Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
July 2019
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Walls of Jerusalem – Day 3A – Solomon’s Throne

I’ll admit that my brother’s suggestion that we climb Solomon’s Throne had filled me with a little trepidation, even though the existence of a route is clearly indicated on the map. I mean, there were several factors to justify my trepidation: (a) it involves an uphill, (b) there are scree slopes, (c) I don’t have a fantastic head for heights, (d) I wasn’t convinced I could actually see how the track might get up to the top, (e) gravity is a fairly influential force, and (f) that’s a cliffy-looking thing between the bottom and the top.


We could actually see part of the route from our vantage point on the way up to Damascus Gate from Dixon’s Kingdom: if you look closely at the photo below, where the cliff base meets the scree slope, you might just be able to make out a couple of vertical silver lines, which are track-marking poles about 1.5m high. We had been assured by other hikers, however, that the route was good and relatively easy, and so it turned out to be.


There has been some amazing track-work to create a stable set of stone steps from the local dolerite, and despite the airiness of the views it felt very safe (I encountered just one step that rocked a tiny little bit). bIMG_2982

The exciting bit was the crevice that takes you up the cliff face — in fact, it is a break in the cliff face that gives access to the plateau on top. Again, the steps were secure and easy to follow, yet not so obvious as to be a dominant man-made feature.



Once up on top the views were stunning. The summit plateau continues along to King David’s Peak, and the Vale of Bethesda lies beneath the West Wall. To the west (left of the photo below) we could again make out all the peaks along the Overland Track, even if I couldn’t quite work out exactly which one was which apart from a couple (like the iconic Barn Bluff at the far right of the panorama shot).



This time I set up the tripod for the group selfie, and the terrain was easier for me to saunter across and get comfortable in the 10 second time-frame.



With my trust in the track established, our trip back down was quick and comfortable, and I could enjoy the jaw-dropping outlook.  bIMG_3009

My brother decided to pose as an epic rockclimber, but my photo rather undermines his attempt, since you can just make out an orange track-marker suggesting that he isn’t really all that high (which is not to say he wouldn’t have hurt himself had he experienced an unfortunate change in location).


It was nice to look back up at the summit after reaching Damascus Gate and realise that the trepidation had been wasted. It was well worth the effort.


(Photo of Helen and her tripod taken by David.)

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