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Finsteraar Crack

 
Scree below Fernwood
 
Start of the gully section
 
 
 
 
 
Location: Fernwood Buttress, Newlands Forest

Overview: An old route not often done. A difficult start and a long busy finish, but follows a classic diagonal line up the side of Fernwood Buttress.
The name was given by Travers-Jackson after his ascent in 1904, but the origin is obscure and his account merely refers to the crack being dark. The name has been misspelt over the years with different maps sometimes adding an i to make it Finisteraar. 
At least one mountaineer who leads hikes and who has done this route twice considers it dangerous and not fit or worthy to be mentioned on a self-help website like Mountain Meanders. The rope hanging down the more tricky sections is old and it’s anyone’s guess if it will take a person’s weight; it gives people a false sense of security. 

Key Statistics
Grade:  4 **** Difficult and exposed
Height gain:  740m: from 140m to 880m
Time:  5 hrs up, 2 down depending on route

Route Description:
The ascent starts off the scree below Fernwood Buttress at the high point of the Newlands to Kirstenbosch path after doing what is often called the 300 steps.

Go up the scree and into the trees until stopped by a mossy, lichenous band of rock across a little watercourse. This is an awkward short section of climbing that needs care and good balance to step into the gully proper (the name Crack is misleading as it is a gully/chimney)

Now the crack is followed and in recent years a long thick rope has been anchored for help on this steep section. It is unknown who placed it there and how long it has been in place, so use with great caution if at all. At the top of the crack you exit onto a bushy slope, which may have a faint track if someone else has done the climb recently, and eventually you will intersect Smut's Track. 
 
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