Great Eastern Traverse

24 Feb 2016 08:44 #67176 by Viking
Replied by Viking on topic Great Eastern Traverse
Agreed. I didn't mean you literally have to carry everything for every minute of the day.
I merely meant only eating food and using items you have brought from the start - not buying anything along the way. Obviously this doesn't apply to water.

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”
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24 Feb 2016 11:04 - 24 Feb 2016 11:39 #67182 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Great Eastern Traverse
Day 4 11:04 update: So Andrew is back on the watershed - looks like Flat Top is bagged, and he is working his way through the Namahadi X, Y and Pass Peak section. 4 days to the Chain Ladders won't be his slowest time, seeing as we took 106 hours to get there from Bushmans Nek last year with me - he is on track for about 86 hours to reach the Chain Ladders.

AndrewP sent me the following sms at 11:30:

Hi. In the attempts to ditch weight I threw out the warm sleeping bag. One I have is barely okay for one night of shivering. Not suitable for this long out there.


So that explains Afriski.

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins
Last edit: 24 Feb 2016 11:39 by ghaznavid.

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24 Feb 2016 12:32 - 24 Feb 2016 13:59 #67183 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Great Eastern Traverse
So - unfortunately this epic will be cut short at day 4. I wish I had the exact wording - but Messner once said something along the lines of "if you don't always achieve what you set out to do, it is a good sign - it means you are trying things that are harder than what you know you can do". Well tried Andrew :thumbsup:

He is heading to Witsieshoek now, and might still do some form of a GT. He will decide when he gets there.

Update: He will be joining myself and Hobbit this Saturday for a day trip up Giants Castle. We will bring a better sleeping bag for him and he will do some additional hiking from there.

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins
Last edit: 24 Feb 2016 13:59 by ghaznavid.
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24 Feb 2016 15:52 #67187 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Great Eastern Traverse
Hi guys. Thanks for the support. As already pointed out I set off with a sleeping bag that is way to light. I would never make it all the way if I shiver all night every night.

Afriski loop was always planned. I bagged about 20 kgolos out there and got to see ground not often touched. Considering the sleeping bag issue I slept in the backpackers. My food one night and the other night I cheated with a burger. By then plans had changed anyway.

Ghaz will now get me to Giants and I can then head South again (with warmer sleep bag). Still to decide if I go crazy bagging kgolos or mission to Lady Grey???
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24 Feb 2016 15:55 #67188 by Biomech
Replied by Biomech on topic Great Eastern Traverse
Well done so far, Andrew! That Lesotho loop must have been quite interesting! Not frequently hiked I would imagine.

We'll keep watching. Enjoy!

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24 Feb 2016 17:19 - 24 Feb 2016 18:34 #67191 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Great Eastern Traverse

AndrewP wrote: Still to decide if I go crazy bagging kgolos or mission to Lady Grey???

Or both :thumbsup:

Ps. it is now officially a race for which of us will get all the non-technical khulus first :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

(and yes, I am pretty sure I'm going to lose this race)

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins
Last edit: 24 Feb 2016 18:34 by ghaznavid.

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24 Feb 2016 18:18 #67195 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Great Eastern Traverse
Proper writeup with photos of the high ridges and Kgolos coming up :-)
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29 Feb 2016 09:11 #67222 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Great Eastern Traverse
Lousy weather on Saturday saw Ghaz, Hobbit and I turn around from our hike at the contour path. My tummy had not been playing fair for 2 days already, so it was easy to extend that into an easy trip back to PMB and thus home.

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29 Feb 2016 09:16 #67223 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Great Eastern Traverse
Day 1:
To Kgotjwane East (50.3 km, 3267m altitude gain)

I set off from the Glen Reenen rest camp at Golden Gate at just after 4am. I backtracked along the Riebok Trail easily enough until just below Generaals Kop. I had hoped to summit this, but it was covered in mist so I traversed at a lower level instead.

The ridge overlooking the Caledon ridge took a while, thanks to a few mistakes in the mist. Pity I could not see anything.



I had a path much of the way, especially once I crossed the road and started gaining height to get to Metjhatijhane. I even had sun for a while, although the escarpment was always hidden from view.



I knew there would be a path coming down from just below the summit towards the ridge I was on, but somehow missed it. So, I headed up into the mist above and found a broad grass ledge to traverse on. I used a series of ledges and gullies to gain height. It took some time, but I got to the summit easily enough. Looking down the gully that took me to the summit.




The summit was fortunately sunny and I had some good views. The Kgotjwane Falls looked impressive.




The idea was to bag everything in sight. Every khulu, every saddle and every bump on a ridge that might be called a khulu by any conceivable definition. This led to a few interesting route choices and added a whole lot of extra distance and altitude for the day.

Just before dark, I ditched my bag below the summit of Kgotjwane East to run back to the Palisades. These took a while longer than expected because I bagged each of the saddles and summits and by the time I returned to my bag, it was dark. It took a worrying 10 minutes to find my bag.

I found a flat spot nearby to pitch my tent, and tucked in for the night. The rather small meal of cous-cous and salami was at least warm, as was the tea, but unfortunately my sleeping bag was not. I shivered all night.

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01 Mar 2016 08:33 #67235 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Great Eastern Traverse
Day 2:
To Afriski (40.5 km, 1923 m altitude gain)
I set off just before it got light. I never really got going, but made steady progress through the four transit peaks. I noticed that my calories burned per hour was 25% less than the first day – clearly the lack of sleep and even more importantly, the looming cold night ahead were affecting my desire to push hard.

I was lucky though to get a good look back at the ridge I had followed the previous day. Arrow shows Generaals Kop, where I joined the ridge.



By the time I reached the Mom and Dad area, the valley was full of sheep, so I knew the saddles ahead would have occupied kraals. I reluctantly dragged my bag to within a hair of each summit to avoid giving the locals a chance to grab all my food.

Posing for a photo. At this stage, almost all of the non-food items are outside the bag.



The first saddle had 2 kraals covered in tents and some shapes nearby the size of a cow, sleeping. I have never seen a cow sleep on its side so it was clearly a rather large dog.

As I approached the 2nd saddle, the kraal was fully of sheep being herded by about 5 locals within the kraal itself. Everyone and all the sheep where running about with varying degrees of order but it was obvious the sheep had to remain in the kraal. It turned out they were being injected.

Another waterfall, this time off the Tongue.



Shortly after Namahadi Peak, I sat down for a little heart to heart. Option one meant continuing along the escarpment bagging khulus and the corresponding saddles. If however, I had gotten so cold the previous night in what could only be called ideal conditions, then what would happen if the weather gets colder or wetter and I get more tired? Option two was to head to Afriski. It was already 2pm and I had at least 15km to go, so it would be a big ask, but at least that way I could get a warm bed. I went for the warmth even though it meant I would have broken the unsupported rule.

It turns out that those 15km are along a jeep track that winds its way along the ridge following almost exactly the route I wanted to follow.



I took a few minor detours to bag specific saddles and even one of the 3300m peaks. Most importantly, my energy levels jumped up and I started having fun again.

A saw several poles like this one lying around. Some of them appear to have fallen over as they have bent or even been broken. I saw no evidence of a base though, nor of their purpose.



I got to Afriski with plenty of time to spare, so I cheated by having a warm shower, a beer and a burger. I used the comfort of indoors to do a few minor repairs to gear and got an early night.

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