LIONS HEAD PEAK
It is 7:00 in the morning the day after Christmas, 2014 and we are beginning our accent up Lions Head Peak located in Cape Town, SA. The weather promises to be clear, cool and sunny. All of those elements were important to us as we wanted to get some good photographs of the area from the summit.
Since we have moved to Cape Town, we have made us our own “Bucket List” of things we want to do prior to leaving South Africa. One of those was climbing Lions Head Peak. I frankly was quite surprised when Angie agreed to undertake the task, not being particularly enamored with such events and the fact that there is no shopping mall nor restaurant at its summit. However, on a clear day there is a spectacular view of Cape Town and the surrounding shipyard industry from there.
The trail at the beginning is wide, smooth and fairly gentle,(as seen in the photo) about a 6% grade.
As one progresses up the trail it progressively gets steeper and narrower until the last 25% of the hike you are climbing ladders, climbing over boulders and scaling up vertical rock with only the rock to grab onto. You start to think you are being sucked into something you are not prepared for, but when you look up and see the summit, you say to yourself, “I have come this far and I am not turning back now.”
Angie was a trooper and her only utterance that may be conceived as negative was, “I am going to hate going down.” You can get her to climb a ladder but getting her to come down is the challenge. At one point, she gave a victory salute which was somewhat premature as we had not gotten to the steepest part yet.
|It gets worse from here!!!|
Not far from that point on the trail, we came to a metal ladder anchored in the rock wall to assist us in getting up the cliff. And then the trail got extremely narrow which required you to really suck it in to allow anyone going down to pass by you. The vertical cliff on the off side was about 200 feet high and I was amazed that there was no safety rail as would have been required in the States. But I was glad it was absent as it added to the roughness aspect of the trail. (Of course, if you want to make this hike to have any semblance of a wilderness venture, you had to really concentrate to keep that mental picture as this was the holiday season and there were an abundance of others taking their scenic hike as well.)
We are on the summit and the view is great although obstructed somewhat by haze. Photos of the surrounding area were hampered as there were enough clouds to cast shadows and prevent bright pictures to be taken.
|Downtown Cape Town from Lions Head|
|Scenic views from Lions Head|
However, none of this dampened Angie’s enthusiasm. She had reached the top and she was excited. On the highest point on the summit of 669 meters (2007’), was a rock pillar about 5 feet tall. I encouraged Angie to get on top it for a picture.
|YIKES! I can't believe I did it!!|
Again, getting her up on the rock was the easy part; I thought for a moment I would have to call in the fire department’s rescue team.
The decent took its toll on our legs and we were both glad that we started as early as we did as it was starting to get warm. As we reached the trail head and looked across the valley at Table Mountain, which is twice as high as Lions Head and a lot steeper, we agreed that we would take the cable car when that item on our list is undertaken.
Post Script: Yes, we actually made it down safely.