Photo of the week – November week #4: Adventure & Discovery

Nov 29, 2012

High up on Finisteraar Crack

If you think Table Mountain is tame and trampled because of its proximity to a city and a cable car to the summit, then an ascent of Finisteraar Crack will shatter any such notions. Located on the majestic Fernwood Buttress on the eastern side of Table Mountain, the route follows a prominent fault line that slashes across the lower portions of the buttress. Opened way back in 1897 (when very few routes existed on Table Mountain), it rarely sees hikers nowadays, mainly because of the poor quality of the rock. The route involves sustained, exposed and tricky C-grade scrambling on friable rock, and these factors combine to make it treacherous. Despite the route’s obscurity, someone has taken the time and made the effort the string up a rope (probably in the late 1980s) on the tricky crack section, making the route much safer – although the rope is old and worn, so not advisable to hang on with your full body weight. The presence of the rope is unusual, but justified: the rotten state of the rock renders climbing gear virtually useless; and to solo climb the route (no protection), although not difficult, would be dangerous and reckless. This along with the setting – indigenous Afro-montane forest, and on a remote and dramatic sector of the mountain – combines to make Finisteraar Crack an ideal outing for those looking for adventure and discovery. It’s a route Indiana Jones would enjoy, if he existed. But be warned: the route is not for beginners, the incompetent or the inexperienced. And don’t even think of attempting it in anything but the driest conditions…

Take a walk on the wild side and join Hike Table Mountain on one of many adventure routes up Table Mountain. But you don’t need the boldness and pluck of Indiana Jones to experience the beauty of the mountain and answer the call of the wild: Table Mountain walks abound that involves no or minimal exposure to heights or rock-scrambling.