Great Eastern Traverse

05 Feb 2016 12:53 #66897 by AndrewP
My introduction to trail running was the Mnweni Marathon. Back then, Bruce still did it as a training event. We started and finished at the police station for the simple reason that the visitor centre did not yet exist. On my first attempt I distinctly recall sitting down to watch the sun set behind devils tooth and I finished stone last.

It was here that I heard about the Skyrun. That was my introduction to ultra distance running. The skyrun holds a pretty special place in my memories. Partially because it was the first, and partially because it follows an amazing line along an impressive ridge system.

Since then of course I have been up to a lot. A while back, Ghaz and Intrepid introduced me to khulus and I saw in them a fun way to get in some hill training. The definition of a khulu is a big vague though and after a while it becomes apparent that a more scientific definition is needed. The most likely answer is to consider prominence (wikipedia gives a good explanation, but the short version is "how high is the peak relative to the saddles around it"). That needs an accurate measurement of saddle heights which is generally not shown on the maps, hence some fieldwork is needed.

The Great Eastern Traverse is a mission I first envisaged about a year ago. It is driven by science and the need to measure the heights of as many saddles as possible. It is actually the relative height that counts so out of necessity I will have to bag khulus as well. Kgolos should probably share the same set of rules. The concept of bagging everything in sight is actually ridiculous but fortunately I have never read that far into a dictionary. The suggested name of the hike should become apparent later.

Some people may feel this is a bit of an over reaction to their recent GT. Others may feel the need to use the phrase khulu bagging splurge.

In the past year I have slowly prepared not only my body and mind but have also gradually worked out the correct gear list to take along.

This is not trivial. By far and away the crux of a speed GT is the need to be self sufficient. To me this is a key concept. A bit like climbing high peaks without supplementary oxygen. The real way to do it.

The Great Eastern Traverse will thus be self supported. No caches or stashed gear or food. And no purchasing of munchies along the way. I will hopefully head out from Golden Gate at 4am on 21st Feb. I will have 20 days food and plan to go a long way.

Some members of this forum enjoy watching dots moving across an electronic map. So, i can be watched at:
share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0W4o0EfVc3K3938UVkjT9S7I8tCmYqmOT

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06 Feb 2016 13:18 #66904 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Great Eastern Traverse
Wishing you an awesome adventure Andrew. I'm predicting at least every non technical khulu will feel your footsteps and hear your gps beep as you save/check the waypoint. And I'll be watching where your dot has moved daily, and no doubt wish I was there with you.

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07 Feb 2016 18:03 #66917 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Great Eastern Traverse
In my mind, if this goes the way Tony and I are predicting - this will probably go down as the most impressive feat in the Berg to date, and will be pretty hard to top. I am looking forward to my record for most khulus being shattered - I knew I wouldn't hold it long :lol:

All the best Andrew, looking forward to watching the dot!

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins
The following user(s) said Thank You: Biomech

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07 Feb 2016 18:11 #66918 by diverian
Replied by diverian on topic Great Eastern Traverse
I am in awe Andrew ! Carrying food for 20 days !

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07 Feb 2016 20:21 #66923 by Biomech
Replied by Biomech on topic Great Eastern Traverse
Good luck, Andrew. We'll definitely be watching that dot on the screen. All the best and a safe journey and return!

Sent from my SM-N910C using Tapatalk

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07 Feb 2016 20:46 #66925 by Papa Dragon
Replied by Papa Dragon on topic Great Eastern Traverse
All the best Andrew :thumbsup: :thumbsup: , Godspeed

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08 Feb 2016 02:10 - 08 Feb 2016 17:21 #66930 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Great Eastern Traverse
I believe the correct term was "khulu bagging binge" Andrew, and strictly speaking this kind of thing shouldn't be tolerated, but good luck anyway! B)

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 08 Feb 2016 17:21 by intrepid.

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08 Feb 2016 07:46 #66934 by mayake
Replied by mayake on topic Great Eastern Traverse
all the best Man, how are managing 20 days of food, you are setting off with a mule or the donkey that is you ? :lol:

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08 Feb 2016 09:32 #66939 by ASL
Replied by ASL on topic Great Eastern Traverse
Me too... I would like to see the size of your pack! I bet it's not 4kg this time :hike:

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08 Feb 2016 20:34 - 08 Feb 2016 20:36 #66951 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Great Eastern Traverse
Thanks for the support. It involves a lot of ifs, hence the vague description that allows me to chop out huge chunks of the route without anyone knowing it :-)

The food problem is easily solved through a bit of denial and being happy to transfer today's problem into the future.

Here is a sample ration for a day of 50km and 3000m altitude gain and loss.




weighs in at 630g including plastic bags and elastic bands. The sauce is split across 2 days and the tea bag sees me through supper and breakfast.

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Last edit: 08 Feb 2016 20:36 by AndrewP.
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