General Grand Traverse planning & tips

08 Oct 2019 07:51 #75369 by HenkSeevinck
Hi VE,

We are in the process of planning a 5 - 7 day N-S traverse over Easter weekend in April 2020. I have the speed traverse track which is available for download from VE, I have however heard the some of the sections of the speed traverse track is probably not the best route to follow due to various villages and dogs (probably other reasons I just cant remember now). I would be very grateful to obtain some information on different routes which was recently followed by groups who recently finished the traverse. Please contact me on messenger if your willing to share your information and GPS Tracks.

Kind Regards

Henk

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08 Oct 2019 11:31 #75370 by Drakie1
Hi Henk
Three of us completed an unsupported 13 day N-S DGT in May 2019.

We did not follow the speed traverse route because of the scenery closer to the escarpment. We did summit all six peaks required to qualify as a DGT though. 

Our total distance came to about 240 km with a total ascent of 11410 m. Certainly not the shortest or easiest route, but if it could be of any value to you I would gladly send you my GPS tracks as well as a link to my hike report which describes the route we took.

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08 Oct 2019 12:39 #75371 by ghaznavid
Intrepid loaded a GPS track that has a lot of different variations - try that one. My GPS plan tracks (not that any of my GTs have stuck to the plan) have usually been a stitched together series of Stijn and Intrepid's tracks, plus a lot of my own info, and other people's tracks.

If you want to avoid dogs entirely - it is best to avoid a GT. You will almost certainly encounter dogs along the way. But the most skippable dogs are:
1) Between Thlanyako Pass and Didima Cave, instead of following the Yodeler's River, take the higher line. It is shorter, but very steep. Intrepid's track has this variation.
2) Follow the escarpment edge between Mafadi and Giants Castle (Intrepid's track).
3) From the bottom of Isicutula Pass, stay on the higher trails around Thaba Ngwangwe. If you stay on the highest trail, around 2700m, when you hit the south west corner of Thaba Ngwangwe, you can climb up to a saddle and drop down the other side, cutting a lot of distance off the standard route and skipping dogs. Not that dogs are a massive issue on Thaba Ngwangwe - its just that they are very easy to miss on this section.

The reality of a GT is that there are certain things you will almost always encounter:
1) Shepherds with their dogs (99% of the time these experiences have been nice, I very rarely have issues with shepherds)
2) Dogs without their shepherds - which can be scary with no one to call them off, but just throw a few rocks at the dogs and they will probably run away
3) Livestock - try and avoid being charged by a cow or goat. Being charged by horses has happened to me too, but that is rare.
4) Wind and rain, maybe even hail and/or snow
5) Mist
6) If you forget your sunscreen or lip ice, then a lot of peeling skin (it is particularly painful on your lips).
7) Sore feet, back and neck
8) Questioning what on earth you are doing up there (usually during bad weather or when you are sore)
9) A really awesome feeling as you come into the final stretch and realise that you are actually going to finish
The following user(s) said Thank You: DeonS, HenkSeevinck

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