most venomous. Hikers’ talk of snakes invariably includes hair-raising tales of encounters with puff adders; and climbers on Table Mountain all know about the cases of some hapless climber pulling up on a ledge to find him-
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Quote of the week – December week #2: Table Mountain, beacon of hope

“During the many years of incarceration on Robben Island, we often looked across Table Bay at the magnificent silhouette of Table Mountain. To us on Robben Island, Table Mountain was a beacon of hope. It represented the mainland to which we knew we would one day return.” Nelson Mandela, 1998 First sighted by Antonio de Saldanha in 1503, Table Mountain’s iconic profile has symbolized many
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Photo of the week – December week #2: Dancing on the Table

  As a Table Mountain guide who’s guided thousands of hikers up the mountain, I’ve witnessed some amusing things that people do when they reach the summit, from kissing the ground to unfurling their country flag. One girl, a ballerina, pirouetted on an outcrop; another, a Yoga guru, struck a contortionist pose… also on an outcrop. Then there was the guy who lit a Cuban
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Quote of the week – December week #1: Climbing Table Mountain back in the day

“Great overhangs again forced us to the left for twenty-five feet to another small detached flake ten feet high. From the top of this flake a very tricky traverse to the left helped us to obtain a lodgment in a smooth crack which we ascended to its very awkward exit about twenty-five feet up. An easy twenty-foot face then landed us beneath further overhangs.”  Extract
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Photo of the week – December week #1: far-flung Table Mountain

 Traverse high up on Hairpin Route. In an earlier blog post (November Week #1 – Quote of the Week: Hiking Table Mountain back in the day), I wrote about the obscurity of Hairpin Route (C-grade) on the Twelve Apostles. I also mentioned that one day I planned to go find it and salvage what early mountaineers considered a fine route. Well, that day dawned on
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Table Mountain vs the Southeaster

Table Mountain has seen better days – about 260 million years ago, freshly upheaved from Earth’s crust and soaring about 5 times higher than its present height. That’s before the Southeaster got to work on it – the Cape Peninsula’s prevailing summer wind that blows the gel out of your hair. Wind and rain are the two main erosive forces that has gnawed away at
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