‘Twas the night before Kloof Corner Ridge, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The Hiking boots were ready, bags packed with care,
In hopes that the howling wind will no longer be there;
The family were nestled all snug in their beds;
But my cat decided just then to scratch her head
Thus disturbing my sleep, and I let her out with many a ‘bleep’
Kloof Corner Ridge is graded a C+3 –
Hike Grading System
1: An easy stroll
3: Strenuous exercise
4: Only for the very fit
The letter represents how exposed hikers are to heights during the hike.
A: No exposure to heights
B: Mild exposure to heights
C: Moderate exposure to heights
D: Very exposed to heights
Scramble – the use of all fours. Rock climbing without the use of rope. One of the cardinal rules of scrambling is not to use your knees whilst lifting/pulling yourself up as you will put pressure on them and injure yourself.
(There is a difference between rock climbing and sheer face climbing)
The star attractions to Kloof Corner Ridge are the 3 chains and chimney where you have to shimmy yourself up as the crack is only about 28cm wide!
The first chain is situated on the contour path, the 2nd chain is about 10m long and the 3rd chain is over an exposed sheer drop 😛
8 of us embarked on one of the most epic hikes Table Mountain has to offer at the start of Kloof Corner at around 6:30am and made our way up to the contour path which took 3 of us just over 10 minutes – which is fast J We then waited on the others and started our first scramble up the shortest and easiest (no less difficult) chain.
The route to the second chain has a well worn path so an easy one to follow but not without a few smaller scrambles, steep steps, loose stones and spectacular views! We even saw a Tahr in the distance.
Before turning left up to the chain, the ‘window’ view of Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles is an absolute must see! There is a route up the ridge as well if you want to avoid the 10m chain but it’s rather tricky and exposed.
After taking in the breathtaking views, we made our way to the infamous chain where another group joined us. They were a father, son and daughter group taking up friends and felt all warm and fuzzy as they could enjoy the mountains as a family. Even though they had ropes and harnesses, the daughter decided she was not going up the chain turning back a little bit down and going up India Venster rather. We then took turns up the chains and this is where I really struggled. I just assumed that as I was fitter and stronger (and thinner) than when I last did this hike, it would be easier but it was not! I was a little bit quicker this time round though. I couldn’t believe how much strength it took out of me just for the first part! The exertion alone got me huffing and puffing, heart racing, arms shaking taking many a breathers pulling myself up. The more agile were like mountain goats as if they were just doing another Lion’s Head hike up the chains. Show Offs! Well actually they weren’t show offs, they were that good 😀
At this stage, my arms were jelly and I broke the cardinal rule of using my knees up a few scrambles. The reason we bruise is that you are pushing your weight onto your knees with no cushioning whatsoever. I was tired and didn’t care at the time but now I have 6 bruises on my right knee and 4 on my left knee which will become pretty, red, black, blue and purple colours by tomorrow 😀 Like my son says, one of my hobbies is to collect bruises – when I run out, I just go get some more.
Now it was time for the chimney shimmy which I loved! The easiest of the 3 chains for me that is. I didn’t rely that much on the chain shimmying up as there were many finger and toe holds. I had to be reminded of the drop between the rocks and I giggled an oh but pretended to use the chain just to ease the rest’s nerves. The chain is however essential swinging yourself around and up the rock with the sheer exposed drop. Celebrations are done here as you are now above the Ridge with more sublime views!
Our staple breakfast consists of koesiesters, sandwiches, fruit and sweets/snack packs. Coffee with too much milk, tea with too much sugar and YAY black coffee/ no sugar for me please 😀 We missed our bollas as our supplier was down with the flu. L Our baker didn’t have cake today???
After breakfast, is when we part ways with our faster hikers as we make our way down. India Venster would be the closest and faster route down but not recommended to inexperienced hikers. Going up India Venster is a challenge by itself and just yesterday there was a mountain rescue on this route.
The final two eventually reached the cars back at Kloof Corner at 1pm.
Kloof Corner Ridge is exhilarating, terrifying, tiring, profanity inducing, challenging, hard, awkward, tricky, who thinks up these routes?! Breathtakingly beautiful, not for the faint hearted, claustrophobic or those suffering from acrophobia kind of routes and I LOVED IT!
Some regulars missed this hike because of illness, the weather (which turned out to be perfect!), or weekend away and will surely regret not joining us.
One of my favourites since I overcame my phobia for heights and when I say phobia, I mean that I couldn’t even cross the bridge at the Waterfront without holding on to someone (tightly). Going up or down the ladders at Skeleton Gorge with my eyes closed and being guided foot by foot. Crawling over the dam walls at Constantia Nek phobia.
Till my next hike, ciao for now.