Doing a fast Grand Traverse

20 Jun 2010 12:58 #1412 by Stepheng
Goodday,

My brother and I are planning to do a "fast as possible" (for us that is), grand traverse from Sentinal to Bushmansnek via the 6 highest peaks in December. Can anyone assist with information on the route, GPS route etc.

regards

Stephen

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21 Jun 2010 12:57 #1413 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Doing a fast Grand Traverse
Head on over to www.drakensberg.ning.com - plenty info on previous record attempts, route, waypoints, gear, etc.

And just to prevent misleading info - the record route does not traverse the 6 highest berg peaks. It traverses 6 well-known or "important" Berg peaks which lie along the traverse route, namely Mont-aux-Sources, Cleft Peak, Champagne Castle, Mafadi, Giant's Castle and Thabana Ntlenyana.

Ticking off the 6 highest peaks would be quite a contrived excercise and finding 2 people who agree on which 6 those are would be the first challenge! :P

It just annoys me that the average South African believes Mont-aux-Sources to be the highest peak in SA - I've even seen it printed in some school text books. :blink:

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23 Jun 2010 07:07 - 23 Jun 2010 07:37 #1414 by intrepid
Welcome to the forum Stephen.

Check out some of the downloads in the grand traverse section - lots of info and reading material. There is also a GPS track there (though it isn't the quickest route), which can be combined with some of the other GPS downloads like peaks, passes and caves.

Feel free to post more questions on this thread if you have them (the more specific, the better).

Talking of the highest points, there is info available on that too:
www.vertical-endeavour.com/blog/28-drakensberg/peaks/31-khulus-above-3300m-details.html

The debate about summits, high-points and peaks is interesting and fun. Mt Aux Sources doesn't even reach 3300m, so yes, it's amusing how its reputation as the highest peak has persisted. The other oddity is that most lists readily recognise Injasuthi Dome and Mafadi as distinct separate peaks (which I agree with), but then don't recognise other high peaks which are far more distinct from each other (but which typically are not named or clearly labeled on the maps). Injasuthi Dome and Champagne Castle were once thought to be the highest too.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 23 Jun 2010 07:37 by intrepid.

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08 May 2014 09:39 - 08 May 2014 09:44 #60615 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Doing a fast Grand Traverse
Hi guys

Tagging onto a previous topic here as it's similar to a discussion Grandeur and I have been having offline. Perhaps the info will benefit others who are looking into similar itineraries:

grandeur wrote: Thanks again.

Yes we realise it will be a bit of a dash and won't have the most spectacular of views most of the time but it will give us an idea of the fast route possible. We will adapt it to suit our chosen sleeping spots.
Time to get cracking on the planning.

Any tips / suggestions you recommend in terms of where to stay if you were doing a 6 day (5 night) traverse?
Feel free to post it on the forum so others can also benefit.

Stijn wrote: Hmmm... you’re looking at averaging about 35km per day if the optimal route is followed. You could even trim more distance off that if some of the checkpoints like Giant’s Castle are skipped.

So, I’d recommend something like this:

• Mponjwane Cave
• Didima Cave / Yodeler’s Cascades
• Rather take the escarpment route after Mafadi and stay in Bannerman Cave (otherwise you’ll be camping far inland with many kraals nearby)
• Ditto for after Giant’s Castle – stick closer to the escarpment edge and camp near Mkhomazi Pass maybe
• Sandleni Cave
• Bushman’s Nek


Any ideas of a suitable cave in the Mkhomazi Pass area for night 4?
Last edit: 08 May 2014 09:44 by Stijn.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Grandeur

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08 May 2014 10:12 #60616 by tonymarshall
Nothing really that I know of. Nhlangeni Cave is probably closest, but from the Mohlesi valley near Mkhomazi Pass requires ascending Mohlesi ridge, a couple extra km and descending some 100 m vertical and 400 m horizontal from the top of Nhlangeni Pass, and also not really on the route if heading for Thabana Ntlenyana.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Grandeur

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04 Jun 2014 11:37 #60974 by Grandeur

Stijn wrote: snip...
So, I’d recommend something like this:

• Mponjwane Cave
• Didima Cave / Yodeler’s Cascades
• Rather take the escarpment route after Mafadi and stay in Bannerman Cave (otherwise you’ll be camping far inland with many kraals nearby)
• Ditto for after Giant’s Castle – stick closer to the escarpment edge and camp near Mkhomazi Pass maybe
• Sandleni Cave
• Bushman’s Nek


Just a quick thought, would we need to book any of these caves?
If yes, who do we speak to?
Thanks in advance

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24 Jun 2014 11:28 - 25 Jun 2014 08:06 #61144 by ghaznavid

Insert by moderators: This thread was branched off a discussion on the K-way Extreme Lite Sleeping Bag



Have you considered other weight saving options first? E.g. leaving behind the down jacket and gas stove (or perhaps 1 gas stove in the group)?

The reason I ask is that you can live with almost no gear, but a sleeping bag can be the most important survival item in your pack. I personally wouldn't want to save weight by means of a +5 bag in September.

I think we all know how cold the Berg can be in September - last year when I did the Central Jarding to Giants Pass loop, a cold front hit on day 2 and it snowed on night 2. I was in my K-Way -8 down bag in Giants Cave and was alright, but Hobbit was shivering all night (he was using my MHW Pinole -4 bag) - he ended up sleeping rapped in a space blanket inside his sleeping bag.

@Fitness: your liner is arctic fleece, right? A tad heavy, but very warm - about 800g if I correctly recall?

I use a large piece of arctic fleece as a blanket at home, its very warm (also lighter and cheaper than a blanket of equivalent warmth).

"The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't." Douglas Adams
Last edit: 25 Jun 2014 08:06 by intrepid. Reason: Added insert explaining branching of thread

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24 Jun 2014 12:03 #61145 by Grandeur

ghaznavid wrote: Have you considered other weight saving options first? E.g. leaving behind the down jacket and gas stove (or perhaps 1 gas stove in the group)?

The reason I ask is that you can live with almost no gear, but a sleeping bag can be the most important survival item in your pack. I personally wouldn't want to save weight by means of a +5 bag in September.

Yes we have considered other options. Will most likely only take 2 stoves between 5 of us. I have a jetboil which is on my list currently but will in all likelihood get dropped for a someone else's slightly lighter variation (but then I will need a book while we wait for water to boil :silly: )
My down jacket I'm packing is only 253g instead of the FA Glacier down jacket at 595g.

I know a sleeping bag is a vital survival tool in the cold, hence my comment in my previous post on changing the sleeping bag if it is safe to do so.

I tried to attached my list in Excel below. Not sure if it will work or not?

Feel free to make other suggestions

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24 Jun 2014 13:01 #61146 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Doing a fast Grand Traverse
I know 6 days is a long time to go without a cooked meal, but one way of saving weight would be to ditch the stoves, pots (and even cutlery/crockery!). It does get a bit much having to eat processed food for that long. :sick:

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24 Jun 2014 14:10 #61147 by Fitness
Replied by Fitness on topic Doing a fast Grand Traverse
@Ghaz, yes my fleece inner is artic fleece, i have never weighed it but id assume 700-800g, i havent used it since i bought my TNF Gold Kazoo.

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