For any endurance minded athlete, the Drakensberg Grand Traverse is seen as one of the ultimate tests. An epic 210km trail from the Sentinel in the Northern Drakensberg to Bushman’s Nek border post in the South. Since becoming a recognized challenge in 1999, when the Raubenheimer brothers completed the route in 105h39m, the records has been improved a number of times and is currently held by Ryno Griesel and Ryan Sandes. They set a time of 46hrs during their high profile Red Bull attempt in March 2014.
The Merrell Adventure Addicts have been built around a passion for the outdoors and testing the limits and boundaries of emotional, spiritual, mental and physical capabilities. Never to shy away from a challenge, the DGT has always been on the Addicts’ radar. “With the addition of new members to the Addicts squad, this seems like a great opportunity to throw us together and build the team dynamic”, commented team captain, Graham Bird.
Bird will be joined by team stalwart Hanno Smit and new members Robyn Kime and Grant Ross as they begin the challenge on Tuesday, 11th November. With a spontaneous approach to the attempt, the team will be relying more on their adventure racing experience rather than meticulous planning and preparations. With the goal of finishing in under 72 hours, the team hopes to limit their stops and keep moving at a fast trekking pace.
“Having completed the traverse early this year in just over 118hours, I’m looking forward to be going back to this special part of the world.”, said an excited Robyn Kime. “Tackling this challenge now with the Addicts will expose me to a whole new approach to such tests of endurance.”
If the team achieves their goal, they will set a new ladies/mixed record for the DGT. As far as the team can ascertain, the fastest know time for a woman is 110h57m set by Christine Harris together with Carlos Gonzalez in January 2010.
Follow the team’s progress via the Merrell Adventure Addicts Facebook page and twitter account @MerrellAdvAdd.
Other team sponsors include PVM Nutritional Science, Giant Bicycles, Squirt Bicycle Lube, Glider Eyewear, Island Tribe Sunscreen and Black Diamond head torches.
The rules governing the challenge as found on the web:
So what is this Drakensberg Grand Traverse?
It is a traverse of the Drakensberg that starts from North to South. It starts from the Sentinel Car Park perimeter fence and the stops at the Bushman’s Nek Border Post perimeter fence. Various checkpoints have to be visited along the way. These include:
- the Chain Ladders
- Mont-aux-Sources summit (3282m)
- Cleft Peak summit (3277m)
- Champagne Castle summit (3377m)
- Mafadi summit (3451m) * Giant’s Castle summit (3314m)
- Thabana Ntlenyana summit (3482m)
- Thomathu Pass must be used to descend to Bushman’s Nek
The only other rules are that it needs to be entirely self-supported (i.e. no seconds, food caches or resupplies) and entirely on foot. GPS is allowed.