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Posts: 432
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:37 pm
Real Name: Ghaznavid

Re: Epic

Post by Ghaznavid »

If this topic extended to events in the mountains, not necessarily just climbing, I would have a lot of content :lol:

Had an epic fail (actually an awesome trip in the end) due to trusting the RD over my knowledge of the area, and overestimating my fitness [stats quoted from memory: more accurate stats and times in the link posted below]. Set out to climb both of the Mnweni Needles - graded D and E, so supposedly easy. In the end the grade was irrelevant as we did exactly no climbing. We set out on Friday afternoon (intentionally without a tent, but with bivy bags). We had supper at the spot where our river left the Rockeries Pass trail, and started boulder hopping up the riverbed in the dark.

By 11PM, we decided that progress would be faster in the morning, so we found a spot just off the river and bivied under some trees.

Saturday morning, we kept plodding up the riverbed, till eventually we hit the spot where we would see water for the last time. We were prepared for this, so we took 5 litres of water and continued up a very steep grassy ledge. The combination of 2 full ropes, a full trad rack and draws, plus personal gear and overnight gear, and a lot of water, meant we kept our pace really slow.

By 4PM we reached the bottom of the climb. Seeing as it was winter, the days were short and we knew we wouldn't get up a 4 pitch climb and back down before it was dark, so we bivied in the saddle between the peaks (beautiful spot at full moon).

The next morning, seeing as we both had to be somewhere on Monday, we descended the other side to the Nceda River, and made it back to the car park at about 7PM.

Long story short - we carried very heavy packs full of climbing gear all the way from 1200m to 2600m, mostly off trail, only to do exactly zero climbing. And we couldn't even blame the weather!

As it turns out, the side we descended was far easier than the side we went up.

Moral of the story:
1) trust your local knowledge over the RD when picking an approach
2) don't forget how much slower you are when you carry a 15+kg pack
3) don't forget how much rough terrain slows you down, especially with a heavy pack
4) if you are going to attempt two epic climbs in the middle of nowhere, make sure you have 4 days

Full story at:
https://jonathantheghaznavid.wordpress. ... e-needles/

"There is something fundamentally wrong in treating the Earth as if it were a business in liquidation." Herman E Daly
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