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Table Mountain hike down?

4th November 2007 – 4:08 pm

Many people having walked up Table Mountain then opt to take the cableway down – nothing wrong with that!   However one should always be prepared to hike down as the cableway does not always operate and sometimes closes due to high winds.
If you choose to hike on the Back Table of Table Mountain then obviously you are not close to the cableway and you can walk down either Nursery Ravine or Constantia Nek and then through Cecilia Forest which is an easier option.  However from the Front Table there is only one safe route down particularly in high winds and that is Platteklip Gorge.
Hiking down Table Mountain is for some people more difficult than hiking up.   Different skills are required and different muscles are used.   Some people find sticks, either one or two are a great help and they certainly assist with balance and take a significant amount of weight off the knees.  Platteklip Gorge is basically  all steps, uneven and steep in places.   Strength in the quads makes it a lot easier.  If you wish to train specifically for a walk down concentrate on exercises that target the quads and you will cope a lot better.
Always keep in mind from a time perspective that you must allow enough daylight to hike down if you have to.  There is no refuge or shelter at the upper cableway station so if you get stuck there you could be in for an uncomfortable night.
We will always allow people the choice to walk down as long as we consider them capable of doing so.  I rarely get bookings for a hike down Table Mountain but two weeks ago I did have such a request from an under 16 rugby team who didn’t want to tire themselves for their match the next day.   However I do wonder how their legs were feeling afterwards and if in fact they did beat their opponents!

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