India—Venster Route

This is a slightly trickier route up to the top of Table Mountain. There is a fair amount of scrambling and climbing, and exposure to heights. At the time of writing this post, 2 people had fallen to their deaths on or near this route in the last month.

Getting there: Park on Table Mountain road and walk to the Lower Cableway Station.
GPS Co-ordinates: S 33°56.856′, E 18°24.122′
Difficulty: scrambling required, some exposure

The warning sign at the start of the India-Venster RouteFacing the mountain, to the right of the station under some pine trees you will find a set of stone stairs. There is a sign with a map. Follow the stairs, which veer left up to the path above the fence, and then continues up the mountain almost directly under the cables. Follow the clear trail up underneath the cables overhead.

You will reach the contour path [S 33°57.081′, E 18°24.176′]. There a sign will direct you left to Platteklip Gorge, or right to Kloof Nek. The sign pictured alongside has now been removed [10 May 2009]. The route you are going to take head straight up from this point. There are rumours that they are going to try to conceal the trail here. They have not done so [19 February 2011], and the path is well maintained and easy to follow.

You are now heading up Venster Buttress. At the top of Venster Buttress, look up and left across India Ravine to Arrow Buttress, which is where you are headed. The telephone poles to your right mark Kloof Corner Ridge. After about 10 minutes you will be looking directly down India Ravine as you head up and to the left below the rock band.

Once you have crossed India Ravine, you will reach Arrow Buttress, and here the scrambles begin [S 33°57.318′, E18°24.200′]. After the first scramble, take the level path to the left for about ten meters, and you will now be looking up the main scramble, which has bolts and chains [S 33°57.326′, E18°24.229′]. Just after that is a third section of scrambling.

At the top of the third and last section of scrambling [S 33°57.347′, E18°24.231′] you can look left into Africa Ravine. Continue up the ridge in the direction of the cliffs below the Upper Cableway Station. At times you will be right up close to the cable cars as the whiz by next to you or close overhead — great photo opportunities!

The cable-car photographed from India-Venster Route on Table Mountain

The path now becomes quite easy to follow again, and leads to the left under the cliffs on which the upper cable-station is perched and above Camps Bay. Follow Fountain Ledge to the right. There is scrambling along this section, and at one stage you are right on the edge of an incredibly high cliff — take care!

Fountain Ledge leads to Fountain Ravine, and an easy walk up onto the top of the mountain. You now have a number of choices, but your closest descent route us to simply head down Platteklip Gorge which is close at hand.

Update [21 May 2009]: apparently they have put chains and bolts on the scramble section — see this article…

Update [31 August 2009]: the protection is in place — see more in this post: Protection on the India—Venster Route

In this YouTube video of some climbers on Arrow Final you will get to see some footage of the upper section of the India—Venster route:

  1. At 03:52 they are climbing the protection placed in the main scramble
  2. At 03:50 they are standing at the top of the India—Venster Route: you can clearly see the grassy Right Face—Arrow Face Traverse in front of them
  3. At 01:48 an 01:55 you get quick glimpses of the summit of the Kloof Corner ridge, and an even better look at 03:19

Adventure Walks and Scrambles in the Cape Peninsula Table Mountain map

David

Outdoor adventure enthusiast living on the Garden Route.

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