Nine intrepid mountaineers set off in ideal weather conditions to tackle the seven highest summits, with names, on Table Mountain. I have had to add ‘with names’ as we discovered a higher point between Kitchen Ravine and Isolation Valley when viewed from our final summit, Junction Peak. We consulted our map and discovered that the point is indeed recorded as 946m, but with no name. This produced much debate as to what it should be called – someone suggested ‘Peak Eight’ – so next year the hike may be called ‘Table Mountain 7 Summits plus one’!
Our ascent route was Porcupine Ravine, then dashing across to Blinkwater Peak before tacking the ‘snakes and ladders’ route towards Fountain Peak. This peak was surrounded by burnt vegetation from the recent fire in the Fountain Ravine area.
The wind was blowing strongly, so we had a welcome tea break in the upper reaches of Platteklip Gorge before following the ‘table edge’ path towards the highest summit, Maclear’s Beacon.
We then followed Smuts Track to where a faint path heads towards Fernwood Peak to ‘tick-off’ peak number 4. We were now out of the strong wind that we had encountered earlier and lingered a while on the summit taking in the views and looking towards the peaks that lay ahead.
Waaikoppie was our next destination and also lunch spot, so we took the Echo Valley turnoff. Along the boardwalk we encountered two Klipspringers that were following the same route as us!
After a leisurely lunch break we set off for St Michaels Peak via Kitchen Ravine. We did not linger on this summit as we were now faced with our final peak that involved some more ‘down’ and ‘up’ hiking.
We descended ‘off-path’ into Backwater stream that lined us up well for the start to Junction Peak. With approaching cloud threatening our views, we tackled the 100m ascent to the final summit, just in time to catch glimpses of distant scenes. It was now 3pm so we enjoyed a tea break at Junction Cave before commencing our 2hr descent via Kasteels Poort.
The total distance covered was 19km in 10.5hrs with a total altitude gain of just under 1,400m. The team nevertheless still had smiles on their faces for the final summit photograhp!