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Jonkershoek Twins (1494m) with Wojtek, 13 November 2016

posted 27 Nov 2016, 12:34 by Hagen Liebberger

We were only two, John and I. An ideal number for a relatively difficult hike! We started from the entrance gate, because driving any higher along the forest plantation is forbidden. Initially it was relatively cold, so we were advancing quickly, first on the forest road and from ca. 500m height straight up to the mountain face without any marked path.

Higher up there was a strong wind and it was even colder than before. We easily found Bobbejaankloof where the Suidfront route starts, but higher on we were occasionally not sure where to go. Few cairns were helpful, but in one case a big cairn confused us totally and we started to climb a chimney which was definitely too difficult to be part of the route. Ironically, we both did this hike earlier but our memories faded completely. I had the English translation of the famous book “Jonkershoek en sy Berge” of the late Ernst Lotz, but we did not find the route description very informative. It is perhaps time for someone to write a modern description of this beautiful route.

Having lost perhaps up to one hour on deliberations where to go up, we went much further to the right and… we found the grassy slope that was definitely the proper route, incomparably easier than the previous chimney. From that moment we were “at home” so to say, and we were scrambling on steep grassy slopes until we reached the exposed solid rock that is typically being climbed with a rope. We did just that, and the summit was near! It was sunny and the view was spectacular, as usual.

On the way down we again initially lost the path, almost invisible after fire destroyed all vegetation, and we started traversing too high. Luckily we quickly corrected this mistake, found the (already visible) path and continued until the Nerinakloof. In lower parts of this beautiful ravine there is now plenty of lying trunks and loose rocks, so we were not as quick as we thought we would be. Finally, having reached the forest level, we went down using mountain bike routes as shortcuts on the way to the entrance gate. The wall of Jonkershoek Twins was now orange, in the sunset light. Overall, this hike lasted 12 hours, with the total denivelation of 1260m.