Quote of the Week: August week #1

Mr. and Mrs. B.J. Blake and W. R. Buchan, who made the initial ascent (of a route called Frustration Arete) in May 1932, are to be congratulated on a pleasing climb. But it is to be feared that congratulations cannot be extended to the perpetrators of the next route, namely Frustration Gully, but in any case the writer disdains praise and hopes that R. E. Anson-Cook will be equally modest about the small offering they made to posterity on the 11th August 1935. Not that this gully in its lower portions is anything but a lovely spot, but the two easy-looking waterfalls in the upper half bring disillusionment so that one is forced to climb well to the right and on detachable grips which in wet weather would make things well-nigh unjustifiable.

Extract from an article in the 1935 Journal of the Mountain Club of South Africa on new routes in Orange Kloof.

I think the writer (W.H. Crump) needs to be congratulated on an amusing piece of writing on a topic that cannot be said to have mass appeal.

Orange Kloof is a small, forested valley at the back (south) of the Table Mountain massif, opening onto the town of Hout Bay and enclosed by the southern Twelve Apostles on one side and the tail-end of the Suburban buttresses on the other. In addition to being part of Table Mountain National Park, the area enjoys a higher conservation status due to the indigenous Afro-montane forest growing there. As a restricted zone, a permit from TMNP is required to enter.

The routes mentioned in the extract are not done nowadays, not that they have ever been popular – far from it. That part of Table Mountain has never seen much hiking and the half dozen routes thereabouts – some of them rather arbitrary – have long since fallen by the wayside and is doomed to remain in a state of oblivion, especially in light of the area’s rigorous conservation policies.

The only official route in Orange Kloof leads up Disa Gorge, a forested ravine containing some impressive waterfalls (mostly during the winter months). If you enjoy forest walking, then this route will delight you. The views across Orange Kloof imparts a real sense of being in an unspoiled wilderness, which is in essence what the place is.

Hiking on Table Mountain offers many types of vegetation, terrain and environments, from the shrubby, sun-baked north (front) side with its sheer cliffs to the damp, gloomy and verdant recesses of Orange Kloof. Whatever your preferences or interests, Table Mountain has got a route for you.

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