Members' Stories

1-2-5 Climb! Schoenmaker’s Kop

With the peak registered--Schoenmaker’s Kop [+- 500’] after Mafadi [+- 11,000’]--what now remained as a major challenge was putting together a party of seasoned climbers, to make up the team.

Dot, Sabine, Ray and dogs met at the cannon, our official starting point, and historically one of many iron and brass salvaged from the Sacramento galleon which sank in the bay overlooked by the peak several hundred years back, the finest example, a real beaut, being on display in the Bay World Museum. The day may have been somewhat like the prelude to the gale the fated galleon experienced, overcast,  ‘white horses’ breaking grey-blue water of the bay, a sky flecked with raindrops, and chilly. We adjusted loads, laced boots, zipped jackets against the wind, checked the good stuff was safely packed, as done many times before like ascending the deeply incised pass squeezed between the great Bannerman faces in the southern Drakensberg, took selfies backgrounding the cannon, and set off aided by suitably adjusted walking sticks.  We worried a bit starting 10 minutes behind schedule.

We cleared the parking circle, moved onto the jeep track over mowed geraniums overlooked by climbing aloes, then took a left up what we believed to be the path, heavily bushed with little evidence of regular use or maintenance. A valley fell away to the left, the village was beneath us to the right, beyond which was the bold sweep of the bay and the final resting place of the Sacremento. It felt good! Better still, that many others at the same time or time close to it, were doing the same thing, as a celebration of high places, and 125 years of doing just that, all over.  We pressed on following sandy strips, around a corner then, to our surprise, the summit came into view above the bushes, which we reached a little later. These reminded of Hillary approaching the summit on its first ascent: just a few more wacks of the ice axe and a several more steps, then we stood on the summit, the highest point in the world. The bubbly went down well, as did the Parisian camembert, crackers and preserved figs, a real treat provided by Dot. An hour and a half later, and 20 minutes down the path, we reached the cars, pleased as could be. A rehab odyssey and peak bagging.

Dot Hall, Sabine Klages, Ray Basson