Posted by: madamm | May 6, 2007

The Goddess of Victory (with apologies to Nike)

I’ve been thinking long and hard about how I was going to describe possibly the most death-defying thing I’ve ever done (aside from getting into my car every day). Climbing Lion’s Head. Somewhere in my memory I remember being told about Lion’s Head and Devil’s neck and Table Mountain and I see them all every day on my leisurely drive to work in Cape Town. But, honestly, the thought of ever climbing  one of them has never crossed my mind. Not even for a millisecond. But the Abster is a huge fan, and the invitation was there. I took her up on it.

Mumsy even mockingly proclaimed upon my 7:15am departure that I don’t even get up for church that early. The first signs of day had just started to show, and I was already on the road. I had no idea what I was in for…not a single clue. All I knew was that people who do this type of thing, are at least reasonably fit, have steady legs, stable ligaments that didn’t decide to leave them in the lurch in Holland seven years ago and good facking common sense.Me, the Abster and monsieur Maggo (Mag) met up and made our way up onto the gravel road. It looked easy enough. Who can’t walk on gravel, anyway? About 10 minutes into it, I was already huffing and puffing, requesting mini-breaks anywhere possible. My water was finished about 30 minutes later, and I stopped to let people pass me. I hate feeling like I’m keeping anyone from reaching their goals, generous and kind as I am. I was exhausted. My (tight) exercise pants was starting to cling to my thighs and I could care less about whether my tummy was sticking out. Conversation was sporadic at this stage. The Abster and Mag were going at it no problem, encouraging li’l old me all the way. I was too scared to ask how long it took to get up there.

We had just reached the city-side of the head (where the sun decided to shine mercilessly on us) when I decided to take a step to the left.A step too far, and there I lay, sprawling. All I remember hearing was the rocks descending under the force of gravity that was me, and someone shouting my name anxiously. It echoed.

I got up, made as if nothing happened, but I knew my damn anterior cruciate-ligament was acting up again, the ruddy bugger. On we went, passing us were barefoot gypsy-looking people and eager-to-check-it foreigners, greeting me with a cheery “hello” that I somehow welcomed in my undoubtedly doubtful situation.
I stopped at two points on the actual climbing points. It was the looking up and down that made me do it. It’s facking steep. I couldn’t see how I was possibly going to make it up there. But it’s their motivation and my own will to finish what I started that got me up there. Also, I couldn’t possibly back down what with three kids under five, a woman with slip-in sandals and a dog practically racing up there even with a police helicopter hovering over (and under)head. And so I did it.

I did it. It’s difficult to describe the feeling I had when I was finally there. On top of Lion’s Head. I smiled for the first time in an hour and forty minutes. My body relaxed. Totally. My legs in an ecstatic numb-like state. And I realised right then and there that it would not be entirely inaccurate to liken that feeling to an orgasm. I felt fantastic for the entire time I was there.Gazing at the city and the feeling that I was swimming in the clouds that were looming up over the coast.

Upon our descent, which proved a little more difficult since it required a lot more concentration and effort not to fack down there, I saw a girl with a t-shirt with the appropriate inspiration on it for anyone (including me) who ever intends to be a little more adventurous than their own backyard. It said: ” Fear is temporary, regret is forever…”



  1. MadamM, you have scored some serious grown-up points with this. Rather you than me my dear woman. I would faint just at the thought of climbing a mountain (strange that I belonged to a hiking club while still at school…)

  2. I thought I would faint too! But I didn’t…I held onto them rocks!

  3. hahahahahahahhaahahahaha

    I climbed Lion’s Head once, never again. It is that 4 hour walk on the gravel that kills!

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