Missing Hikers - Wolkberg

21 Oct 2019 13:37 #75385 by hikingle
Read on the HOSA VOSA Hiking Organisation of South Africa Facebook page that two hikers have been missing since last week.

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22 Oct 2019 12:37 #75389 by ruthtbl
Replied by ruthtbl on topic Missing Hikers - Wolkberg
This is copied from the HOSA VOSA Facebook page:

Bulletin has just received confirmation that one of the two missing hikers has been found. The brothers were allegedly attacked and tied up by unknown assailants.
They managed to free themselves and escape but lost one another in the dark. One of the brothers made it safely to Lenyenye where he has now been picked up and is being transported for medical treatment.
Rescue teams believe that they know where the remaining brother is and are entering the wilderness to retrieve him.
Bulletin is underway and will emdeavour to cover the reunion live on this page later tonight.
We will keep you updated."

'Please accept the stimulation'
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23 Oct 2019 17:48 #75393 by Redshift3
Replied by Redshift3 on topic Missing Hikers - Wolkberg
This is sad news, would love to know where, how and why?

“You need special shoes for hiking — and a bit of a special soul as well.”
Terri Guillemets

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24 Oct 2019 06:21 - 24 Oct 2019 06:23 #75394 by Smurfatefrog
Latest update is they were not attacked 

UPDATE From Tuesday from the local watch group HNW:Rectifying all speculation in regard the missing hikers. Herewith the following:They were NOT attacked.One brother has been found.Choppers moving in as soon as weather clears.Search and Rescue teams as well as other role players are currently in the mountain continuing search efforts for the second hiker.Full statement will be released once operation is completed.
HNW Management.

We are putting a request out, to all community members that can assist in the search and Rescue Wolkberg for missing hiker 
We need for foot trails, 4x4 trails and bike trails and then extreme 4x4’s
Point 1 JOC 
Point 2 tabina dam
Point 3  Mafefe
Point 4 kujane
Point 5 Agatha

 Please contact Louise +27 (84) 087-8759
Or Rita +27 (82) 852-6539
We really need as many people as possible

 Thanks Willie

camp is but tabina dam (Ramodike dam)
Last edit: 24 Oct 2019 06:23 by Smurfatefrog.
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25 Oct 2019 14:46 #75395 by hikingle
Replied by hikingle on topic Missing Hikers - Wolkberg
Report from Far North Bulletin (a community newspaper) 


Praying that the other brother is found. 

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27 Oct 2019 15:54 #75396 by Smurfatefrog

The body of Devereaux Pienaar (53), an engineer from Pretoria was found earlier today in the Wolkberg wilderness area. This has been confirmed in various social media reports.

The cause for his death his unknown at this time


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27 Oct 2019 17:27 #75397 by Papa Dragon
RIP hiker, and condolences to friends and family.. 

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28 Oct 2019 15:05 - 28 Oct 2019 15:06 #75400 by Serious tribe
Sad for the family and their loss.  

A bit surprised how a story goes from an alleged attack and being tied up too there was no attack!  How could a report get it so wrong, as being attacked and not being attacked are worlds apart.  
Last edit: 28 Oct 2019 15:06 by Serious tribe.
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30 Oct 2019 09:44 #75413 by BigArnie
Replied by BigArnie on topic Missing Hikers - Wolkberg
I know the Wolkberg are very well having hiked the length and breadth of the area every year since 1999. The area is extremely remote and if you get yourself into trouble, help is probably a long time away. At the same time, there is basically zero local population so when I read the report about the brothers being attacked, I was almost completely sure that it was inaccurate. I've left my tent unattended for days on end in the Wolkberg on many occasion and I've never had any trouble. Something like that would be unthinkable in the Drakensberg, for instance, and the extreme remoteness is one if the things that keep me going back.

With regards to this tragic situation, it could happen all too easily, especially to someone unfamiliar with the local conditions. Going off route in the Wolkberg requires serious bundu bashing and you won't get far without a good panga and lots of determination. I've been in situations in the Wolkberg where a good few hours of chopping, crawling and scrambling only produces a few hundred meters of progress. What's more, it's very easy to get lost in the undergrowth if you're not very familiar with the area.

Personally I've never been a fan of the Devil's Knuckles route. It's basically devoid of water for pretty much a full day of hiking and doesn't really offer any rewards that a hike along the Mohlapitse and through the Wonderwoud would not. As such I rarely venture that way, much preferring to stick to the river. Anyways, you've basically got two options to bail out from the Knuckles route. Firstly, you could retrace your steps back to the waterfalls at Klipkraal (which is what I would have done). Alternatively, you could descend into the Wonderwoud down the chain ladder from the highest of the Knuckles. The latter route requires more effort, especially when dehydrated and/or taking physical strain. As I understand the brothers decided to head for the jeep track at the very northeasterly edge of the area. Having followed that route once, I can attest to the fact that it takes about two days of pretty intense bush whacking with a panga to reach. It might look doable on a map but in reality it's going to be very hard going.

This situation has shaken me badly, especially given the similarity of ages and group composition of these guys when compared to me and my brother, who normally hikes this area with me. The few things that I take away from this are basically (1) if you're going to bail out, stick to routes that you know, (2) always carry ample water with you when you deviate from the river and (3) never, ever, get separated. Point 3 might be easier said that done, though. What are you going to do if you fall and break your leg and you're a party of two? There's pretty much only one option namely to send the other guy out to call for help. At least in such a scenario you'll be in a known location.

I've been toying with the idea of getting myself a Garmin InReach messenger/locator beacon for quite some time now and this event has convinced me to bite the bullet. That thing could literally mean the difference between life and death and it could be equally useful on my frequent Drakensberg hikes or anywhere else.

My sincerest condolences to the families. This is absolutely tragic. 
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30 Oct 2019 11:11 #75414 by Sabine
Replied by Sabine on topic Missing Hikers - Wolkberg
this is a very tragic event and could have been prevented had they stuck to the basic rules of hiking.  I was part of the search party and can only give some suggestions to future hikers (which I am sure most of you know):

1.   When you run out of water, rather go back to where you know there is water.
2. When you are so dehydrated that you are vomiting and eventually find water, stay there until you recover, then continue together.
3. Try to stick to the path that you had planned so that searcher know where to look.
4. Don't ditch your backpack!!
5. Don't jump down high waterfalls and lose your shoes.
6. Don't throw your second backpack down a waterfall (which then got stuck).
7. Stay together until one decides to look for help.

However, when you are in a serious state of dehydration, I guess people do strange things.  the whole event was very sad!
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