Good morning Everyone
Here is the last word (or two) for 2011 at last.
In this email:
1. JOURNEY TRAIL / MATES RUN – 31 DECEMBER 2011
2. acsis VOB CHAIRMAN’S RUN (TRAIL VERSION) – 2 JANUARY 2012
3. acsis VOB Trail Running comment on “B grade” scrambling routes on our runs in future
4. TONY LOURENS COURSES ON EASY SCRAMBLING TECHNIQUES AND BASIC ROPE WORK FOR EASY CLIMBS (particularly on Table Mountain)
5. “TRAIL” MAGAZINE
1. SATURDAY 31 DECEMBER 2011 – MATES NEWLANDS FOREST / NEWLANDS RAVINE / SADDLE / KING’S BLOCKHOUSE
Feedback: For certain Scottish reasons which I shall not go into (what goes on Newlands Ravine stays in Newlands Ravines) our run didn’t quite shape out as we planned it. We still had a lot of laughs and had a good time, but that leaves us in the unique position that we don’t have to plan a new route this weekend because we have the means available to cut and paste last week’s run. And so that is what we shall do J
This will be a very special event indeed for two reasons: It will be the last run of 2011 which was a very nice running year for some of us, and it will also be the absolute last time that we get to run on the 31st of December of ANY year. Yes, facts are facts, the Mayans said that the world is going to end on the 23rd of December next year. So be there or be square!
The run will be led by Douglas Rossouw, Michael Ohlsson and Jane Holdcroft.
Start Time and Place
06h30 start from the car park at the Newlands Forestry Station (where the helipad is as well as the VWS offices) on Union Avenue, Newlands.
Up to contour path along to and up Newlands Ravine, over saddle to one of the traverses, round to Block House and home via Newlands forest or Contour path- will decide when we get there.
3 hours +-
Bring all the usual clobber like water, snacks proper clothes and kit and of course, ICE cold beer.
2. MONDAY 2 JANUARY 2011 – acsis VOB CHAIRMAN’S RUN (TRAIL VERSION)
Start Time and Place
06h30 (sharp) start from the car park at the Newlands Forestry Station (where the helipad is as well as the VWS offices) on Union Avenue, Newlands.
We will make our way up to the contour path and around to the turnstile just below the King’s Blockhouse. Up to the Blockhouse and then take the Lower Contour Path around Oppelskop Ridge and over to Kloof Corner. From there, whoever has organised picnics and lifts will proceed to Signal Hill to join the road runners and families for picnics. Whoever wants to return to the start will turn and head back along the contour path to the split on the Devil’s Peak side of Platteklip. Proceed up and across The Saddle then down Newlands Ravine to the cars for ICE cold beers.
About 15km to Signal Hill. Maybe a little more.
For those doing the return trip, well, it depends where we choose to turn but we can make it anywhere between 15 – 25km of relatively easy stuff.
Probably about 2 ½ hours to Signal Hill.
For those doing the return trip, I guess you know me well enough by now to know that I don’t really know. 3 hours? Ish?
Easy stuff as trail runs go.
1. Make sure you are carrying enough water for the full distance you are running. I would suggest a minimum of 2 litres unless you want to risk ecoli-belly (drinking from the now sparse streams) for the New Year’s Eve.
2. Dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Last year it was freezing and poured with rain. Make sure you check the weather report and as I always say, also stick your head out of the window on the morning as you are getting ready. At the end of the day it boils down to common sense.
3. Take the usual precautions against the sun. Don’t be embarrassed by headgear. Roger Steele wears something like Darryl Cullinan used to wear on a cricket field but he still runs faster than most people I know. People will just think you’re eccentric (which is cool) and in most cases they would be right.
4. Watch out for snakes on the paths or if you dash off into the bushes to do what the CEO is famous for.
5. Don’t forget that the Blockhouse area is Mugger-land so let’s be careful there and stick together. You can put the hammer down when we get onto the Lower Contour after the Blockhouse.
6. If you are returning to Newlands Forest, remember the ICE cold beer.
3. SOME FUN ON A SERIOUS NOTE FOR THE NEW YEAR plus SCRAMBLING / EASY ROCK CLIMBING COURSES 2012
Some of you will have noticed that occasionally our runs have been taking in some more “interesting” sections (some would call scary or even dangerous). MATES have been doing the same but they have some experienced rock climbers in their group who provide the necessary assistance / advice for the less experienced scramblers. This has not necessarily been the case in the acsis VOB Group.
But rather than abandon doing these spectacular paths we have decided to approach the issue in the following way:
a. On the basis that we are a trail running group and not a rock climbing group, GENERALLY our Saturday runs will NOT contain these tricky sections very often. We will just use them to spice things up from time to time;
b. However, when we do take these scary paths on, we will not be tackling anything worse than a “B” scramble on any of our runs. To give you an idea of what a B scramble is, this includes Agatha’s Gully (on the MATES CEO’s Christmas Run), India - Venster, Right Face - Arrow Face Traverse, Carrell’s Ledge and the ascent of Devil’s Peak via Mowbray Ridge. This puts The Ledges route OUT of range for us unless we do a small party of interested runners only. The Ledges is a “C” scramble / climb on which a rope is not absolutely necessary but is highly recommended.
c. We will always try and have a safe / easy detour for runners to follow around the scary bits;
d. If there are no easy detours then this will be specified upfront;
e. I (Tim) will be doing a course (see below) on safe scrambling techniques and rope work for easy climbs so that I am more than prepared / trained to assist runners on these easier scrambles if they start freezing up and panicking etc.
f. And of course, once again I need to draw your attention to our little club disclaimer: “Please be aware that trail running and related activities are inherently riskier and more dangerous than road running. You are participating in these runs voluntarily and whilst acsis VOB and the organisers of the runs take all reasonable precautions to ensure runner safety, it can never be fully guaranteed. To this end, acsis VOB and the organisers personally cannot be held liable for claims relating to injuries, disabilities and deaths, inter alia, that may occur during these events. You are participating entirely at your own risk. Please ensure that you are medically fit to be participating and make sure that you are properly kitted out for each particular run so as not to place yourself at undue risk.”
Now because we have had a very good response to these quite challenging bits on runs I am investigating doing some courses on basic scrambling and rope techniques (as mentioned above) which will enable people to tackle “C” (The Ledges and Spring Buttress etc) and even “D” grade (easy rock climbs with ropes) with confidence and competence. Sonia Beard has put me in touch with Tony Lourens who is going to send me some information on his courses. For those of you who don’t know about Tony, he is the author of “Table Mountain Classics”. If you are interested in details of unusual and exciting routes on Table Mountain then I highly recommend that you get your hands on the latest updated version (2011) of this book. I have been messing around on the mountain for the best part of 30 years and he has come up with lots of relatively easy routes that I have never even heard of or imagined. I can’t wait to get out there and try them out.
However, the main point here is: If you are interested in joining me in doing a course or two on safe scrambling techniques and basic rope-work for easy climbs then please let me know and I will send you the details and co-ordinate convenient dates and times. Why wait for other people to help you? Learn to do it yourself and then help others.
For those who haven’t seen it yet, South Africa’s first magazine strictly on Trail Running has been launched by the same publishers as “Go Multi”. Unsurprisingly, it is called “Trail”. It is available at CNA, Dischem and a few other places (check out www.trailmag.co.za ). It’s actually a great read. What is particularly impressive about it is the trail runner models that they have used for some of their action photos. Check out page 52 in particular…………….. J.
Have an awesome and above all, safe, New Year’s Eve Everyone and I will see you all on the trails in the New Year.
Tim Bellairs (Sir)
acsis VOB Trail Running
Cell: 082 321-0299
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