Hike #22: India Venster

Apparently, 30 July had been declared National Get Off Your Butt And Actually Hike Up Table Mountain For A Change Day. The cable car was closed for annual maintenance, but the weather was perfect, so whaddaya know: people gave it a bit of a think and realised they could *walk* up the mountain.

We gave a lift to a French girl who wanted to go up and down Platteklip Gorge. Although we tried our best to persuade her that our route was going to be more fun than hers, she appeared terrified of us (Ted, what *did* you tell her?), and did a rolling jump when we got to Tafelberg Road. Other people who didn’t join us were Catherine (who pretended she was busy), and Cuzzie, who Wanda freaked out by showing the following photo:

This did not happen to us.
This did not happen to us.

It turned out that we were immensely grateful that it was just the Hardcore Four on this hike. Not only did we attempt a stunt climb up a slippery chain on Kloof Corner (Wanda’s little finger will never be the same), but we also missed the route we’d intended to take, thus qualifying as ‘lost’ for well over half the hike. Plus, Martin did his usual thing of trying to lead us to our doom by ignoring the actual path and heading off through blister bushes onto a five-centimetre-wide ledge over a definitely deadly drop.

The plus side of our slightly odd route was that we avoided most of the traffic. The only people we saw much of were a couple of mad mountaineers, who effortlessly overtook us carrying 20 kgs of gear each even though they were probably 20 years older than us (well, Wanda). All in all, it was an excellent way to celebrate National Get Off Your Butt And Actually Hike Up Table Mountain For A Change Day.

India Venster Hike Details

Duration: 4h15 (including lots of leisurely stops and a couple of chats with Hilton and Tienie)

Distance:  6.5km

Trail directions we used: None, since we failed to find the route we were aiming for. But if you do need trail directions for India Venster, they’re on page 146 of Table Mountain Classics by Tony Lourens

Parking: Leave one car at Platteklip Gorge and another at Kloof Corner (start from Kloof Corner).

Highlights of this hike

  • For Martin and Derek: showing off their manly upper body strength and successfully hauling themselves up the Kloof Corner chain.
  • For Wanda and Alison: sensibly deciding (after an impressive attempt by Wanda) to rather take the Zoolander Route For People Who Can’t Do Pull-ups So Good.
  • Approaching India Venster from a different direction and completely failing to recognise it.
  • Redoing Right Face-Arrow Face the other way around.
  • Bravely pushing through enormous blister bushes and not waking up covered in blisters the next day.
  • Meeting Hilton and Tienie, the mad mountaineers, who are busy working on an insane trad climbing problem right above the main Right Face tunnel. (For ‘busy working on’, read ‘mostly drinking tea and talking kak’.)
  • Managing to entirely avoid Platteklip Gorge.

Photographs of the India Venster Hike

3 thoughts on “Hike #22: India Venster

  1. That sounds familiar!

    My (ex) neighbour (Colette), sister (Monica) and I had a similar experience in June 2005 when we decided to explore a more obscure route up Table Mountain that branched off Cecilia; Colette said it was – so she’d heard – “pretty easy and the view was worth it”.

    Thank God it was a sunny and clear Sunday as we were soon *hopelessly* lost. We eventually wound up near a sheer rock face that was about 25-30ft high and I (rather naively!!) suggested that we should climb it, as it looked like there was a path at the top which could have been the route we were originally supposed to have taken.

    Common sense prevailed, as we had no ropes or climbing gear, and we decided to go back the way we had come…going up was a bit tough but going down was a nightmare as the ground was very muddy and we kept on winding up in bushes and shrubs as we slid down on our backsides; I was wearing K-Way winter gloves which saved my hands, but my arms were streaked with dozens of scratches from thorns and branches

    The most dramatic moment – which in hindsight was also the funniest (although my sister didn’t see it that way) – was when Monica slipped and it looked like she was going to take rather a nasty tumble; Collette grabbed her pony-tail and almost scalped her in the process LOL

    What should have taken two hours took us five and we slinked home, vowing to stick to easier stuff like Skeleton Gorge, Constantia Nek and Pipeline in future LOL


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