Hey Pussy Pussy

How did that route get that name? Jokes. Funny bits. Crag humour.
Post Reply
Gavin
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed May 24, 2006 9:01 pm
Real Name: Gavin Raubenheimer
Location: KZN
Contact:

Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by Gavin » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:33 am

Hey Pussy Pussy
Gavin Raubenheimer


By now several people know about the incident that took place with me and two friends and a uninvited furry friend in the duToit's Peak area. However, people have been fed a somewhat different story from what I and the third protagonist experienced. I swear to tell the truth and nothing but…..

The incident took place one night at the end of March in the kloof below the North West Frontal Route of Du Toit's Peak. Now, we were a trio of slightly-over-middle-ages climbers, well versed in the art of having a good time and coping with fear, all tested on previous road trips together. There was Andy, the astute, steadfast headmaster and part-time body builder; Cesar, the skinny fast-talking outdoor salesman and cavalero from Maritzburg; and there was me, in the words of Mathew Holt, a “suitably weathered and worn mountain guide”.

The objective of the three-day trip had been the North West Frontal route. Here Cesar and I learned that terms such as “classic Cape big wall” is Cape lingo for "four hundred meters of vertical rubble and prickly bushes". After seven pitches, we elected to abb off and have more fun.

So there the three of us were, laid back, beers frosty, fire crackling and the salesman banging on yet again about his days as a bass guitarist in the rock-band that neither Andy nor I had heard of before. The night was dead still and warm when we turned in for the night..

We slept soundly for about 2 hours. Then Cesar, with his nose protruding pangolin-like from his sleeping bag, hears Andy's helmet knock against a stone. “Thats not right” thinks he. Andy hearing the same, thinks something small and stripped is fossicking about in his food packet. I am aware that it sounds like one of my two companions is up and about, taking a leak. Yet both are lying in their sleeping bags?

Andy turns on his head-torch. What then follows takes about 0,2 seconds to unfold……as an uncomfortably large, spotted pussy cat, licking the remains of a food bowl, materializes in the halo of light…..the headmaster, as I recall, is the first to break into a chorus of “Ffffffuck, it's a leopard” in one of the soprano keys, followed very closely by we two providing the backing vocals, in a low croon, naturally. This all adds about another 0.5 seconds to the overall time of the incident. The next 3 seconds is taken up with another short chorus sung in three-part harmony, fuck ! - fuck ! -fuck !, interspersed with wild kicking and the odd missile sent in the direction of the visitor. The furry one sighs, and backs off, turning around longingly several times while heading for cover.

While we, the slightly-more-than-middle-aged-but-now-sprightly trio, regroup with regular rehearsal of the chorus. The uncomfortably large furry one re-appears, blinking in our torch-lights (much like music). More stones thrown, more of the now familiar chorus.. …....

The headmaster reminds us at this point that, contrary to our usual notion, we three are in fact not at the top of the food-chain in this kloof. The salesman and I thank him for this priceless insight, noting silently to ourselves that such perspicacity is what distinguishes top headmasters. But voting to have him demoted.

Well after that, being such seasoned campaigners, we stood watch, taking turns for an hour at time for the rest of the night. The headmaster took the first watch without incident. Shortly after the salesman assumed duty, pussy cat started his psychological warfare program, moving around the campsite perimeter and issuing sounds like an over-enthusiastic truck driver with new exhaust brake….graaa, graaa, graaa…. every 15 minutes or so. The headmaster and I tried to sleep, knowing that what stood between us and probable death was a thin man wearing nothing but blue botty-hugging boxer shorts, armed with a not-so-sharp pocket knife. By 6a.m. - our nerves at breaking point - the "graaa graaa graaa" got closer…. and closer…green eyes in the torchlight our only sights on big pussy from time to time. I was on guard duty then, and I summoned back-up of the botty- hugger shorts wearer and the now-demoted-to school choirmaster (the chorus having been repeated at regular intervals to keep our vocals chords warm).

Old national service drills in the artillery took over. We gathered projectiles, registered targets and laid down a bombardment of effective fire with large rocks on a 180-degree front. The green eyes would stare unblinkingly till the projectiles got too close, then move to a new location. More rounds for effect, till at long last the first streaks of light moved across the eastern sky.

Bringing closure to the incident, our steadfast headmaster, his bowels now well loosened from seven hours of being second on the food rung, headed for the trees away from the safety of the campsite. It was noted that this was his fastest ever crap in the woods, as he scampered back, barely having left!

uGo
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:26 am
Real Name: Hugo Krynauw

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by uGo » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:21 am

:afro:

Had me in stitches.

Did it occur to anyone to send the foodbowl it was eating from into the bushes, or was the thought of providing hors d'oeuvres decid3ed agaisnt?

Still an experience that I am extremely jealous of, no matter how scary. Would obviously be different if something had gone wrong.

User avatar
Justin
Posts: 3758
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 8:31 am
Real Name: Justin Lawson
Location: Montagu
Contact:

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by Justin » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:54 am

Brilliant!!
You guys must have been eating some tasty food for him to come back like that - or maybe he fancied one of you!
Climb ZA - Administrator
justin@climbing.co.za

Richard
Posts: 210
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 7:56 pm

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by Richard » Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:02 pm

A Bergie referring to the hallowed ground of Du Toits as "rubble and bushes"!!!!! Scandalous. Sounds like you stalled on the scramble approach :wink: With such heretical utterances you deserve to have been eaten by the kloof's feline protector.

rockrabbit
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:45 pm
Real Name: Kerry Kee

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by rockrabbit » Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:52 pm

LOL - Brilliant!!!! Can't wait to hear that one told in person round the campfire!!!

Oakley
Posts: 159
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:05 pm
Real Name: Theunis de Bruin
Location: Pretoria

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by Oakley » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:55 pm

you should have become a writer.... good reading material

Chris F
Posts: 783
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:45 pm
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by Chris F » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:14 pm

Great story.

Glad to hear the art. school training still gets put to some use.

User avatar
henkg
Posts: 397
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:21 am
Real Name: Henk Grobler

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by henkg » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:29 pm

Act 2, scene 1 (I'm not a screenwriter, but will give it my best shot):

Jakobus and me were well fed and snug in our sleeping bags, high on ledge beneath Smalblaar ridge. The rope of lights on the N1 a constant reminder of man's encroachment. He was snoring rather softly, but I was rolling in my uneven bed, sore from the murderous walk in.

Then we heard her: rwhaa rwhaa. Disbelieving but very curious we sat up. A baboon? Maybe, but no that was different. Maglight out, searching the direction of the sound. A different sound this time, almost like a laugh. The light finds the eyes, maybe 150 m away but definitely moving this way.

At 50m, slightly below us we saw the stalking shape in the grass. No doubt this time: it’s a leopard and it’s big! They told me they are timid and shy. Not this girl, then she's on this side then the other, all the time stalking closer. No more warning sounds.

We try to keep her in the light, hopping from boulder to boulder, curious, armed with camera and Swiss army knife. Jakobus peers over a boulder, and there not 2m apart, they eyeballed each other for a brief moment. Retreat was swift. We got our backs against the cliff, huddled together and asked her not so politely to move on.

She really disliked our presence in what must be her frequent trail. She let rip into my shirt drying in the bushes a little way off. This was enough to get us into action: A hail of brick sized rocks and she was off.

Well for good an hour.

Jakobus snoring again (blissful youth) but there I was lying, rehearsing the action. Until with absolute certainty I knew, she will be back. I sat up, headlight on, eyes barely open. Then not 5m away from my right shoulder, she warned again: rwhaa, rwhaa. Words are really inadequate to express the sound. It touches fear somewhere deep inside.

We tumbled out of our bags and this time we lost all inhibition. More rocks flying, good manly roars and Jakobus ending off with “what’re you going to do when I get hold of you!”

Daylight came and we did our climb, our minds numb with lack of sleep, but our spirits soaring.
Attachments
P1260430_2.jpg
She was doing her rounds en we were in her way
P1260430_2.jpg (28.07 KiB) Viewed 9976 times
P1260436_2.jpg
Jakobus in defensive mode, sporting Swiss army knife and fork.
P1260436_2.jpg (39.18 KiB) Viewed 9976 times
You may still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not. Cat Stevens

Gavin
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed May 24, 2006 9:01 pm
Real Name: Gavin Raubenheimer
Location: KZN
Contact:

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by Gavin » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:09 am

Aaah, I bet its the same one we saw! No a comfortable night you had.
Gavin Raubenheimer.

Chris F
Posts: 783
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:45 pm
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by Chris F » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:46 am

Excellent. Any photos of leftovers of T Shirt?

User avatar
Justin
Posts: 3758
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 8:31 am
Real Name: Justin Lawson
Location: Montagu
Contact:

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by Justin » Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:10 am

Classic! And most people would class you as lucky to have seen a Leopard.
Now I know why you were looking for a third person to go along ;)
Climb ZA - Administrator
justin@climbing.co.za

jemtuck
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 2:22 pm

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by jemtuck » Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:29 am

I can relate to how you felt. In the 70's my friend and I were sleeping on the Magaliesberg ridge near Trident gorge, when we had roaring, more like log sawing, from about 50m around us. This went on for about 5 -10 minutes. We never saw anything, as we had no torches, but damn we moved off that ridge sharpish the next day. Got love Africa, but rather than thana big ole bear rummaging through your stuff!

Andy Davies
Posts: 348
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 12:37 pm

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by Andy Davies » Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:18 am

Good effort with the pic. I will stick to my luxury accomodation for now. Lekker story for the grandchildren and the gapers :shock:
AndyDavies

capeleopard
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:15 pm
Real Name: Quinton Martins

Re: leopards rock

Post by capeleopard » Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:36 pm

Hi Henk
Awesome story! Nothing like having the primal feeling of a leopard prowling at night while one is in sleeping out! Humans have had to contend with this for hundred's of thousands of years! Today it is very seldom one has the opportunity to experience that excact primal fear. A leopard growl, or mock charge brings back the primal self. Baboons of course still live with this fear and intinctively use cliffs as refugia against leopard predation, despite the fact that they only form about 3% of leopard diet in the Cape. Given the right circumstances, an opportunistic cat will take them out, as we have seen in our Gouritz project area where one male in particular has a taste for baboons. This is a dangerous past-time and can result in fatal injuries to leopards trying their luck.

From a safety point of view - fortunately for you, our cats here in the Cape are significantly smaller than their northern counterparts and we do not know of any serious incidents in our mountains where humans have been attacked unprovoked over a 350yr period - though anything is possible considering an enraged house cat can do some serious damage. So an adult female leopard would do some serious damage if she wanted to, particularly if she was protecting her cubs.

Sticking your ground and standing up to a cat in a situation like this is best. If the situation doesn't improve, then a slow retreat without turning your back is probably the next best thing. I am not sure throwing sticks or stones is adviseable unless in final self-defence. It may provoke an attack. Mostly, this sort of antagonistic behaviour is indicative of the cat trying to tell you to push off.

I would be very interested to get an exact location as the males use paths more often than females.

As for your identifying it's sex - just for your info. In that area, a male would weigh about 30-35kg and a female 20kg.

Cheers & happy climbing in future.
Dr Quinton Martins
Project Manager
The Cape Leopard Trust

Chris F
Posts: 783
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:45 pm
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by Chris F » Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:13 pm

Interesting post!

I wasn't aware of the size difference. Have there been any incidents of unprovoked attack in Southern Africa (that you know of) at all?

shorti
Posts: 726
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:13 pm

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by shorti » Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:35 pm

capeleopard wrote:a male would weigh about 30-35kg and a female 20kg.
Hahaha - Henk and Jakobus tawt dey taw a puddy tat :lol: Ok, seriously that's really small compared to our leopards.

Chris, I've heard of a few attacks. One happened in the Kruger park late at night. A woman walked to the bathroom and a big leopard drop on her from a tree. Apparently she was dead before she hit the ground.

andywood
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:26 pm
Real Name: Andy Wood

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by andywood » Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:50 pm

To add my two cents worth.....

on the night in question I was awoken by a rustling of a packet and supper plate an inch from my ear. Annoyed that a woozle was eating my muesli I switched on my torch to see the leopard less than a metre from me. It was immensely powerful, crouched down and staring me straight in the eye. I went from fast asleep to primal terror in a second. It felt like an hour that we stared at one another, and I couldn't get a sound to leave my throat. I wasn't sure if it was curious or curious and hungry. Eventually I got a shout out and Gavin described well what happened then. I have no doubt that he has sniffed at my nose whilst I was asleep and wondered if I was a Woolworths take-away delivered to his doorstep!

User avatar
henkg
Posts: 397
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:21 am
Real Name: Henk Grobler

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by henkg » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:18 pm

Shorti, its not the size that matters, it's those blades at the end of her paws!
You may still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not. Cat Stevens

capeleopard
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:15 pm
Real Name: Quinton Martins

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by capeleopard » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:08 pm

In the Cederberg we see a marked difference between male leopards in the Fynbos & those in the Karoo. The Karoo males have been a little bigger getting as heavy as 48kg (nice and full). The Du Toit's area would probably see males being similar to our Fynbos cats - small.

Leopards have been responsible for seevral attacks on humans elsewhere - especially in India. However, there have certainly been attacks on people in Southern Africa (incl. Kruger). They are very powerful animals.

cheers

User avatar
Justin
Posts: 3758
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 8:31 am
Real Name: Justin Lawson
Location: Montagu
Contact:

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by Justin » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:13 pm

Here is a slightly larger image of the leopard.

Andy having the leopard right next to him gives me the shivers!
Attachments
du_toits_kloof_leopard.jpg
du toits kloof leopard
du_toits_kloof_leopard.jpg (14.56 KiB) Viewed 9532 times
Climb ZA - Administrator
justin@climbing.co.za

Chris F
Posts: 783
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:45 pm
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by Chris F » Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:12 am

Luckily no reported attacks from Scottish Wild Cats up here, although I have had more luck spotting them than I ever had with Leopards.

johannlanz
Posts: 130
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:52 pm
Real Name: Johann Lanz
Location: Stellenbosch

Re: Hey Pussy Pussy

Post by johannlanz » Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:44 pm

These are amazing stories. Quite an experience! When I first heard of Andy's story I was pretty certain it was an April fool's joke, but it seems not? I never imagined a leopard would behave in this way. I have been fortunate enough to see leopards at close quarters on two occasions while out in the mountains, but both during daylight hours. I have also heard them at night, but always felt completely secure in thinking that they would keep their distance. Turns out this isn't true. And I imagine that my ears will be fairly alert to the sounds around me next time I'm sleeping at the Chess Pieces bivvy spot.

Quinton, do you know of other experiences like this? Is it very unusual behaviour? And what would motivate such behaviour? Is it likely that these guys bedded down close to where there were cubs? Or could such behaviour be motivated by hunger?

Or might Richard be right, Gavin, that your scandalous utterances, bordering on blasphemy, had so offended our Cape mountain spirits that they were reeking revenge. Lucky they just sent their leopard (probably just a warning to never repeat such utterances). Next time it might be a lightning bolt. "four hundred meters of vertical rubble and prickly bushes", indeed!


All Leopard related posts

Post Reply