Independent Online

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Schoolboys’ epic mountain adventure

High in the Drakensberg, Treverton College boys Jarred van Alphen, right, and Kai Broom consult a map to work out their next steps on their epic 10-day traverse. Picture: Ryan Baker/The DottySpog Studio

High in the Drakensberg, Treverton College boys Jarred van Alphen, right, and Kai Broom consult a map to work out their next steps on their epic 10-day traverse. Picture: Ryan Baker/The DottySpog Studio

Published Apr 9, 2022

Share

Durban - Learners at Treverton College in Mooi River undertake a 270km hike from the school, through the foothills of the Drakensberg, to the top of Giant’s Castle and back as an initiation into the senior phase of the school when they reach Grade 10.

However, two new seniors this week proved themselves extraordinary when they took the school’s adventure ethos to another level, returning from the mountains having completed the Grand Traverse of the Drakensberg Escarpment in just 10 days.

Story continues below Advertisement

Jarred van Alphen, 16, and Kai Broom, 17, accompanied by schoolmasters Shaun Robertson and Derek Brown, were expected back from what is possibly the most rigorous hike in South Africa on Wednesday.

Instead they pitched up, their adventure done and dusted, on Monday. It allowed Broom to spend Tuesday jogging and Wednesday on the golf course.

“We wanted to do a big adventure before leaving Treverton,” said Van Alphen, adding that Robertson had come up with the idea and he and Broom were selected to do it.

Story continues below Advertisement
Alone with the elements, two Treverton College boys and two teachers complete a 246.7km traverse along the Drakensberg Escarpment, possibly the most rigorous hike in SA, in 10 days. Picture: Ryan Baker/The DottySpog Studio

The 12-day trip summiting peaks including Giant’s Castle, Mont-aux-Sources, Cleft Peak, Champagne Castle, Mafadi and Thaba Ntlenyana – all well above 3 000m – turned into a 10-day epic.

For that achievement, Van Alphen credits teacher Brown’s line: “When the going’s good, you go.”

That meant pushing further when conditions were favourable rather than relaxing in case more difficult conditions lay ahead that cost you time.

Story continues below Advertisement

“Pushing each other, we made up quite a lot of kilometres (headway),” said Van Alphen.

Sure enough, they had their share of bad weather ‒ on the last two days on their approach to Bushman’s Nek as well as midway, when the mist came down as they prepared to climb to the top of Giant’s Castle, which sits at 3 319m.

“We lost half an hour in the mist before we managed to summit. We couldn’t see in front of us.

Story continues below Advertisement

“It was scary,” he admitted.

Thaba Ntlenyana (3 489m), the highest peak in Africa south of Kilimanjaro, was a steep, long climb, he added.

Van Alphen, who hopes to follow in a career related to mechanics, learnt from the hike that if one set little goals before achieving bigger goals, the bigger goals get smaller.

“It’s given me a new way of dealing with the bigger problems in my life. Be patient and don’t freak out when you have setbacks.”

Broom, who is interested in the fields of biokinetics and sports medicine, said he had also found a renewed value for patience.

“And endurance,” he added.

“I learnt that if you push through hard things, rewards will be great.”

The two learners will be given the school’s Adventure Award.

The Independent on Saturday

Share