4 Peaks, 1 Day

Alexander Paone
May 6, 2013

The city “bowl” of Cape Town is surrounded by mountains. The most famous is Table Mountain (3,558 ft), recently named a World Wonder. There is also Devil’s Peak (3,281 ft), Lion’s Head (2,195 ft) and Signal Hill (1,148 ft). During my time here I have climbed each of them except for Signal Hill, but on Saturday a few friends and I climbed all four. We had a meeting on Friday night to discuss our options and plan our route.

Planning our route

We started at 5:30 in the morning outside of our apartments and walked up to campus (a hike in itself, since campus is situated at the base of Devils Peak) and further up to Rhodes Memorial. After a quick water break we hiked behind Rhodes to King’s Block House and further up to a fire watch station before we began our steep ascent to Devil’s Peak. After some bush-whacking and free climbing, we reached the most dangerous part of the trail, Knife’s Edge, which is a narrow pass with sheer cliffs on either side.

Knife’s Edge before sunrise.

After we crossed Knife’s Edge we had to do a little more free climbing before we reached Devil’s Peak Minor. We bush-whacked around the mountain until we met up with the trail to the summit of Devil’s Peak where we made a quick stop for food and water.

Free climbing up Devil’s Peak Minor

We made our descent down Devil’s Peak and followed the base of Table Mountain until we met up with the Platteklip Gorge trail. We all agreed that Platteklip was the worst trail, ever. This was the same trail that I took up Table Mountain a couple weeks ago that took me two hours, but today we did it in half the time. We stopped at the top of Table Mountain for about an hour, relaxing and eating lunch at the cafe.

The group on top of Table Mountain

We took the India Venster trail down Table Mountain, which was my favorite trail of the day. It wrapped around the back side of Table Mountain and involved a lot of free climbing.

India Venster trail down Table Mountain

India Venster Trail with Lion’s Head visible in the background

From the bottom of Table we walked across the road and up towards Lions Head. This was my third time up Lion’s Head, and we made it up in 45 minutes. Lion’s Head is a fairly easy hike, and we laughed about how people probably questioned why we looked so exhausted – if only they knew we had actually been hiking all day.

After a quick break at the top of Lion’s Head, we turned around and began walking down towards Signal Hill. We could see clouds rolling in from the ocean, and by the time we started walking up the road to the top of Signal Hill we were enveloped in fog. We took a taxi back home from Signal hill.

After these twelve hours and sixteen miles, I look at these mountains differently.

The group on top of Lion’s Head with Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain in the background. Mike, Alex, TJ, Liza, Alex & Talia.


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Alexander Paone

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Alex Paone is a junior at the University of Vermont, majoring in Anthropology and double-minoring in African Studies and Geography. He enjoys photography, cooking, hiking and has a passion for travel. Alex is looking forward to calling Cape Town home and also exploring more of Africa beyond Cape Town and South Africa.</span></p>

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