In a month for the ladies, by the ladies SA’s all-women mountaineering team sets sights on new 9 Peak Challenge record which will see mountaineers Alda Waddell and Tumi Mphahlele plan to make their mark, starting on 22 August and taking between four and six days to complete it. The fastest time by a mixed pair was set in October 2018 by Jurgens and Christel Hanekom in 4 days, 18 hours, and 45 minutes.
They are attempting to complete the South African 9 Peaks Challenge in August this year – covering 141km of hiking, 7,888m of vertical ascent, and 5,298km of driving – as the first women-only team to do it.
The 9 Peaks Challenge involves the ascent of the highest point of each province in South Africa, with strict adherence to set rules to successfully challenge a category record. The clock starts at the foot of the first peak and ends on the summit of the last.
The 9 peaks in the challenge are:
Iron Crown (2,126m) near Haenertsburg in Limpopo
De Berg (2,331m) near Lydenburg in Mpumalanga
Seweweekspoort Peak (2,325m) in the Groot Swartberg Nature Reserve in the Western Cape
Nooigedacht (1,816m), the highest point of the Magaliesberg in North West
Mafadi (3,451m) the highest peak in South Africa in the Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal
Toringkop (1,913m) in Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve in Gauteng
Kwaduma (3,019m) in the Drakensberg in the Eastern Cape
Namahadi (3,291m) in the Drakensberg in the Free State
Murch Point (2,156m) in the Karoo in the Northern Cape.
The two intrepid women, who together with Lisa Gering and Deshun Deysel, all four from Johannesburg, are preparing to summit Everest in April and May 2020 to fulfil their dreams and to inspire young women entrepreneurs to have the ‘courage to start and the strength to endure’ – the motto of the Everest expedition.
Waddell says doing the 9 Peaks Challenge is in preparation of the #Everest2020 challenge. “It’s not an easy challenge and it is in many ways forcing Tumi and me to be focused and super fit. It’s also exciting as this is probably one of the best South African mountaineering challenges for endurance we can participate in. This Challenge will test our mental tenacity and physical endurance that we will need next year with the long days and nights in extremely cold weather. Endurance is what gets you to the top – just putting one foot in front of the other.”
Completing the 9 Peaks Challenge will also increase awareness of the team’s Everest 2020 plans and contribute to securing sponsorship, which vital for the expedition as the full cost of the preparation climbs and the climb up Mt. Everest in 2020 for the four-women team is about R5 million.
Follow the women’s climbing progress and achievements on Facebook on Everest2020SA.