FREE shipping for all order above R1000
0 Cart
Added to Cart
    You have items in your cart
    You have 1 item in your cart
      Total

      Guides — Suunto

      Seweekspoort Peak And A New Kloofing Route

      Seweekspoort Peak And A New Kloofing Route

      “Have you hiked up Seweweekspoort Peak?...”. “No I haven’t! But I bumped into so many people who have either done it or are doing it, it’s not even funny…I am totally keen”. This is my favourite kind of friend; one who, in a heartbeat, will join me on any adventure. Three months later we still hadn’t planned much (or anything at all), but we were amped and ready to go. Our friend Martin had encouraged us to do the traverse (up to Seweweekspoort Peak, traverse along the side to Skull cave on Day 1 and then down via Towerkop on Day 2). What we gathered from the little bit of information that was available online, was that the northern approach is shorter, but more of a scramble. We decided on the southern approach due to convenient accommodation at Koedoeskloof near the base of Towerkop (at the western end of the traverse) and it would mean that we’d ascend and descend on the same side of the mountain.

      I am on an eternal quest to find a balance between comfort and hiking/running light. This is what I packed for the 2 days. The heaviest items were food (1.5 kg) and water (3 l). The rest was a sleeping bag and liner, warm kit and sleeping clothes (a luxury which I prefer to carry) (1.5 kg). Weather forecasts indicated 0 degrees Celsius for the evening. The latest addition to my kit was a fiery pair of full length tights from Siren Polewear; perfect for the overgrown first part of the trail. Everything fitted nicely into my UltrAspire Epic pack.

      As tends to happen with these group affairs, our numbers dwindled as the date drew nearer. Eventually, our motley little crew set off - Armand, Ghaleed, Jakob, Sabrina and I. One member in particular has built a long standing reputation for, well, you see…we spent the first part of our trip waiting for him, then finding out he would need to be picked up along the way, only to find that he was in fact waiting somewhere else, but at the same time was also busy buying some last minute items at Canal Walk. We eventually left Cape Town after 15:00 in peak Friday traffic. We then proceeded to look for this person at every garage stop after each of us had found our way back to the car. What a laugh.

      We arrived at Koedoeskloof Country Lodge at 20:30. Ghaleed and I set up our nifty little solo tents and we all tucked into burgers from the on-site restaurant. It was a warm night and I was incredibly cosy inside my Vango tent. We were staying near our planned finish, so we needed a ride to the start (25 km away). We agreed to meet at 06:30, in order to catch a ride with the owner. Somehow there was a miscommunication and I was very confused when I saw Ghaleed head to the showers a few minutes before I went down to meet the others. He was just as surprised to see me all packed up. Turns out he thought we’d be meeting at 07:30. With some muttering under our breath, we piled into the minivan.

      It is about 1700 m of ascent from the start to the peak over a distance of approximately 13 km. Although someone was nice enough to set out white tape marking, the first part of the hike, involved some serious bundu bashing, leg scraping and blood drawing. Long pants/tights are recommended. 

       

      My SUUNTO Ambit Peak came in really handy because I had stored the POIs beforehand and I could easily get an indication of how far we were from various checkpoints. We used a combination of a really handy route description, two SUUNTOs, and a cellphone with a mapping app. Team work!

      Soon after we passed the rain gauge, Jakob realised that this hike was not going to be the type which culminated in dumplings and wine at the top; which is apparently what they do in his home town (Prague). Armand volunteered to go back down with him and we continued up to the cave. Ghaleed hung back and ate his lunch, while Sabrina and I pushed on. 

      It was incredibly cold at the cave. We pulled on everything we had while we waited. Armand had pretty much run back up and it wasn’t long before he was at the cave.  As we were about to leave for the summit, Ghaleed said that he would not be continuing with us, but that he would spend the night in the cave. Oh dear. I recalled people often saying that you should never split up on the mountain. Alas, for the second time that day, we left a member behind and pushed on, checking contours and coordinates every so often (all too often).

      The rest of the route was incredible. The views were fantastic and we chatted away as we hopped, skipped and boulder climbed to the top.

      After reaching the peak there were no more cairns and the weather looked ominous; the makings of a true adventure. 

      It was 17:00 and we had only covered 500 m in the hour after leaving the peak, because we first went along the ridgeline, reaching an impenetrable “bowl” and then dropped back down. We knew that we had to follow a generally westward direction, but my SUUNTO said we had 8 km to go and it all looked like boulder hopping on a slope. It was frustrating, because I knew that other people had done this before. I love technical trail, but decided I wasn’t having fun, we were low on water, and it seemed unlikely that we would reach Skull Cave before sunset. I told the rest that I was opting out. Someone mentioned burgers, beer, wine and sleeping in a warm bed, so we agreed to venture down the northern side of the mountain.

      I peered over the side of a ravine and declared that there was no way we were going down that way. Armand had other ideas. Look at this face!

      Possibly due to his lack of water (he had earlier jumped straight into a muddy mess), he exclaimed that it would be the “pudding to our main meal”. He may have been trying to recall a different saying. It could only be a mad man (or a thirsty man) who would think this ravine was a good idea. Nonetheless, Sabrina and I bounded down the slope.

      Fortunately, for all of us, it turned out to be the best decision of the day! It was absolutely beautiful and it made our aborted mission all worth it.

      We stepped out of the gorge, giddy with laughter and satisfied with our successful kloofing mission.

      We picked up signal for only an instant and Armand contacted Jakob. He would come and fetch us. We dropped a pin (iPhone perks) and started moving again. 

      Just as the sun was setting we approached a cluster of old houses straight out of a scene from “The Hills have Eyes”. A herd of cows spread out in a straight line started walking towards us, moo-ing loudly. We walked fast. They walked faster. We started trotting and soon they were running towards us. We raced around a bend and ran up to the main road. Flipping heck, what was this place?! Convinced that we were at risk of never picking up signal again, we ran up the road nearer to where we previously had signal, and it worked. It was dark by then, but Jakob was on his way racing through Seweweekspoort and soon we were on our way back to Koedoeskloof. What a day.

      We picked Ghaleed up the next morning and he looked mostly unscathed by his night in the wild. He even had photos of the fire he had made.

      A week later, Martin and some of our other friends managed to do the traverse in 5 days. Knowing what a challenge it is, I am now even more keen to go back.

      The following POIs for the Southern approach to the peak are suggested:

      Possibly leave cars at the farmer’s house: -33.480324, 21.383443 (call Mr. Gerrit Nel on 028-5611628 to get permission to do the hike)
      Start of the trial: -33.466652, 21.374454
      Hut1: -33.436390, 21.368547
      Raingauge: -33.422211, 21.369461
      Cave1: -33.403519, 21.369314 (*There is water here in the back of the cave)
      Seweweekpoort Peak: -33.398270, 21.367773

      The most useful site that we found for route information: https://sites.google.com/site/towerkopinfo/nearby-hiking-routes/seweweekspoort-peak-to-towerkop-traverse

      How to Prepare for your 1st Marathon

      How to Prepare for your 1st Marathon

      Written By Thato

      With annual marathons and runs being rolled, many people are spoiled for choice when it comes to picking one. From shorter distance family fun run to professional level ultra-marathons, there’s something for everybody.

      I’m sure running for a marathon has crossed your mind at some point in your life, but running one is not as easy as it looks. Tons and tons of preparation, both mentally and physical, have to be put into consideration before making a decision to enter your 1st race. Questions to ask yourself are, am I ready to spend a few hours running, am I aiming  for a good time or to just finish.  

      Find a good reason to enter a race because that same reason will keep you motivated during the race. Finishing a challenging marathon can be a self-gratifying and rewarding experience that may serve as a confidence and overall life booster.

      Before you decide to take the challenge, be aware of what your body limits are. Do you normally go for a jog or will this be a 1st time running over a long distance. A person accustomed to putting stress on major joints is more likely to complete a marathon that someone who is not accustomed to it.

      One of the most common causes of injury during the Comrades Marathon is trying to do too much too soon. Set a running routine to practice at least 8 months before if you are a first time runner.

      Running about  20 – 40 KMs a week will help you ease into a proper running schedule. Running a few shorter distances like 5ks, and 10Ks and progressively increasing distance will also help your running plan.

      Head to your local sportswear shop to seek advice on a selection of running shoes that best work with your foot type and running level.

      Choose the right race, marathons range from countryside runs to large spectator races. Choose one with in your comfortable running range. Why not plan your race around a getaway to a new location for an extra thrilling experience.

                        

      Set up your Marathon Training Programme. Training for a marathon is based on 3 main steps.

      Step 1 – Base Distance

      Most marathon plans range from 12 to 20 weeks. In this time, you will be slowly building your running endurance, while adding good recovery time for your body to handle the new training load. As a beginner, you should aim to build your weekly distance up to 60KMs over the 4 months leading up to race day. When building base distance, never increase your weekly distane by more than 10% from week to week. 

      Step 2 – The Long Run

      Your next step is to build up to a weekly long run. This should be done once every 7-10 days, extending the long run by a mile or two each week. Every 3 weeks, scale it back by a few KMs so that you don’t over-stress your body 

      Step 3 – Rest

      The final part of any smart marathon training plan is rest. Don't underestimate the importance of this element. Most runners are happier and less injury-prone with a few rest days built in to each week.

      Rest days mean no running. They let your muscles recover from taxing workouts and help prevent mental burnout. The greatest enemy of any new runner is injury, and the best protection against injury is rest.

      Hydration

      Nearly all marathons include water and aid stations along the way. The best advice for race day is to stop at each one of the tables for a few seconds and gulp down some water and, when available, sport drinks that replace electrolytes.

      During the Race Tips

      • Start slowly.
      • Bring a friend to the race and have them wait on the sides lines at a certain spot for a good motivational boost.
      • Enjoy the energy of the spectators and meet new friends along the way.
      • Its a good a idea to make use of a fitness watch that will help you keep track of your vital stats like heart rate, running pace and running times. Good options are the Garmin FR70 and The Sunnto Ambit 2 HR.
      • Have fun.

      Finishing a race is an experience that not only gives you awesome gratification but it is a metre stick for your fitness level that can lead to a healthier life style. Enjoy the race and have the lifelong conversation topic it will give you.

      Action Gear also offers a range on accessories to aid in your running, and training needs. For our range of outdoor and indoor fineness tools, visit our homepage under the running tab.

      *Please note that the information published in this article is of pure reference, opinionated and entertainment value. When preparing for race/marathon/training programme/training routine, please consult a qualified doctor and fitness professional.