Hike #19: Left Face-Mystery B and Platteklip Gorge

This was Wanda’s friend Cuzzie’s second hike with us.  Thanks to some of the ‘exciting’ moments of this route, it may also have been his last.  Tony Lourens calls Left Face-Mystery B ‘exciting and ingenious’, but I suspect that Cuzzie would call it other, less polite words.

As may be expected, Martin was in his element.  Alison was gloating about her ability to tolerate heights and dispensed unwanted wisdom about the utility of sport climbing in overcoming vertigo.  However, the mountain promptly punished her with an enormous bruise on her backside and a painful shin bark.  This may have cheered Cuzzie up slightly.

LEFT FACE-MYSTERY B and Platteklip Gorge HIKE DETAILS

Duration: 4 hours 20 mins

Distance: 7km

Trail directions we used: On page 126 of Table Mountain Classics by Tony Lourens

Parking: On Tafelberg Road, near Platteklip Gorge.

Remember: To make sure everyone on this trail is comfortable with heights. Also, take some money in case you decide to catch the cable car down. (It’s queues and crowds either way, I suppose.)

Post-hike eating place: The Power and the Glory for craft beer, gourmet hot dogs, and hipsters. (Just kidding. We didn’t eat any hipsters.)

HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS HIKE

  • The usual insane views over the city bowl.
  • The ‘simple’ step-over – a nice little adrenaline moment – and the fun scramble up the steep, narrow gully.
  • Being the only hikists on the route and pitying the poor people on poopy old Platteklip.
  • Emerging on top of the mountain in a completely deserted spot. (It’s not often that you get the central table top to yourself.)
  • The friendly Platteklip dassie who obligingly sat next to my foot so I could photograph him with my phone.
  • Not a highlight: the endless tromp back down Platteklip Gorge along with the heedless hordes, and dealing with the subsequent leg stiffness. We’ve agreed that this counts as covering Platteklip and that it will be avoided whenever possible in future.

Alison Westwood is a travel writer and hikist. You can read more of her writing at alisonwestwood.com

PHOTOGRAPHS OF LEFT FACE-MYSTERY B HIKING ROUTE

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