India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

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Desertrat
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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby Desertrat » Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:23 pm

Dear Roy

Just want to thank you sincerely for the full report, your assistance is very much appreciated. Well done. It's a positive and great plan.

Kindest regards
Gill Setterfield

Desertrat
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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby Desertrat » Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:26 pm

Hi James

many thanks for your reply, you are right, I did misread your message....sorry..... thanks so much for your support, I am over the moon after reading the report from Roy.....

Kind regards
Gill Setterfield

killy
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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby killy » Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:49 pm

I was wondering if there was also a risk of alien abduction indicated on the sign of the UFO between the water bottle and hiking boot sign. If so are we still liable for any anal probe damage to victims.
keith
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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby SNORT » Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:26 pm

Kevin Tromp found a grey helmet at the rescue site on India Venster last Sunday. If it is yours post a reply to get it back

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby Drifter » Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:59 am

It is wrong to assume every tourist visiting Cape Town can speak and read English or that every local speaks and reads English. English is not the mother tongue of most people in South Africa. You can't have many languages on one board so the best as mentioned before is a skull bone and cross. That explanation mark on the present board is not good enough.

A warning sign a lone is not good enough. The fact that the authorities know that, India Venster is accident prone and three people have died there in three years, gives them a moral obligation in my opinion to try and make that route safer if they are going to allow people to go up it. It is like Chapman's Peak, there were warning signs on it for drivers, then a few people died on it by their getting hit by falling rocks, so they took steps to make it safer, not that I am saying you should throw concrete all over the mountain, but just making the point, that putting a warning sign up doesn't mean thats the end of all your responsibilities. There should be warning about the dangers of Table Mountain and mountain safety tips on the back pages of local newspapers daily.

Another point if the authorities are worried that a ladder will change the natural look of the mountain then why have they allowed developers to cut into the lower slopes of Lions Head (by means of digging and explosives) to build houses.

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby mokganjetsi » Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:12 am

great news to hear that something is finally being done - long overdue though!

dear RW, pls note that absolutely nobody hinted at suing TMNP spending R100s of R1000s in the process. 2 issues were discussed: 1) their possible liability of the victim's family decides to sue; 2) us getting a court order to force TMNP to put proper protection in place.

the second point is just to get the authorities to force them to do their job. i really do not understand why we seem to be so afraid to offend the parks-guys. i'm fully into the idea of a friendly and mutually beneficial relationship between climbers and TMNP, but they are there to serve the public interest and have an obligation to ensure that reasonable safety measures are in place. if we feel strongly about something surely we should stand up for it!?

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby robertbreyer » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:50 am

Today's Cape Times:
Plans to make India Venster route safer after six deaths
March 31, 2009 Edition 2
Caryn Dolley
WARNING signs that are better worded and displayed, improved handholds and footholds, and arrangements to drop more tourists off at the base of Platteklip Gorge instead of at the lower cableway station.
These are some measures Table Mountain National Park is considering to improve safety and reduce the number of accidents on the hazardous India Venster route up the mountain, which has claimed the lives of six people in five years.
Last week, park managers and Wilderness Search and Rescue members, who have often had to rescue hikers from India Venster, met to discuss the way forward.
Yesterday, Paddy Gordon, area manager for the northern section of Table Mountain, said a number of suggestions and strategies had been studied.
He said there needed to be better communication between the park and guest houses and other tourist accommodations, as these places often arranged for taxis to drop tourists at the lower cable station. Tourists, who were often inexperienced hikers, then started walking from this point and ended up using IndiaVenster.
"We want the taxis to drop people off at the bottom of Platteklip Gorge. How we're going to (communicate this to guest houses), we don't yet know," Gordon said.
He said it had been found that signs at the lower cableway station advising hikers that India Venster was a dangerous route were not explicit enough.
"During a rescue, some foreigners were asked why they were on the route and if they saw the signage (warning of India Venster's dangers)," Gordon said.
They said they had seen it but thought it was aimed at people over 60 or 70 years old, Gordon said.

Robert: the rope is all that was needed. Plus a really visible skull and crossbones sign at the entrance to the path. oh well. better late than never. about all these 5% stats. considering the accidents on a per capita/hiker basis, this route is by far the most dangerous hiking trail in south africa. glad to see that sound minds prevailed.

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby jellybelly » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:16 am

All hail the phantom ropers!!!

tried out the rope on Sunday. Great. Negligible visual impact - you only see it once you're at the bottom of the section and it leads you nicely through the scramble. Party of hikers behind me who made comments like "why are they using ropes here?" (in other words utterley oblivious to the dangers of the route they were on) came up successfully saying things like "Gosh! I'm very proud of you!" to ech other.

Mark Straughan

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby BAbycoat » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:38 am

Part of the problem is that the path from the Lower Cableway Station meets the coutour path at the start of IV. Naive tourists assume that the TM ascent continues from there (despite the warning signs).

If the cableway path were re-routed to meet the contour path slightly (maybe 100m) on the Platteklip side of the IV start, surely fewer naive tourists would be tempted up IV - particularly if signage directed them left towards Platteklip.

Path building is hard work - but mainly requires under-skilled labour, so fits the government's employment priorities. Over a year or two the cost of this labour would surely be reclaimed against helicopter expenses and rescuers' time saved.

This suggestion is not an alternative to, but rather a compliment to the actions already proposed. The more people we can prevent from unintentionally ascending IV, the fewer accidents we will have.

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby robertbreyer » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:45 am

our rope was stolen saturday a week ago. whoever did it, may you rot in hell.

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby Wayne73 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:38 pm

Instead of redirecting the path how about right at the bottom at the cable station have a barrier across it, something that you need to climb over with the warning sign, including the skull and crossbones, black diamond and grim reaper and redirect from here to Platteklip , someone could start a shuttle service. Or better yet if you are looking to boost employment get someone dressed like the Grim Reaper to follow the persons up the hike.

Sorry should not try to be funny about such a serious matter.

This above suggustion has proberbly been thought of already, but just thought that I could put my 2c in.

To the guys that stole the rope, praying that you don't land up regretting this due to another accident.
Fat men are harder to kidnap

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby jonlawtonsheffuk » Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:10 am

I'm not local so can't really comment too much, but I visited last week (Easter) from the UK and did the India Venster route as a hike up the mountain with my girlfriend. I've over 20 years of climbing and mountaineering experience around the world and my job is ropework at height. I was pretty surprised by how risky the route was. I saw the warning sign at the base and assumed that it was typically over-cautious, as many signs are in tourist-heavy areas around the world (signs in Europe and N America regularly warn you you might die on the trail from the car park to the scenic viewpoint). I'd also just come through the Drakensburg's, where short rock sections were over-equipped with all sorts of chains and ladders. We trotted up the lower section no problem, enjoying the awesome views, but when we got to the scrambling section with the awkward exit left around a boulder (unless I went the wrong way!) I was thinking a 20m half-rope would have come in very handy. My girlfriend also made this very clear to me, and for a while there were a few harsh words directed my way....
It all turned out well in the end and it was an excellent day out on your beautiful mountain but I can see why there might be a lot of very nasty accidents there. I would not like to descend the route, or attempt it in rain or cloud without a rope.
I'm not one for bit's of ironwork all over the hills as it's kind of frowned on in the UK, but if the Lion's Head is going to be equipped then I can't see why this route wouldn't be. Either that or just change the sign at the bottom to say that the route is not a path, it is a rock climb, used as an access route to further rock climbs, and rock-climbing equipment is needed. Local climbers and hikers know the score so it's only stupid visitors like me you need to worry about. One further problem might be that lots of local maps, guides and websites describe the route as a standard path. I was following one such map, bought that morning in Exclusive Books. Doh!

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby Wurgle » Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:12 am

Heard in passing on the radio this a.m. that stainless-steel handles and ladders have been ordered? Anyone?

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby Justin » Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:01 am

There was an article in The Weekend Argus about the Indian Venster path.
Below are a couple of excerpts.

'An order for stainless steel "staples" - artificial footholds and handholds - and a section of chain to improve hiker safety on the difficult Inda Venster route up Table Mountain will be placed next week.

The 11 Staples, which cost R600 each, and the chain will be bolted and epoxy-glued into place on the three short “C-grade” rock scrambles in the upper section of the route below the upper cable station, where several people have fallen to their deaths.

WSAR’s growing concern coincided with that of the park and there were joint discussions about the what safety measures to implement.

They were inundated with a barrage of suggestions, ranging from the radical – closing this route completely – to the traditional : leave it completely alone and don’t put in any safety measures.
“The one thing we haven’t been short of is advice,” explained Paddy Gordon for the Parks Northen section.
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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby Justin » Thu May 21, 2009 12:29 pm

The bolts are in :thumleft:

Historic mountain route made safer

Table Mountain's historic but tricky India Venster hiking route is significantly safer, after new features in the form of stainless steel hand - and footholds and some chain were secured in the most difficult sections.

In a joint operation on Wednesday, four members of Wilderness Search and Rescue and their equipment were airlifted by the Red Cross Air Mercy Service (AMS) helicopter to the top section of this route, almost directly below the upper cable station.

Using a portable generator and heavy-duty power tools, the team drilled holes 150mm deep into the rock, before fitting 10 stainless steel "staples" and two short sections of chain in place to assist hikers in negotiating three difficult step sections of this route that has claimed several lives - most recently in March, when a Dutch tourist fell to her death.

The U-shaped staples, which cost R600 each and which have been knurled (roughened) to provide a better grip, were glued into the holes with a hi-tech epoxy bonding agent, sponsored by power tool supplier Hilti.

The team - brothers Dion and Kevin Tromp, Simon Abrahams and Stephan Moser - is the same group who organised the recovery of a climber's body from a difficult location high in the Matroosberg in August 2007, in an operation that also required deep rock drilling to secure climbing anchors using the same technique.

They met at Kloof Nek at 7am yesterday to prepare their gear, and were picked up by the AMS helicopter soon after 8am.

The helicopter, piloted by veteran Iefan Blake, who has flown numerous rescue missions, including on India Venster, is a new aircraft that came into service only this week, making this one of its first operations.

Watched by Table Mountain National Park staff, who had closed the hiking route for the day, the team fired up the generator and started drilling the required holes.

But progress was slow - it might be called Table Mountain sandstone, but it is anything but soft.

By midday, they had completed only four sets of holes for the staples, and called for Kevin Tromp's more powerful drill and four new drill bits - which arrived on the mountain with an R5 800 invoice - to be flown in.

"This rock is incredibly hard, harder than one would normally find in sandstone. It's got a lot of quartzite in it - the drill is struggling," explained Dion Tromp.

But when the helicopter flew in with the additional gear at about 1pm, progress was much quicker.

"Now that's what I call a drill!" quipped Abrahams, as the more powerful tool made short work of the rock.

And Kevin Tromp remarked: "Now we can get down to the big business. The only problem is that it's going to be heavier - there are disadvantages to everything, hey?"

Despite the additional tools, it was still a long day on the mountain. They were eventually airlifted off again in the gathering dark at about 6.30pm, but they had managed to get all the safety features in place.

"We're very relieved to have been able to get the job done - we've been waiting to do this for many weeks," Kevin Tromp said later last night.

"And it was long day, but it was absolutely ideal. I'm very pleased."

Source: www.iol.co.za
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indian_venster_ladder.jpg
Intrepid: Dion Tromp, front, of the Wilderness Search and Rescue team drills holes into the rock for new safety hand- and footholds on the tricky India Venster route on Table Mountain, where several accidents have taken place.
Photo: John Yeld, Cape Argus
indian_venster_ladder.jpg (14.9 KiB) Viewed 2559 times
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AlexB-S
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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby AlexB-S » Thu May 21, 2009 4:25 pm

I know I am going to pick up a lot of "contraversy" (was going to use another word), but I feel terribly saddened by this. One of my favorite routes up the mountain now desecrated. I am sorry but staples, bolts and chains just do not belong on the mountain. Why not just "do" Arrow Final as well to make the route more easy to find your way to the top, with the same ironmongery. Do not get me wrong. I have climbed many a bolted route in sports climbing areas, but consider them to be a very useful training tool to get yourself strong and fit but that is all. I hope I am not around any longer when Jacobs Ladder gets turned into a "Via Ferrata" to enable the Abseil Africa clients get back up to the top.

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby Paul Goddard » Thu May 21, 2009 4:34 pm

Aaah there always one is'nt there ? Alex BS. take a deep breath, and now another one, then think a little more about what you have said, then think some more, and you should be OK AND YOU'LL SOON GET OVER IT.
Somehow I don't think you're making much sense re the Jacob's Ladder thing too.
Your family might feel deeply saddened if you had to plummet off that scramble and come to an abrupt halt !
There's no down side here.

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby SNORT » Thu May 21, 2009 4:41 pm

Alex B-S, I walked up there and watched them going about their business with big drills and lotsa kit and all. Instead of doing the original scramble which is often a bottle neck, head up the gully on the right until you can do an easy, short but exposed scramble up and diagonally left. Then walk around left on a fairly narrow ledge to a point above the original scramble where you need to avoid looking down to see the ironmongery. If anything, this is a more exciting way.

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby AlexB-S » Thu May 21, 2009 5:43 pm

Ja, just thought I would throw in the Jacobs Ladder thing as an after thought to stir the pot a bit! Not too serious, but think about it too! :( Thanks Snort, will try variation next time as I totally refuse to use artificial holds and chains(consider them dangerous).

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby pierre.joubert » Thu May 21, 2009 7:07 pm

AlexB-S wrote:I have climbed many a bolted route in sports climbing areas

AlexB-S wrote:I totally refuse to use artificial holds and chains(consider them dangerous).

Are you pulling a leg?

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby mokganjetsi » Thu May 21, 2009 9:32 pm

ja wel, i was having a few thoughts when reading the newspaper article. really made it sound like an epic didn't they - heroes with drills and all - and india venster now looking like a giant zipper. anyways, the 1st thought was "finally". the second was a bit sad in that i'll one day tell my grandkids that i did the route when it was still "dangerous"....... but then i thought again about the 30 year old dutch girl falling to her death because they were taking a "path" down. no brainer really. TM is a spectacular mountain in the middle of a city and all sorts of people will be on every trail. there are gizillions of other adventerous places with great scrambles that will never be stapled. happy to sacrifice this one to save lives and make it a bit easier when i'm coming down from africa ledge totally wasted after a hard days climbing. apparently some guys even drink single malts up there and then walk down... makes me wonder why they punted so hard for the safety measures :drunken:

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby SNORT » Fri May 22, 2009 7:09 am

The dudes that drink single malt on the one occasion up there didn't and won't walk down.... They stayed there or walked to the Cable Car....

Assumption is the mother of all......

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Fri May 22, 2009 9:48 am

@Alex B-S: Are you serious? If you had come and helped on just ONE rescue on IV and seen how the (avoidable) death of someone's friend/spouse/child had destroyed that persons life. I am sure you would have a different outlook then.
Happy climbing
Nic

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby mokganjetsi » Sat May 23, 2009 7:00 am

assumption...... the mother of all sport climbers :D (a bolt will never break)

he snort, so you assumed the guys you know are the only ones drinking single malt up there?......well, you are probably right. anyways, no offense meant and i assume none taken. hope to see you on TM one of these days.

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby SNORT » Sat May 23, 2009 1:00 pm

No offense taken. It is just that this is an open site and people not familiar with the local scene may get the impression that yobs go up there and get pissed and behave badly.......

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby mokganjetsi » Sat May 23, 2009 5:55 pm

went up there today - the guys did a fantastic job. maybe a bit overkill, but hey, makes it so easy to get up and down. and not nearly as unsightly as i thought it will be - the grey steel blends well with the rock.

and the scrambles lower down still rpoides a little bit of excitement.

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby drewdo » Tue May 26, 2009 2:34 pm

Can somebody please post some PICS of the changes to the scrambles!

Unfortunately I dont live in Cape Town otherwise I'd be checking it out in person.
I did the India Venster route last year and it has stuck in my mind as one of the most epic trails I'v done!
I fully agree with the changes that have been made regarding signage/staples etc. I have a lot of confidence in my scrambling ability, but while doing the 3 stage scrambles I was fully aware that a simple mistake, which happens to even the most experienced climbers, could have dire consequences, something that the recent deaths on IV are a testament to.
While a part of me agrees with the purists wanting to leave it untouched, given the amount of other amazing scrambles/climbs on table mountain alone, nevermind the surrounding areas, it is a small sacrifice to make this one safer.

Bottom line: there will always be the moron tourists who are a danger to themselves, of which no adjustments to the route will help...lets hope these steps can simply kurb their incidents.
For the average guy like myself who is not a climber, it makes this amazing route a lot safer and more accessible. So big ups from me! :thumright

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby XMod » Tue May 26, 2009 6:41 pm

SNORT wrote:No offense taken. It is just that this is an open site and people not familiar with the local scene may get the impression that yobs go up there and get pissed and behave badly.......


Isnt that exactly what happens? :bom: :wink:

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby emile » Fri May 29, 2009 8:32 am

I see there been another fatality - sounds like it's on a different section than what was debated so far?

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?from=rss_News&set_id=1&click_id=79&art_id=nw20090528205626795C676458

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Re: India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?

Postby CapeHiker » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:36 pm

Hi everyone here at ClimbZA.

I had been keeping an eye on the situation on India Venster for some time, and while being one of those who also likes nature to be left alone, the recent spate of deaths and injuries on this trail has led me to believe that this was a good move on the Park's side.

I made a special trip up this path on the weekend, to see for myself. I must say that initially I was quite shocked at the size and amount of placements. I'm used to seeing the little staples on Lion's head. These are some seriously bombproof additions. The chains have been placed with 12mm bolts, and I suspect they are drilled deep. The staples/handles are very well made and beautifully knurled for better traction.

I made a point of doing the section unaided and then with using the protections. While I'm sad that this section of the hike will never be the same again, I really think these additions help to make this part really fool proof. So much so in fact, that the trickier sections higher up [near to the Ledge] seem quit dangerous ;)

A few things I also picked up was that there is now NO indiction of the hike from the contour path. This is the best way to keep people off the trail. The painted yellow feet also seem to have been removed lower down.

All in all, it's good to see proactive people out there, and I hope this helps to save lives in the future.
All the best, have a great day!

Here are some pictures:
Attachments
India Venster In-Situ Protection_01.jpg
India Venster In-Situ Protection_01.jpg (93.47 KiB) Viewed 1938 times
India Venster In-Situ Protection_Chains.jpg
India Venster In-Situ Protection_Chains.jpg (94.73 KiB) Viewed 1940 times
India Venster In-Situ Protection_Chains2.jpg
India Venster In-Situ Protection_Chains2.jpg (90.3 KiB) Viewed 1940 times


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