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Table Mountain Classics
By Tony Lourens
Blue Mountain Publishers
A5 soft cover | 320 pp. | full colour
RRP: R285 at most outdoor shops and bookshops in the greater Cape Town area
Review by Magriet Kruger, Wild Magazine
I’m sure not a week goes by without author Tony Lourens setting foot on Table Mountain. He knows the ravines and buttresses, the footpaths and climbing routes like you and I know the road home. You really couldn’t wish for a better guide to this beautiful landmark. For Table Mountain Classics he’s picked out the best walks, scrambles and moderate rock climbs.
The book is well organised into different sections of the mountain: the Southern Suburbs side, Devil’s Peak, the Saddle Area, Cape Town Front, the Atlantic Side and Orange Kloof. Each route lists the level of challenge, the average time needed, whether water can be found and where to park (an essential feature!). Where a route is suitable for children this is also mentioned.
If you’re trying to decide what sort of mountain experience you’re in the mood for, there’s a brief overview of the route to give you a sense. This is followed by a detailed route description including descent options.
Hundreds of colour pictures capture moments on the mountain: sometimes the view, sometimes a climber on a walk, scramble or climb, and in other cases a group enjoying a tea break on an exposed ledge or and equally memorable spot. Paging through the book, I longed to join these adventurers.
What really stood out for me were the pictures of the mountain with the routes marked on them. Every route is clearly indicated on panoramic photos of that section of the mountain with buttresses and ravines identified. So much easier to get your head around than looking at the same routes on a map!
This new edition has 45 extra routes and includes the beautiful and unspoilt Orange Kloof, which was omitted from the first edition due to access problems. And the section on exploring the top of Table Mountain seems particularly appealing, with a whole world of interesting valleys mazes and buttresses in which you can lose yourself.
Table Mountain Classics is more than just a guide. It’s also a window to the mountain’s history and legend. Historical features look at the building of the reservoirs, early visitors to the top and the brave mountaineers who opened many of the routes. There are wonderful pictures of women climbing in skirts and men in suits and tie. It’s a delight to look at these old pictures and realise that even a century ago, people couldn’t resist the allure of this iconic mountain.
Tony Lourens’s passion for Table Mountain’s most remarkable and memorable places leaps off the page. Join him on one of the routes – you won’t be sorry.