SA Mountain 88 | March – May 2024


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I know that mountain
You can drive past a mountain a thousand times and you can look up at its huge walls, its impressive ridges and inviting crags, but what you see is really only skin deep, two dimensional if you like. It can look beautiful and you can even imagine yourself up there on one of those ridges or faces, but truth be told, it is still only a two-dimensional experience taking place in your mind.
Then, one day, you get out there and climb a route on that same mountain, or even just hike an interesting trail to the summit. You sit on the top and look down at the road that you have driven so many times when looking up at the same mountain, and you look around at the unfolding mountainscape, and take in the deep emotional experience of where you are and what you have just done. And at this precise moment, you realise that this mountain will never mean the same to you again. It will never be a mountain that you just look at from the road. From this moment onwards, you will have a much more intense and passionate connection with this mountain. Because rather than just looking from a distance, you have now touched her and experienced a whole different level of varying emotions. Whilst climbing her walls, scrambling her ridges, and sitting on the summit, you may have encountered joy, fear, amazement, achievement, elation and so many other mixed feelings. Emotions and memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life. These feeling you don’t get from just looking.
Now, when you drive that same road again, you will gaze up at that mountain and you will look through very different eyes. You will see a very different mountain and your thoughts and emotions will be on another level. With your eye, you will trace the route that you did, and you will re-live some of those moments you had when you climbed it, even if it’s decades later. Those memories never fade.
This goes for all the mountains, walls and crags that you climb over time – from a young impressionable beginner to a wizened experience climber with many escapades under the belt. You sort of build up a memory folder of experiences of climbs and adventures you have had on these mountains, and once you have had any sort of climbing encounter, it goes into the mountain memory vaults. It is a never-ending journey. A journey that keeps enriching your life and brings you closer to those beautiful hills that shape our existence. A mountain climbed is a mountain lived.
What a privilege it is to drive along the foothills of Table Mountain and look up those buttresses, walls and ravines, each one with many tales and adventures to tell. Driving through the Cederberg – Krakadouw, Tafelberg and Wolfberg all looming above. And along the Du Toit’s Kloof Pass, gazing up at those immense peaks and walls. A tapestry of life’s experiences and adventures laid out in front of you. All packed in that folder of mountain nostalgia.
And I look up and think to myself I know that mountain!

Be safe in the hills


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Gear Reviews

RAW Exposure

Off the Wall
Climbing Injuries and Rehab: Hand Injuries
by Brenda Marx


Back Page Story: The Da Vinci Code
by Terence Livingston

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