Back in the early 1930s, two intrepid cragsmen from the Mountain Club of South Africa attempted to put a route up an obscure buttress on a far-flung corner of Table Mountain and met with an unclimbable section a mere 20 feet from the top. They tried everything to get up that last bit of sheer rock, probed left and right for a break in the cliff’s defences that would give them claim to a new route, but to no avail. Thoroughly frustrated, they retreated and went home defeated. The buttress subsequently became known as Frustration Buttress – and the ravine to its right, Frustration Gorge. You will not meet with frustration in the gorge other than running out of route to soon. Choked with indigenous forest, primordial in its appearance, with moss-covered boulders underfoot and a tangle of vegetation overhead, Frustration Gorge provides a solid shot of exaltation and exhilaration to the nature-lover.
Table Mountain hikes differ greatly from one another, each having a character of their own, and here’s yet another example of the varied terrain and environment that the mountain has to offer the inquisitive hiker. Leading out of Orange Kloof, a lush wilderness area located at the back of Table Mountain (permit required), Frustration Ravine tops out on the southern Apostles just north of Grootkop. The ascent involves rugged terrain with a few bits of scrambling, but nothing that requires a rope or a head for heights. You’re unlikely to meet anyone along the way: the route is seldom done, so lots of peace and solitude to be had. If you’re hiking Table Mountain with the goal of getting to the iconic tabletop summit, then you might want to consider a different route, as it’s a long walk from the top of the route to the “Table”.
Table Mountain hiking routes exist for every level of challenge and adventure, each with different views and terrain. Frustration Gorge reveals a unique facet of Table Mountain seen by few.