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Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #980 on: December 31, 2018, 07:50:35 am »
We both had the day off yesterday and decided to climb Devil's Peak.
There isn't that much info on the climb, but from what I could gather there are 3 routes, and a return trip should take about 4 hours.

We figured that was a conservative time (Platteklip, for example, says to allow 2hrs to go up, and we did it in 1hr), but planned to start at 14:00. In the morning the plan changed and we started at 09:30 instead. Good thing we did.

The three routes are:
Newlands Ravine
The one near Platteklip
And one from Rhodes Memorial (also called the Knife Edge or Mowbray route or something).

The last one is advertised as the most difficult, so naturally, we did that one.

Now, there is no signage. And I couldn't find any maps online. I found a few websites with descriptions of the route, but they weren't very good. At some point I might write a detailed report with the exact route we followed, but typing is a little painful right now... read on to see why.

Anyway, so we started up towards the Blockhouse and within 100m had taken a wrong turn.
We found our way and came to a T-junction. We went left when we should've gone right. Nothing like an 800m detour!

We eventually made it to the Blockhouse. From here my directions said to go up to old Fire Hut. And where the path forks, go right. Well, we came across about 4 forks. We eventually made it to the Fire Hut.

And then it was more up-up-up!

The wind had picked up, so crossing the "Knife Edge" was quite fun with a very long drop on each side.
But we made it to Minor Peak, and gazed up at what we still had to climb.
The directions said to go left and pretty much straight up to the top of Devil's Peak, and to take caution as there were ledges with sheer drops. There was another, longer route, but hey.

The climb looked intimidating but wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
The path isn't well-used and the only indicators that we were going the right way where cairns places here and there.

Whilst the entire climb thus far had involved scrambling over rocks and along ledges, this portion also involved going up a few 10-15m rock faces. Now, I'm petrified of heights but astonishingly, I did alright. However, we both knew that if anything happened to us out here, the only way out would be by helicopter. The only time we came across anyone else after the Blockhouse was when we reach the peak.

The final push to the peak involved a hairy-looking climb, but I found a path and went around instead  :biggrin:
The wind was pumping, but stepping down half a meter had us in a completely sheltered area.
We rested and had some snacks and took in the view and sounds. It is a very impressive view! And looking across at Platteklip Gorge makes one realise how insanely steep that climb is!

There was no way we were going down the way we came up, following the poorly-written directions we picked our way down the myriad of paths heading in the direction of Table Mountain.
We could clearly see where the path led to Tafelberg Road, but opted to return via the Newlands Ravine.

The route down was a mixture of light sand, dark sand, big rocks, little rocks, loose rocks, firm rocks, and hard-packed dirt.

Of course, I slipped on some little loose rocks and not only slid and fell, but also bounced rather spectacularly. As I got airborne on the bounce I remember grabbing at foliage to stop myself from rolling down the mountainside.
I came to a rest in a cloud of sand, my arm and leg stinging. I got up and dusted myself off and assessed. My wrist is very nicely grazed where my watch sits (hence the pain while typing), I have a nice roastie on my left thigh, and I tore my shorts.
I'm quite upset about the shorts - they're from New Zealand and cost a fortune.

Adrenaline pumping, I had to force myself to slow down the next few hundred meters.

Eventually we came to some signs and followed the ones towards the Newlands Ravine.

The vegetation changed constantly which I really enjoyed; Scrub, fynbos, trees, open areas, and eventually forest.

Going down the Ravine wasn't too bad - seems the Platteklip walk we did recently strengthened my legs.
I'd hate to have made the ascent this way though. It was just constant winding uphill. At least with the more technical route you have to focus on navigating rocks and it makes you forget that you're tired.

We eventually came to a boardwalk and turned left in the hopes it would take us back to Rhodes Memorial. It did, and it turns out this is the route we accidentally started to follow when we set off.
I've only been in Newlands Forest once. Sjoe, it's beautiful. I can't wait to go explore some of the trails on the mountain bike!

We made it back, some 6 hours later. We were covered in so much sand and dust that our legs were about 4 shades darker. Tired and caked with sweat, we set off for a well-deserved burger.

Great day out! Definitely not the "quick after work climb" we thought it would be.

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #981 on: December 31, 2018, 07:56:25 am »
1.) What looks like a civilized trail starting from the Rhodes Memorial parking lot
2.) View from the Blockhouse
3.) Looking back along the ridge we hiked after encountering many forks

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #982 on: December 31, 2018, 07:57:40 am »
1.) Admiring the flora
2.) Looking down towards Newlands
3.) Where we're headed  :o

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #983 on: December 31, 2018, 07:59:40 am »
1.) So close you could almost touch it... not
2.) The Knife Edge - the area of rocks running from the sandy patch diagonally to the right
3.) View of the city while perched on the Knife Edge

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #984 on: December 31, 2018, 08:00:57 am »
1.) One of the scrambles to get up Minor Peak
2.) Complete change in vegetation as we set off on the final push
3.) Made it! View from the top

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #985 on: December 31, 2018, 08:02:44 am »
1.) On the descent. Platteklip Gorge is on the far left - yes, that narrow brown trail zig-zagging it's way up
2.) Looking back at the hill we came down. I fell somewhere on that path on the left
3.) Looking down Newlands Raving

Offline buzzlightyear

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #986 on: December 31, 2018, 08:04:47 am »
Yesterday was a bit windy! Slingsby might have a map, https://slingsby-maps.myshopify.com/products/table-mountain
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)
 
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Offline TeeJay

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #987 on: December 31, 2018, 11:28:49 am »
Nice  :thumleft:

Have you been up India Venster?

I meant to ask - do you ever see yourself flying commercial jetliners (Boeing, Airbus) - is it something you want to do?
Ja/Nee
 

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #988 on: January 01, 2019, 05:59:57 am »
I hope it’s a good one!  :ricky:
 
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Offline >>Thump°C

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #989 on: January 02, 2019, 09:27:18 am »
Great pics and a great year of following for us.

All the best for the new year and keep em coming.
It's great following and learning on your thread.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 09:28:20 am by >>Thump°C »
Boys will be Boys.
And girls are darn thankful for that
 
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Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #990 on: January 02, 2019, 01:21:11 pm »
Nice  :thumleft:

Have you been up India Venster?

I meant to ask - do you ever see yourself flying commercial jetliners (Boeing, Airbus) - is it something you want to do?
Not yet. Our next climb will be up the Helderberg Mounain. And maybe then Table Mountain again.

That is a difficult question to answer. I would love to fly the B777, and I have fallen in love with the Embraer 190. In fact, I've fallen in love with a few airliners.
I'd really like to fly for Airlink.

But I'm not sure if I'm cut out to be a long-haul pilot. Not at this stage of my career at least. But, it could be something I wind up really enjoying. It's a stable job (as stable as aviation can be), a good income, good travel opportunities, a solid roster. However... it is mainly monitoring a computer. Whenever I explain that to former airline captains when they ask when I'm going to the airlines they respond with "but you make enough money to buy your own plane and do real flying on the weekends". Which is so true. But I'm still not 100% convinced.

I'd be fairly keen on Cathay (first choice B777), but having visited Hong Kong (albeit very briefly), I don't think I could live there.

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #991 on: January 02, 2019, 01:45:14 pm »
Nice  :thumleft:

Have you been up India Venster?

I meant to ask - do you ever see yourself flying commercial jetliners (Boeing, Airbus) - is it something you want to do?
Not yet. Our next climb will be up the Helderberg Mounain. And maybe then Table Mountain again.

That is a difficult question to answer. I would love to fly the B777, and I have fallen in love with the Embraer 190. In fact, I've fallen in love with a few airliners.
I'd really like to fly for Airlink.

But I'm not sure if I'm cut out to be a long-haul pilot. Not at this stage of my career at least. But, it could be something I wind up really enjoying. It's a stable job (as stable as aviation can be), a good income, good travel opportunities, a solid roster. However... it is mainly monitoring a computer. Whenever I explain that to former airline captains when they ask when I'm going to the airlines they respond with "but you make enough money to buy your own plane and do real flying on the weekends". Which is so true. But I'm still not 100% convinced.

I'd be fairly keen on Cathay (first choice B777), but having visited Hong Kong (albeit very briefly), I don't think I could live there.

You are young and have a lot of time to move through the ranks Sardine, but I think you have started in the best place. Its like start riding bikes when you are young and then progress through the years to bigger bikes.
You understand flying, and Botswana must have been the best stepping stone for a great career. You know it is not really completely true when they quote 'staring at computers'. You still get to be the brain in the seat, especially when things go a little wrong in bad weather or whatever.
Enjoy!  :thumleft:
 

Offline TeeJay

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #992 on: January 02, 2019, 03:36:14 pm »
I always wondered about those commercial long haul pilots. I don't think it can be a nice life - always away from home. I guess it suits some people. Someone asked me the other day about flying and I said it's nice to fly in a small plane - now that is real flying - not in a commercial plane. They said I must be mad - that must be terrifying - I tried to explain but I don't think they got it  :imaposer:

India Venster - nice walk - beautiful views over Camps Bay area - a part of the climb is also a little challenge - some steep parts - chains in one or two spots - but a nice walk/climb. Then walk down Platteklip Gorge. I think you guys will enjoy it.

Ja/Nee
 
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Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #993 on: January 08, 2019, 10:23:45 pm »
I somehow missed your replies! Sorry!

Botswana was amazing and I'm glad I experienced it. It's like a right of passage, and it's sad that low-hour pilots can no longer get work. It's real flying and teaches you a lot!

Modern airliners are taking away more and more control from the pilot. I have heard of pilots who have declined upgrades to bigger, more modern aircraft because they will have less control.
Yes, the pilot still makes the decisions. But a lot  (airline)of accidents have been a result of hands-on flying skill.

As for long-haul, yup, living out of a suitcase. But, I know a guy who comes here every few weeks, rides his motorbike around (which he stores at the hotel), and flies real planes for the week or so he is here before leaving on the next trip. Which is normally one or two (long) sectors, then another 7 days off.

A lot of people I have met prefer flying in smaller aircraft - they say it's because they can see what the pilot is doing.

Will check out India Venster  :thumleft:

---

So far I have flown 3 times. Twice to Vredendal, and today we went to George. It was overcast and raining in George, so we got to do the ILS approach (a precision approach using ground and airborne equipment for lateral and vertical references).
Getting out of Cape Town took 25 minutes - it was rush-hour with 3 departures and 2 landings ahead of us.
Then as we got to the holding point they asked if we could get out of the way at let a Kulula 737 take-off ahead of us.

The 737 is obviously a lot faster, and as we weren't going to fetch a critical patient, we obliged. Had we said so, we would have made life difficult for ATC who would have had to make Kulula wait in order for us to get far enough away for separation.

On the plus side, we got to watch a BA 747 land. Such a cool aircraft!  :3some:

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #994 on: January 08, 2019, 10:32:15 pm »
Wheee
 
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Offline TeeJay

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #995 on: January 09, 2019, 07:15:32 am »
No worries - glad you had some flying - enjoy your thread  :thumleft:
Ja/Nee
 

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #996 on: January 10, 2019, 08:59:22 am »
Yesterday I was on night shift but was fortunate enough to go flying in a Cessna 180 “Skywagon” in the morning.
This is a 1950ies taildragger, very popular in the Canadian and Alaskan back-country. With a 225hp (in this model) engine, it leaps into the air in no time and is an absolute dream to fly. And comfortable too.

This particular aircraft is in great condition- it definitely doesn’t look 60 years old!

It felt so good to be doing hands-on flying, and in a taildragger to boot!

Offline TeeJay

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #997 on: January 10, 2019, 11:44:40 am »
So cool....nice pics - thanks :thumleft:
Ja/Nee
 
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Offline woody1

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #998 on: January 10, 2019, 11:56:43 am »
I don't know if this was asked or answered here, but from what I find it strange that these expensive flights are sometimes done without it being an emergency...or am I wrong.

What is the criteria to authorise such a flight ?

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Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #999 on: January 10, 2019, 02:01:00 pm »
I don't know if this was asked or answered here, but from what I find it strange that these expensive flights are sometimes done without it being an emergency...or am I wrong.

What is the criteria to authorise such a flight ?

I ask myself this every day.
I am not 100% sure of the system. But from what I have gathered from standing around watching...
The doctor of a patient will request a flight. They send the patient's details through to us. We then phone the authorising doctor for the day. It gets authorised or it doesn't.
If authorised, then our paramedics will look at the details and determine if the patient can actually be flown (so they look at stats, medical history etc). Often we don't get all the details.

Then the pilot gets asked about weather etc.
I am slowly getting it so when I am duty, I am first consulted regarding weather, then the paramedic crew is consulted about the stability of the patient, and only then does the office contact the authorising doctor. Makes much more sense.

Often with non-critical patients they wait to get two or three lined up so we can transport them all in one go. This often means sitting around from 7am to 3pm doing nothing, and just as we want to go home, we get a request.

We recently had a request for a newborn that came in in the AM. They phoned me at 4PM to ask if we could fly the kid that night. Hello. Not clever. Why didn't you do the call hours ago?!

In the past there was a bed manager in George who was organised and had patients lined up for transfers a day or two in advance - that way everyone knew we'd be going to George at the same(ish) time every day. Makes sense.

Now sometimes people spend days waiting for a flight.

They wanted us to go to Vredendal to fly a kid with a broken arm. The request was denied due to "mis-utilization of resources". I agree.

BUT... a colleague said, a flight is a flight. If we don't fly, we don't get money, and we, as the crews, don't get paid. Also makes sense.

I don't mind the late afternoon calls, or the stable patients.
But I cannot fathom why they will phone at 10pm for a patient who can walk and is perfectly stable. Firstly, it uproots the patient - they have to leave a warm bed for an uncomfortable, loud plane, and will only get settled in at the next hospital after 1am.
Second, flying at night in a single engine aircraft isn't fun. So if it isn't life or death, I don't want to do it.

I believe there is a massive shortage of ambulances, drivers, and ambulance crews. So yes, it seems the aircraft is being utilized more as a flying ambulance for transfers, than as the ICU-capable machine it is. I am but a lowly pilot, and it (barely) pays the bills, so I am trying not to be too pessimistic.