"we are going to head up table mountain ...

Trip Start Jun 01, 2002
Trip End Sep 11, 2007

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Thursday, August 22, 2002

"We are going to head up Table Mountain tomorrow if the weather permits" one of the Swedish girls in the dorm said to her friend. Pricking my ears up I inquired what their plans were and how long it was expected to take - after reading and talking we worked out that it would take about 2 hrs to get up and about 2.5 to get down on the Pickett Gorge Trail" as the cable car is still not working - so casually I mentioned to them that I would speak to them later that night and decide if I could be bothered.

During the day the determination got to me (whilst reading my book "Into thin air)) and I decided yes I would do it. Problem Nš 1 was by the time I got home the girls were fast asleep - so I thought that is ok I will wake up when I hear them leave and join them - easy. As I awoke at 7am no Swedish girls to be found - oh well that is life I guess, then 20 mins later one returned to pick something up but I was in the shower and could not make contact - again a missed opportunity! But as if the gods were looking over me, she returned to the room again to pick up a forgotten item - I pounced (not literally) to join their climbing party. I was told that the taxi was coming in 10 mins, so I quickly got my gear in so much of a rush - um jacket, boots, beanie for the top - oh oh gotta go that cab is here. As I did an inventory check in the cab - I was short water (zero) and food (zero) and no breakfast - for any hiker these two items usually come in handy and this was a receipe for disaster (thriller music plays in the background). The taxi guy found a fresh water spring for me to fill up and between the two girls and me we had 2 bagels, 3 apples and two bars of chocolate. So off we went ill prepared but ready to conquer Table "I am going to make you ache for days" Mountain.

The ascend was tough, but not as tough as I thought it would be (14 steps iinto the climb) we stopped for water and photo stops and went at a pace which I was happy. With the Swedish girl up front I figured she would have scaled up and down the Swiss alps 1000 times - "So have done much hiking in Switzerland, I asked" - "No never", her breathless response was. Oh the two girls were coming short of breath and I too was starting to feel muscles that had not been used for 6 weeks!

Let me set the scene for you avid readers out there - I am currently reading a book by Jon Kraker called "Into Thin Air" which is about an Everest climb, which went drastically wrong. In the opening 50 pages he mentions about being 20,000+ feet up the mountain and noticing moving (storm) clouds coming towards his teams climbing path, these innocent clouds turned into a devastating storm killing 20+ members.... At about two thirds up I felt in a similar situation. (Please note: I am trying to string this out as much as possible for you all to enjoy yourself and not be bored shitless - so bear with me ok?)

We stopped for a photo opportunity and before our eyes we saw that a large span of clouds was climbing the side of the mountain and would eventually cover our path. Fear started to set into the two young ladies that I was with - but with the "No Fear" statement tattoo on my forehead I pushed them forward - yes if I was going to die I was taken them with me. So up we went, not passing anyone coming down for a good hour now! We as a team kept looking back and now the cloud cover was very thick, "We are not that far" I lied, as I could not even see the ridge! So we climbed and climbed now at a pace that a turtle would move at. Finally as we rounded the top of the gorge there it was the summit - as far as the eye could see were clouds. So it felt like you were in a plane flying at 34000 feet about above the cloud line - but truth be told - we were only 1100meters above sea level.

In all seriousness the views on the left hand side were covered over which made an interesting view of Sweet Nothing, but the other sides were quite clear and brought some amazing views of the city and waterfronts. The winds were quit gusty on the top, I was a bit disappointed to get to the top of Table Mountain and find no giant knife and forks or even giant Salt and Pepper shakers - whoever is in charge did not set the table well!

Very pleased I completed the climb and with my "leadership of suicide" brought the two international hikers to the land of safety! I too now will have to sit down and write a bestseller book about my adventures titled "Into cloudy and windy air"J

Off to morocco tomorrow night and cannot wait. So until next time ' Be Safe and Travel Safe.

Justin "Everest here I come" Cormack

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