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 Post subject: Are heights a problem during the Otter
Unread postPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 11:23 am 
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Hi guys, i hope someone can assist with some ojective information.

This will be the first time our group of 6 does the Majestic Otter, however we have a person who has a problem with heights.

Should this person e concerned abou the heights aspect or is this a non issue. Any objective feedack will be greatly appreciated.
:)


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 Post subject: Re: Are heights a problem during the Otter
Unread postPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 11:49 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
I did the Otter in '99, so my memory may not be correct. I think there might be some cause for concern. The trail does go quite close to the edge of the cliffs at some stages, with a large sheer drop to the ocean below.

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 Post subject: Re: Are heights a problem during the Otter
Unread postPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 7:35 pm 
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Iconoclasp,

I've done the trail a number of years back and found the only spot that might be difficult for a person with a fear of heights to be after crossing the Bloukrans river. When the tide is high you might have to climb around/ over the cliffs on the western bank.

Otherwise there are lots of section taking you up and down ravines and hills, but not too close to cliffs to feel nervous. The descends to the rivers like Lotterings and Bloukrans are very steep, therefor I will be more concerned if someone in your party has problem with their knees than the heights. The distances are not long, but you need to be reasonable fit to enjoy this trail. :thumbs_up: I would like to tackle this one myself no that my son is 12 years old and allowed to do the hike.

Also make sure you plan to get to Bloukrans at low tide otherwise you in for a swim across strong currents. I understand that there is an escape route now at Bloukrans and with cellphone you might not run into serious problems as in the days when I did the hike.

Another precaution is to be wary of illegal hikers. There were some hikers that were confronted by other "hikers" which did not book on the trail. Hiking trails were always safe, but nowadays be aware that there are people that are not on the trail for the same enjoyment as you. This is maybe not a new problem, but something one need to think about when hiking. :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: Are heights a problem during the Otter
Unread postPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 7:46 am 
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Hi Iconoclasp,
We've (the wife & I) done the Otter 3 times the past year (and doing it again - DV - on 19 July - how lucky can one be?) and know the trail fairly well.
Some time ago we've been hiking in a group and done a VERY "mild" trail - as far as heights are concerned. In the group was a lady who is afraid of heights (we didn't know that beforehand) - and as we went up a VERY gentle hill, her problem got the better of her - she had hit the ground and couldn't move or be "encouraged" to do so - it took a looooong time for her husband to eventually get her down - on hand & knees they managed to turn back. That was the first time we saw "afraid of heights" in action - scary I tell you.
So - depending on the degree the person in your group suffers from fear of heights - the Otter is a definite NO.
Everyday there are sections which will test such a person - and it could affect the whole group.
For us, who aren't afraid of heights, it's easy to say "yes, there are some sections where one must be careful etc etc" - but for someone who has a REAL problem with heights, should most definitely not attempt the Otter - don't even say or think "we must just be careful" or the like.
Once you've seen real fear for heights in action, you will know - the Otter is a big no,no.
Any person with a problem with heights - as you've put it - should not be doing the Otter - full stop!
The image below might give some idea of what one can expect - it was shot on day 4 on our way to the Bloukrantz.
Whatever you decide - enjoy!
Regards
Andrè

Image

More photos


Last edited by andre w on Wed May 25, 2011 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Are heights a problem during the Otter
Unread postPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 10:38 am 
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Yes , I fully agree with andre w regarding his opinion on the wisdom of anyone with a fear heights embarking on the Otter .

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 Post subject: Re: Are heights a problem during the Otter
Unread postPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 12:00 pm 
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A someone who does have a fear of heights I must say that the above photo actually doesn't frighten me at all, but everyone has it in a different degree.

Isn't it so that there are also some wiggly hanging bridges on the trail? Those take me quite a bit of effort...

Hint: I find that I can overcome, well, totally forget, the fear by putting a lens in front of my eye. Bit unhandy while walking of course, but it could help in a bad spot?

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 Post subject: Re: Are heights a problem during the Otter
Unread postPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 12:33 pm 
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Wonderful photos , andre w , they brought back good memories , I imagined could smell the the salty breeze and the vegetation .


The descent is not perceptable , in many places the pathway passes very close to a precipice with a sheer drop to the sea shore , in many of those places I would not even risk trying to take a photo for fear of losing my balance . I can testify that here are more than just a few places where one who has a fear for precipices would best not risk walking .

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 Post subject: Re: Are heights a problem during the Otter
Unread postPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 1:53 pm 
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Andre, your photos give those who cant carry those packs and climb up and down on strenuous hikes a good idea of what's to be seen on the Otter Trail.
It looks magnificent! Many thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Are heights a problem during the Otter
Unread postPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 4:14 pm 
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Thanks Josh, Andre and all who contributed.

I do not believe the person has a debilitating fear as he has gone up table mountain in the past.

Albeit 15 years ago, and one of the easier routes up, i believe there are various routes up Table mountain. :hmz:

I believe shear drop offs/ cliffs with limited moving space might be a problem though.

Andre your photo's look amazing and makes the non weary ones amongst us even more keen to get going.

I will guide our friend to the forum so he can have a look at the photos and comments.

Thank you all kindly :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Are heights a problem during the Otter
Unread postPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 11:56 am 
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15 years is a long time ago.
These fears seem to plague us more as we age.
You have the best plan for him to look at the photos and decide for himself whether or nor he can manage it. :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Are heights a problem during the Otter
Unread postPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 2:22 pm 
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Good idea to have a look at the photos and what others have to say ---
BUT - needless to say, I know - heights etc on a photo is one dimensional and don't give the real feeling - AND there's no chance I'll take out the camera and shoot whilst in a potentially dangerous spot which actually deserves a photo - so, photos could help, but not telling the full story.
Also, when having a heavy (or not so heavy) pack on your back, makes tricky sections a completely different animal.
After all is said - don't let all the doom & gloom put you off - the Otter is too special to just give it up.
One who is not sure of heights, could consider giving it a go - such a person will quickly see for himself whether he's into deep here and take one of the exit routes of which there are quite a number - and call it a day.
One thing I suggest you don't do - don't let this highjack your hike - like so many people do regarding the infamous Bloukrantz crossing - the crossing surely is something to consider and plan carefully, but it's not as daunting as it's made out to be - just prepare well and get there on time - if conditions are such that it's unwise to cross - then simply don't - take the Bloukrantz exit route, phone the ranger and he'll transport you to a point where you can carry on from. Up to now, we were lucky enough to have crossed the river everytime - in past December, even the Lottering & Elandsbos were more of an effort - the bloukrantz we've crossed without having to take off our packs!
Regards
Andrè


Last edited by andre w on Fri May 27, 2011 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Are heights a problem during the Otter
Unread postPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 2:57 pm 
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andre w wrote:
the bloukrantz we've crossed without having to take off our packs!RegardsAndrè



Agreed andre w - looking at your pics brings back fond memories , many that have a fear of heights will manage as long as they don't concentrate on looking down the sheer drops , and enthusiastic fairly fit hikers should not be deterred as it is an indescribably wonderful place to be .

andre w , regarding your pic 2000 jpg of the lady at the narrow stream - I sat at the edge of the pool and had lunch all on my own in late Dec 1999 looking over the ocean , the fellow trailists didn't even notice me (I am happy to say) as they passed behind me ....
New years eve was spent at Andre hut with fireworks in the air over Plettenberg Bay in the distance ....

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KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.


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 Post subject: Re: Are heights a problem during the Otter
Unread postPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 3:47 pm 
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Ndloti,
Yes, I know that stream very well - very near a sheer drop which deserves huge respect - perfect place for an early lunchbreak- best spot in the world to enjoy. The lady in the pic is my wife, Margaret.
The fireworks from Andre hut must have been something to see indeed. I'm sure you have fond memories - I plan to - one day in future (DV) - do the Otter over the last days of a year and also be on the trail on old year's eve - must be something really special.
Your pic of the Bloukrantz - very nice - and one can see it's a couple years ago - the sandbed is no longer - after the 2007 floods - now strewn with small rocks - still very special.
The last time we've done the Otter, we had our anniversary at Ngubu - planned it that way - was VERY special.
I suggest you do another Otter - sounds like it brings back fond memories.
Regards and thanks for the chat.
Andrè


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 Post subject: Re: Are heights a problem during the Otter
Unread postPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 3:52 pm 
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Thanks guys our friend has decided to give it a go , there is a good support structure in the group, and exit routes if need be.

We are flying down on the 4th and starting on the 6th , i will do my best to give you guys feedback on how it went as well as some pics.

As a group we want to thank all of you guys that has taken time to offer some suggestions and guidance, pictures etc.

Thanks again guys.

Happy trails to all. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Are heights a problem during the Otter
Unread postPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 5:56 pm 
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Hi Iconoclasp,
It's just a pleasure. Great that your friend decided to go.
Enjoy and don't forget the feedback on your return.
Regards

[ Post made via Mobile Device ] Image


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