Table Mountain hiking: pick your level of adventure – 19 April 2015

It’s a sad fact that many people view hiking as a tedious slog, devoid of adventure, a necessary burden in order to attain the grand prize: views from the summit. Hiking Table Mountain need not be a slog. In fact, choose the right route, and go with someone who knows his way around the mountain, and the ‘holy grail’ of most hikers, views from the summit, will become secondary to the fun and challenge of the ascent. The journey will become the goal, and the memory of it will far outlive that of the views. Sure, sense of achievement is an important part of the experience, but why not optimize it through the inclusion of adventure through scrambling, caves, airy traverses and wilderness settings?

Table Mountain hiking is what you want it to be: the terrain is diverse enough to ensure you get out of it the level of challenge and adventure you desire. Table Mountain hikes range from rock-steps up well-defined paths to exposed scrambling (elementary climbing) in wild and dramatic settings off-the-beaten track. One person’s slog is another’s adventure; and one person’s adventure is another’s nightmare, so in order to get the most out of hiking Table Mountain, best to go in the company of someone who knows the mountain intimately and who can provide safety on steep ground.

Three of my greatest joys when guiding people up Table Mountain are to see them improve in skill and / or confidence over the course of a hike, to see a change in their perception of what hiking is, and to see them appreciate nature and mountains more than they ever thought they would. Add to these the process of allowing someone to do more than he or she thought possible, and the views become secondary. Table Mountain hikes are many things, but not a tedious slog.