Photo of the week – June week #2: Orange Buttress

On entering Orange Kloof from Constantia Nek, your gaze will be drawn by a chain of pristine buttresses bounding the valley on the left. Also forming the “back” of the southern Apostles,they lack a collective name, though each buttress and ravine has been named and boasts a route, the most popular being Myburgh’s Waterfall Ravine followed by Frustration Gorge and Intake Ravine. The remainder of the routes – Long Kloof, Bosky Buttress, Orange Gully, Orange Buttress, Black Slab Gully, Frustration Arete and to a lesser extent Frustration Buttress – are rarely done, if ever. The largest buttress, Orange Buttress, bulges directly beneath Grootkop, one of the most prominent Apostles of the 12 Apostles. Its was first ascended in 1914 and it’s doubtful it has seen a repeat in the last 20 years or so. As far as Table Mountain hikes go, Orange Buttress is a museum piece, existing only in the yellowed pages of old Mountain Club Journals. A friend and I did the route yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it, experiencing the full range of Table Mountain hiking offerings in a single route: indigenous forest, clean and consistent scrambling, a dramatic setting, pristine environment, glorious views and deep solitude. And a bit of history in the form of a sizeable summit beacon. Those who built it are very likely not with us anymore, but their handiwork still grace what must be the remotest location on Table Mountain. Hiking Table Mountain via Orange Kloof gives you a different perspective on the mountain, both in terms of views and atmosphere. Located at the back of the Table Mountain massif, and carpeted with indigenous jungle, it presents a very different face than the famous front of the mountain.