Mini Hike Reports

10 Sep 2018 18:34 #73953 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Mini Hike Reports

WarrenM wrote: we finished on 10h16m


That is one really impressive time - well done guys!
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10 Sep 2018 21:28 #73954 by ghaznavid
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Seems like a lot of VE members were at Didima this weekend. We missed Stijn and Warren, as well as the MCSA team, but we did bump into Chris Keit's team on top of Cleft and RiaanG's team at Twins Cave.

Myself and Ross were going to have a go at Mafadi, but switched plans while driving along the N3 due to the forecast of 40cm of snow.

It was Ross' first escarpment hike. He is a very strong runner, having finished the Mandela Day half marathon in just under 2 hours a few weeks earlier.

In the end we went up Camel, bagged Cleft, took Elephant Gully and slept in Twins Cave, We cam down Mlambonja Pass and then followed the contour path to where it starts below Orange Peel Gap, followed the ridge to the hairpin below the hotel and then walked back to Didima via the road.

Overall it was roughly 45km, roughly 2.6km in altitude gain and loss and a time of roughly 32 hours (not that we were really paying attention to the time). Great effort on Ross' part - it is a massive switch to go from road running to mountain hiking, but he was very strong and coped just fine.

Full story at:
jonathantheghaznavid.wordpress.com/2018/09/10/didima-mini-traverse-camels-and-elephants/

Some photos:
 

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10 Sep 2018 21:30 #73955 by ghaznavid
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11 Sep 2018 09:33 #73956 by Viking
Replied by Viking on topic Mini Hike Reports

WarrenM wrote: On Saturday 8 September 2018, Stijn and I set out to improve on the time for the FKT on the Drakensberg Northern Traverse.

We had an idea of what we believed was achievable for the two of us and we finished on 10h16m, Starting at the sign at Sentinel car park, summiting Mont-Aux-Sources Peak, and following the high berg before descending Mlambonja pass and finish at the Reception to the Cathedral Peak Hotel.


Well done chaps!

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”
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11 Sep 2018 09:34 #73957 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic Mini Hike Reports
Tseke-Cockade-Mlambonja Buttress South pass in a day

I'll do the detailed write-up either tonight or later this week, but here is a very shortened version of our hike.

Day 1: We arrived around noon on Friday 7 Sep 2018 at Cathedral Peak hotel. Hoisted our packs and headed for an early day at Tseke hut. Told you I'l be brief ;-)

Day 2: Our big day! Left the hut at 4:30am, got to the top of Tseke pass at around 7:30, had coffee and then headed accross the escarpment to Cockade pass. Went down it, Sanet nearly had a nasty fall (she slipped on a rock and nearly fell head first onto the ground and other rocks) but other than that we got down safely and roughly 2 hours later we had another lekker long break at the intersection of Xeni/Cockade, near the Plume. 
Ok, now for the big one. We once again hosited packs and set off to conquer what I thought woul dbe Xeni Extreme North, but after looking at our track and the map I realised it is more appropriate to call it Mlambonja Buttress South pass, seeing that the gully is adjacent to Mlambonja Buttress.
We did the Xeni North gully in April and gave the gully to the right of it one look and I went like mmhhh, impossible whereas Nico said something like let's go up it now! Any of you looked up that monster yet? She screams "climbing gear required!!!". And so for this trip we brought the required climbing gear.

Having gone up to the base of Xeni before we knew how much effort was required to get to this point, but Ian was in for a bit of a shock. I heard him mumble something about how much he hated steep grass slopes, how similar it felt to a gym workout (how many more pull-ups do I still have to do!!!), but he had a smile on his face when he got to the bottom of the steep gullies.

Nico and myself dropped our packs at 2700m ASL (where the two gullies meet - or split, if you are that way inclined) and quickly went up to see how bad the pass looked. We got to about 2850m ASL from where we could see the grassy gully to nearly where it tops out. Ok,this doesn't look so bad! We hopped down the rocks and were back down to where Ian and Sanet was waiting in no time, with them freezing in the shade. It is sooooo much easier to do a pass without a backpack!

We all hoisted ou packs and started the climb. About 100m in you get to a bit of a technical grass section. Not huge exposure below, but it is about 8m high and if you slip and slide here you could be in some trouble. Immediately after this you get a rock climb section where two boulders block your way. It has a small gap where you can squeeze through and then climb up. No room for pack on person so we hoisted packs here. About another 60m or so onwards you need to keep to the right of the pass and climb up a very steep grass slope. Massive exposure here, absolutely not recommended in any kind of bad weather. Easy enough in the dry and we got off this section very fast. Now just one obstacle was still between us and the final golden grass gully. A 3m high sloping piece of rock. It has a handhold about 1,8m up so I could fairly easily get up, but for shorter people it is more difficult. Not sure how you would assail this thing in the wet, above my experience level.

Another 150m ASL and we made it to the top at around 3:21pm and was super happy to have topped out earlier than expected. From here it was an easy hike to Twins Cave where we had an early and cold night with most fluids freezing over night. Met Ghaz and Ross at the cave, they arrived some time after dark. Next morning we high tailed it back to the hotwl for a lekker burger and drove home to Centurion. What an awesome weekend!

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11 Sep 2018 09:37 #73958 by Riaang
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11 Sep 2018 09:39 #73959 by Riaang
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24 Sep 2018 12:00 #74026 by ghaznavid
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After having attempted to do a full back to back Giants Cup Trail hike on two prior occasions, I had my third try on 22-23 September. Unlike the previous two tries, I was on my own this time.

I set off at 9:29AM, and had a bad start as I sat out a thunderstorm at Bushman's Nek Hut only 1.5km in.

The next few sections went well, but I started to slow down dramatically as it got dark.

I stopped at Pholela Hut for a shower and a 30 minute nap.

I reached the Sani road at 00:03, giving me a time of 14h34 for my S-N Giants Cup Trail - which is a personal best for me.

My return trip started slowly. By now my feet were sore and I had very  little energy. 5km in, I stopped at Ngenwa Cave for a 30 minute nap, and woke up in a storm, so I took another 30 minute nap. The storm was still ongoing when I woke up, so I took a 3rd quick nap. Admittedly the temptation was there to just sleep through the rest of the night, but I did get going again eventually.

When I reached Pholela Hut, I stopped for another 30 minute nap. I was feeling trashed, and wasn't  certain that I would get much further. I did consider bailing here, but decided to keep going.

My progress from there to Swiman Hut was painfully slow. But on leaving Swiman Hut, I realised that I was going to finish this, even if I had to crawl to the finish.

Seeing as I was almost there, I found ways of distracting myself from the pain (I don't take pain killers), and pushed as hard as I could. I managed to get from Swiman Hut to the end in just under 4 hours.

Final time: 36h14
Distance: 115km
Altitude gain: 4km

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24 Sep 2018 12:01 #74027 by ghaznavid
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24 Sep 2018 12:03 - 24 Sep 2018 12:04 #74028 by ghaznavid
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Last edit: 24 Sep 2018 12:04 by ghaznavid.
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