Chasing the extreme in the heart of the city


Kelvin Trautman doesn’t do nine to five. The outdoor photographer and filmmaker has made a career out of adventure, braving extreme conditions to cross deserts and oceans. His expeditions take him to the most extraordinary, desolate and humbling locations around the globe, working with some of the world’s most accomplished athletes and adventurers. But when Trautman is home and needs to get out, he heads up Kloof Corner Ridge on Table Mountain.

The route begins at the bottom of Tafelberg Road near the cable station, and continues to the top. The trail isn’t for the faint-hearted. Trautman has to navigate chain ladders and squeeze through a 28-centimetre crack. “Kloof Corner Ridge offers a place where I can push both my physical and mental limits,” he says. It takes intense willpower to look down, acknowledge the risk of exposure, and still continue climbing. “I do feel nervous, but these experiences teach me how to manage fear,” Trautman says. “It’s a lesson I can apply to all parts of my life.” The place offers a point of view that, for Trautman, is actually grounding. “Hiking for me is about getting away and gaining perspective,” he says. “This route does that so simply.”

Cape Town is known for its natural beauty, and an abundance of outdoor retreats in close proximity to urban areas. “There are few cities where you can go from your back door to the mountain,” Trautman says. Table Mountain and its myriad trails are but one of the options. There’s also Lion’s Head nearby for those who want to play it safe while still enjoying the views. “I’m reminded that to catch glimpses of the wild and beautiful places, you really don’t have to go far from home,” Trautman says.