Rocktype Sandstone (hard)
Altitude 267m a.s.l
Elsie's Peak, situated near the southern end of the Peninsula, is a great place to find routes of all grades. For the 'hard men', the amphitheatre offers some steep and demanding routes including the brilliant Winds of Change and the iconic Dream Street Rose, which remains a stern test piece to this day, while further along the crag you will find splendid routes in the low to medium grades, such as the moderate Amphitheatre Wall and Suspension Face and the testy Jugular and Suspended Sentence. Even the standard descent route makes for a great scramble up the left side of the peak. Those who do make the effort to climb at this little gem of a crag will be rewarded with good climbing in a fantastic setting. ©Tony Lourens
How to get there:
Follow the Main Road through Muizenberg and Kalk Bay to reach Fish Hoek. At the large traffic circle at the end of Fish Hoek stay on the Main Road by taking the left exit. At the first set of traffic lights turn right and follow the road to park at the end of Echo Road below some wooden houses on the slopes directly below the amphitheatre. Please park sensibly and do not obstruct garages or driveways. Another approach is to take a right into Highway Road soon after entering Echo Road. Follow this and take the first left into Contour Way and continue to the dead end (263342E, 6218760S). Please park sensibly.
Echo Road Approach:
From the left side, follow the steps between the two lower wooden houses then skirt behind the fence of the right-hand house and continue up the steps to the right of the top-most house, where a partly obscured path snakes through the bushes to the right. N.B. The steps belong to the residents and they are not a public right-of-way. Please be respectful and considerate in terms of noise, etc. From here follow the path (which can be quite overgrown in places) through trees and over easy rock steps until level with a huge triangular overhang on the left, which forms the base of Oulook Ridge. Continue more or less straight up to the base of the white vegetated rock beneath the amphitheatre. Time 25 mins.
Contour Road Approach:
From the end of the road, take the path past the shark lookout hut for a while, then follow the path off left along the bushy slope, gaining height gradually. You will eventually round the corner at the level of the base of the crags on the right of the peak. Carry on to reach the base of the white vegetated rock benath the amphitheatre. Most of the routes to the right of the amphitheatre (Suspension Face), start at this level. To get to the amphitheatre and Owl's Ledge, scarmble up the vegetated white rock from the right-hand side, passing Elsie's Peak Cave on your right. Move left and up to gain Owl's Ledge and the base of the amphitheatre. The upper sections of some of the routes to the right of the amphitheatre (Suspension Face), can be reached via Owl's Ledge. Time 30 mins.
The usual descent for most routes is down Outlook Ridge on the left-hand side (facing in) of the amphitheatre. However, to avoid a minor epic, it is strongly advised to first ascend this route in order to familiarise yourself with the ridge. When descending from the top of the mountain follow the gully leading towards the sea, north of the trig beacon. From the top, the route down looks steep and unlikely in many places, but is well cairned. Follow the rock to the left of the gully (looking out), until you reach a ledge above steep rock. Scramble down an easy crack, then traverse into a corner. Descend this, and the following awkward corner, to a ledge bounded on the right by a large block. Thread the needle behind the block and follow the wide ledge for 60-70 metres. From here the route keeps close to the crest of the ridge, negotiating awkward rock steps to reach another wide ledge. Keep left (facing out) and follow cairns to the top of the final steep wall. Climb down this to the bottom Warning: Outlook Ridge is steep and exposed and great care is needed. A fall from many places will result in serious injury or death. Time 30 mins.
There are quite a few new abseil anchors in the amphitheatre, which makes descents here quite convinient. They are marked with AB in the photos.
Alternative Descent (and Approach):
An alternative and far safer descent for routes that top out on the mountain is to pick up the hiking path that runs down from the the trig beacon. Bear right on the path and begin descending (heading NW) from the peak, after approximately 400m take the right fork and continue for 200m until an intersection. Bear left and follow the contour along the northern slope, bearing right at all further junctions until you descend down to Berg Road. This will end in a small layby car park and can be used as an alternative approach (see below). You can connect to Contour Road by means of a trail path at the end of Berg / Mountain Road.
Park at the layby on Berg / Mountain Road (262722E, 6219007S) and walk in the direction of Elsie's Peak (heading SE) until you get to the end of the road, connnect to Contour Road by means of a trail path straight ahead, after a short while you will arrive at the dead end at the shark lookout hut. Continue the approach as Contour Road approach above.
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