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Nursery Buttress

 Up the prominent buttress above Kirstenbosch

Overview: A classic scramble up the buttress between Nursery Ravine and Skeleton Ravine. Has some tricky, exposed rock pitches where a rope may be advised. Can be hot on summer mornings so a good winter route. 

Key Statistics
Grade:  4 **** Some exposed sections
Height gain:  560m: from 160m to 740mm
Time:  3-4 hrs up, 1-2 down depending on route

Route Description:

Take the path from the Rycroft Gate up to the contour path - it is well marked. Turn right and go north on the contour path towards Devil's Peak and cross Nursery Ravine - also clearly signposted. About 200m further along, scramble up a steep narrow gully. (The start is cairned.)  Climb this until one can scramble out to the left to the base of the first rockband.  The gully can be running with water in winter, but is quite climbable even if wet.

Traverse along this rockband following the (rough) path to the base of a 10m high grade 4 pitch - marked with cairns.  Climb this straight up, or traverse further round to easier ground to bypass this (seldom used so likely to be bushy).  This pitch can be wet in winter but dries out quickly so unless straight after heavy rain, it is usually OK.

From the top of this band follow the path upwards in a series of small 2-3m steps until a second 10m rockband is encountered.  Move right into an open book where two faces meet. Climb the left hand face on clean rock with good holds.  It's easier than it looks, especially if one moves out left on an ascending diagonal.  More exposed, but a series of easy ledges make a 'staircase'. 

Above this, follow the path to the top, once more climbing several short rock steps, eventually passing directly between the twin towers of the Buttress.  Ends on top in a shady dell with a cave which makes a great tea spot. 

The main path from Constantia Corner to Maclear's Beacon passes a short distance away.  Once on that,  turn left to go down Nursery Ravine, or right to the top of Skeleton Gorge. Also possible to explore around to the right from the tea spot through a cave and traverse and meet the main path further along towards Skeleton. 

There are also a whole range of other options to explore on the back table including along Smuts Track to Maclears Beacon, Cleft Peak, the Aqueduct, Hely-Hutchison Reservoir, the Waterworks Museum and much more. 

2016-07-30 - Nursery Butress Track.gpx
Nardus Cronjé,
Jul 30, 2016, 9:19 AM