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Ascension Traverse


Location: Can be approached from the Newlands side via Hiddingh-Ascension ravines, or via Newlands ravine, or approach from the Saddle from Tafelberg Road. 

Overview:The above picture is courtesy of the out of print Table Mountain Guide produced by the MCSA.
The Ascension traverse may be done starting either from Ascension Ravine or from a point below the Saddle Knife Edge.
There are 2 levels at which the traverse may be negotiated. The 2 traverse lines are below the final sheer 300m cliff of Ascension Buttress, on grass ledges.The upper level traverse is best started from the Saddle/ Ledges Knife Edge as the start is easier to find.

Key Statistics
Grade: 4 **** Exposed
Height gain:  997m: from 90m to 1087m (Newlands)
 or 667m from 420m to 1087 via Saddle
Time:  6 hrs up, 2-3 down depending on route

Route Description from out of Ascension ravine:  The lower traverse level is the one usually done from out of Ascension Ravine as the start is more obvious to find than the higher level. Where the dotted line in the picture above shows ascending just to drop down again, one can traverse almost straight across to the broad grass ledge below the Ascension cliff at about 740m. Keep as close to the rock face as possible, as the ledges can be bushy, and crossing the Grassy and Fir Tree ravines can be wet and dangerous. Near Els ravine a 30m descent is necessary in order to get into Els ravine after which it is straightforward steep grass and bush to the top onto the Knife Edge at 790m. The whole traverse should take about an hour.

Route Description from the Saddle/Ledges Knife edge: This traverse line is about 60-90m higher than the lower one. From the Knife Edge descend Els ravine for about 20-30m then traverse onto the grassy terrace which is nearest to being on a level with the Knife Edge.This ascends slightly (15m) and continues until about half way to Ascension Ravine one descends a short stretch then continue immediately under the rock face until reaching Ascension ravine at about 770m altitude. This traverse should take about 45min to an hour.
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