The Bell Traverse

30 Apr 2021 15:57 #76824 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic The Bell Traverse

Another example that comes to mind is the newfound occurrence of taking infants to the escarpment


 

I would say it is a rather significant assumption to say that they took their infant to the top to get social media attention. Not everyone who posts photos on social media is looking for attention.

A number of people who have hiked or climbed with me tell me that people have told them to stay away from me because I'm going to get them killed. Funny enough I often don't even recognise the names of these people who claim to know so much about what I'm up to. For that matter, in 2015 a VE member told me that I should never visit a mountain again because I'm completely incompetent - at least they had the decency to say it to my face. My point being that I know what its like for people to jump to conclusions about my actions without knowing what is actually going on, and would generally discourage people from taking that line of action without actually knowing more than just a few social media posts or blog entries about someone they don't know.

You don't know why that person was doing that dance move at that spot, maybe it was a careless way of getting attention, or maybe they are serious dancers who do that all the time and miscalculated the risk. Maybe it was something else.

The reality of life is that everyone is responsible for the results of their own actions. Its easy to be judgemental of others for doing something you wouldn't do yourself.

 The more fixed protection, the more the crowds


I don't agree. It still takes considerable effort to get there. Langalibalele Pass is very easy, has a great trail and no significant objective risks relating to the route - yet in the 24 or so times I've done it, I have rarely seen other people on it. I don't see why the Bell Traverse would suddenly get crowded.

That being said - , I agree with you in that I would not want safety cables going up on all those routes. After seeing all the rusted cables in the Hex Mountains where the UCT MSC Team used to have a ski lift, I would rather not see that in the Drakensberg.

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30 Apr 2021 16:06 - 30 Apr 2021 16:20 #76825 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic The Bell Traverse

 The more fixed protection, the more the crowds


I don't agree. It still takes considerable effort to get there. Langalibalele Pass is very easy, has a great trail and no significant objective risks relating to the route - yet in the 24 or so times I've done it, I have rarely seen other people on it. I don't see why the Bell Traverse would suddenly get crowded.



 

This thread probably deserves its own title now.

I'm having some trouble with your logic Ghaz. I think you might be agreeing with me without realising it!

Langalibalele Pass has no fixed protection and no crowds. We both agree on that.
Amphitheatre has fixed protection (two chain ladders) and plenty of crowds. 
Fixed kit on BT will bring more crowds. More than now.
 
Last edit: 30 Apr 2021 16:20 by tiska.

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30 Apr 2021 22:14 - 30 Apr 2021 22:15 #76826 by supertramp
Replied by supertramp on topic The Bell Traverse

I would say it is a rather significant assumption to say that they took their infant to the top to get social media attention. Not everyone who posts photos on social media is looking for attention
You don't know why that person was doing that dance move at that spot, maybe it was a careless way of getting attention, or maybe they are serious dancers who do that all the time and miscalculated the risk. Maybe it was something else.

@ghaznavid - Thank you for assuming that I made an assumption on an isolated event. The infant example I referred to is only one of a few I have personally encountered. As I mentioned in my post it might be a combination of factors. And the attention seeking idea was self inferred...

And with regards to the dance move - thank you for shedding some light on something that you did not witness. I in fact was there and together with other objective onlookers all experienced the same thing.   
Last edit: 30 Apr 2021 22:15 by supertramp.
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02 May 2021 10:58 #76828 by DeonS
Replied by DeonS on topic The Bell Traverse
I have seen a top 10 hiking trail list early 2020 stating that the Bell Traverse should be on every ones to do list. Now that lock down has lifted people want to get out and experience hiking. With more people hiking we can assume there will be more chances of accidents happening. I am a trained mountain guide and serve on 2 tourism committees and yes we do push for more visitors to the Drakensberg, this leads to more hikers and unfortunately a bigger chance of accidents. I do know that I will be criticized for saying this, but to safe guard an area, due to it being used more often, will lead to a safer environment for every one including seasoned hikers.I was once at a tourism meeting where a statement was made that the "old men" of hiking don’t want the new generation to enjoy the Drakensberg. Now I am not saying we need to put up safety measures everywhere but at a few section that gets used often, will help keep incidences lower. By closing a path because of a safety issue – well then why don’t we close the whole Berg as an accident can happen at any time and place with any one.  The same then goes with path management – there is a lot of paths in the Berg that has seen very little to none maintenance, I once asked a ranger why the lack of path maintenance he’s reply; “they are unofficially closed” because the less paths they have to maintain the less they have to patrol and go and look for hikers on.Unfortunately I have to wear two caps – one to promote the area I represent to stimulate growth and at the same time try to keep my area of work as pristine as can be while still keeping it safe for everyone to enjoy.
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03 May 2021 07:46 #76830 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic The Bell Traverse

@ghaznavid - Thank you for assuming that I made an assumption on an isolated event. The infant example I referred to is only one of a few I have personally encountered. As I mentioned in my post it might be a combination of factors. And the attention seeking idea was self inferred...

 

Re-reading you comment to confirm I am not missing something, I am not sure what you are trying to say if you aren't suggesting that those incidents are seeking attention.

I am aware that there are people out there who do things for social media attention. However you are citing specific examples as evidence. I am not sure what information you have on them. I personally have only read the facebook comments on the infant one, which provided a lot of context on the precautions taken and experience of the team, which I don't think was an attempt to get attention at all. I know nothing about the dancing one - but my point is that these are actual people whose motives and intentions may not be known to you. They could be reading this thread - you wouldn't necessarily know unless they were to respond on it, and considering the tone of this thread, a more likely response would be for them to never visit this site again.

Its easy to be critical of others based on your limited knowledge of what they are doing and why they are doing it.

I was once at a tourism meeting where a statement was made that the "old men" of hiking don’t want the new generation to enjoy the Drakensberg.


I get why they would say that - there is definitely an "old men" mentality amongst a number of Drakensberg hikers. I still get "back in my day" lectures from time to time.

I get that mountains can be dangerous, but so is driving and practically everything else we do daily. The trick is to educate people on actual safety - and I don't mean telling people that camp shoes are an essential safety item for some reason; something that I was actually once told by a hike leader for a I hike I joined where my pack weighed half of what everyone else's weighed.
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03 May 2021 09:35 - 03 May 2021 09:48 #76832 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic The Bell Traverse
How to make the wilderness 'safe':

A long time ago came a man on a track
Walking thirty miles with a sack on his back
And he put down his load
Where he thought it was the best
He made a home in the wilderness

He built a cabin and a winter store
And he plowed up the ground by the cold lake shore
And the other travelers came walking down the track
And they never went further, no
They never went back 

Then came the churches, then came the schools
Then came the lawyers, and then came the rules
Then came the trains and the trucks with their loads
And the dirty old track was the telegraph road

Then came the mines, then came the ore
Then there was the hard times, then there was a war
Telegraph sang a song about the world outside
Telegraph road got so deep and so wide
Like a rolling river 

And my radio says tonight it’s gonna freeze
People driving home from the factories
There’s six lanes of traffic
Three lanes moving slow

 
Last edit: 03 May 2021 09:48 by tiska.
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03 May 2021 09:53 - 03 May 2021 09:59 #76833 by Carl Gebhard
Replied by Carl Gebhard on topic The Bell Traverse
Looks like by now a whole new thread is on the cards. I'd propose a splitting off and merging with new title, not sure how that is done...not the 'new titled thread' but the merging part. Something to the effect of "Photography, imagery and representation: Attitudes to the Mountains". Sounds like something nice and pretentious

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It's an interesting topic nonetheless, all ideas. And ideas are either strong and complete or merely opinions, which can be little more than clusters of prejudice.

c.

(sorry, what I meant by merging was not the whole BT thread but the last group of posts)
Last edit: 03 May 2021 09:59 by Carl Gebhard. Reason: trimming, clarity

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03 May 2021 10:37 #76834 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic The Bell Traverse
My simple view: Mountains are dangerous places. All over the world people die in the mountains, with and without protection. This is unlikely to change anytime soon. We each need to take responsibility for our own actions and do the best we possibly can to ensure that we don't die before our time.

You are welcome to disagree with my view, but whatever you do, enjoy the mountains while you are in them!!!
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