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7 Buttresses Apostles Traverse

This fun 'B' grade scramble composite traverse route from the Diagonal Path crosses Porcupine, Jubilee, Barrier, Valken, Kasteels, Postern and Woody buttresses. It was pioneered by Mike Scott in about 2008 using old climbing access routes to the crags. Although it has become reasonably popular since Karen Watkins published it in one of her guide books, several sections are still very overgrown and parties should wear long pants and long sleeved shirts! (Note also that the description in Karen's excellent guidebook "Off the Beaten Track" misses the last section up to the Postern cliff face and across onto the Woody scramble by doing a continuation of the traverse below Postern, around Woody into Wood ravine.) 

There are escape routes off after Valken (down Valken Ravine) and after Kasteels (down Kasteels Poort) so can be done as 4- or 5- buttresses instead of 7. 

Key Statistics
Grade:  4 **** mostly easy going but exposed in places and a couple of tricky pitches
Height gain:  Initial height gain is up Diagonal, then mainly a traverse until on Postern. 
Time:  5 hrs up and down for a fit party, 7 hrs for average party. 3-4 hours if using one of the shorter options.
  
  Route Description:
Use the Diagonal path to Porcupine cave, and continue around the corner and up Porcupine ravine until level with the base of the cliff on Jubilee buttress. Make a short descent rightwards into the stream bed and traverse under Jubilee until the track descends some way until possible to continue the traverse to a rock corner with a Dassie ledge.Here it is safer to push packs ahead and do a short Dassie crawl rather than stepping down and up again. Continue through trees and bush to climb a black waterfall that leads up to the left hand side of Jubilee cave. Use of a safety rope is advised when this waterfall is wet as the black rock becomes like grease. A short step down at the far end of the cave is onto a traverse around Barrier buttress. This involves rock scrambling, including the 'Giant's Step' groove, some step ups, and some narrow ledges until the track descends. Take care here as you step down onto a continuation of the traverse now going towards the Barrier waterfall cliff along a narrow airy ledge. Below the big Barrier cliff traverse right towards Valken Buttress at a low level unless it is dry when it is more pleasant to move up to the clean rock ledge below the Barrier cliff. Pass through Barrier cave and follow the track below the rock to the corner of Valken Buttress. Watch out here as a rock climber's path now descends, but keep left hugging rocks and bending under trees until you can see across Valken ravine. As the ravine can be rather bushy, force your way across heading for the overhang cave on the corner of Kasteel's buttress mass. (NOTE if Valken ravine is too bushed up then you can take the climbers path down to cross the watercourse and reach the old ravine path coming up from the KP path and then ascend to the overhang/cave).  Now keep close to the rock band beyond the cave until the view opens out and the track starts to ascend. Do NOT continue Up. There should be a cairn (beacon) here to indicate turn right and meander through trees and bush until possible to get back to almost against the rock band again. After squeezing past old trees under Kasteel's Buttress the track crosses over to the Kasteelspoort path. Now ascend KP until you pass almost the last gabion and look out for a cairn on a rock corner that indicates where you take the right hand track into the bed of the KP stream. Cross the KP ravine heading for a large rock and scramble over that. Now meander through the thick vegetation to get to the long Dassie ledge below the huge smooth grey rock face on the side of Postern Buttress. Traverse the ledge past the large old beacon and continue around the corner. Keep almost level passing under the Postern Cliff high above you until the track ascends onto the right hand edge. Here there is some fun rock scrambling up to reach the cliff, then traverse right until possible to step up to the overhang cave at the right hand side of Postern. This is a good spot to stop for lunch as it may still be in the shade. Exiting at the far end a track crossing Postern ravine takes you through thick ferns to a massive boulder. Behind that a track continues past several options to scramble up onto the top of the Woody buttress ridge. Once on top, you can either finish up the usual Woody Buttress path past the little Elephant rock, OR instead keep to the left hand edge and follow fun scrambling up big blocks and then along the top jumping gaps on the rock ridges until almost at the Back table path which you join to get to your descent route.  




















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