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February 20, 2009

Rock climbing on Table Mountain – A Cape Town Tourism Flickr photo essay

Cape Town – what a great place to combine a passion for photography and the amazing lifestyle of rock climbing. Table Mountain provides an immense playground of vertical rock. Some of the climbs are death-defying while others are attractive rambles providing good ledges for lunch breaks and stunning views.

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Rock climbing is a sub-culture with its own rituals and habits. After completing a route, two climbers abseil back down to Africa Ledge for a well-earned cup of tea. Below, in the city, it’s business as usual.

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“No rules!” Combining various pitches of two routes makes for a fun and exciting day. Here a climbing party starts up a route called Cableway Crag via the first pitch of another route – just because ... Actually there are a few rules. Climbers as a community have unanimously decided that no “sport” bolts will be placed on Table Mountain. Only the use of natural “trad” gear is approved. The other rule is Newton’s law of gravity.

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Not just a sport for “men”; balance and grace count just as much as muscle power. Jacob’s Ladder is a popular and attractive route, breaking through ledges and dark streaked walls on the west face of Table Mountain below the upper cable station.

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Taking a break after pulling through the horrendously exposed crux pitch of Atlantic Crag. The fingers go in the thin horizontal rail and the feet ... well, they can go wherever you like ’cos there ain’t no footholds. Huge respect for the guys who opened this route more than 30 years ago with no fancy gear like we use today.

Images © Andrew Lewis aka Idle Layabout 2009

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