Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Seventh Report Back

Wow! The responses to my Sixth Report were déjà vu all right! Reminded me of the Committee of Seventeen who Advised and Argued over what should or should not be included in the Drakensberg maps of the 1980s. Then as now it was the minimalists versus the maximalists. In the end we opted for more rather than less – and now even Galeo has conceded that that might be necessary for the Cederberg.
My favourite all-time
minimalist map – or does
it have too many dots?
We have to bear in mind that the Cederberg, although a legally-proclaimed Wilderness, is nevertheless a very, very altered landscape – if it’s “pure” wilderness you want, with no paths, blockhouses, huts, sawpits, old leopard traps, ruins, graves etc etc then you should really rather be in the Kogelberg, or the Riviersonderend mountains.

Which is not in any way to deny the Cederberg its very, very special magic, but its “Wilderness” status carries two important implications. The first, as many correspondents pointed out, is that there are limitations on access in a Wilderness. Only a certain number of people are allowed on any given night. The booking system means that there is a way to follow up on miscreants, if necessary; the sheer distance from major population centres also insulates the range in a way that does not hold for the Peninsula or many Boland mountains.

The second is that a proclaimed Wilderness has no signposts, no awful little white footprints painted all over the rocks. Navigation for the newcomer can only be by map; and even amongst the old-timers there are few who can claim to know every inch of the vast Cederberg area. To be safe and effective there is a necessary level of info that the map must contain; if the only way to correctly identify routes is by means of landmarks these need identifying names, too – be they prominent rock pillars, pools or whatever.
This map shows why Wupperthal, Cederberg,
is the destination I personally prefer ...
The list of places I published last time remains posted below, and it remains open for comment. One of these days I will be publishing a list of “new” or “disputed” names for some features, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is when the fat will really be in the fire ...

In the meantime, thanks to everyone who sent in comments last time – they were all very much appreciated. If you have further comments, anyone, please keep them coming, but I shall be away from 20 April to 3 May so don’t think me rude, please, if you get no responses during that time.

I keep forgetting to mention that quite a long time ago Andrea and Moritz Connrad of Enjo Life [in the Biedouw valley] sent me a useful map of the summit of Krakadouw. The original was by Ernst Lotz and I gather was published in an MCSA Journal some years ago. It will be very useful: many thanks, you two.

Oops! I also forgot to mention that if you’re really interested in the philosophy behind mapping you should read J. Brian Harley on maps, an extract from ‘The Iconography of Landscape’, edited by D. Cosgrove and S. Daniels, Cambridge UP, 1988, published as chapter 8 in ‘Geographic Thought: A Praxis Perspective’, edited by George L. Henderson and Marvin Whitestone, Routledge, 2008. It’s a snip at $199.50 [yes, that’s US dollars] but I’m sure someone like Martin H-S could lend you his copy!
If you’re really interested, of course.

Info already in:
Already acknowledged: Rudolf Andrag, Quinton Martins, Ronnie Hazell, Charles Merry, Wim Morris, Alex Basson, Graham Bellairs, Julyan Symons, Galeo Saintz, Paul la Grange, Laurence Elton, Mike Scott, Peter Hart, Justin Lawson, David Donald, Johann Lanz, Cisca Nieuwoudt, Hendrico Burger, Nicky Lombard, Jeroen Kant, Patrick Lane, Ingar Valentyn, Eugene Moll, Greg Moseley, Tony Heher, Andrea and Moritz Connrad

Have a great Freedom Day weekend!
Kaartman, 17 April 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sixth Report Back

Debate this, please! As the map progresses it becomes clear that there are wide differences of opinion about what should be on the map, and what should not.

A couple of weeks ago I received this email:
While I do enjoy and appreciate your maps, I do worry about showing the hoi polloi how to find all the best gems in our wonderful mountains. The mob should be restricted to the main routes, and the best parts left to those who can find them for themselves.’

I’m sure my friend’s tongue was at least partly in his cheek. ‘Hoi polloi’ means ‘the many’ in Greek, and we were all hoi polloi once, even my friend. By good luck we were all introduced to the magic of the Cederberg by someone else – and hence we were welcomed into the hoi oligoi [the few].

My guru, Alex Basson, confessed that when he helped the Forestry Dept put together the 1981 map he deliberately scattered place names vaguely across the map without pinpointing their locations, because he too did not want the hoi polloi to find the ‘best gems’ in his wonderful mountains. However, he has appealed to me to include as much of his knowledge and wisdom as possible in the new map, before it gets lost forever. Part of the cartographer’s duty is to find and preserve place names; Alex appreciates that.

Patrick Lane, Wilderness Manager at Algeria, pointed out an important management problem in the Cederberg. ‘Most visitors,’ Patrick said, ‘want to visit the Maltese Cross, the Cracks, the Wolfberg Arch ...’ – leading to increased degradation of the paths to those places. ‘We need to highlight other features, to spread the load,’ Patrick said.

Finally, we have to consider that the Cederberg is a proclaimed Wilderness. This not only means that the number of overnight visitors [hoi polloi or not] is limited, it also means that by definition there are no signposts and, strictly speaking, there should be no huts or even paths. The only safe way, therefore, that anyone – hoi polloi or ologoi – can successfully negotiate routes in them thar hills is if they have an informative and reliable map.

Before listing the specific places for which I would like your inputs in this debate, please also consider this. When I produced my first map of Table Mountain I was asked by MCSA members to specifically exclude certain ‘best gems’ from my map [remember that, Greg?]. For nearly forty years I have not shown such places as Tranquillity Cracks on my map. The map is approved by the MCSA and it’s the only map of the mountain endorsed by SanParks – yet Tranquillity Cracks are nowhere to be found on it. Despite that, at least two popular hiking authors have published detailed descriptions and directions to the Cracks, and Full Circle mag published six pages of photos. Where does that leave my map? Red faced, if it could be, I reckon; sadly on a par with deliberately-distorted maps published in such great democracies as the USSR ...

If you know the following places and you don’t think / do think they should be included on the map, now is your chance to tell me. Please give coordinates if you can, to make sure we are talking about the same place. If you have other places you think SHOULD be included, please let me know [but bear in mind that no caves with rock art will be shown].
Here goes [these are all on the northern section, at this stage; NB these are all names not on existing maps; new names used by boulderers are not included; none of the caves listed below have rock art]:—

  • Ambraal se Vrou [rock formation nr Heuningvlei]
  • Amon se Kerk [rock formation nr Amon se Poort]
  • Asjas se Grot [cave near Crystal Pool]
  • Cederberggrot [near De Hoek, Vaalfontein path]
  • Chockstone [Middelberg North]
  • Dasklip [nr Amon se Poort]
  • Die Punt [nek nr Kleinvlei]
  • Die Rondegat [cave on Rondegat river]
  • Eenboom se Kamp [at Grootlandsvlakte]
  • Engelsmansgrot [cave near Pakhuis]
  • Eselbank Cave [nr Eselbank]
  • Geelgrot [cave at Krakadouw fort]
  • Houtkappersgrot [cave s-east of Sneeukop]
  • Kabouterland Cave [near Grasvlei]
  • Klipboombos [nr Pakhuis]
  • Koupoort Cracks [nr Klein-Koupoort]
  • Kruidkop [nr Amon se Poort]
  • Minor Arch [near the Maze]
  • Nuwejaarsgrot [cave near Shadow Peak]
  • Old Magazine [building nr Pakhuis]
  • Panorama Cave [above Welbedacht]
  • Pepper Pot [pinnacle near Welbedacht]
  • Perdefontein [nr Kliphuis]
  • Poon se Val [waterfall nr Sandwerf]
  • Slangbossloep [path section]
  • Strydom se Pad [Welbedacht to Uilsgat path]
  • Tierhoek Falls [waterfall]
  • Tierhoek [ruins nr Die Toring]]
  • Vensterklip [nr Amon se Poort]
  • Vuilpoortjie [nek near Shadow Peak]
  • White’s Rock [or White Rock] [above Agter-Warmhoek]
  • Winston Pinnacle [near Sas se Hoek]

More names may be added in due course; please send in any others you want excluded or included.

This website map correctly locates Panorama Cave
A note on Panorama Cave is appropriate, as two contributors have asked for it to be excluded:
1. It’s shown on all existing maps, albeit in the incorrect position;
2. It is correctly located on the public wallmap in CapeNature's Algeria office;
3. It is openly advertised at Driehoek, where they’ll even point its location out to you;
4. Jeroen Kant has pointed out that if you go to Driehoek’s website you can download maplets, three of which correctly locate Panorama Cave [see above] – http://www.cederberg-accommodation.co.za/hiking.html
How can I leave this cave off my map?

PLEASE send all and any comments through the Contact form on http://www.slingsbymaps.com/contactus.aspx

Report Back #6

Had a great response to my many requests in #5. Graham Bellairs came up trumps with the Chockstone, and he and Sandy MacDonald both sent pics.

Graham also sent a host of great pics; some copied here to whet the appetites of all who’ll be spending long weekend time in the Cederberg soon.

Pics by Graham Bellairs

Torben Wiborg and Trevor Rennison sent me some very useful GPS tracks for various trailheads/peak tops and routes which I had hoped to include but which are faint on the ground these days.

More pics by Graham

Peter Hart sent me the correct spelling of Ingar Valentyn – sorry I had it incorrect, Ingar. He also located Kroekedam for me.

Looking forward to your input on the names – all inputs will be acknowledged, and please don’t be afraid to say what you think!

Info already in:
Already acknowledged: Rudolf Andrag, Quinton Martins, Ronnie Hazell, Charles Merry, Wim Morris, Alex Basson, Graham Bellairs, Julyan Symons, Galeo Saintz, Paul la Grange, Laurence Elton, Mike Scott, Peter Hart, Justin Lawson, David Donald, Johann Lanz, Cisca Nieuwoudt, Hendrico Burger, Nicky Lombard, Jeroen Kant, Patrick Lane, Ingar Valentyn

Kaartman [April Fool’s Day was yesterday, this doesn’t qualify, hey], 2 April 2012