All-women mountaineering team sets sights on new 9 Peak Challenge record

Two members of the first all-women team from Africa scheduled to climb Mt Everest in 2020 are attempting to become the first women-only team to complete the South African 9 Peaks Challenge.

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 feat will entail covering 141km of hiking, 7,888m of vertical ascent and 5,298km of driving.

The clock starts at the foot of the first peak and ends on the summit of the last. The ‘fastest known time (FKT) for a female team’ category is unchallenged, and 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.

The peaks include:

  1. Iron Crown (2,126m) near Haenertsburg in Limpopo
  2. De Berg (2,331m) near Lydenburg in Mpumalanga
  3. Seweweekspoort Peak (2,325m) in the Groot Swartberg Nature Reserve in the Western Cape
  4. Nooigedacht (1,816m), the highest point of the Magaliesberg in North West
  5. Mafadi (3,451m) the highest peak in South Africa in the Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal
  6. Toringkop (1,913m) in Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve in Gauteng
  7. Kwaduma (3,019m) in the Drakensberg in the Eastern Cape
  8. Namahadi (3,291m) in the Drakensberg in the Free State
  9. 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.

The pair hope to increase awareness about the team’s Everest 2020 plans and contribute to securing sponsorship by completing the 9 Peaks Challenge. Follow the women’s climbing progress and achievements on Facebook on Everest2020SA.

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

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