Buller’s Kop (two people’s thoughts)

Last weekend I wanted to explore an area I did not know well. I wanted to check out Duiwel’s Kloof in the Banhoek Valley and also there was the East Face on Buller’s Kop. Why it is called the ‘East Face’ I can not tell you. We were in the shade all day and according to my orientation the slope faced WEST. I digress. Here is the GPS track, judge for yourself:

I was keen to do some longer sessions in the mountains so this was a good opportunity to think about gear. I asked Alan to give me his thoughts too and what he carried. Here is the background: Temperatures were expected to top 19*C, we would be in the shade for the ascent, I expected to find water at the top of Duiwel’s Kloof at the latest. I thought the ascent would take us 2-3h.

Hydration/Nutrition during:

My thinking was the pack 1,5l water. I expected to use max 1l before I could refil. I ended up using 500ml in the first 4h. In future I would carry the same unless I was more familiar with the routes/weather. It is getting hotter so this dynamic will change in the next weeks. What was a massive advantage is making sure that I was well hydrated the 2 days prior. I also tried to drink as much as 500ml before starting that morning. I ended up drinking a total of 1,5L the whole day and feeling good the whole time.

Nutrition is so much linked to effort. I had my normal breakfast of double cream yoghurt, 20g of protein, chia seeds, low carb granola, 2 cups of coffee with coconut cream. Normally I don’t feel hungry until after mid afternoon. I did not eat anything until 5h in when we hit the top of Duiwel’s Kloof. I had a Maurten 160 Hydrogel sachet. I sipped that and only ate Nuggat and biltong at 7h. I felt good all the time. If my effort had been harder then I would expect to require more fuel and hydration. ……

Basic Gear: (Mainly the stuff you hope you won’t need)

This being an off trail outing I am more self sufficient. the fact that we could see home for most of the day can be deceiving and should not lull us into a false sense of safety. Besides the t-shirt and shorts I was wearing I had a polly pro base layer, Polartec Alpha Synthetic Puffy Jacket, waterproof Jacket, Windpro Buff (this is warmer and more wind resistant than a regular Buff, First Aid Kit, SOL two person bivy (really good to generate some heat and is only marginally heavier and bulkier than a single person version)

All packed into a UltrAspire Zygos. I use the bottles and not reservoir as in my mind they are more versatile and similar weight.

Other stuff I wear:

Full brim hat (I believe this keeps you cooler than a running cap), HR belt (don’t even get me started – wrist based HR measurement is just crap when you are doing anything other than sitting at your desk), PocPac phone pouch is also my wallet with credit card and drivers license, Ziplock bag waterproofs keys and as a double layer for PocPac.

Finally recovery starts when I get back to the car. this is what I had waiting and was enough to get me home. Protein Shake, Water, Fruit, Mini cheddars and rehydrate.

Now here are Alan’s picks and why:

So a short list of what I took and why

1. Wind and rain proof jacket with a hood. Always take this as the weather has a nasty habit of turning.

2. Light weight fleece, took this having considered the weather and checking what the forecast temperatures would be for the day and the evening following our outing, if colder temps anticipated would pack a heavier fleece in.

3. Long sleeve technical top, helps with layering.

4. Water proof stuff sack to keep above dry.

5. Space blanket

6. Small medical aid kit

7. Leather man

8. Head lamp with fully charged battery. 

9. Fully charged cell phone.

10. Running pack 12l, I found this a convenient size for a day out for the type of adventure we planned.

11. 2l bladder, good to keep hydrated

12. 500ml soft flask, only took one as it was a short day out.

13. Carbon running poles, I usually carry these in case of an injury or tough downhill that I feel I’m lacking confidence for.

14. Sun hat

15. Fleece beanie and buff.

I would normally include sunscreen but fell fly here.

Nutrition I took 

1. Keto Enduro Plus, I had one serving of this sipped over the first 4 hours of the outing.

2. Keto Exo, I took one of these with, didn’t feel I needed it so didn’t use it.

3. Keto protein bar, had this at our first snack break I think that was two hours in.

4. Keto nut butter, had this at our snack break in the kloof, just to top energy up.

Reason I’ve been using Keto has been to try and stabilize sugar levels due to diabetes, has worked well for the 5 months.

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