Distribution of Table Mountain routes – 6 June 2013

Route selection is a major component to hiking up Table Mountain. The wrong route can very much ruin the experience – or, at worst, ruin you. Routes are like people in that they have distinguishing attributes, so to get the most out of your Table Mountain hiking experience, it’s important to match yourself with the right route.

There are more or less 20 hiking routes up Table Mountain. Factors that make it tricky to determine the exact number of routes are the following: (1) some routes haven’t been done in decades and hardly qualifies as routes anymore; (2) definitions of what constitutes a route differ greatly; (3) many routes top out on parts of the mountain other than the tabletop – the official summit of Table Mountain. To keep it simple, let’s look at routes leading up the different sides of the mountain ranging from popular to rather obscure. Three popular routes lead up the eastern slopes of Table Mountain: Constantia Corner, Nursery Ravine and Skeleton Gorge. Lesser known routes include Nursery Buttress and Hiddingh-Ascension. On the north / front face of the mountain, we have Platteklip Gorge, India Venster, Kloof Corner and Left Face ‘B’. The only other hiking / scrambling route on this side is Silverstream Ravine; hundreds of climbing routes exist. On the west side of the mountain, overlooking Camps Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, there is a wide variety of routes to choose from, the most popular being Diagonal Route, Kasteelspoort, Woody Ravine, Corridor Ravine and Llandudno Ravine. The more obscure / challenging ones include Cairn Ravine, Blinkwater Ravine, Blind Gully, Woody Buttress and Oudekraal Ravine, with lots of even more challenging and obscure ones in between. The south side offers two ways to the summit: Myburgh’s Waterfall Ravine and Disa Gorge. Perhaps 90% of people hiking up Table Mountain do so along one of 4 routes: Constantia Corner, Skeleton Gorge, Platteklip Gorge and Kasteelspoort. This doesn’t imply that those routes are the best or most beautiful, but rather because they are the easiest (although Skeleton Gorge after heavy winter rains becomes a difficult route).

Table Mountain hiking is varied enough to meet the preferences, sense of adventure and experience / fitness level of every kind of hiker. There is no shortage of routes; and certainly no shortage of adventure, nature and grandeur. If you are new to Table Mountain hiking, join the Mountain Club of South Africa on Club meets to familiarize yourself with some of the routes; or join a hiking club; or go with someone who knows his way around the mountain; or make use of a mountain-guide. Hike Table Mountain offers guided hikes up all the routes on Table Mountain.

(c) www.hiketablemountain.co.za