Window Gorge D

This Description comes from Tony Lourens - Table Mountain Classics, with ammendments.

Rope Recommended

Time: 5-6hrs
Last Walked: Dec 2005

This is rather an eroded and seldom used route, but has some magnificent pools and good scrambles. It's mostly shaded, so a hot day would be a good choice. The scrambles aren't hard but quite exposed, and have loose grips (because they haven't seen enough traffic to break all the loose grips off).

This isn't an easy route if you don't know it, and dangerous.

Start at Kirstenbosch Old Main Gate, and take Smuts Track to the Countour Path. Turn right and walk for about ten minutes to a little wooden bridge. Immediately after this you will see an obvious bouldery ravine on your left. This is Window Gorge. If you go too far you will come to the start of the zig-zags on Fernwood Buttress, just a minute or two past the ravine.

Ascend the bouldery gorge for about ten minutes past some small pools, to a point just before some waterfalls where you will see a small stone scree pouring in from the right (huge cairn). Take the scree to a big subsidiary gully (cairn). Do not follow the gully, but go up the steep slope to its left. Continue up the slope, keeping in between the gully on your right and the gorge proper on your left, to reach the high rockband.

Traverse to the left and descend an earthy chute to an obvious tree on the corner (cairn). Step down and traverse over a drop to reach easy slopes leading into the ravine bed.

Follow the ravine for about 15 to 20 minutes to a big waterfall. Break out to the right up a broken slope (cairn) for about five minutes to another cairn. At this point go up to the rockband, crossing a large boulder-field and climb a step to a tree.

Traverse off to the left and go up to a ledge beneath steep rock. Here you make another long traverse to the left which leads back into the ravine. At the last tree before the traverse comes to a treacherous end, there is a cairn and a stick pointing you up the rock-band.Continue up to a beautiful pool beneath a large waterfall (620 m elev). This is the best swimming spot and makes an ideal lunch break.

Scramble up and around the corner on your right (cairn), through some trees, and up a break to a shoulder (cairn). From here traverse to the left until able to climb the exposed step to a ledge. Traverse right to a big tree. Continue traversing to the right to an obvious flake-type break going off to the left (cairn). Climb this to a ledge (`D'), and walk to the left to two trees. From this point you can see a magnificent rock pinnacle high up in the ravine.

Climb the easy break above, to trees on the right. Make an awkward step up, and traverse left past a big tree into the ravine bed above the big waterfall.

Climb a long `C' grade pitch just to the right of the mossy water chute to the top of the waterfall, passing a cairn to a clump of trees.

Continue up the ravine to what appears, at first glance, to be an impassable, mossy waterfall. On closer inspection you will see a window at the top formed by a jammed block (which gives the gorge its name). Climb up to and through the window, enabling you to carry on up the ravine to the last little waterfall, which is bypassed via the dirty wall immediately to the right. Continue past two old rusty sign-posts to the top, and gain the main path which is literally metres away.

Window Gorge FaceWindow Gorge Map