By Cornelius van Niekerk (@mountainbarista)
Huge, rugged and remote. That is how I would describe the Hex. Spreading out between Worcester and De Doorns these mountains form the second highest range in the Western Cape and offer a high level of exploration to those that venture into their depths.
After looking over countless contour lines on our maps myself and Henko headed for the mountains with the goal of exploring as many wild peaks as possible.
In such a harsh environment you must ensure you are protected from the sun, cold and wind. Inov8 Base Elite Long Sleeve ticks all the boxes. It is super light, offers protection from the cold wind, while being highly breathable. Since we would be hiking with heavy packs, and working hard this turned out to be an incredible piece of gear.
Day one; we walked up to Milner Vlakte and set up camp. After a relaxing cup of coffee we decided to head up to Milner Peak. A spectacular summit moment with mist and clouds playing around us as we gazed down the huge drop of the amphitheatre.
After good night’s rest we started out our traverse. First summiting Milner Ridge Peak then the Shale Peaks and soon after Buffelshoekpiek standing at 2059m.
We had been moving over loose rocky terrain with the sun blazing down on us but at the same time a chilly wind blew over the ridge, (there was still snow lying in shaded areas). Having a breathable long sleeve made all the difference. I could move comfortably without being burnt by the sun and at the same time I did not have the icy wind directly on my skin. This is exactly what the Base Elite is made for.
Day three involved summiting the impressive Sentinel Peak and Mount Brodie. Sitting on the Sentinel with a cup of coffee in hand will always remain one of my fondest memories of this trip. At sunrise the next day we headed out for the traverse from Perry Refuge to Pells Hut. Along the way taking a detour to summit Sybasberg and a little bit of reception. Only to receive weather warnings of high winds in two days’ time. Thus we decided on one big day to round off the trip.
We made it to Waaihoek summit for sunrise and low clouds. What a sight. Peaks bathed in golden light, valleys hidden by the white mist. Amazing. But the day ahead was still long. Dropping down we headed for the impressive Mosterthoek Twins. Interesting route finding and some bushy scrambling soon followed. Lunch was enjoyed on the South Summit and then we scrambled to the North Summit. What followed after that was the longest descent I have done.. 1600m of it in fact and over loose rocks. It is a bit like walking on big marbles which are hidden under dry grass on a steep slope… Finally we made it to Michells Pass.
Going for so long in one go meant that any gear or apparel that is not well designed quickly show their flaws. I can say with full confidence that the Base Elite performed outstanding. I always felt super comfortable and never once experienced any irritation while wearing it. Which I did for the full 5 days.
A couple of other plus points was that it is odour resistant and dries very quickly after washing it out. Furthermore I really liked that my one is red and makes you highly visible in the case of emergency. Plus it looks very cool in photos. It is now a indispensable part of my gear whether I go for a scramble on Table Mountain or for a multi-day venture into remote mountains.