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 than to go up them in a fog.”

Sir Claude Schuster (1869 – 1956), British barrister and keen Alpine mountaineer

It always interests me to hear people’s motives for wanting to hike up Table Mountain (as opposed to taking the cable car). I’ve practically heard them all: the mundane, the arcane, the profound and everything in between. Most people are persuaded to hike up for its fame (as Sir Claude points out); to be able to say ‘I’ve climbed Table Mountain’. Others see it as a challenge. There are those who simply want to experience nature and solitude. Then you get the adventurer, who wishes to pit him- or herself against nature and tackles one of the more challenging routes. Most of the time, though, people have multiple motives that overlap in a thousand different permutations, or one motive that predominates. One of the most amusing motives I’ve come across was from a man of considerable proportions who took up the challenge after his wife bet him a $1000 that he couldn’t do it. Then there was the religious zealot who asked me to guide him to the remotest corner of the mountain so that he could have communion with God. On the other side of the motive spectrum, I’ve had people who wanted to hike up simply because they had nothing else to do.

It matters little what your motives are for hiking up Table Mountain – or any mountain for that matter. But if it’s only for the views, best not to go up in a fog.

(c) www.hiketablemountain.co.za