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Redhill Direct

Location: Red Hill is more commonly known as the road that goes up and over from Simonstown to Scarborough and the starting point for walks to Grootkop, the Kleinplas Dam and beyond.  There is however a short scrambling route directly up the front face of real Red Hill peak, ending up at the historic 1812 white painted rock with its red across.

Overview: Starting from the Long Beach parking head directly up the ridge, keeping to the left initially to avoid a bushy section and then to the right, avoiding the bush and keeping as much as possible on the rock while aiming for the historic (1812) prominent white painted rock with's it's  red cross

Key Statistics
Grade:  3 ***  A pleasant route with great views (with a grade 2 escape if needed)
Height gain:  255m from sea level to the beacon at 255m
Time:  2 hrs up, 1-2 down depending on route



Route Description:

From the parking at Long Beach just after the Simonstown Station, walk a short distance towards the town centre, then cross the main road and proceed up Jubilee Road.  Cross over a tar road (Palace Hill Road) and continue along a gravel track, following a sign pointing to the Happy Valley Home.

There are two options here:
  • Continue until you come to a gate and a fence and turn right and find a line up a steep bank and then continue up the steep sandy ground along a fence on the left.  
  • Find a faint path leading up from the gravel road about 60m before the gate and follow this up on a steep ascending traverse to the fire break. Traverse along the firebreak keeping near the top of the break well above the fence.
The second option is harder to find, but is preferred. This the worst part of the route!.  But the spectacular views of the Simonstown waterfall gorge which unfold makes up for the rather crumbly ground underfoot. 

Where the fence ends against a 2m rock band, traverse about 100m to the right to gain the ridge line, either directly below the 2m rock band, or scramble up the rock band and traverse a bit higher.  There are several lines from here: the aim is to meet the rocky ridge as soon as possible with the minimum of bush.

Follow the ridge up, sticking to the skyline as much as possible. If you like your scrambles more "interesting" go round the corner to the left to find a break in the one rock band, or go right for an easier break. Several lines are possible.    

Continue on up the ridge until one is clear of the bushy ravine on the left and one can cross over to the clearer rock on the left leading up towards the white panted rock at the top of Red Hill.  (Actually it is not the top but looks like it from here.)

These rather steeper rock bands look like they will be more difficult but in fact an easy line wends its way through various terraces and steps. If in doubt, aim for the red cross! On a platform just below the cross, it looks like one has run out of luck as the face looks shear and unclimable.   Move 5m right around a big block and behind it there is a neat little chimney and step across which takes one onto a platform and easy ground exiting right on target.   It's an especially satisfying finish.

There is also an easier escape route off to the left if anyone does not like the step across - it is a little airy. 

Return:  There are several options for the return. The quickest is to continue along the ridge past the Red Hill beacon, then down and across some interesting vlaktes until one meets the Red Hill road.  Turn right on the road and about 100m down the road take the historic old mule track that runs in a straight line all the way back down to Simonstown, crossing the road twice. 

A longer but more interesting return is to bear left at the westerly end of the vlakte just before reaching the Red Hill road to meet the Hoeriekwagga Trail. Turn left and follow the trail down through the valley crossing the river immediately above the third waterfall.  The brave may like to stop for  swim in what has become known as "one bollock pool"    (That's a long story best told over several beers in the False Bay Yacht Club!)

After crossing he river continue up and along the ridge on a clear path with fantastic views over Simonstown. But don't get too complacent!  The path runs out shortly after passing the waterworks building and before reaching the firebreak that runs along the top of the ridge at this point.  Once on the firebreak, follow this to Just Nuisancce's grave (or take an obvious shortcut) and follow the Klawer steps all the way back down into Simonstown. 

"Opening" party
:  This is such an obvious line and the area has been so extensively climbed espially by the likes of the famous Tut Trainer that we were hesitant to call this a new route, but no description has been found, even in Tut's notes, nor did we find any cairns, so it seems that maybe it is actually new - apart of course from the poor sailors who lugged up the buckets of paint to paint the rock in 1812.  But we can safely assume they came up the mule track and down the ridge and not up the front.  Simonstown has a varied and fascinating history and it was very fitting that Tut's son, Martyn (Spook) Trainor was part of the opening party.

U3A CMCA group 18 Oct 2011, left to right: Liz Trew, Nerina de Villiers, Marcel Pienaar, Kathy Holthauzen, Barbara Clark, Moiragh Girdwood, Roger Hendry, Tony Heher (leader), Martyn Trainor (navigator and historian). 

Note: See the Simonstown page for a copy of the original hand drawn map of the area prepared by Tut Trainor - and for a copy of his obituary. All these routes that we have walked and explored in the mountains around Simonstown have been inspired by his pioneering work. The scanned copy of his original notes are a little hard to read on screen.  Any volunteers to type them up?

Resources: GPS track, pdf map, pdf route description and map (to follow)



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Ċ
Tony Heher,
Apr 22, 2012, 6:31 PM
ċ
Red Hill Direct.gpx
(49k)
Tony Heher,
Jun 9, 2015, 12:46 PM
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