Photo of the week – April week #3: Grotto-Fountain-Cairn Traverse

Apr 16, 2013

The Grotto-Fountain-Cairn Traverse must rank as one of the most challenging and sensational hiking routes on Table Mountain. It leads up the imposing west side of the mountain, picking an ingenious line past forbidding cliffs. Table Mountain hiking does not get more exciting than this. The route follows Grotto Ravine to a point about midway up the mountain, then traverses across a series of cliffs along a narrow ledge – sometimes narrowing to less than a meter wide – before angling up the southwest side of upper Kloof Corner Ridge to gain Fountain Ledge and top out via the India Venster route. Tricky scrambling, exposure to heights, intimidating positions, rugged terrain (bush / loose rocks) and distance covered all combine to make this a strenuous and challenging route suitable only for experienced hikers or intermediate hikers in the company of an experienced Table Mountain guide. As far as Table Mountain hiking goes, it’s apt to describe this route as taking a walk on the wild side. You won’t meet other hikers along the way and you won’t pass any signs or manmade features. It’s off-the-beaten track Table Mountain, where nature still reigns supreme.