Not that I’ve hiked all the routes in Cape Town but I still say that Hiddingh Ascension is the hardest hike with a B+3 grading. The 5 scrambles, 4 ravines and ledges (sheer drops) plus the length of the hike (7+ hours) is definitely for the fit and definitely not for the faint-hearted. A Why-Do-I-Do-This-To-Myself kind of route.
Even by Saturday, I didn’t know whether or not I was going to hike Sunday. I’ve been super stressed these last few weeks and wasn’t in the mood to leave the house lolz. (As an introvert, I am happy to do so) Also, I’ve injured my wrist again so doing a scramble is not the best of ideas. I wasn’t in the mood for Platties either but I would basically decide on Sunday morning what I’m going to do.
Well, Kareemah decided for me. She’s an Instagram follower and blog reader and she joined us 2 weeks ago in Orangekloof. She did her very first scramble (Els Buttress) with the club last week and now a member yay ^_^ I didn’t hike last week (went to Langebaan for a blissfully relaxing weekend) so didn’t know whether or not she is capable of doing this route so asked the others. One was extremely sceptical but Anwar said yes so went with that.
Anyway, 7 of us checked in Tracking at 7am with an ETA at 3pm. Oh yes! Some club members were hiking Arangieskop for the weekend so it was just the faster hikers, Kareemah and myself. I knew these guys were going to kill me with their pace plus it’s a HARD hike so ate a healthy bowl of muesli for change instead of my usual Sunday morning koesiesters and coffee haha.
So off we go (in the dark – 30 minutes before sunrise) from Newlands car park until the contour path and we chat about this and that and as we were in the Forest, no sunrise photo unfortunately and turn left towards Skeleton Gorge. Instead of going to the start of this route, the leaders decided (and as a group) that we actually go up Hiddingh Ravine. We have never taken this route before and I’m always up for something different J and bypassed a lot of bushwhacking.
Up we go until we get to the familiar path which doesn’t have as much water as it normally does and all is well and we are happy. We regroup here and there and make our way up towards Hiddingh Buttress where Kareemah (unbeknownst to her) dismantles a cairn and asked her ‘Why did you do that? It’s there for a reason and now other hikers won’t know where the turn-off is lol’ She replies with ‘I’m sorry! It was in my way! I’ll put it back the next time I do this route’. So guys, if you do this route, there is another not so visible cairn and the turn off is at a boulder and tree (just past the ferns). Look out for that lolz Kareemah is sincerely sorry, she didn’t know – remember she’s new to this hehe
Up the first scramble and past the section where I stopped a falling rock with my hip the last time I did this route – See https://myhikingmylife.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/hiddingh-ascension/ and Kareemah is a natural at scrambling hey! Sceptical hiker also apologised and for under-estimating Kareemah as he is super impressed by well she is doing.
We have a refreshment break on The Pulpit and just as I’m about to pour my coffee, the others get up to leave and I’m uhm bugger it, I’m hiking with coffee in my hands. So there I am making the traverse to the next Ravine with coffee cup in my hand and I tell Kareemah not to tell Anwar because he freaks when I do scramble with my phone in my hand. He will be proud to know that my phone was safely in my bag. When I needed both my hands, I would just bite on the cup hehe.
It’s up the Ravine and its hot! I contemplated whether or not to take off one of my tops but kept them on as it’s quite cold in the shaded Gulley. Kareemah’s legs are not as strong as ours (YET) so it was slow going for her with Shamile and myself alternating as sweepers. I explain to Shamile how I hurt my wrist but didn’t tell him that it was actually sore then. The views are spectacular with mist over the suburbs and could see as far as the Langeberg/Hex River mountain ranges and all you can do is sit there quietly and take it all in. Beautiful.
Anyway it’s time for the first serious scramble and I’m a little bit nervous as I really struggled last time and had to use a rope to get up and across. In my defence, I was injured hey and this time it’s my wrist. Easy peasy! I was worried for nothing and we have breakfast on top of Ascension Ravine. I tell Kareemah, if you thought that was challenging, the hike only starts now lol
John and his daughter part ways here as they decided to go down Skeleton Gorge and skipping Ledges. Change is nice but the whole point of doing this route is going down Ledges hey.
We make our way to Carrell’s Ledge and OMG people! The Pollen! We had to breathe in dust clouds of them! It’s the first time we experience this and could actually feel the pollen enter our lungs and soon we were coughing. (a day later and I’m still coughing) We traverse Carrell’s Ledge and I take a video at the most exposed area with the couple a hundred meter drop and my video isn’t working sigh. I take photos instead but photos doesn’t capture depth meh
Towards Ledges and I’m really worried about my wrist now but still don’t say anything and John has gone down Skeleton Gorge with his rope so have to do this through pain and all. Down a scramble and no-one assists me. Really guys? Just because I’ve done this before, doesn’t mean I don’t need guidance where my feet should go coz I can’t see my way down hey.
Anyway, Kareemah goes down the first Ledge (aptly named Hideous Descent by Anna on a previous hike) and she did brilliantly! My turn, I’m nervous. I’m very nervous. It’s time to put my full weight on my wrist and I’m scared as freaking hell that my wrist was going to give in and I fall! I am literally shaking in fear! I have to do this! With the help and guidance of the rest, I safely and gratefully get down (and stepped on Shamile’s fingers in the process #sorrynotsorry)
Not even giving me chance to recover its down The Ledges and these faster hikers’ takes the most awkward scrambles down! There are easier routes you know! One stage I was hanging on for dear life again as I couldn’t reach the bottom lol so had to step on Igsaan’s leg for reach *rollingmyeyes*. My wrist is throbbing and burning in pain! I wrap my extra buff around my wrist for warmth.
We are finally on top of Newland’s Ravine and the faster hikers say their farewells leaving Kareemah and myself behind. I ask her if she is fast going down as I can’t go slowly. Too much impact on my knees. Down we go at her pace until I pass her but slow down anyway. It’s stop and go every few minutes and I know my knees are going to hate me after. Pain is temporary.
Passing the carousel, Kareemah says she knows her way from there and I can go if I want to. I replied with ‘Are you nuts? We leave no man behind’- Hiker’s motto. One of them at least.
Along the river, 2 dogs come running and barking at us and I stand still. Remembering what a friend told me last week in Langebaan when dogs did the same thing and I used him as a human shield lolz. He said just stand still and they won’t do anything. He also gave me a few choice words for doing that and my response was ‘its survival instinct. Just know that should the Zombie Apocalypse happen, I’m using you as a shield’. So I stood still and they didn’t do anything J I then pick up litter and Kareemah blurts out ‘We are under attack and you still have time to pick up sweet wrappers’ lol. Can’t help it, it’s ingrained in me to pick up litter on the mountain. I’m surprised that there wasn’t much litter considering that Newlands Ravine/Forest is quite a popular route.
We eventually clock out of tracking at 2pm. Not bad. 7 Hours Hiddingh Hike, not bad at all.
Well this was a long blog. Well it was a long hike. My knees were broken by late afternoon and today I am sore all over. A good post workout/very hard hike sore J
Until my next hike, ciao for now and thank you as always for reading.
PS – don’t feel bad Kareemah, I would rather have broken knees for days than leave you behind and go through guilt should something happen to you and I wasn’t there to assist – all because I wanted to go down faster.
PPS – [17:56, 5/15/2016] Kareemah: Thanks for sending pics – I can’t believe I did this. At the moment – I’m saying never again – I can’t feel my legs 😁
[17:57, 5/15/2016] +me: Oi my knees are in its tjops
[17:57, 5/15/2016] +me: Wait till you recover then it’s when are we doing this again!
[17:59, 5/15/2016] Kareemah: I really enjoy the group as well. A bunch of nice guys and they’re make u feel safe.
[17:59, 5/15/2016] Kareemah: Guys meaning guys and girls
[18:12, 5/15/2016] +me : Indeed! We’ve been hiking together for years…we all came from another club lol
John we met at Kloof Corner Ridge in Feb last year and he decided to join our club
[10:38, 5/16/2016] Kareemah: Okay – I’ve slept for 9 hours and feeling as good as new. What’s next ?
[10:43, 5/16/2016] me: LOL
[10:43, 5/16/2016] me: lucky you…i’m sore all over
[10:44, 5/16/2016] me: Anwar will only let us know next hike on Friday….everything is weather permitting
We created an addict ^_^