Grand Traverse Record Race

18 Jul 2012 16:48 #54682 by Fitness
:thumbsup: Thanks Ghaz, that was going to be my next question, who is best to lead the GT, and another question is it best doing North to South or vice versa? Is it done annually by the Mountain Backpackers?

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18 Jul 2012 19:02 #54684 by ghaznavid
Mountain Backpackers does it annually, sometimes with a variation (eg South to North this year, Namahadi Pass a few years ago, ending in Sehlabatheba another year etc). You normally have to succeed on a "training hike" to prove that you are up for the challenge. The one I went on is described on a thread about Thlanyako Pass posted by Tony Marshall - it was supposed to be up Thuthumi Pass and down Greys Pass in 3 days (65km), we ended up heading up Organ Pipes Pass and down Thlanyako Pass (42km), slept in Rolands Cave - it was a really nice hike...

Its a tough call as to which way round to do it, if you are very fit, S-N is doable, but otherwise start on the easy side - the Ifidi, Icidi etc ridges are molehills compared to the Mashai, Verkyker and No-Mans Peak ridges. By halfway through a GT you are much fitter than you were when you started the hike, you are adjusted to the altitude and your pack is lighter...

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24 Mar 2013 08:51 #56348 by Stijn
News just in: the current Grand Traverse record-holders, Ryno Griesel & Cobus van Zyl, along with Gert Vorster and Dreyer van Huyssteen, attempted to break their own record of 60h29m30s over the recent long weekend.

Gert & Dreyer decided to call it a day at Champagne Castle while Ryno and Cobus pushed on. The end result - a time of 64h and the 3rd-fastest time ever. Close but no cigar... I have a feeling Ryno will be back soon though... :thumbsup:
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21 Oct 2013 16:55 - 21 Oct 2013 17:46 #58845 by Stijn
Ryan Sandes has just arrived in the Berg and will be spending the week there with the goal of "scouting" the DGT Record route by the end of the week. Current record-holders Ryno Griesel and Cobus van Zyl will be joining him, so I think there's a very real chance that they may shave a few hours of their current record on this scouting trip.

The main goal is a non-stop (no sleep) running attempt early next year, which could put the record into the sub-48h range! For those of you who don't know Ryan Sandes, he's pretty much South Africa's only fully sponsored professional trail runner and has some serious international ultra-distance trail race wins to his name, including the Leadville 100-miler (in 16h46m) and other races on each continent. In other words, this thing is going down!

My only concern (which I've posted on his FB page) is that Salomon might throw their media resources behind this attempt. Chatting with Ryno last weekend, it seems there may even be a chopper following them for sections of the traverse. As I'm sure you'll all agree, this flies in the face of the wilderness experience we seek in the Berg, even on these more competitive missions. It also starts graying the definition of "unsupported" if there's a chopper to jump in should anything go wrong - i.e. you no longer have to pack for emergencies.

Case in point: Kilian Jornet's recent record-smashing ascent and descent of the Matterhorn, all the way from Cervinia and back in a ridiculous 2h52m. So inspiring and jaw-dropping at the same time. But when I stumbled across this You Tube clip, that constant chopper noise just really detracts from the entire experience. Yes, this is the Alps and choppers are all over the show, but I sincerely hope that the Berg does not go the same way...

Ryno did say he was trying to push back on the chopper story, so let's hope they listen.

Last edit: 21 Oct 2013 17:46 by Stijn.
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21 Oct 2013 17:35 #58846 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Grand Traverse Record Race
They need authorisation to fly in the UDP-WHS any way and issuing of permits will be done with some scrutiny.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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22 Oct 2013 05:29 #58849 by JonWells
Replied by JonWells on topic Grand Traverse Record Race
Stoked to hear Ryan is finally having a crack at it!

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22 Oct 2013 07:19 #58851 by Smurfatefrog
The start of day 2. 10 points for anyone who can pinpoint the pic

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22 Oct 2013 09:33 #58854 by mike
Replied by mike on topic Grand Traverse Record Race
It would be awesome to see Ryan's attempt at the GT ! The chopper flying above does change things, but from my point of view I would prefer to see the footage than worry about a little noise.
Have a look at this vid of him doing the Fish River Canyon , there is no way you can capture that experience and the views any other way, its truly inspiring. Would love to see the Berg from those angles


<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/mwMsf23yBmo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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22 Oct 2013 09:40 #58855 by plouw
Replied by plouw on topic Grand Traverse Record Race
@Mike: I think Stijn was also referring to the effect the chopper's noise will have on other hikers.

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22 Oct 2013 10:08 #58856 by mike
Replied by mike on topic Grand Traverse Record Race
Really ? It's two days out of an entire year, for something spectacular.The speed they travel at I doubt it would bother the average hiker for too long and if it's really going to well then they can plan their trip for an alternative weekend.I recall on two previous hikes seeing choppers scouting passes beneath us, its not unheard of.

These guys are also sponsored athletes , for one the sponsors I'm sure would love the coverage which they deserve , secondly there are a number of people who would love to see the footage. I for one really enjoy watching these youtube vids of Kilian and other athletes do these remarkable feats. The long zoomed out aerial shots of mountaineers and climbers really put things in perspective, the same applies to the GT.

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