Seweweekspoort Peak, at 2325 metres, is the highest peak in the Western Cape, so it was an obvious choice for one of the Ten Peaks Challenge peaks. The choice of July to do it was deliberate, so as to have a winter mountain experience. The trick with wanting to climb in ‘alpine’ conditions is to go just after it has snowed and frozen, not during the snow-fall itself. The weather predictions for the weekend were not good, but we could not postpone because most of the party could not make it in subsequent weeks. We decided to go anyway and hope for a gap in the weather.

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Martin, Brian, Werner, Basher, Cheryl and Greg Cooper

Two illustrious Cape Town members, Brian Lambourne and Martin Hutton-Squires were enticed into going along by their erstwhile crony Basher Attwell, who has since seen the light, moved to Prince Albert and joined the SC Section. The rest of the party consisted of Werner Frei, Greg Cooper and Cheryl and Greg Devine (leader). We met up on the R62 and all drove together to the farm where we parked the cars, and started walking at about midday. We aimed to spend the first night in the shelter, about halfway to the cave. The shelter is still in reasonably good condition, with only a few holes in the roof. The weather was still good, there was water and we had a comfy night.

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The path up the old road

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Greg, Cheryl and Basher at the shelter

It rained in the night and by morning all the bushes were soaking wet. I usually lead from the back, but this time I was hustled out in front to shake all the water off the bushes lining the path. After fifty metres my boots were squelching and after an hour or so we came to the freezing level, after which there was ice everywhere. Soon it started to snow. Near the cave there is a series of scrambles, neither very long nor very hard – in dry weather. Suddenly these scrambles started looking ominous and required a lot of care due to all the ice. We reached the cave but the wet fog had got there first and the only dry sleeping-spots were to be found right at the back, under the low overhang.

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Cheryl in the cave, looking wintry

The plan had been to reach the cave at lunchtime and to go to the summit that afternoon, return to the cave, spend the night in the cave and then go down in the morning. Since visibility was zero during the afternoon and the possibility of getting lost on the summit slopes was high, we postponed the summit to Sunday morning – maybe! Sunday was no better and so we just went down, taking a long time to do so as there was even more snow and ice. Later on however, the sky cleared and we had a lovely sunny afternoon.

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The cave is up to the right

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Sunday midday, looking over to Steenslang

Since we are making up the rules for the Ten Peaks Challenge as we go along, there was a suggestion that we declare the cave to be a peak, and add it to the list. This seems to be pushing the limits of credulity a bit, but if later there is a tie, we might have to. Anyway, it was a very enjoyable winter outing, the company was good, and the Cape Town blokes at least now know where their own mountain is situated.

Greg Devine

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