UKhahlamba, the barrier of spears. Drakensberg, Dragon Mountain. Such are the names that describe the escarpment that forms a physical border and barrier between Lesotho and South Africa.
This barrier is frequently visible from the Treverton campus and exerts a magnetic pull on both the students and staff of our school. Whilst school-organized hikes into the Drakensberg occur throughout the year, a traverse along the summit of the UKhahlamba had yet to be completed by students from our school. This provided the perfect motivation for such a trip.
The ‘Grand’ Traverse, as it is known, entails a rigorous hike of approximately 246km from the Sentinel car park in the north to Bushmen’s Nek in the south. It is regarded as the hardest hike in South Africa because of the mountainous terrain, altitude (on average 3000m), distance, remoteness, variable weather and lack of a predefined route and path. The students who completed it were chosen, rather than invited, as the nature of the trip required a certain level of fitness and prior Drakensberg experience. The group was also kept small (two students, and two staff members) so as to limit equipment and injury-related issues that naturally occur in adventure-based activities.
The traverse wasn’t all plain sailing. The disorientating mist made navigating challenging and cost us time and energy. Ascending and descending approximately 1100m and fitting in 25 – 30 kilometres a day proved a serious physical challenge. Added to that were the high winds, cold drizzly rain, long days of walking, frustrating mountain bogs and innumerable tufts of grass.
Jarred van Alphan and Kai Broom, both Grade 11 students at Treverton College were accompanied by Mr Shaun Robertson and Mr Derrick Brown, both science teachers at Treverton College. The boys’ peak physical condition and aptitude for endurance set them apart as the natural choice to complete the Grand Traverse as part of Treverton College. Their experience with orienteering, trail running, rock climbing and being avid outdoor adventure enthusiasts were instrumnetal in preparing them for the mental and physical fatigue that they faced during the Traverse. This great achievement inspired the making of a 30minute documentary (see QR Code).
Jarred and Kai will be facing another adventure in the Rhino Peak Challenge on the 17th of September 2022. Invited as ambassadors and accompanied by Mr Travers Pellew, Treverton College’s Sports Co-ordinator, the trio will be ascending and descending the Rhino Peak in the Drakensberg, as a fundraiser for conservation efforts.
You can support their fundraising drive at their Rhino Peak Challenge Bio via the QR Codes attached.
The strides that they are making in adventure sports is remarkable for their age. Treverton has a proud history of producing top quality Adventure Sports men and Sports women. We look forward to celebrating Jarred and Kai in their future exploits within Treverton and int their adulthood.
For further information please visit rhinopeakchallenge.co.za and Treverton.co.za