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Spilhaus Buttress

Location: Cecelia Forest or from Constantia Nek or Kirstenbosch

Overview: A fun short scramble following a zi-zag line up Spilhaus Buttress. Links well with return options via Cecelia Ridge or the Jeep Track or Nursery Ravine.

Spilhaus Buttress- Key Statistics
Grade:  4 *** Short but exposed scramble
Height gain:  500m: from 160m to 660m
Time:  2-3 hrs up, 1-2 down depending on route

Route Description:

The start can be approached from three directions: from the Jeep Tack and along the high contour path; straight up Spilhaus Ravine; or along the high contour path from Kirstenbosch.  Only the route up the ravine is described here - see the map for the alternatives.

From the parking off Rhodes Drive, go diagonally right and into Spilhaus Ravine.  (Due to the tree felling underway there in 2010/2011, this approach may need to be varied - or us one of the other approaches in the meantime.)  The path up the ravine crosses four jeep tracks and then zig-zags up the ravine crossing the stream three times.  (After heavy rain there are several waterfalls in the ravine, making it a fun short outing on its own.)

Near the top the path goes out left and one has a good view of the buttress.  About 100m further on one comes to a junction of 4 paths. Sharp left the path leads back towards Constantia Corner while the path to the right is the high contour path to Kirstenbosch. Between these two is a faint track leading straight up.

Take the track straight up, with lots of short easy scrambling up to the first rockband.  Move right along this until there is a break. This pattern continues, generally moving right, but occasionally slightly left to go through a rockband.

The path can be a bit difficult to follow at times because the turn-offs up through the rockbands have been missed making a path that runs into a dead end.  If the path runs out and you end in bush, turn back and look harder. There is a path all the way.

Besides the numerous short 2-3m rock steps, there are two higher steps of 5-6m.  The first looks difficult, but is easy although a bit awkward. (See the pic in the slide show.)  The second is easy, but quite exposed with a take off that many find quite tricky.  (See the pic in the slide show.)  Many may prefer a rope on this pitch. 

Near the top, some interesting variations are possible. Pick what suits you. One finally pops out unexpectedly on the Jeep Track to the astonishment of any strollers who happen to be passing!   The "proper" route continues on up above the Jeep Track to the summit of Bel Ombre, but often this is left out as it does not add much to an enjoyable route.

There are several return options.  The quickest is down the Jeep Track, but more interesting is to come down through the forest, or continue up the Jeep Track to the top and link up with Cecelia Ridge or Constantia Corner

Resources: A map showing the main paths, a set of GPS tracks and Google Earth tracks that can be displayed in Google Earth.