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Springstygbeugel & Slanghoek Peak

Leader: Gavin Sandeman 23 October 2017 Springstygbeugel & Slanghoek Peak

Gavin Sandeman, our MCSA meet leader, picked a perfect spring weekend for our overnight trip to climb Slanghoek Peak. A couple of days earlier we had seen a light dusting of snow on the Boland mountain ranges so there was plenty of water coming off the mountain as we hiked up the Happy Valley trail on Saturday morning. The perfect conditions encouraged some discreet skinny dipping in the Witte River by some (mainly on our return hike) and more sedate paddling by others.

Our group comprised 14 members in total, eight camping in tents, three brave souls bivying and three day trippers who joined us for the hike as far as the Club’s ‘Springstygbeugel’ property boundary line. The first portion of the hike in the CapeNature area up to Springstygbeugel was on a clear path and so we made good time. From that point on we were off trail. We could have camped just inside the Springstygbeugel boundary, on the last level area of the valley next to the river. However it would have made a short first day and given the recent rains and availability of water Gavin had already decided we should camp up at the saddle. An excellent choice as it is an outstanding place to be able to spend the night.

The area above Junction Pool had been burnt out by a fire earlier this year so finding our way to the saddle below Slanghoek Peak was a lot easier going than Torben Wiborg had found it when he did this hike previously. Some excitement on our Saturday hike was when Josh Weiss nearly stood on a berg adder (Bitis atropos)!

The wind died down in the evening and so it was pleasantly warm. I think most had a comfortable night and we were all ready to set off early(ish) on Sunday morning to find our way up via and above the rim of the Slanghoek Amphitheatre to the Peak. The early morning cloud in the Slanghoek valley cleared as we started our ascent, affording us great views in all directions and the water glistening off the amphitheatre cliffs was just magical. We were also blessed with a profusion of spring flowers which were eagerly photographed by some.

The hike back down to the saddle was uneventful and there was time for a brew as we packed up our gear before heading back. The route along the river was a mixture of faint path and boggy ground with some extra route finding required at times. Once back on the jeep track it was a case of heads down and think of what we would have for dinner. In our case steak on a braai and a very nice bottle of Slanghoek Shiraz to celebrate.

Jacqui Stapley


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