Over the weekend of 31 August to 2 September, “a few good men” (and Ladies) of the South Cape Section assembled in Montagu to climb a little known but by no means insubstantial peak (1391 metres) along the R62.

Undaunted by warnings of dire weather heading our way our first call of business on Friday afternoon was a visit to La Mont dairy along the R60 where we tasted six varieties of their cheese and undertook a short hike up a kloof to a rather attractive little waterfall on their property. We left a car to overnight at the dairy as this was to be the ending point of our hike the following day.

Sarahsriviersberg viewed on the South side
From the La Mont dairy along the R60.

View from the North side along the R62

Saturday dawned, and we left our campsite in Montagu at 7.00am and headed to The Farm Route 62 about 7kms along the R62 towards Barrydale from whence after being greeted by the owner we commenced to hike at 7.30am.

At this early hour the summit was obscured by high level cloud but undeterred by our inability to have our target in eye fall we kept faith in the leader’s little yellow pathfinder.

After 375 meters of vertical ascent we reached the first significant intermediate summit expecting a small downhill to follow on the other side. Peering over the edge of the ridge we found a 130-metre cliff face in front of us lying between us and our summit ahead. We realised a deviation was needed to circumnavigate this hidden valley that had been all but invisible from below.

A “few good men” at the start

L-R : Charles Smith, Jacolise Joubert,Evie
and Tony Bowen – Leader Ed Shuttleworth taking picture.

 

Peering over the edge

Looking back to the obstacle

From this point the going got slow – having “galloped” the first kilometre ( linear ) in just over an hour the next 1.3 kilometres ( linear ) was to take over 3 ½ hours ! With no path to follow a careful line had to be navigated with some extended scrambling as one never quite knew what was around the corner or over the next ridge. I think everyone who climbed will admit to having to dig deep into their reserves on this one – I will always associate this climb with the final words of Sydney Carton – “it’s a far, far better thing that I do , than I have ever done”. Somehow this mantra echoing around my head kept me going !

From the bottom the North side of the mountain looked completely denuded of all vegetation by recent fires, so we were pleasantly surprised at the amount and diversity of the flora that we found. There was a lot of rock much of which was very loose and the climb although short was very steep.

The Langeberg Sceptre
( Paranomus spathulatus )

Resting at the summit beacon

Down the spine towards Montagu

The South by contrast was much more densely vegetated and a far gentler gradient though considerably longer in length but quicker in time. There was still an abundance of loose rock but on this side it was hidden beneath the green stuff. After over 9 hours on the mountain we were all relieved to reach the dairy still in one piece.

The rain that we had been forewarned of finally arrived, rather considerately after we had all broken camp, on Sunday morning. Instead of heading out into it around Montagu four of us elected to head down the R62 to Barrydale where we managed to complete a two-hour stroll along the Barrydale trail before retiring for a strong coffee and the arrival of the rain there.

Thanks to a strong team of fellow hikers I think we can deservedly say that “ we felt the fear and did it anyway “.

More route info / stats can be found at :

https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/spatialArtifacts.do?event=setCurrentSpatialArtifact&id=28311256

https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/spatialArtifacts.do?event=setCurrentSpatialArtifact&id=28311202

Ed Shuttleworth – meet leader

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