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Jacobs Ladder 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 230'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: C Butler, H Davis, JE Henry, MP Mamacos, GW Rose
Page Views: 3,067
Submitted By: davecro on Feb 18, 2013

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (9)
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The traverse pitch.


A must do classic. This route is an excellent introduction the airy traverses found on Table Mountain.


Facing the mountain, hike to the far left side of Staircase Ledge. You will have to shuffle around an awkward boulder and step onto a well worn tree. This marks the start of the route.

P1, 12 meters, grade 14. Starting from the tree climb a crack near the arête until you reach an overhang. Build a cramped belay in the pod below the overhang.

P2, 35 meters, grade 16. From the pod traverse right on a system of parallel horizontal hand cracks and juggy rails. Traverse up and right until you reach a corner. Then look for a vertical crack system. Climb these cracks until they give way to a good belay ledge.

Route finding is a little tricky for me on this pitch. I just climb right and up and hope for the best. If someone has better beta, then please post it in the comments.

P3, 20 meters, grade 15. Shuffle to the left side of the belay ledge. Pull one hard move off the ledge, and then scramble to the summit. Prepare to be heckled by tourists from the cable car.


I recommend that you ask the staff at CityRock, the climbing gym in Observatory, for directions to Staircase Ledge. They have provided me with wonderful beta in the past, and were even kind enough to photocopy a few pages from the guidebook (which is out of print).


50 meter half ropes are encouraged on Table Mountain because most of the routes require long traverses. In my experience the majority of South Africans use half ropes.

Single rack of cams (BD #0.3 - #3)
Single set of stoppers
Lots of slings

Photos of Jacobs Ladder Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Trish Gaertner on the traverse pitch of Jacobs Lad...
Trish Gaertner on the traverse pitch of Jacobs Lad...
Rock Climbing Photo: Start is hidden behind the trees but is easy to fi...
BETA PHOTO: Start is hidden behind the trees but is easy to fi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Original route description from the 1952 Journal o...
BETA PHOTO: Original route description from the 1952 Journal o...

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By Martin le Roux
From: Superior, CO
May 6, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Maybe it's not done this way any more, but the original route was done in four pitches (not counting an approach pitch):
P1. Same as Davecro's P1, except I don't remember a semi-hanging belay.
P2. Continue up a juggy crack through the overhang, then traverse left to a stance on a bushy ledge (about 10m, S African grade 15).
P3. Traverse back right past the top of P2, then continue up and right to join Daverco's P2. Alternatively, you could set up a hanging belay at the top of the juggy crack on P2 to avoid traversing left and back right again.
P4. Same as Davecro's P3.

Here's another photo:

The first ascent was by Mike Mamacos (not "Mamaccs").

For those interested in ancient history I've posted a scan of the original 1952 trip report. They rehearsed the crux on top rope. Tut, tut.
By davecro
From: Lebanon, NH
Jul 28, 2013

Thanks for the info Martin. I cleaned up my description and included some of your edits.

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