A 32 -year-old male hiker from Iceland became trapped on a ledge on Table Mountain after falling 20 metres down the mountain on Monday, February 18, at 5.22pm.

The Peninsula Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) team, Metro Rescue Mobile Incident Command Vehicles, Rescue Mountaineers, and SANParks Visitor Safety Patrollers responded to a call from a member of the public who reported hearing someone shouting for assistance from above their house in Camps Bay.

Neighbourhood Watch and the other agencies conducted a thorough search of the area and placed the hiker’s location, which was far higher up on the mountain than they had suspected.

WSAR released an official statement on the incident in which it said that the cries for help were coming from below the upper part of the Table Mountain Cableway station.

“The cries for help were reliably placed to be emanating from a steep section of the mountain, just below the Upper Cable Station.”

The location of the stranded hiker on the slope of Table Mountain as seen in daylight

A helicopter rescue was not possible due to the dangers associated with the fading light and strong south-easterly winds.

The stranded hiker contacted the rescue team via his cellphone, informing them of his location, and they were able to track his position.

Due to the hiker’s hard-to-reach location, Technical Rescue Climbers were called upon and the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway company (TMAC) agreed to make one attempt to send a cable car up, although it was unsafe at the time due to the strong winds.

Making their way up the mountain in the cableway car, teams docked at the Upper Cable Station and abseiled down to the ledge where the hiker was stranded.

The stranded hiker used the light of his cellphone to direct the rescue climbers to his location as they abseiled down.

The green arrow shows where the hiker was stranded

A second rescue team was also deployed via the India Venster Route to get to the hiker while a group of WSAR members were able to reach a point above the stranded hiker.

After strenuous efforts, at 1.48am a rescue climber was able to reach the hiker and secure him in a safety harness. The man was then raised in his harness to the upper section of the Fountain Buttress on Table Mountain.

The mission was far from over, however, and teams had to navigate down the India Venster Route in the dark with rope and safety equipment.

At 4.30am today, the teams and hiker arrived at the Lower Cable Station.

Landing on a ledge that was described as “just bigger than a double bed” with a clear drop of 100 metres, the hiker sustained no serious injuries from the fall.

“WSAR would like to commend the experienced Rescue Climbers who had to negotiate very dangerous terrain, steep drop-offs, shear cliff faces, and possible rock falls in the dark. They had to abseil about 600 metres over multiple stages in order to reach and recover the hiker.”

Reports reveal that the cries of the victim were carried down the mountain by the strong winds.

Picture: Wilderness Search and Rescue

Article written by

Ishani Chetty

Ishani is a vegetarian who is passionate about animals, social issues, the environment and current affairs.