After a hike up Lions Head on last Friday, a friend in the group decided that a Table Mountain outing would be in order.  There were just too many locals in the group that had never done it.  It was agreed that Skeleton Gorge would be the best idea.  It’s not too difficult and would only really take the morning to do.  And we had Wednesday as a public holiday.  Perfect.  But there are several tips that you’ll need to know if you’re thinking about doing something similar.  Please read the following list very carefully.  These tips will be invaluable to your survival.

  1. Weather – You want good weather.  Plan ahead.  View as many weather sites as you can.  See if Simon Gear is available.  Wind and temperature are all crucial when climbing a mountain.
  2. The night before – If you plan on beginning at 8am, you need to get a good nights sleep .
  3. Do not trust the weather man.  He will always lie to you – If you follow step 1, you must be prepared for this being completely wrong.  Cape Town’s weather mood can be compared to a woman in menopause.  This will cause you to think that you will not be hiking the next day.  And the next day being a public holiday can only mean you’ll now go out with the intention of not climbing a mountain.
  4. The night before ii – If you’re going to go out, do not drink.
  5. Prepare for the morning – Discuss, in your drunken state, with your drunken friends, at 4am, that the weather is going to be shit.  Agree that climbing is not a good idea.
  6. Calm down – You need to remain calm when someone that wasn’t out with you wants to know if you’re still on for the mountain.  Do not shout and swear.  Just go back to sleep.
  7. Calm down ii – Remain calm when your housemates knock on your door, urging you to get ready.  Try not use words sailors are afraid of.  They are your friends.  They are your friends.  They are your friends.
  8. Prepare – You must now prepare for the day ahead in 10 minutes.  Still drunk.  This is risky, but must be done.  You need to ensure you have everything.  Pack your bag with things you may need.  Items such as sunscreen are important.  Others like a golf glove are not.
  9. Brush you teeth – Please.
  10. Sunscreen suit-up – The earlier the better. Make sure to cover all bare areas.  This includes ears and hands.
  11. Groups are safe – Leave in a group to ensure your safely on the way there.  However, be sure you have selected a good group of friends to go up with.  You don’t want overly asthmatic people, or people that suffer going up stairs.  I’m serious.  You’re going to be climbing a mountain.
  12. Stock – Make sure you have supplies for the trek.  Stopping at the nearest petrol station is a good idea.  You can probably buy everything you need here.
    • Water – Do not be shy without the amount of water you take.  You will thank me later.
    • Food – Pies are a good option.  Make sure your bag will house them properly.  (Try eat a little bit now)
    • Energy – Take a couple of chocolates and maybe an energy drink for sugars.
  13. Punctuality – Leave as soon as you’re ready.  You’re now nearly an hour late.
  14. Start Happy – And with excitement.  This is good to keep you motivated on your journey.  Keep your group entertained with jokes and humour.
  15. Be Selective – Do not take person who is asthmatic. And left her asthma pump at home.
  16. Avoid Trees – Now, this is very important.  There are a lot hidden trees across your path that jump out when you get close to them.  They are one of the many walls that are put up to demotivate you.  You must stay strong.  Keep your eyes open, and your head low.  Try not to show pain when you’re too slow to react.  When your friends laugh, laugh with them.  Then your tears will appear to be of joy and not excruciating pain.
  17. Keep Going – Now, this is the time when you will feel your worst.  Your thighs will begin to burn, and your stomach will start to talk as if possessed.  Your throbbing head will now pulse in your ears.  Your body will tell you that eating a pie is a good idea.  You need to fight these feelings.  Your brain needs to switch on and take over.
  18. Be clever – this is where you reaslie the important of step 15.  You decide to leave her with the group of people that she found (with a pump), not thinking of the drama that will soon ensure.
  19. Keep Hydrated – Last night’s “couple of drinks” now means any liquid you have in your body is only bile.  Keep drinking water, or you will face a horrible death.
  20. Keep Going ii – This is the point you realise how much of a mistake the pie was.  You now taste the bile.  If you were alone, you will feel very comfortable in lying down, fetal-style, and weeping, while you pray for death.  These are the symptoms to avoid.  You’ll consider excuses of leaving the group in order to heave.  But you must fight it for your pride and dignity.  (Even though everyone may already be drunk off your fumes)
  21. Listen – A runner, yes a runner, will pass you and inform you of this magical place.  He’ll tell you of a beach on the mountain.  You’ll laugh with him, but soon realise he isn’t joking.  You will be sceptical, but need to remember step 14.
  22. Relax – When you reach the water, you’ll think it’s a dream.  It’s not.  Touch it.  Dreamy water is not that cold.  Now chill.  The rest of the way is downhill, and that’s easy.
  23. Eat – When you get home, you’ll need to replenish your low energy levels.  Eating the pies you haven’t eaten yet is a good idea.  But this is also the time you realise that you should have packed better.  “Pancake pies” still taste the same, by the way.

So, I hope this helps with future mountain endeavours.  Feel free to leave your own tips below.