Posted by Kyle Redelinghuys in Running on April 14, 2015
I recently took a long weekend and went to visit the amazing Cape Town. After having lived there for so long, I knew exactly how beautiful this city is and where some of the best trails are. I stayed in Vredehoek, only two blocks away from Deer Park. According to my training schedule, Friday’s run was to be a tempo run. I planned a route on Google Earth, roughly memorised and got ready for the next day.
The sun is starting to rise late in the mother city, and when I started the run at 5:45 it was still pitch dark. I put on my headlamp and started off through Deer Park, taking the most direct route towards Tafelberg road. The inclines were pretty decent and more than enough to get the heart pumping. When I hit the tar road, I head across towards the cable car to find the notorious Kloof Corner. Running on the flat I managed to get some decent pace in which was awesome.
As I hit Kloof Corner, I maintained pace and ran up the incline. For anyone who has been to this section, they are well aware of the serious incline this presents. There are hundreds of stairs that lead up to the contour path over a pretty short distance and it makes for some fantastic hill work. I went along the contour path, taking the next available path up towards the peak. The aim was to get onto India Venster route, so I followed what I thought was that route. This quickly turned into some heavy inclination and loose gravel and rock, so running turned to walking. After scrambling for a bit I reached a gap between two very tall rocks looking onto pipe track towards Camp’s Bay. Unfortunately, on the other side of this was a sheer drop.
I retraced my steps and started going across the front of Table Mountain towards Devil’s Peak side. This path was a lot less used, and was mostly on loose rock on a steep incline. Eventually I reached a drop of around 10 meters ending on the top of the contour path, but the drop looked too dangerous to attempt. When doing solo runs in the mountains, survival becomes the top priority with fitness in second place.
I started to head back, finding the scrambling path and heading back down to hit the contour. The path is not that well defined on the route and I quickly found myself hitting dead ends. I would follow a path or cairns and end facing a straight drop of between 10 and 20 meters. I would then have to head up the incline, go across, and go back down. This happened solidly for just under an hour. Luckily I’ve spent enough time in the mountains to know when real danger is approaching and how to avoid it. I always bring extra food, water and warm clothing no matter what the day looks like. In the worst case I would be stuck for a little while longer, but as I was on the face of Table Mountain and wearing neon clothing I was easily visible. I also had full cell signal so there was no need to panic.
I then decided the best course of action would be to aim towards a path I knew ran straight up towards the peak from Tafelberg. I could see the line from where I was, so I made my way straight there completely bundu-bashing my way through. After struggling through knee high shrubbery and adding to my collection of cuts and scrapes on my legs, I sighed relief when I hit the top contour.
I head across the contour path, finally getting some pace back, and made my way down to Tafelberg. I then took Tafelberg all the way past Devil’s Peak, hitting the bike track to loop around behind the Disa towers, ending where I began. These routes are fantastically beautiful, and have some magnificent views. This city is honestly a trail runner’s dream. The run ended up being 3h30m and around 20km long with 1180m incline. The parts that I could run I managed to hit a decent tempo pace, but for a long while I was more focused on not being stuck on Table Mountain 🙂