Who is doing or has done the Grand Traverse

30 Jun 2017 07:54 #71800 by ghaznavid

Sorry, took me a while! I've updated the log: www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/14-drakensberg-general/55826-drakensberg-fkts-record-of-times.html?start=20#65856


It's awesome watching that list grow. It would be nice to see more VE regulars on it. Anyone who does the training and is willing to endure a bit of difficulty can do a 6 day GT, it is really worth it!

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30 Jun 2017 20:12 - 30 Jun 2017 20:21 #71806 by Richard Hunt
I heard from someone, there is the GT and the DGT. One is a HIKE and the other a TRAIL RUN. Two different worlds...one where you admire the scenery and soak everything in, and the other where you admire the rocks with little sleep ( in other words you are going at such a pace you have to watch the rocks in order not to trip over them!!) Maybe there should be two different categories so as not to confuse new comers to hiking the GT and make them feel inadequate because 13 days is too long! Hiking is not racing from A to B but....... “I walked slowly to enjoy this freedom, and when I came out of the mountains, I saw the sky over the prairie, and I thought that if heaven was real, I hoped it was a place I never had to go, for this earth was greater than any paradise.”
– Daniel J. Rice
Last edit: 30 Jun 2017 20:21 by Richard Hunt.
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30 Jun 2017 21:19 #71807 by ghaznavid
@Richard: while I do admit that I am very slow compared to the likes of AndrewP, Ryan and Ryno, so I can't comment on sub-50h times (or sub 100 for that matter), but I can confirm that some of the most amazing sites I have seen in the Berg have been on my faster GTs. I have done 3 regular GTs and 3 fast ones - 2 of my regular GTs included the Yodeler's valley, which I consider to be wildly boring, while all my faster GTs have included the escarpment edge line through there - which I rate one of the most scenic stretches of a GT. The Mokhotlong and Jarateng do get rather boring on a faster GT, I will admit, but for the most part, the views are great.

Since I started doing big days, I have seen more sunrises in the mountains than I had seen in my entire life in any prior situation - and that has been really awesome. The Dragon by moonlight or new moon on a clear night - all the money in the world couldn't buy that.

Aside from my most recent GT (where I forgot my spare battery and the camera was about to die on day 2), I have taken over 100 photos on all my faster GTs. On all but my most recent one, I have bagged non-perscribed khulus and been to caves I have never been to before.

You can't bash it till you try it. Getting 2 weeks off work is not easy, resupplies are a mission to arrange, a heavy bag is bad for your back and knees, over 2 weeks you are guaranteed to get at least some bad weather. To me, a fast GT makes far more sense. But as the old saying goes "if it doesn't speak to you, don't try to listen", or, put differently, "different strokes for different folks".

I rate, the important part is that you never stop exploring and enjoying the mountains.

I rate the late Ueli Steck had the right of it - mountains are dangerous, moving fast allows you to reduce your odds of being in a dangerous place when things go wrong. Our Dragon is mostly quite tame compared to some of the ranges around the globe, but if I want to do big mountains elsewhere, I need to get substantially fitter than I am now - and the only way to train for speed at altitude is to do speed at altitude. Unfortunately I lack 5000ers to train on here in SA, so I will make do with our 3000ers. Almost all K2 deaths in the last decade have been on the stretch known as the Bottlenek - it isn't even 500m long, and most casualties are due to ice falls/breaking seracs. Even on lower peaks like Alpamayo one has to cross under seracs to achieve the summit - and surviving that is not a question of skill, it is a question of not being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the best way to improve your odds is to simply move faster.

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03 Jul 2017 11:40 #71815 by ghaznavid
So myself and Hobbit had our final training run for our upcoming GT, and about 10km in his ITB started acting up. So our planned GT will have to wait a few months.

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18 Jul 2017 14:39 #71884 by Dochumie
Has anyone got a CONCISE list of DGT rules for us...eg. no resupply/ compulsory peaks (is Champagne Castle one of them?) etc.?

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18 Jul 2017 17:58 #71885 by ghaznavid
Speed rules or rules for a more traditional gt?

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18 Jul 2017 21:40 #71887 by Stijn
Right here (for the speed attempts):

Route:
Drakensberg Grand Traverse is an unmarked route of approximately 220km. It runs North to South and starts from the Sentinel car park and ends at the Bushman’s Nek border post. Various checkpoints/summits have to be visited along the way. These include:

The Chain Ladders
Mont-aux-Sources summit (3282m)
Cleft Peak summit (3277m)
Champagne Castle summit (3377m)
Mafadi summit (3451m)
Giant’s Castle summit (3314m)
Thabana Ntlenyana summit (3482m)
Thomathu Pass must be used to descend to Bushman’s Nek.

The only other rules are that it needs to be entirely self-supported (i.e. no seconds, food caches or resupplies) and entirely on foot. GPS is allowed.
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20 Jul 2017 07:44 - 20 Jul 2017 12:13 #71894 by tonymarshall
Thanks for the reminder of the DGT speed attempt rules Stijn.

I'm quite curious about the inclusion of the 'North to South' and 'starts' and 'ends' wording, as this would seemingly prohibit South to North attempts complying with all the other conditions from being valid DGT speed attempts. Any idea why this is part of the rules?
Last edit: 20 Jul 2017 12:13 by tonymarshall.

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20 Jul 2017 09:29 #71895 by Stijn
Good point Tony! These were written before any South to North attempts had been made so not very inclusive... Essentially the above defines the checkpoints to be visited, but they can be reversed for South to North as well.
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20 Jul 2017 11:08 - 20 Jul 2017 11:16 #71896 by ghaznavid
Both of my times are south to north, so definitely an interesting one (not that 100+h times really matter when the record is under 50h). I believe there are only 3 south to north times on the list, all including a subset of AndrewP, Hobbit and myself.

Interestingly Ryan Sandes doesn't recognise Andrew's 45h08 time as it was not north to south. Who actually gets the final say on this one?

PS. Having done the speed line both ways, south to north is harder, but faster - if that makes sense. Simply because the crux is the start, so you are fresh. North to south the crux is Yodelers, and that is where the wheels came off for our n-s time of 126h55, even though we still got to UIC that night. The uphills are generally steeper s-n, making the downhills quicker - Cleft, Mafadi, Thabana and Long Wall being the obvious examples.
Last edit: 20 Jul 2017 11:16 by ghaznavid.

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