It started as a completely random idea four months ago while drinking cheap beers in Hanoi, Vietnam. It ended yesterday on the top of Lion’s Head with champagne in Cape Town, South Africa…
A challenge to go up Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain and Lion’s Head in one day.
At the time I had no plans of going to South-Africa. To be honest, I did not even know Cape Town had other mountains than Table Mountain. But while talking to Nicholas and Simon, two South-African guys I met in the middle of the rice fields in Vietnam, they suggested I should take on a ‘manly’ challenge.
Back then it was easy to say, ‘sure’. Really executing the idea took a little more effort. But we — I found four others crazy enough to join me on the 9-hour climb — did it, and we raised over 1500 Euros for a charity in the process. Oh, and speaking for myself, we had a lot of fun!
Meet the team: Derk, Jan, Thessa, me, Mark, Sebastiaan and our biggest fan: Lilly! What’s funny to mention is that all of these people were involved in other experiments during my time in Cape Town in some way. This was a cool chance for them to get to know each other. The weather was a friendly 19 degrees when we started at the bottom of Devil’s Peak at 08.30am.
One hour and 15 minutes later we were at the top of our first mountain. On the picture above, you can see Mark taking a photo of the two mountains we still had to climb: Table Mountain and Lion’s Head (to the right). If you look closely, you can see a green strip in the middle of Table Mountain with a winding path going up. That’s “Platte Klip”, our next ascent.
Below is the last part of that winding road on “Platte Klip”. No idea who came up with the ridiculous name, because I can promise you one thing, there’s nothing plat (flat) about this klip..
Around 12:30pm we made it to the top of Table Mountain. Special thanks to Karel Jonker and Vegro Verpleegartikelen, for ‘buying’ this mountain. We made a lot of pictures with the company logo, and one will be printed and dropped off at Vegro’s main office.
After lunch, with two mountains down and one left to go — or actually two mountains up and one down — everyone was feeling good. Fortunately for us, the wind we endured on Devil’s Peak (it was coooold!!), took the afternoon off. With a soothing sun following our way, we started our Table Mountain descent around 13:15pm with the finish in sight.
But we are talking about a 3 Hills Challenge here. And when I say challenge. I’m serious, it was a challenge. That’s why we — or actually Jan — decided to go down Table Mountain via “India Venster”. A route on which we had to climb down quite a few risky rocky walls. But ‘Bergbokkie‘ Derk (mountain goat) led the way and showed us all how to get down safely.
We crossed the road to Lion’s Head, which is relatively the easiest climb of the three. We went up joking and laughing, and just after 17:00pm we set our last steps going up. At the finish line, we were gladly welcomed by Jan’s wife Elizabeth, a bottle of champagne, and a bag of biltong!
Looking back on this, it’s cool how everything worked out. How a random idea became reality.
Like I mentioned, we attached a charity to the challenge. Hospice Issoria in Leiden (Holland). Their dream is to open a fund to make last wishes of their residents come true. I’m proud we raised 1500 euro for this cause.
Jan, Mark, Derk, and Thessa — who asked if she could join only last Thursday —, thank you for joining me on this challenge. If someone asks you if you’ve ever climbed a mountain, you can now casually drop the line: “Not one, no. But I did climb three in a day, does that count as well?”.
And of course, everyone who donated money for Hospice Issoria, thank you!
Total mountains: 3
Total time: 09 hours and 28 minutes
Total distance: 17,3 km
Total elevation: 2,247 m
And this was what the elevation graph looks like, pretty cool you can actually see the mountains…
Ps: On May 22nd, I run the half marathon in Leiden (Holland), the link to donate money for Hospice Issoria will remain active until then.