Home Grading Constitution Join Contacts
Photos Hiking Schedule Adventure Hiking Newsletter Hike Reports Links

July/August 2004 Newsletter


Hi Guys

By Jove, by golly, by gee, mid year has come and gone already. Soon we will be bombarded by Xmas carols every time we pop in to the super market for bread and milk. Talking about mid year, the dinner was an outstanding success. Those of us who were there enjoyed it immensely. Lots of milling about talking and eating and drinking.

You may have seen two outings on the schedule; MCSA Outreach Program hikes and wondered what the hell they were all about. Well, your committee wanted to get involved with some community social work. The MCSA already has a program taking some children from the townships on hikes. The children are brought to the starting points and the MCSA supplies food and drink and leads them on short hikes. They offered us the opportunity to get involved by accompanying them to help. Please phone the relevant leader and go along. You might find a great deal of enjoyment.

Walking in our mountains the other day it struck me that I was walking on a World Heritage Site. We are so lucky. Where else in the world can a person walk out of their front door and be in the midst of a WHS?

Peter

To the top

MERVYN’S CEDERBERG — CLIMB SNEEUBERG 14 – 16 May 2004

We had perhaps the most perfect weather in the Cederberg that anyone would have asked for.

We started the braai soon after unpacking at the chalet and Geoff, Justine and Marie-Paule soon joined us.

A few surprises were waiting for us the next day. We were informed that we could not leave the cars at the car park up the valley. This added an additional 4 km to the hike. Geoff and Dave went off early to drop off Geoff’s car at Dwars River Farm so that we could make an easy exit via the Maltese Cross on Sunday. We took the path next to Krom River and only reached Disa Pool at about 2:00 pm. Geoff struggled in about half an hour later suffering from food poisoning.It was clear that he would have to go back and Justine and Marie-Paule went back with him. Plans were made to meet us below Sneeuberg the next morning, entering via Dwars River Farm.

The rest of us took off in a hurry as we still had half the hike to do to get up to the shale band. The path led us up between Sneeuberg and The Pup, past the Maltese Cross and through a neck to the Sneeuberg hut. All the time I was concerned about finding water at the hut, but finding water on the shale band was a good sign. Paul and Di were out front searching for the hut. Paul seemed convinced we were in trouble! Despite hiking the last hour in pitch dark with only our head torches to see the way, we reached the hut, an hour after dark. Exhausted we collapsed on our mats and Paul proclaimed the day ‘an epic’.

From Marie-Paule: Going back to Krom River also had its moments, with Geoff struggling with the nausea and Justine almost scalping herself twice on low trees. Geoff soon started joking about francolin for supper and the mere fact that he was talking about food was a good sign. After sorting out the punctured tyre with the farmer, an early supper, hot shower and bed, we were fit to tackle the full 2000 metres to the top of Sneeuberg, starting from Dwars River Farm where the cars were parked for the return trip.

Our timing was impeccable on the next day as we met Geoff, Marie-Paule and Justine just after the turnoff to climb Sneeuberg. Thankfully, Geoff had made an excellent recovery. We ascended the steep gully up to the neck below Sneeuberg. From there the going got rockier and we had to do a fair bit of scrambling until we got to the first crack. At this point we had our first dropout. At the top of the crack we had to crawl sideways out of a small tunnel to emerge above a steep precipice. Further scrambling led us towards the summit, and we had to negotiate a narrow crack and ease up an exposed ‘step’ before reaching the top at 2 027 m. A further three dropped out at the entrance to the narrow crack. Di and Ariane were first on top and Dave and I followed. The views were spectacular all round, but I was glad there was only a light breeze as we were perched on knife-edge. After the statutory photo, we descended for lunch and then back down to the hut. Most of us slept outside that night, as it was so pleasant.

The return was via the Maltese Cross. We got back to the cars at 12:30 and found a lovely, but very cold pool nearby for a refreshing dip (how could you have missed it on the way up, Marie-Paule??) (Well … embarrassingly shall we just call it a senior moment? Blush!!)

Highlights: Protea Witzenbergii (endemic to the region), spectacular sunrise and sunset on Saturday, the Black Eagle and Ground Woodpeckers, Justine’s geology lesson and “sitting on the edge of the world” for lunch.

Mervyn.

To the top

DENISE’S DASSIESHOEK WEEKEND.11/6/2004 to 13/6/2004

Well I had been told by a person who shall remain un-named that DASSIESHOEK was only just ok. Well I was privileged to do this trail with Denise and her merry band. The first nights hut needs a lot of work. The less said about it the better. After a great braai we retired early so we could get a very early start. Cars had to be shuttled so that we did not have to carry large packs. It’s a whacking 21k’s to the next overnight hut so it is really a blessing to be able to do this. The scenery on the first day is exceptional. One is deep in the mountains. The vegetation changes rapidly from short, dry Karoo scrub to lush green mountain fynbos. The path traverses steep slopes and dips in and out of wooded ravines. The overnight hut, once reached, is in a converted farmhouse. Its position is idyllic but again some work needs to be done. I cannot however complain about the condition of the path. It had been cleaned and was in excellent condition.

Day two is very different to day one. The midpoint is a river swimming hole. Just before we reached this however it started to rain. The best way to stop rain is to take out your waterproof and put it on. We did not swim but did take our morning tea at this beautiful spot. The bit of rain did however make the rocks slippery so care had to be taken when crossing the river three times.

Highlights? There were many. Peter P getting the little group he was leading lost thrice. The helping hands given to Corrie when she developed a bit of trouble. The great conversation around the braai fires. The concern showed by each and every to other hikers in the group.

I do have a concern however. This is not leveled against Denise only. A few hikes I have been on lately have split into groups with tailenders out of sight of the leaders. I really feel that leaders should endeavor to keep the group together. I know that there are some members who are very fit and fast and get frustrated by the slower walkers. Leaders could allow these to go ahead but should insist that the group reassemble at half hourly intervals. This is for safety considerations. Things can go horribly wrong even on perfect calm days in the mountains. After all, the definition of an accident is; chance or what happens by chance; an event that happens when quite unlooked for; an unforeseen and undesigned injury to a person; an unexpected happening; a casualty; a mishap.

Peter P

Yvonne adds: Since seeing our tennis club coach, Tim, featured doing this trail on 50/50 many moons ago, we’ve often spoken about it. The 21k’s 1st day put us off. It turned out to be a non-strenuous, magical surprise. From the 1ST stile we had Karroo succulents then fynbos & exquisite proteas. The 2nd day was equally varied and interesting. Robertson municipality who are keepers of this trail, on hearing of Denise’s booking, had excelled themselves. Every inch was manicured. No bushwhacking! A bonus was electric lights & hot showers at both huts. The cherry on the top was Vic’s kind assistance in ferrying drivers back and forth, so enabling us to hike with day packs, allowing us to totally relax and savor the magnificent Langeberg mountains. Thanks to Denise for organising and to Gaynor, Corrie, Ian, Ethnee, Phillip, Peter, Brigitte & Vic for a great weekend.

Denise comments; I am not too sure why it has taken TCSA so long to do this superb hike. Early on Saturday morning I heard Gaynor say. “This is why I joined Trails club. This is absolutely fantastic” So, where were you all? You missed out again.

To the top

USEFUL HINTS.

Always carry the following items.

  • Torch (and spare batteries)
  • Pocketknife
  • 1st aid kit
  • lighter or waterproof matches
  • Waterproof clothing
  • Space blanket.
  • Whistle.
  • At least 1.5 litres water

To the top

EXPOSURE! What does it mean?

Climbers talk of experiencing”exposure.” What does this mean? Exposure is a form of fear; one ‘exposes’ oneself to risk. Exposure is the result of a number of factors, such as the height above ground, openness and steepness. Climbs are graded from A to H according to the steepness and difficulty.

A and B are walking grades. From C onwards all four limbs are necessary. D grade signifies steep, exposed scrambling where the use of rope is recommended. From E, most climbs are near vertical. From E onwards each grade is subdivided into three levels of difficulty, E1, E2 & E3. F grade is vertical, and marks a watershed of ability. F3 means very exposed and severe. A climber attempting anything above G1 would have made a definite commitment to his craft.

Thirty years ago only a handful of climbers could pit themselves against a G route. By ten years ago, modern safety equipment had made climbing less hazardous and today there are climbers capable of H grade climbs. Most serious young climbers routinely tackle G routes.

TCSA hike leaders will take members on A and B routes. Some B routes will require the use of hands but ropes are generally not needed. Exposure will make some members unable to continue, especially those with a fear of heights. If you are unsure phone the leader and he will tell you about the route and the exposure. Generally however most members should be able to do the planed hikes.

Peter P

To the top

TOMMY”S GROOTKOP HIKE: SUNDAY 27 JUNE 2004

Tommy & followers; Derrick, Vasco, Tony, Rosemary, Sue, Yvonne, Geoff, Penny, Jenny, Ros, Ethnee, Ian and Mary, with Peter being our able TEC, set off from Theresa Ave shortly after 09h15. Weekend weather had forecast heavy rains on Saturday with cold and sunny skies for Sunday, and so it was. We began with an uneventful walk to the end of the pipe track, then, just before the tea stop at the overhang near Slangolie Ravine, we had an enthusiastic waterfall (caused by the Saturday rains) to negotiate. The cautious had brought rain gear, which was very handy; some of us just ran and got rather wet.

A stiff climb to the top of Corridor Ravine followed and after re-grouping at the crossroads we set off directly towards the rocky face of Grootkop. Once at the base, there were several rock scramble options, numerous cairns kept us on track and indicated the way to the cave. Not a very obvious entrance so it was good to have an experienced leader who had also thought of bringing a torch! Inside the cave it was slow going, pitch black and damp and walking at a crouch. The exit was a narrow hole in the roof through which we passed the backpacks and then wriggled up ourselves – fun, but not if you’re afraid of small dark spaces! Those at the back of the queue decided not to wait in the dark and turned around to take the alternate route up in the fresh air.

Fifteen minutes later we were enjoying lunch on the rocks at the top of Grootkop, with stunning views over Orangekloof and Hout Bay. As we were packing up for the walk down, clouds came over and the temperature dropped from a pleasant 19˚C to 12˚C within minutes. A group of Meridians arrived, having come up from Suikerbossie, and we left them to it. The walk down around Grootkop, to eventually get back to the crossroads at the top of Corridor Ravine, seemed far longer than the direct route up.

An easy amble along the top until we reached the Kasteelspoort sign (interesting remains of the first cable installation to the left of the ravine, which was used to transport cement for the dams) then down a wet but well kept track to breakfast rock; a quick head count and then down to the pipe track once more and off to the cars. Thanks to Tommy for planning a really interesting and enjoyable hike and making sure the weather was perfect!

ETHNEE.

To the top

FYNBOS MEDICINES.

ARUM LILY; Zantedeschia Aethiopica
The leaves are mainly used,rarely the rhizomes.
Leaves are used to treat wounds,sores and boils. Also applied to parts affected by rheumatism and gout. Boiled rhizomes were sometimes mixed with honey or syrup and taken for bronchitis,asthma, heartburn and rheumatism or gargled for a sore throat.

Kankerbos; Sutherlandia Frutescens
Mainly used for the control of fever, indigestion, cancer and diabetes. It is also used for treating colds, coughs, asthma, chronic bronchitis, kidney & liver diseases, rheumatics , stress and anxiety.

To the top

MUSHROOMS AND THEIR POISONS.

Mushrooms have been used by man as food for centuries. By far the majority of more than 10,000 species are harmless. However, there are poisonous fungi and some can be fatal. There are no simple tests or rules to indicate whether a mushroom is poisonous or not. If you don’t know a mushroom is edible don’t eat it. The number of really dangerous mushroom is small

The genus Amanita is principal amongst poisonous fungi. They contain numerous complex toxins, which make the treatment of poisoning by them very difficult. The toxins fall into two main groups, the amatoxins and the phallotoxins, differing in their mode of actions and the speeds at which they act. The amatoxins are extremely poisonous. 0,I mg per kilogram body weight will kill the eater. They are slow working causing death after several days. The phallotoxins, the quick acting toxins, can cause death two to five hours after ingestion. The phallotoxins have been found to be 10 times more lethal than cyanide. The notorious Death Cap, Amanita Phalloides, has at least five amatoxins and six phallotoxins and all these produce different and variable symptoms.

Some mushrooms produce toxins that affect the nervous system causing hallucinogenic effects. These act rapidly and some have been used for centuries as religious and recreational intoxicants.

One of the common ink caps, an edible species induces an action similar to Antabuse used in treating alcoholics. You don’t want to have a glass of wine when dining on these!

To the top

MONEY IS NO OBJECT, UNLESS YOU INTEND TO SPEND IT

PAULS CONSTANTIA CORNER.
Saturday 10 July 2004

Despite it been a rugby day 16 stalwarts turned up for this event. Paul read us the riot act and pointed out the route he wanted to take. Yvonne volunteered to be TEC and off we went.

It was quite a steep hike, ever upwards. At our 1st water spot we were able to really appreciate our beautiful surroundings, Bel Ombre peak, Little Lions head, the back table, etc. and the ever beautiful fynbos. At some turns the wind really came at us suddenly and we were forever donning and then removing warm clothing. Our tea break was really ‘a room with a view’ and we sat on a ledge admiring the other side, where we could see the Northern and Southern suburbs, the Durbanville Hills, Hottentots Holland and part of False Bay.

We descended towards de Villiers dam and on to the Jeep track. Here I noticed for the first time, what wonderful things are growing now that many of the Pine trees have been cut down. Fynbos is springing back and one can see the marvelous views of vineyards in the valley below. A well-constructed path allows one to avoid the boring Jeep track.

We were down at five on the dot. We all agreed that it was too late for tea, so we all headed home, to have something stronger perhaps?

Thank you Paul for a very enjoyable hike and thank you Yvonne for been our TEC

Margie C.

To the top

SPOTTING THE SIGNS OF A HEART ATTACK.

Walking in the mountains conversation often comes around to a discussion on heart attack. I don’t know why, but there seems to be a lot of ignorance about this. So I did a bit of reading and asked a doctor and I have come up with the following.

You would expect an attack to feel like an agonising, sharp pain in the center of your being. But most heart attacks do not start like you see in the movies: someone clutching his chest as he gasps for breath. According to the Cardiac Arrest Center in the U.S. there are more subtle signs of an impending cardiac arrest. An early warning sign can be a “gnawing discomfort” or “abnormal heaviness” in ones chest that doesn’t go away. A mere pressure or discomfort or even a dull pain in the jaw, throat, arm, or back can provide a hint that a heart attack is only minutes away. With nearly 50% of all heart attacks deaths occurring within the first hour, its essential to get emergency medical help. Don’t put off getting help, many people die after failing to act on the warning signs. Give an Aspirin, it makes the blood less sticky and the clot easier to dissolve and get the patient to a doctor chop chop.

To the top

Have a heart

SHARE YOUR ORGANS.
Go on; give your kidney to charity.. You’ve got another one.

5000 adults and children are waiting for organ transplants.
PHONE THE ORGAN DONOR FOUNDATION ON 0800 226 611.

To the top

MEMBERS NEWS.

It’s a bit late but heres’ hoping to see Geoff.Barton on the mountain again soon after his operation. Vic Olivier has also been under the surgeon’s knife. See you on the mountain soon Vic. What a surprise to get a phone call from Mary Holland-Ramsey asking for a lift to my hike at Cape Point.She is back and Cranston will be back soon. Welcome back guys.

Karen Cousins has been climbing in the Andes, maybe we could prevail on her to show us any slides she has and tell us about it.

To the top

CONTEMPLATE THIS!

Alex Lowe, an American mountaineer, wrote this just before he was killed by an avalanche in the Himalayas.
Thinking back I appreciate why I come to the mountains; not to conquer them but to immerse myself in their immensity- so much bigger than we are; to better comprehend humility and patience balanced in harmony, with the desire to push hard; to share what the hills have to offer and to share it in the long term with good friends and ultimately with my own sons

To the top

Tony’s Steenberg & Muizenberg peaks.
1/8/2004

I really did not expect any one to arrive at Silvermine south car park @ 08:30. At my house it was pouring with rain. Anyway I had been offered a lift and Tony is my friend so I got ready, made a cup of soup to take with, and went outside to wait for my lift.

We arrived at the meeting place at about 08:15. There was no one about. Then a car arrived, but the occupants were dog walkers. Eventually Ian arrived and then another car, and another so that by the time Tony arrived there were ten or so members and three visitors.

We got wet but no one seemed to mind. All of us agreed that we had had a very enjoyable hike. Thanks Tony.

To the top

HOW DO I GET A REPORT INTO THE NEWSLETTER?

Answer; Your editor has an address.

E20 Ambleside, Lwr Hope Rd.
Rosebank, 7700.

He even has an E mail address.

PETERP@WEBMAIL.CO.ZA.

You can even fax your report to 447-4182.
Marked for his attention.
See, it’s easy. You have no excuse. Send your reports and/or articles now.

The only sure cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree

PETER P

To the top

© THE TRAILS CLUB OF SOUTH AFRICA