Who is doing or has done the Grand Traverse

09 Jan 2012 21:26 #5246 by Geordie
If I may quote Douglas Adams or more specifically Ford Prefect:

DON'T PANIC, at least not until you see the leader panicking.

2. Try and team up with one or two other to share tents, gas, 1st aid kits, even meals.

3. Weigh and access everything 3 times or more. Weight is always important, but on the traverse it can make or break you.

4. If you have a resupply at Sani, then go as light as possible for the first 3 days.

5. Take an extra sweet or two for the shepherds, lightweight marshmallowey type thing with no wrappers. Discuss this with the group so that you are not the only one doing it (Like Jax and I on the trip above,). You meet about 3-4 a day, so work it out between you. Chomps also work, but take off the wrapper before handing over. (and watch the dogs, they sometimes misinterpret the gesture.

6. Take light weight reading material or a small pack of cards for them long nights.

DON'T PANIC.

Feel free to PM anytime. I’ve done two, both n-S and organised one of them. Also helped with the resupply on 4 occasions.
G

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10 Jan 2012 07:15 - 10 Jan 2012 07:16 #5251 by ghaznavid
Thanks for the info.

Some questions:

Clothing

Is the theory of 1 set on, 1 spare set to sleep in and at each resupply you get a change of clothing brought to you advisable? How do you normally do this?

Gas

How long does gas normally last? E.g. if I team up with another person in the group, would we be safe in waiting till the second resupply to get a new cylinder. Am I likely to regret a decision to not take my gas stove for the first few days pre-Sani and live off foods that don't require cooking until we get there?

Food

Any recommendations on food. I settled on a good hiking diet some time ago (it included large volumes of chocolate and energy sweets), then I cut sugar out of my non hiking diet and now these old hiking snacks make me feel sick. Is a combination of sunflower/pumpkin seeds with raisins and peanuts likely to be sustainable as energy snacks?
Last edit: 10 Jan 2012 07:16 by ghaznavid.

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10 Jan 2012 18:29 #5259 by Beuler
This sounds brilliant! Certainly on my bucket list but how do I find enough leave from work? :S :huh:

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11 Jan 2012 06:59 #5261 by ghaznavid
Its a 13 day hike that only requires 7 days leave, thats pretty good value. The hard part is having enough time to train for it.

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11 Jan 2012 15:06 - 11 Jan 2012 15:18 #5265 by Klipspringer
Ghaznavid, to try and answer some questions:

Clothing

Is the theory of 1 set on, 1 spare set to sleep in and at each resupply you get a change of clothing brought to you advisable? How do you normally do this?

Gas

How long does gas normally last? E.g. if I team up with another person in the group, would we be safe in waiting till the second resupply to get a new cylinder. Am I likely to regret a decision to not take my gas stove for the first few days pre-Sani and live off foods that don't require cooking until we get there?

Food

Any recommendations on food. I settled on a good hiking diet some time ago (it included large volumes of chocolate and energy sweets), then I cut sugar out of my non hiking diet and now these old hiking snacks make me feel sick. Is a combination of sunflower/pumpkin seeds with raisins and peanuts likely to be sustainable as energy snacks?


Clothing:

Depends, do you share a tent?

Gas:

I use a MSR dragonfly, primarily because it is faster and cheaper than gas (in the long run, compare benzine vs gas cannisters). However, nowadays there are a lot of MSR pocket Rocket clones and the pocket rocket itself is very, very light. Gas burns less efficient at high altitudes, this is already noticable on the escarpment. (Test, cook a litre of water at home and then one when you're on the escarpment and measure the time it takes for each scenario. Between coast and Johannesburg there is already a noticable difference. this difference is almost not noticable on the MSR dragonfly.) For long journeys diesel or parafin should be the best fuel, as it burns at a higher temperature and will last longer. Diesel is a messy black affair on your pots, though. With one litre of fuel I have travelled the West Highland Way (totally self supported and never restocked on food and fuel, just bought alcohol :) and cooked generously. (steaks the first night, puddings etc.)

I am of the belief that the bezine stoves are lighter/hour of use than gas stoves. This do require that you share staoves, otherwise the gross weight might still be more than the gas stove. I cannot quantify this, so I will run some tests and report back. Anybody willing to assist? Or know where one can find comparisons?

Note that the multi-fuel stoves are more difficult to operate, and when the temperature gets lower than 2°C gas is really inefficient. heat up (not boil! still so you can put your hand in it) some water, through it into your plate an then put the stove in that warm water. Mayor inprovement.

Food:

Stuff all luxuaries. Food must be light and fast to cook. As for the availability of water across the GT I do not know, but wether it is food that require water to cook is also an important factor.

Smash - good for rehydration
2minute noodles - light and fast.
Soup - I always carry smash and soup packets for emergency rations.
droëwors - very light and boost morale.

Tuna packets (PnP and John West ones flavoured with a dressing) Tuna is high in protein and these saches have a lower water to meat ratio.

Powder energy drinks

Strip food of any excess packaging.

I would also consider investing in quality lightweight equipment ( www.mountainmailorder.co.za ) and would seriously cionsider a gore-tex bivvy bag or a MSR microzoid-type tent. On such a trail the grams count. cut of the excess stem of your toothbrush, cut the excess length of straps on your backpack (if you are in your 20's remember to leave some for when you reach 30 and 40). Cut your hair. Choose a torch with small batteries and be very sensible about the use thereoff. Also bear in mind your mate will most likely have a lot of the stuff that is not edible and can be share. Talk to them and share.

Protect your feet, don't save on socks - if your feet gets comprimised your trip and enjoyment of the trip gets comprimised (Ask Beuller).

Gore-tex and e-vent raincoats as available in every outdoor shop in Europe is much lighter and of better quality than any 'First akkedis' products. In fainess sometimes more expensive. Same goes for tents, though as you'll see on the cavendish click'n brick shop listed earlier - those tents do cost a pretty penny.

In general: Strong; Lightweight, Affordable. You can have any 2 of these three. But not all three.

Alpkit.com sells affordable titanium tent pegs. Generally quite good value for money on this site.

A UK shop with excellent technical knowledge (employs only mountaineers) is ultimate outdoors. They also ship to SA on request.

Shoes:

Can the GT know-how members advise wether to use boots or adventure racing shoes?

Hope this helps!

There are a lot of expert members here who must please correct me and contribute - these guys can be saved a lot of pain this way...

what is the GT record at the moment?
Last edit: 11 Jan 2012 15:18 by Klipspringer.

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11 Jan 2012 15:33 #5266 by ghaznavid

Klipspringer wrote: Depends, do you share a tent?


:laugh:

My 3 sleeper 3.5kg tent will be good fun with the smell...

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12 Jan 2012 06:31 - 12 Jan 2012 06:31 #5273 by Stijn

Klipspringer wrote: Ghaznavid, to try and answer some questions:
Shoes:

Can the GT know-how members advise wether to use boots or adventure racing shoes?

Hope this helps!

There are a lot of expert members here who must please correct me and contribute - these guys can be saved a lot of pain this way...

what is the GT record at the moment?


For a more leisurely trip of 2 weeks long, I would definitely recommend boots as opposed to trail runners. Especially with the heavier load you will be carrying. You don't want to risk rolling an ankle and ruining your trip.

And the current GT record is 60 hours, 29 minutes and 30 seconds :blink:, held by Cobus van Zyl & Ryno Griesel, set in April 2010.
Last edit: 12 Jan 2012 06:31 by Stijn.

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12 Jan 2012 07:36 - 12 Jan 2012 07:38 #5274 by ghaznavid
Hiking boots are the one area I am covered in, when CUM had that footwear frenzy sale last year I bought Solomon Gortex hiking boots (marked down by around 35% B) ). They are very comfortable, support higher up your ankle than my old hiking boots, they have a webbed tongue and they weigh almost nothing (a full kg lighter than my old Hi-Tecs).

Wasn't a GT done in 59h30 odd last year?
Last edit: 12 Jan 2012 07:38 by ghaznavid.

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12 Jan 2012 09:15 #5275 by Stijn

ghaznavid wrote: Wasn't a GT done in 59h30 odd last year?


Not as far as I know. Record progression has been as follows:

Feb 1999 - 4 days 9 hours 39 mins
Dec 2008 - 3 days 9 hours 52 mins 52 secs
Dec 2009 - 2 days 13 hours 24 mins 11 secs
Apr 2010 - 2 days 12 hours 29 mins 30 secs

At least one failed attempt I know of last year though.

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13 Jan 2012 10:52 #5277 by ghaznavid
I wonder if that 48 hour barrier will ever be broken, I'm sure that many record holders have thought their records are untouchable - the first test cricketer to reach 300 test wickets, when asked if he thinks his record is in danger he responded that it would take someone a long time to reach it, and now the record is 800. With perfect weather, a pack with no sleeping equipment, just food that doesn't require cooking and lots of energy sweets (and some amazing planning/training) you never know what may happen in the future...

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