Photo of the week – March week #2: Table Mountain hikes and views

View north from the upper sections of Porcupine Buttress

View north from the upper sections of Porcupine Buttress

Hiking Table Mountain allows you to get different perspectives on the surroundings as well as the mountain itself. Views are a non-negotiable for most people when hiking Table Mountain, but they tend to forget that views are not always outward onto the sea or city or distant mountains, but also Table Mountain itself. Some Table Mountain hikes lead up a prominent ridge or pass over a spur, putting you in a position away from the mountain from where you can enjoy views back onto the mountain. It’s then that views on the ascent becomes panoramic: the sea or city far below and the mountain towering behind you. The views from upper Porcupine Buttress are a prime example: you get to see the western segment of the tabletop from the back with a gaping system of ravines in between, and the Atlantic Ocean shimmering in the sun far below. It’s an unusual angle onto the mountain, one that intrigues even Table Mountain hiking stalwarts when they eventually get to see it. Another example is The Pulpit, a spur on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain that provides grand views back onto the imposing upper sections of Fernwood, Wormhole, Protea, Hiddingh and Ascension Buttresses. Experienced and knowledgeable Table Mountain guides with a sensibility for topography know about these locations and can share them with you. Next time you decide on a route, don’t just think views away from the mountain, but also views back onto the mountain. It’s sad how many people hike up Table Mountain never really see the mountain they’re climbing, but rather the landscape around the foot of the mountain. All routes offer some views onto the mountain; it makes for a rounded experience if you take the time to study the surrounding features and mountainscapes and take it in as much as you take in the distant views.

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