4Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve

22 March 2020

Paarl Mountain

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4Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve22 March 2020

From the gardens of an iconic & magnificent national monument, we explore & experience some of the most spectacular tracks and trails of the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve.

This is one of the fastest race courses of the TSSL!




 

Short

Distance | 7.5km | +340m
Start Time | 08:21
Cost | R150
Grading | Orange 5A i

Long

Distance | 13.5km | +560m
Start Time | 08:00
Cost | R220
Grading | Orange 5B i

XL

Distance | 20km | +821m
Start Time | 07:30
Cost | R295
Grading | Yellow 4A i

Long

It straight into up mode as we leave the spires of the Taal Monument behind and head up into the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve.  The climb finally abates at 1.5km as we break right into a level track before descending to the start of the 'Bat Cave' hiking trail (2.2km).  It's a fun downhill on trail to another climb up to the course split at 3.7km.  Just after 4km we turn and run into the shadow of the huge West face of Bretagne Rock before joining the trail that takes us to the base of 'stairway to heaven'.  Is a stair workout for 200m as we ascend through the indigenous forests that nestle in the cleft between Gordon's and Bretagne rocks to top out at 5km and the highest point on the long route.  From here it's a fast descent to 6.6km before an undulating climb to 8.8km.  A short sharp descent brings us to the base of a steep climb to Christmas Camp and the join with the Short course at 10.2km. It's another undulating route to the top of the final fast descent at 12km.  A fun final section through the manicured gardens of the Taal Monument and through the monument itself brings you to the finish.

Short

It straight into up mode as we leave the spires of the Taal Monument behind and head up into the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve.  The climb finally abates at 1.5km as we break right into a level track before descending to the start of the 'Bat Cave' hiking trail (2.2km).  It's a fun downhill on trail to another climb up to the course split at 3.7km.  A fun traverse on hiking trail gets us past the 4km mark and up some steps to join the two longer routes again at the Christmas Camp (4.3km).  From the highest point on route at 4.7km it's a fast undulating section to the top of the final descent at 6km.  A steep slippery clay descent gets you back into the Taal Monument grounds and a fun final section right through the monument itself!

XL

It straight into up mode as we leave the spires of the Taal Monument behind and head up into the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve.  The climb finally abates at 1.5km as we break right into a level track before descending to the start of the 'Bat Cave' hiking trail (2.2km).  It's a fun downhill on trail to another climb up to the course split at 3.7km.  Just after 4km we turn and run into the shadow of the huge West face of Bretagne Rock before joining the trail that takes us to the base of 'stairway to heaven'.  Is a stair workout for 200m as we ascend through the indigenous forests that nestle in the cleft between Gordon's and Bretagne rocks to top out at 5km and the second highest point on the XL route.  It's 1.5km downhill followed by a gentle up to the split from the Long course at 7.3km.  A steep drop to join Jan Philips Berg drive for a few hundred meters before a steep climb up the Ou Kraal hiking trail starting at 8.5km for roughly 1km.  Then it's an undulating, scenic run around Betheldam and up to the high point on the XL route at 13km.  A fast downhill section follows to the join of the Long course at 15km, followed swiftly by a steep descent and another up to Christmas Camp and the join with the Short course at 16.5km.  It's another undulating route to the top of the final fast descent at 18km.  A fun steep final section down brings us to the manicured gardens of the Taal Monument and through the monument itself brings to the finish.

WILDRUNNER TRAIL RUNNING GRADING SYSTEM (WTG)

Download the WTG here

The Wildrunner Trail Grading system (WTG), was developed in 2009 and designed to help you make informed decisions on trail running events around the country. Unlike road running, trail running routes and races have many more facets to them, making them either harder or longer (in time) than you may expect.

Every race/event should give you the total distance and accumulative ascent, but using road running sense to work out your time based on these factors alone would be a mistake!

The three primary 'trail factors' affecting your overall time and effort on a trail run are as follows:
1. Terrain difficulty (easy or tricky?)
2. % single track/off-road to on-road (how much on difficult terrain?) 
3. Route severity (how steep?)

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The three factors mentioned above have been expanded into an easy three part grading system. Each trail factor is listed below with the descriptions. Look out for races with a WTG and use this guide to make informed decisions.

DEFINITIONS:
'Technical' terrain = trail that is ‘busy’, that requires extensive concentration and trail running technique - for example a rocky hiking path, or a 4x4 track.
'Off-trail'= Describes sections that do not have any obvious or established route, for example a river bed, grass field or a section of beach. 
'Single-track' = Describing a trail that is narrow and typically only wide enough for one runner to run on at a time and in single file. Examples of typical single track would be a hiking trail, mountain bike trail, game trail, livestock trail

FOR EXAMPLE:
Cape Winter Trail Series®  - Tygerberg Nature Reserve: YELLOW 8B
Gauteng Summer Trail Series®  - Leeuwenkloof: ORANGE 7A
Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge 36km: GREEN 8B
Skyrun 100km: RED 9B

All Wildrunner events (www.wildrunner.co.za) carry this grading system - look out for the grading on the event listing.

PART 1: TERRAIN DIFFICULTY

YELLOW = Easy, non-technical terrain, all on established trails and tracks
ORANGE= Moderately easy terrain, short sections of ‘technical’ terrain but largely easy running, all on established trails and tracks
GREEN = Moderate challenging terrain, with a mix of ‘technical’ and ‘non technical’ terrain, mostly on established trails and tracks but may or may not have extended sections regarded as being ‘off-trail’
BROWN = Moderately difficult terrain, more ‘technical’ terrain than ‘non-technical’ terrain, challenging but mostly on established trails and tracks although may or may not have extended sections regarded as being ‘off-trail’
RED = Difficult terrain, majority ‘technical’ terrain that is extremely demanding, may or may not have large sections on un-established trails and tracks

PART 2: % SINGLE TRACK/OFF-ROAD 

1 = 1-10%
2 = 11-20%
3= 21-30%
4 = 31-40%
5 = 41-50%
6 = 51-60%
7 = 61-70%
8 = 71-80%
9 = 81-90%
10 = 91-100%

PART 3: ROUTE SEVERITY 

A = Mostly runnable gradient 
B = Mostly runable gradient, but has some steep ascent and descent that may require walking 
C = Lots of steep ascent and descent that may require walking