The Track Record 12 – 18 February 2018.

12 – 18 February 2018

The week behind us has proven to be another busy one with hundreds of outdoor users being tracked. Here are some of the incidents that were attended to.

On Monday afternoon, a member of our Paragliding Tracking group reported a fire on the lower slopes of Lion’s Head, just above the residential area on the Clifton side.

Picture Paragliding Safety

 

Fire Services were in attendance, and we put in a request for the traffic department to manage the road which was congested as a result.

A safety alert was put out to inform hikers of the situation, as well as pilots of the paragliding fraternity. The fire was successfully taken care of by the on scene fire crews.

_____

Later on in the afternoon, we were asked by the Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) whether we were tracking any hikers in the Northern section of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP). VWS were receiving reports of smoke blowing down into the Camps Bay area from Table Mountain (TM).

We contacted pax who were on Lion’s Head, Platteklip Gorge and India Venster who had earlier checked in via our system. We asked them whether they saw and/or smelt any smoke in the area. They confirmed smoke, however, no flames were spotted.

This was relayed to VWS, and the alert was withdrawn when it was discovered that the smoke was from a fire somewhere to the south east of TMNP.

_____

On Tuesday afternoon, a regular trackee asked whether he should rather wait for the pending lightning to pass, before he commenced his trail run up Platteklip Gorge. We advised him that it was best to wait it out. Once he set off, he was also able to provide an update re a “walk out” rescue that was being executed by members of the volunteer Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) team, halfway up the gorge.

Later in the evening, one of our members on the Paragliding Tracking team reported that there were two small fires, one on Devil’s Peak, and the other on the front face of Table Mountain.

Picture Paragliding Safety

 

This was as a result of the lightning. The necessary services where then notified.

_____

On Wednesday morning, again from the Paragliding Safety team, a report of a different fire lower down on Devil’s Peak was received.

Picture Paragliding Safety

The necessary services were once again informed.

_____

On Thursday afternoon, a trackee who was routing up Skeleton Gorge on his way to the Upper Cable Station (UCS), did an update check in at the ladders. This area can be a bit hazardous due to the slippery moss, as this section of the gorge is mostly in the shade which renders it very moist. A couple of minutes later, he messaged again. Thinking that there may be an incident, we examined his message.

Funnily enough, he posted a picture of mature male Himalayan Tahr. There is an unknown number of these animals which are alien to Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) and the continent for that matter, still roaming around in the park.

 

C de le Harpe

 

 

Picture C. de Le Harpe

 

It is the first time that I learn of a sighting this far south.

Please click      here      for an article by Ridgway Ramblers.

_____

On Saturday morning we learnt of another violent mugging attack on Noordhoek Beach.

The assailant escaped and the victims required medical treatment as well.

_____

The CoCT is drilling for water into Table Mountain aquifer at the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak. This work creates dust and water spray which looks like smoke when viewed from a distance. The authorities are receiving loads of reports of wild fires in the area, which after investigation proves to the the drilling site.

Should you wish to report any wildfires, please take a photograph and forward that with your complaint when reporting. This will not only assist the authorities as far a location and wind direction goes, they will also be able to clarify whether it is indeed a wildfire or not.

Having said that, a false alarm is much better than no alarm.

We thank all the members who were involved with these incidents, and we continue to pledge our support to outdoor users in the name of safety.

Please sign up for this service      here    if you are not already a member,

Thank you

Junior Hiking Club a first for South Africa – Youth the Future

Hikers Network -Junior Hiking Club (HNJHC)

Hikers Network Junior Hiking Club was launched on October 1st 2016 and is the only Junior Hiking Club of its kind in the Western Cape. The club has grown in the last 15 months to approximately 200 members, with ages ranging from 4-12 years. The JHC is comprised from the different Enviro-Groups within Hikers Network, namely,
Hikers Network Hiking Club
Mitchels Plain Enviro Hiking Club
Strandfontein Enviro Hiking Club
Bishop Lavis Enviro Hiking Club
Bonteheuwel Enviro Hiking Club
Kensington Enviro Hiking Club
Hanover Park Enviro Hiking Club

Launch of HNJHC ~ 1 October 2016 ~ Newlands Forest

The JHC’s launch took place at Newlands Forest. We started at the helipad and made our way along the circular route towards the Stonebridge where the children enjoyed some treats and a talk from the president of The Hikers Network president, Anwaaz Bent about the area and its heritage before completing the trail.
Newlands Forest is home to the Volunteer Wildfire Services. The Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) has been combating dangerous and sometimes deadly runaway fires since its birth through the devastating fires in 1999 / 2000 in Cape Town.

WOF Education hike

 

Aims & Objectives of HNJHC
The chief activity is leading the members and their families along trails and footpaths safely.
To promote friendships and interactions!
Our Junior Members come from different cultures, religions and communities within Cape Town.
To promote fitness and health of our Junior Members through their participation in the clubs activities.
To teach the kids to act responsibly in nature with an emphasis on safety.
To learn about nature
Teaching the members leadership roles
TO HAVE FUN WHILE ENJOYING NATURE!

In the upcoming months our goals are to start incorporating mountain skills such as learning how to read maps and use a compass, tying knots, learning about the fynbos in the different areas and continuing to learn about nature.

Tygerberg Nature Reserve
HNJHC has hiked in many areas in and around Cape Town. This hike was a first for the JHC and they did an amazing job covering 14 km! Johan Stapelberg lead this hike with the juniors close at his heals.

Helderberg Hiking Trail – 11 November 2017
Helderberg Nature Reserve is home to a beautiful Biosphere. On this particular day the JHC did the Sugarbird Walk (Yellow trail) and was approximately 2.2 km long. Our Juniors enjoyed this lovely walk away from our regular Table Mountain routes. We enjoyed a lovely picnic together after this awesome hike before parting ways.

Kogelberg Nature Reserve-River Walk
Considered by many to be the most beautiful of CapeNature’s protected areas, Kogelberg Nature Reserve is home to a variety of fynbos. It is also considered the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom. On January 14, 2018 we enjoyed a Back@School hike along the Palmiet River in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve. Our Junior Hiking Club members exceeded all our expectations when they completed the 10km River Walk trail. It was a hot day and the area was very exposed. Although we braked often this trail was exhausted for the kids. One thing that kept our spirits up, was knowing the reward! An hour long swim in an area known as the beach. This was a day well spent. Definitely to be visited again!!!

Newlands Forest ~ Carousel Trail
Newlands Forest is home to many amazing trails. On the 27th January 2018 the Junior Hiking club completed the carousel trail. This is not an easy trail. Our Junior Hiking members did an amazing job showing off their improving hiking skills! We are all super proud of them.

Future hike leaders in training!!

Kakapo Shipwreck Trail ~ Noordhoek.
The Cape of Storms was the reason The SS Kakapo, a 665 ton schooner rigged steamship, wrecked on the Noordhook beach in the 1900’s. Today when you take a walk along Noordhoek 8km beach, halfway along, you can clearly see the exposed ribs and engine block of this ship buried in the sand.
The JHC enjoyed a long hike across the beach sand in Noordhoek to the Shipwreck. Followed by a lovely picnic while some kids opted to swim under close supervision!

These are only a handful of amazing hikes that we have enjoyed and completed since the Junior Hiking clubs birth in October 2016. A huge thank you to all the leaders who always avail themselves to assist, your commitment is greatly appreciated by the The Hikers Network

Melissa Walters – Hikers Network Junior Hiking Club Co-ordinator

Summer hiking with K9s

Hiking is meant to be an adventure, and in the hot summer months, this could turn out to be more of an adventure than what one had planned for. Especially when you have K9s in your group.

During the summer months it is much better to do short walks with your K9s, either early in the morning, or late afternoon.

Dark coloured dogs are more at risk due to the fact that they absorb heat faster.

Please click      here     for more information relating to how dogs are susceptible to heat stroke.

 

 

 

Mugging arrests.

There has been official notice of arrests made in respect of the recent mugging attacks in the Central section of the Table Mountain National Park, by SAPS.

Well done to the officers involved, as well as to the members of the Table Mountain Security Action Group (TMSAG) on their collaboration with the authorities regarding this breakthrough.

TMSAG may be reached at info@tmwatch.co.za

SafetyMountain tracking.

We have again serviced hundreds of mountain users, including groups in the Eden District Southern Cape this past week.

On Saturday, one of our trackees called in to report that a member in their party had injured an ankle, and was unable to proceed any further. They were on the Contour Path above Kirstenbosch Gardens at the time.

Metro Rescue Control was alerted, who in turn activated the Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) for a response and recovery.

On arrival at the incident location, the patient’s ankle was immobilized, after which the person was assisted to a 4 X 4 vehicle and then transported to the exit of the gardens, after which the person was taken to a medical facility via private transport.

Later in the afternoon, a party we were tracking commenced their hike up the India Venster route. Shortly after they left the Contour Path, they met up with a party of three who reported seeing five men (who were not dressed as hikers) lying in some vynbos not too far up from their location.

They took the advice from the three males to turn around, and reported the matter to SafetyMountain as well. The TMNP Visitor Safety response unit was notified, together with the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway company. These and other parties were able to maintain visual contact with the suspicious five men, until they left the National Park, without incident.

On Sunday morning, a party that had checked in via SafetyMountain Tracking reported that there may be a possibility of  a missing elderly person who was for some reason separated from the group. Metro Rescue Control was immediately informed. Shortly afterwards, the party reported that the “lost” hiker was reunited with the party. The rescue services were then stood down.

Later on Sunday, a party that was being tracked on the Jonkershoek Mountains above Stellenbosch, reported that one of the members in their group was experiencing signs of being dehydrated.

The party was asked to stay put, while Metro Rescue Control was alerted. They then activated the Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) Winelands unit, who responded to the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. A field team was dispatched up the Kurktrekker Kloof route, which the party in difficulty were busy descending at the time of the incident.

On arrival, the patient was attended to, after which the party was then escorted down the kloof, and safely out of the reserve.

Thank you for continuing to make use of SafetyMountain Tracking, and well done to the rescuers, as well as our duty trackers for their efforts over the past week.

 

Mountain workers succumb.

It is always sad when we learn of people passing away in the outdoors.

A member of the Working On Fire (WOF) team has unfortunately lost his life while assisting to battle a wildfire blaze in the Simonsberg mountains near Stellenbosch yesterday.

Our condolences to his family and friends.

Picture from the internet.

Meanwhile outside George, a member of the Working For Water (WFW) team has been missing in the Outaniqua mountains above the town since the 30th of January 2018.

The search is still ongoing, and we hope for a favourable outcome.

Picture from the internet.

The WOF teams are contracted to the State for the purposes of controlling and extinguishing mountain wildfires.

The WFW teams are contracted to the State for the purposes of removing and controlling the growth of alien vegetation. This is beneficial for the preservation of the natural water reserves, and it also increases the yield by allowing more water to trickle into our reservoirs via the cleared out catchment areas.

 

 

 

BOLO Suspected muggers

Your assistance is required please.

These are the two suspects of the violent attack on the group of nine hikers who are members of  the Hikers Paradise Adventure Club.

The attack took place in the mountains above Kalk Bay, where five members were seriously injured.

SafetyMountain Tracking and the Hikes Network would like you to contact the investigating offer, Detective Sergeant Mngambi on 0825221794, if you have any information to offer.

Thank you.

Emergency responders suffer tragedies.

Our condolences to the families and friends of the two emergency responders who sadly passed away over the weekend.

The first person was a volunteer from the Surf Lifesaving fraternity, who was attacked while hiking in the Kalk Bay mountains.

The second person was a firefighter who responded to a wildfire on the lower slopes of Table Mountain. It is understood that the person suddenly collapsed.

Both these patients were declared deceased, after all EMS efforts were exhausted.

May they RIP

 

Mugging incidents on the mountain

It is with great sadness that we learn of more mugging incidents in our mountains.

This is an ongoing trend, and the Hikers Network would like to convey our support and well wishes to all those who have experienced these unfortunate infringements on their privacy while enjoying the outdoors.

The recent violent attacks on Noordhoek Beach and Kalk Bay mountains have left more questions than answers as to how this trend will change.

None of the members of the Hikers Network have suffered as a result of such crime recently, however, they have in the past been subject to having their bags and equipment stolen while out climbing, as well as having their vehicles broken into while responding to mountain rescue calls.

We strive to engage with the other user groups in the outdoor fraternity, as well as with the authorities and NGOs who work in this field.

It is very unfortunate that the public and outdoor users are more and more having to look behind their backs when hiking in our mountains, which is supposed to be a sacred place for us all to enjoy.

We wish that the latest victims will have a speedy recovery, and that the wrongdoers are brought to book.

Please continue to make use of our         SafetyMountain         Tracking service.

Photo: Adrienne Cedella Brown (Facebook)

Facebook magic: tracking down Lion’s Head hero Wesley William Billet

There was some very good news coming from Lion’s Head this week! On Thursday 10 January 2018 Adrienne Cedella Brown embarked on an organised Lion’s Head sunset hike. After a while, she got behind and separated from the group she was with. Determined to reach the summit, despite being on her own with no headlight, Adrienne persisted – and succeeded, thanks to a Good Samaritan called Wesley.
This is what she wrote in her Facebook post which has since gone viral, in which she appealed to people to help her find her Hero:
“Today this man saved my life. Literally. For real. I appreciate him so much!!! His name is Wesley. He found me today scrambling up a hiking trail trying to get to the group that left me behind. It was starting to get dark. I had no headlamps because the event organizer was supposed to provide them.”
 
“Let me back up… 1/2 way up the trail I disconnected from the group. It was lovely walking peacefully on my own at first, and people were SO NICE, they would ask me do you need water? a snack? Hiker culture is very caring. As I got closer the tone changed. Them: You’re still going up? It’s going to be dark on the way back! Do you have a headlamp? My response to the concerned hikers was always I’m ok, there’s a group waiting for me at the top.”
 
“The second to last person was upset and told me stories of tourists who have died hiking that trail without proper equipment. I again assured him the event organizer was waiting for me up top. The very last helpful person was Wesley, he asked me some of the same questions, but wasn’t satisfied with my answer.”
 
“He told his friends go ahead and head back down I’m going back up with her to make sure she finds her friends. So he turned back and hiked back up the last of the route with me. When we arrived to the top the sun was gone and there was not a soul to be found from my group who were supposed to be waiting for me.” 
 
“So Wesley said give me your bag, and he gave me his headlamp, and we slowly scrambled down together and he made sure I knew were to step and how to safely get down. Halfway down his friends had decided to wait for him, so then the 4 of us finished the hike with 3 headlamps. I could focus on being upset by the coordinator who left me behind.” 
 
“But I am actually going to focus on three things, 1. I got to see the Lions Head view its gorgeous 2. I always do what I say I’m going to do even when it’s tough, it may take me longer but I am incredibly tenacious and I will literally climb mountains in a dress, slowly but surely and I will finish my goals. 3. I will always remember Wesley who saved my life my last night in Cape Town! More Cape Town pictures to come!”

Facebook came together and managed to track down Wesley (whose full name is Wesley William Billet, and he is hailing from Johannesburg) in a matter of hours.

And Wesley? He didn’t seem to think it was such a big deal. “I simply did what any decent human being would do,” he wrote in a comment below Adrienne’s original post, which has gone viral. “I’m so glad you made it to the top, summiting a second time was so cool for me too, so thank you!”

Well, Wesley, what you did was certainly a very big deal! Thank you for going the extra mile for ensuring a fellow hiker reached her destination and for helping her down to where she started. You are our Lion’s Head Hero of the week!