Doing a fast Grand Traverse

05 Feb 2015 00:21 #62773 by Jan
Replied by Jan on topic Doing a fast Grand Traverse
Thanks for the feedback sofar.
I was thinking of making it on a first long day to Ndumeni Caves (km58?), second day to giants cave (km 118?) third day, camping out or (optimistic) sandeni cave which is a bit of track.
The dog story doesnt sound great to me, we'll see.
I've got the maps and copied the gpx tracks on them, together with gps & compass that should do it.
We're both experienced 100 miler trail runners in the european alps, so pretty much used to carry some gear en 'running' with headlamps at night; so at ease in technical mountain terrain.
I guess clothing, food (3kg), sleepingbag and equipment will make packs of 5,5 kg (without water) on the first day.
Cheers.
Jan

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05 Feb 2015 08:10 #62774 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Doing a fast Grand Traverse
That itinerary sounds just about perfect if you're happy to start with 58km from day 1.

I'd recommend you use Roland's Cave instead of the Ndumeni Caves on night 1. It's in the cliffs directly above the lower Ndumeni Caves and has a fairly exposed traverse along a narrow ledge to get to it. You'll find plenty of info and photos if you search the forums. One of the best-located caves in the Berg!

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05 Feb 2015 08:24 #62775 by firephish
good tip regarding the dogs is that if they start getting a bit close, don't panic. turn to face them, pick up a stone off the ground ... they normally back off if you do this. Normally you don't even actually have to pick up a stone - just pretending you are going to pick one up is enough.

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13 Feb 2015 09:31 #62833 by jared411
Myself and 3 others are actually planning to attempt the full traverse in 4 days next year March, so if you dont mind doing a full review after your trip, I would greatly appreciate it!

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15 Feb 2015 21:45 #62834 by ghaznavid

jared411 wrote: Myself and 3 others are actually planning to attempt the full traverse in 4 days next year March, so if you dont mind doing a full review after your trip, I would greatly appreciate it!


I don't know if there are any speed GT writeups on VE at this point in time, but there are quite a few detailed writeups for 10+ days. Both Tony Marshall and myself have done detailed accounts with photos - you can find them under the Drakensberg - Trips category of threads.

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins

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16 Feb 2015 12:18 #62836 by Bigsnake
Gents!
Fascinating topic. This'alpine style' of GT intrigues me.
I've done the siege style GT's and was wondering:

1)What kind of equipment list do you guys have to achieve 4 kg.
2)Do you dispense with stoves, pots etc.?
3)If so, what kind of food do you take?

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16 Feb 2015 12:46 #62837 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Doing a fast Grand Traverse
I've never gone down to 4kg (IMO, that's only possible for a 2-day attempt and even then, taking some serious chances with the weather).

Here's a post of mine from the "Packing for a light and fast Grand Traverse" thread:

"For what it's worth, here is the gear/food that Andrew and I took on our 3.5 day GT in 2008. It was in mid-summer, so the sleeping bag and clothes requirements were a bit lighter..

Food consumed (Andrew):
Carried 5000 – 6000 kcal x 4 days, and used the following:
Pro Nutro (300g/day)
Powdered milk (mixed into Pro Nutro)
Banana loaf/fruitcake (2 slices/day)
Game (5 litres)
Maynards sweets (250g/day)
PVM bars (6)
Fritos (4 x 25g)
Dried pears (250g)
Cake mix (250g)
Safari bars (4)
Eat sum Mor (2 x 200g)
Biltong/droe wors (240g)
Jambos (2 x 125g)
Gu (1)

I eat a lot when excercising, as you can see. This worked well in that I felt well fueled and strong right to the end of every day, escpecially late afternoon climbs.

Shoes:
Salomon XT Wings (Stijn)
Salomon XA Comp (Andrew)

Clothes:
Longsleeve shirt (wickdry/polyprop)
Lightweight waterproof jacket
Capestorm Helium jacket (Andrew only)
Light fleece top (Andrew only)
Down jacket (Stijn only)
2 x pair of socks
Shorts
Beanie/balaclava
Buff
First Ascent Powerstretch tights
Cap

Other gear (we didn't both carry everything):
30 litre backpack, camelbak/waterbottles (1 litre capacity), sunscreen, headlamp, GPS, spare batteries, whistle, pocket knife, space blanket, water purification tablets, watch, dry bag, trekking poles (Stijn only), ziploc bags, toiletpaper, AR-X Sleeping Bag/Capestorm Wasp, compass, waterproof map case, maps, tent (sans inner), cellphone, first aid kit, duct tape, needle & thread, pepper spray, camera, Amarula Cream, cards.
How that all fitted in I don't know. Total mass per pack at start probably 10-11kg."
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16 Feb 2015 23:04 #62841 by Jan
Replied by Jan on topic Doing a fast Grand Traverse
For a 4 days traverse I'll think we take per person
Food 3000g
Backpack 500g
Sleepingbag + light down jacket 900 g
Rain gear, extra shirt,etc 500g
Light, batteries,gps,phone, first aid,maps, emergency bivy bag, etc 700g

Food: nuts, m&m's, cookies, some dehydrated meals.
For cooking them up: an empty beercan and some solid fuel blocks (esbit) usually do the trick.
Basicly eat enough before and after.....
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31 Mar 2015 08:49 #63257 by Jan
Replied by Jan on topic Doing a fast Grand Traverse
Hi,
Back from a 3,5 days great experience, although things went a bit different then expected. Some rough weather, navigational errors, and a big nutritional problem made that we had to sneak out at lesley-pass. A full report with images made by my partner Luc Steens on www.mudsweattrails.nl/drakensberg_traverse_2015_recap
It was deffenitely one of the best and most beautifull trail experiences ever. I'll be back, hopefully soon. Thanks to you all for your invaluable input, it has been most appriciated.
For logistics: We hired a car, arranged with a driver to drop us off at sentinental and to pick us up at the end. At some places on the escarpment the cell phone works and we hired a sattelite beacon with e-mail function to communicate.
Cheers
(I'll be back......)
The following user(s) said Thank You: Serious tribe, JonWells, Smurfatefrog, AndrewP

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31 Mar 2015 09:44 #63263 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Doing a fast Grand Traverse
Thanks for the writeup, Jan. Sounds like a good adventure. The what you would do differently section sums it up so well

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