Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mountain rescue practice with the Mountain Club of South Africa - June 2011

MCSA rescue team members keeping low waiting to be hoisted up the helicopter.

All search & rescue operations in Kwazulu-Natal are lead by the KZN section of the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) in conjunction with the provincial Emergency Rescue Medical Services (EMRS), the South African Polices Services (SAPS) and the South African Air Forces (SAAF)). The MCSA rescue team are all volunteers who regularly attend rescue sessions, cliff practices and helicopter practices.

Vaalribbokkop and Zulu Caves, a hike with friends - June 2011

Not a bad spot for lunch, is it? It was a spectacular day.

Even though I have been spending lots of time hiking in the Drakensberg lately as a mountain guide, I was looking forward to sharing the Berg with some of my friends, just for the sheer love of it. Without the weight of responsibility I could relax and admire the mountains I love so much.

Northern Drakensberg Traverse - Forsdick group - May 2011

The whole party. We had spent 5 unforgettable days together in the mountains. This is a picture to look at in 10 years time!

At the end of May 2011 I had the fortune of spending 5 fantastic days in the Drakensberg Mountains with 9 adventurous Capetownians. With 9 porters we were a big yet harmonious party. We had to endure tough weather conditions with ice cold high winds but the mind-blowing vistas made it all worth it.

Mafadi with Driekie and Riaan - May 2011

Driekie and Riaan with their Leslie's Pass. How to forget that climb?

Driekie and Riaan had visited the Drakensberg many times before and done a few challenging day hikes but they had never backpacked and been in the High Berg in the past. They had visited the Injisuthi Area before and knew that Mafadi, South Africa’s highest point, was somewhere up there not far from the top of Leslie’s Pass. It was time to go for it. But nothing could prepare them for that steep climb up the pass, not to mention the unexpected high winds that we would encounter on top. It’s so easy to underestimate the Drakensberg... However, even though it was probably the toughest 4 days they had ever been through, I knew they had what was needed and they managed just fine. It’s hard to forget that close look at the Dragon, its changing moods and its indescribable beauty.