Photo of the week – December week #1: Woody Buttress

Table Mountain hiking and scrambling

Crux pitch on Woody Buttress

I can’t think of another route on Table Mountain that offers the delightful and consistent scrambling found on the Woody Buttress route, located on the seventh Apostle of the 12 Apostles. To refer to it as a mere hike would by an injustice bordering on an outrage. Woody Buttress is a scramble – that nebulous mountain activity bridging the gap between hiking and climbing – and it reminds you of it almost every step of the way.

Hiking Table Mountain almost always involves scrambling, sometimes only a few basic moves low off the ground, other times a series of tricky and strenuous moves far off the ground. Friable rock, earthy cracks and bushy ledges often complicate matters. The scrambling on Woody Buttress is on clean and sound rock, with minimal slope-slogging and moderate exposure – all in all, a great route on which take your Table Mountain hiking to the next level.

If you’re up for a challenge and you have a sense of adventure and at least a fairly good head for heights, and you’re keen to get off the beaten track, then Woody Buttress will delight you on several levels. The use of a rope is recommended on the crux. If you’re new to scrambling, best to go with someone who can provide safety on steep ground and who knows the route well. Route-finding is tricky, and picking the wrong line could easily land you on more difficult terrain.

You’re unlikely to come across other hikers on Woody Buttress, so there’s lots in the way of solitude and nature. No arrows painted on the rock to mark the way; no signposts pointing you in the right direction; no ironmongery affixed to the rock to assist you up the awkward tidbits; no people sounds – laughing and talking and shouting; just the occasional cairn, the fragrant smell of Coleonema buchu, the distant hiss of the ocean and the silent, jagged crags of the mountain.

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