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Three Peaks Challenge

Three Peaks Challenge 2012

Click here for the latest information on Three Peaks Challenge 2013

A classic Cape Ton event combining the mountain and city in a unique, tough and fun challenge.

First completed by CW Schneeberger in 1897, the challenge starts from 108 Long Street and runners ascend Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain (to Maclear’s Beacon, via Platteklip Gorge) and Lion’s Head, returning to Greenmarket Square after each peak.

Distance: ± 50 kms.
No qualification necessary.

Limited to 120 people.

THE ROUTE (Classic version)

Note: There are no direction marshals on route and entrants are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the route or must walk/run with somebody who knows it. A hand-drawn map can be accessed here. However, it is not a topographical map and not drawn to scale.

The following description is a brief one, but gives a good idea of the basic route.

Peak One: Devil’s Peak
Start at 108 Long Street (just off the corner of Longmarket Street). Proceed up Long Street, turn left into Orange Street, head up Upper Buitenkan Street to Deer Park Drive and enter Deer Park at the top of the road.  Zig-zag through Deer Park to Tafelberg Road (note Pine tree at the top). Turn left at Tafelberg Road; the path to Devil’s Peak is less than a kilometre along the road. Take the Zig-zag path to the saddle and head in the general direction of the peak. The path eventually ‘flattens’ out and you will soon reach a fairly distinct large rock, Breakfast Rock, where you turn right (don’t go left). Start looking for the firebreak path that climbs to the left and leads more-or-less directly to the peak. The top of the peak is the second beacon, which is not more than about 100m from the first. Return to Greenmarket Square.

Peak Two: Table Mountain (Maclear’s Beacon)
As for Peak One, you run up to Tafelberg Road. Turn right at the Pine tree – the start of the route up Platteklip Gorge is several hundred metres along the road. Follow the signs – turn left at the contour path and look out for the sign that indicates the main ascent up the gorge. Zig-zag up the gorge (stay on the path) and turn left on reaching the top. Follow the yellow footprints to Maclear’s Beacon (At 1086m it’s the highest point on Table Mountain). On leaving the beacon for the return, ensure that you are on the correct path – if you are too far left or too far right, you could land up in trouble! When returning to Tafelberg Road you may, as a welcome alternative, want to turn left and enter Deer Park less than a kilometre along the road (opposite the toilets). Note: it is also an option on the way up and on the first leg, but is definitely steeper and can be more energy-sapping at that stage. There is more than one option but you can exit Deer Park at Bridle Road and approach Orange St via Upper Orange St. If you don’t know this route, stick to the tried and tested.

Peak Three: Lion’s Head
The start of Lion’s Head (at Signal Hill Road) can be reached by going all the way up Kloof Nek Road or taking the more direct route past the Deutsche School. For the latter, leave Kloof Nek Road at St Michaels Road and turn left at the stop street, into Upper Albert Road – the path begins at the top of the short, steep hill. Scramble up to Signal Hill Road and turn right. Access to Lion’s Head is via the parking lot next to the Kramat (a refreshment point is also positioned there). The path winds ‘gently’ up to the contour path from where two sets of chains, a couple of ladders and some scrambling leads to the summit (do not use erosion paths). There is a slightly longer alternative route that avoids the chains. There is some exposure on the final ascent – be careful at all times, particularly on the way down, when the excitement of getting to the finish at Greenmarket Square might threaten to break your concentration.

A ‘privilege’ given only to those who have  completed Three Peaks at least five times. Start from 108 Long Street; ascend Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain (Maclear’s Beacon) and Lion’s Head; return to Tafelberg Road after the first two peaks; return to Greenmarket Square after the final peak.

Important: In completing the Pensioner’s Peaks, you will obviously not be credited with having completed the ‘classic’ version of the Three Peaks Challenge. You may not (for admin purposes) change from one event to another after 24 October 2012. i.e. ten days before.

Safety, your own and that of others, is a priority! Besides being physically demanding, the Three Peaks Challenge requires a great deal of concentration. Weather conditions can be extreme; dress appropriately. Be well prepared!

The event takes place in an ecologically sensitive area. In the interest of Table Mountain National Park and the continued existence of the Three Peaks Challenge, please respect all rules: do not use erosion paths; do not litter; do not damage or remove indigenous vegetation; respect other TMNP users and visitors; respect the cultural value of the area.


Date: Saturday, 3 November 2012
Start: 5am. Meet at Greenmarket Square – the actual start is around the corner, at 108 Long Street, from where CW Schneeberger started his challenge in 1897.

Cut-off time: 7pm (14 hours) for both Three Peaks and Pensioner’s Peaks. There will also be a cut-off on the second peak – you must reach Greenmarket Square and have completed the Table Mountain leg by 3pm (10 hours) in order to continue.
Number of entrants: limited to 120 (total for both events).

Entry fee: R200 (non-refundable)
K-Way moisture management shirts and “Hartley” mini mountain trophies: awarded to each finisher on completion.
Permanent numbers: awarded to those who have completed five Three Peaks Challenges – 57 have been awarded thus far.
Seconding: Participants must be self-sufficient. However, refreshments will be provided at Tafelberg Road (for the first and second peaks), on Signal Hill, just below the Kramat (for the third peak) and at Greenmarket Square (between peaks).
Clothing: There will be no kit checks on the day – it is your responsibility to wear appropriate clothing.
Tog bags: can be left on the verandah of The Dish restaurant (Inn On The Square Hotel), at Greenmarket Square.
Parking: City Car Park, Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital (Details to follow)

Photographs: will be taken on the first peak (details to follow).
Wine: Three Peaks wine, with the 2012 Three Peaks label, can be pre-ordered on the event entry form. Significantly, the wine is supplied by the Schneeberger family, descendants of CW, the now-famous 1897 pioneer of our event, and makes a fine collector’s item.

Registration: a pre-event briefing and check-in will be hosted by Team K-Way at the Cape Union Mart Adventure Centre, Canal Walk. (details to follow).

Final Instructions: will be sent to all entrants during September.



Email: capepeaks@telkomsa.net

Gavin Snell: Tel: 021 761 4438 (evenings), Cell: 082 792 9380
Don Hartley: Tel: 021 790 0298 (evenings), Cell: 083 508 1017

Postal Address:
P.O. Box 2822, Clareinch, 7740
Fax: 021 790 8322