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Buffels Dome

Leader: Andrew Beetge 29 April 2018 Buffels Dome

Buffels Dome (of Dreams) and All Things Milner

Milner vlakte sits on the Ceres side of the Hex Mountains and is the most extensive vlakte in the range. At an elevation of 1400m, and north facing with perennial water and nice pools, it is a Mecca for a relaxed mountain experience and is the gateway to many a Hex adventure.

16 predominantly young MCSA members set off from Eselfontein farm for the 800m climb to Milner’s meadow and set up camp on a breezy Friday afternoon. As soon as the tents were up the more energetic souls set off to check out the end of the Shale Peaks ridge and the late afternoon view down into Three Tower Kloof and the imposing arête that leads out to Buffels Dome. A strong and cold north wind was blowing across the ridge crest, a harbinger of overnight rain.

The camp woke to condensation beaded canvas and a damp, gloomy cloud shrouded morning. Sleeping bags were burrowed deeper into with hibernation in mind but by 9am things were looking much more appealing and we set of for the steep grassy descent into Three Tower kloof and the airy traverse round to the Dome itself. The vegetation in the shade was lush and saturated and our feet got a good soaking along the way before we were perched on the end of a promontory looking down on the spectacular arête that leads out to the summit of the Dome. Those who elected to cross over abseiled down a vertical 15m face to the knife edge before working across the exposed slabs that take you up to the benign summit of Buffels Dome. The Dome is a spectacular view point in the heart of the Hex that is surrounded by deep cut kloofs with massive overhanging faces. The climb back up that short abseil was steep, bold and exposed but had holds where you needed them. It could have been a lot harder. Another soggy traverse round to Milner First Ridge Peak led us to a line up and over Milner Second Ridge Peak and the route back down to camp.

The morning of day three saw us making a sojourn up Milner itself, hugging the rim to enjoy the amazing amphitheater and a detour to take in the Milner’s Needle. We were back in camp in time for a quick lunch and pack up before the long descent back to the cars.

Charles Morrison


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