Kloof Corner Hike from Kloof Corner, following the telephone wires that sit on the corner of the mountain up to the top of Table Mountain is an epic hike. It offers beautiful views of Lion’s Head, Cape Town City Bowl and Camps Bay and unique rock formations. But what makes it stand-out from any other hike that I have done, is the three sets of chains (about 7-10m) requiring a combination of pulling yourself up on the chain and rock climbing manoeuvres.
The first set of chains appears where Kloof Corner connects with the contour path and is only about 6-7m. I wasn’t used to pulling myself up by only the chain so I got a bit stuck on the first part where there were no footholds. The challenge was compounded by a woman standing randomly nearby who had taken off her hiking boots to connect with the ground (or something) giving me side-eye because I was not very chilled about it. Also, apparently you shouldn’t use your hiking buddy’s asthma pump half way through. But I was going to take all the help I could get. I was determined to prove that it’s sometimes okay to freak out about scary things as long as you can still get through it. Take that Ms. Barefoot.
One down, only two more chains to go but there was a lot of rapid ascent hiking in-between the chains. It was pretty tiring.
The second chain was definitely the most difficult to climb. There was a narrow crevice to place your foot against non-existent footholds (my foot kept on slipping off) or you could use your back, bumb, and even knee and then hoist yourself up using the chain. After trying to get up multiple times and falling (scraping myself badly in the process), I had to get a foot up from one of my hiking buddies, and it still took me a good while to get up to the top. Right at the top, I found myself stuck with both knees wedged in-between a ledge, unable to move and panic set in but fortunately two of my other hiking buddies were able to pull me up and out of that ledge. It took a village to get me up that mountain.
The third chain involved going through a passage that was too narrow for our backpacks to also fit. Fortunately, we had a rope with a hook for our first hiker to get through to the top and pull our bags up so that we didn’t have to carry them. Getting through the passage involved standing on rocks that were wedged into the crack with nothing below them. Nothing but a sheer drop below. And once we were standing on these precarious rocks, we had to use the chain and the side of the rock to propel ourselves up.
My hiking buddies sailed through these chains like it was nothing. For me, it pushed my fear of heights to its absolute limit. There were one or two moments where I was terrified that I actually was going to fall and that would be that. I honestly could not have done it without my hiking buddies who were incredibly kind, supportive and patient. If your friends can be assholes at times, don’t do this hike with them.
But the thing is, I want to do it again. It’s a proper challenge for me. I want to get better at climbing those chains and keep on facing my fears.
- The route is not well marked out for obvious reasons. There are no handy little yellow footprints painted on rocks like they have for many Table Mountain hikes. Go with some-one who is experienced and knows the route otherwise you will get lost.
- Take a rope with a hook on it for the bags at the third set of chains.
- You can pull out just before the second chain and go to India Venster which is easy-peasy in comparison. But after the second chain there is no turning back.
- Do not do this if you have a fear of heights and are useless at rock climbing. I struggled but I had 4 people helping me.
- Hike with a group of people. You need the help, morale and encouragement.