The three peaks route is a spectacular traverse of the three major peaks of the Table Mountain massif, which crosses Devil's Peak and Table Mountain itself before finishing on top of Lion's Head. Although the route is somewhat
strenuous, one is rewarded by spectacular views of the Cape Peninsula and a well-earned sense of achivement on summiting that final peak.
A rough route description goes as follows:
1. Start at Rhodes' Memorial (160m) or UCT.
2. Ascend to the Minor Peak (856m) of Devil's Peak via the blockhouse and Mowbray Ridge.
3. Ascend to the top of Devil's Peak (1000m) taking the direct ascent up and left from the Minor Peak.
4. Drop down onto the Saddle (700m) between Devil's Peak and Table Mountain.
5. Ascend to Maclear's Beacon (1086m) on Table Mountain via the Ledges route, being careful not to piss off the himalayan mountain thars, that call this area their (adoptive) home.
6. Cross the eastern table of TM and drop down the bone-jarring Platteklip Gorge onto Tafelberg Road.
7. An easy jog across Tafelberg Road and Kloof Nek, takes on to the base of Lion's Head, which is ascended by the normal route (670m).
Distance: 12 to 15km depending on starting point
Altitude - climb: +/- 1870m
Altitude - descent: +/- 1200m
This route is run annually as a race by UCT's Graduate School of Business, and the record time for the race is under 3 hours.
A bunch of completely mad mountain trail runners have created some insanely hard variations on the theme, such as the Three Peak's Challenge, which takes in the same 3 peaks, but adds in a waypoint in the centre of town after each peak to stretch the distance to about 50km and add endless meters of ascent and descent.
Another infamous mountain ultra-marathon is the Puffer, which consists of an 80km route across the whole Table Moutain chain, starting at the tip of Cape Point and finishing in city at the Waterfront. Many peaks are crossed on the way, and if that's not hard enough then there's always the Tuffer Puffer...
See also the Cape Runners Against Gravity site for an sample of Table Mountain trail running possibilities.
The most common starting point is Rhodes' Memorial on the slopes of Devil's Peak. This is reached by car via the M3 highway by following the well-marked signposts near UCT.
No technical gear required. Carrying sufficient water to last for the whole route is a good idea in summer. The stream in Fir Tree Ravine at the top of Ledges is usually a fairly reliable source of water.