Safety on the mountain – Do’s and Don’ts
The last 12 months have been a turbulent period for mountain users in Cape Town. From the early part of 2018 with violent and sometimes fatal attacks on the Kalk bay side of the mountains to the mid year attacks in the Newland’s area it has forced many hikers, runners and mountain bike riders to reconsider our beautiful mountain.
It was brought home to us @ The Vine when a personal friend and trail running buddy was attacked, stripped naked and stabbed in an incident a few months ago and made me personally realise that we all need to be aware of the dangers and more importantly how we lower the risk factors.
Do’s and Don’ts :
- Run in a group whenever possible…. Luckily in Cape Town we have many options for trail running and hiking groups and its also a great way to meet people. The Vine, MATES, Tuesday trails, Chicks who trail, Trail Dawgs, Trailblazers, CRAG…the list goes on.
I personally love to run alone on the mountain and would say that this is fine as long as you have high awareness of your surroundings at all times.
- Let people know where you are going and when you are expected back…….. @Thevineonline/runcafe we now have a ‘check-in’ system in place where people can register in our logbook the route they are doing, when they expect to return and we will monitor and send someone to look for you if we cannot reach you. We also highly recommend downloading on your phones the Life360 App.
This will allow us to track you on our big screen. If you cannot check in at The Vine, make sure you let someone know these details so they can make sure you get home safely.
- Check the latest incident reports……... @ Thevineonline.co.za. We collate on a daily basis the latest incident reports on the mountain. Ensure you are up to date with the recommended safe and unsafe spots.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times…….When on the mountain, alway maintain vigilance. Never run or hike with headphones in. Be aware of the trail ahead of you, above you and behind you. If you see something that looks out of place such as individuals or groups who look our of place (no hiking, running shoes for example) then move up and off the trail to let them pass.
- Carry a decoy phone with some small denomination notes wrapped around it…… If you are approached and money is demanded this can be thrown down onto the floor. If your attacker then goes for this you can run or get away.
- Run, walk or hike on well populated routes…..avoiding remote and isolated areas of the park. The more people around you the better for obvious reasons.
- Carry directional Mace……..and if you have received some training – a knife. This is your last line of defence and if you are ever in this situation you will be glad to have it.
- Run to high ground…………above your attacker. Its very difficult for 1 or more attackers to attack you if you have the high ground. You can throw rocks down on them, spray mace down on them and keep them at bay, making the risk too great for them to continue an attack.
- Take a first aid kit with you on the mountain…….This should include an easy to apply wound dressing, cling film wrapped round a pencil is a great option for wrapping a limb.
- Make sure you have the right emergency numbers programmed in your phone
Emergencies: +27 (0)21 480 7700
Table Mountain National Park:+27 (0)21 957 4700
Wilderness Search and Rescue:+27 (0)21 948 9900
- Run with earphones…..make sure you are always aware of your surroundings
- Ignore your instincts……. If you see someone or something on the trail that you feel is out of place – react quickly, don’t feel embarrassed to run up and off the trail. If someone is on the mountain with no pack, non hiking or running shoes – be aware.
- Try and protect your stuff…..hand it over – its only stuff.
- Keep quiet……your voice is your biggest weapon, so shout loudly to alert others.
- Leave your dog at home…Take it with you or better still hike in a group and take several dogs along as this will be the best deterrent to a would be criminal.
- Attempt to use a Taser…… You can’t buy proper Tasers in this country unless you are military or police so what you actually have is ineffective against a larger angry assailant and you stand a great chance of ‘zapping’ yourself.
- Stop running on the mountain.
Here’s a fantastic blog post from Joy of Android about the best free family locator apps, well worth a read and to download 1 of them for when you are going off on a hike. View the guide…