GOOD PLAN­NING

Getaway (South Africa) - - SAFETY ON THE MOUNTAIN -

The de­scrip­tions here will only give you a rough idea of the routes, so you will need a good map and one or two de­tailed route de­scrip­tions from rep­utable hik­ing guides. I use the Slingsby map of Ta­ble Moun­tain and the sec­ond edi­tion of Tony Lourens’s Ta­ble Moun­tain Clas­sics.

STUDY YOUR ROUTE

Do this be­fore­hand, but carry your map and copy of the route de­scrip­tion with you. It’s best to take the more tech­ni­cal route on the way up and find an eas­ier way down. Al­low more than enough time to com­plete the en­tire route in day­light. Let some­one know your in­tended route and ex­pected re­turn time.

IF YOU GET LOST, DON’T PANIC

Don’t carry on blindly or take a short cut. As soon as you re­alise you’re off route, back­track care­fully to the last place you knew you were on the right path, and try again. If you still can’t find the way safely, turn around and head home. There’s less shame in an un­fin­ished ex­plo­ration than hav­ing to be res­cued.

CHOOSE YOUR GROUP

Wilder­ness Search & Res­cue rec­om­mends a min­i­mum hik­ing group of four peo­ple. New hik­ing bud­dies should start out do­ing easy, well-marked paths to­gether. Be aware of the level of hik­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, fit­ness, in­juries or other is­sues (such as a fear of heights) in the group. A well­co­or­di­nated group is im­por­tant for gen­eral safety – ap­point one per­son as the leader and an­other as the sweeper to make sure no one gets left be­hind. If you’re aim­ing to tackle a tricky new route, con­sider us­ing a pro­fes­sional moun­tain guide, such as Justin Law­son (who can also take you rock climb­ing). 082-696-4067, climb­ing.co.za/hik­ing

JOIN A CLUB

If you don’t have a suitable group of friends to hike with, join a hik­ing club. The Moun­tain Club of South Africa has reg­u­lar hikes for its mem­bers. 021-465-3412, mc­sacapetown.co.za

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