On 15 December a group of us set out on an adventure. An adventure into the unknow, uncharted surroundings of the Mpumalanga escarpment in an effort to activate 5 summits situated along its edge. From the start it was challenging and being brutally honest, we underestimated the terrain. Add to that some unexpected rain and things become really…interesting…
Unfortunately we did not manage in our goal, having activated only three of the five summits and as much as we looked forward to working DX with our portable beam, we only managed nine DX contacts from the first summit.
We are planning on going back, whether to just finish the remaining two summits or to redo the whole hike is yet to be determine, as is the question of “when”.
Words are not enough to describe the experience. The feeling of accomplishment when we look back at the two days we spent on the mountain tinged with a bit of regret at not having completed all five summits. The memories of having to shelter under tarps for a few hours, praying that the rain would stop so we can set up camp and the feeling of victory when we reached a summit on the list. The pain and exhaustion of having to carry overweight packs full of radio gear and the peace and quiet when sitting on that summit, surrounded only by silence and beauty.
To share the experience, Marnus (ZS6MSM) compiled a video from the hundreds of photos and video clips that were taken during the expedition. The link is posted below. Please feel free to enjoy and share with those you think might enjoy our trials and tribulations as well!
Mpumalanga Escarpment 5-Peak SOTA expedition - 2023
While studying the relief of your activity I thought it would be difficult… By following your video presentation and photos I admire your courage and willingness to try to achieve the goal.
But the wild nature and the weather wanted otherwise!
Thank you for sharing your adventure and for the contacts made.
Happy New Year 2024 to all of you.
73 de Chris - F4WBN
Thank you Chris!
It was a real adventure and we learned a LOT from the experience. A lot of the summits in ZS are still “wild”, uncharted and have never been activated. There has been a significant increase in summit activations during the last year and a lot of the routes up to the summits are being pioneered so it is a case of trail and error.
We have not been defeated yet…we returned home, wiser, better informed and already planning going back.
Glad we could get you in the log on “The Peak” and we’ll listen out for you during 2024!
I know you have many unexplored peaks. I have come many times to South Africa for my work in the past years and I was able to realize the vast and beautiful expanses of your country.
Soon to contact you again !
73 Chris F4WBN
A good video summary.
I hate it when the water starts running out of my boots. I note a couple discarded their boots for the last bit.
A big effort. For more challenge, try in Winter?
Good luck with completing the 5 peaks.
Absolutely impressive! These are really well earned activator points! I remember this area (at least a small part of it) from my stay in South Africa in the 1970s. God’s Window is defenitely easier to reach than Devil’s Window (as the name suggests). But I remember it as an awesome place. Watching your video (thanks for sharing.) makes me appreciate the well maintained hiking trails in our alpine areas even more. I do wish you more weather luck for your next SOTA adventure.
73, Fritz HB9CYX