DripDrop hydration

Back in the (good) old days.


Spitzkoppe South West Wall – the diagonal crack above the big shadow line

I am lying under a thorn tree in the dirt of the Namibian desert.

Pretending that the thin branches actually contribute some shade and relief. Ross hands me a 2l Coke bottle filled with a mixture of salt and sugar. I get told to finish it. I don’t feel well.

Our day starts like this:

At first light we walk up to the base of the soaring and blank expanse of South West Wall of Spitzkoppe. The first pitch is scary polished little edges to the base of the long crack system. A few rope lengths later we watch our only water bottle for the day disappear into the depths of the crack system. The sound of it bouncing down the crevasse like darkness echoes in my ears still.

We continue upwards as fast as we can, trying to beat the sun. Sometime on our upward journey the sun catches us and on the last scary, run out hard move before the summit our resolve and strength melts away.

The only alternative is to descend.

Several stuck ropes later. One resulting in both of us tugging on the stuck chord and not being attached to anything else. Consequences of brain fry. Potentially fatal consequences. It did not seem so serious with our back up water glistening on the ground 30m below. Those 30 m are enough to kill. To say we were stuffed by the time we hit level ground is an understatement.

Subsequently I have used very diluted juice as a post exercise re hydrate solution.

I never feel that water alone does the trick.

I have also used Nuun, Zym, Rehidrat, Hammer electrolytes, Gu Brew, Concentrace and more recently Dripdrop. Thanks to Willie at John O’ Connor to give me a box to test.

The science:

All agree that we need to consume trace elements and minerals for optimum hydration. Water alone is not good enough.

What concentration and exact mix is required is science that is beyond me.

I do know that it works. Which one of the above works best I can not tell you.

Dripdrop is offered in sachets similar to Rehidrat. Two sizes of sachet are available 225ml equivalent or 450ml. So it is super easy to mix either at home or while on the go. I prefer to mix mine fairly weak. About half the dosage when I am exercising. But if I have to get my hydration levels back to normal after a day out then I consume it pretty concentrated. This does wonders!

I believe it is best to separate electrolytes from nutrition, caffeine and glucose etc.

This way you can dose each in a variety of conditions without affecting the others.

The problem with energy drinks is that they offer you caffeine as a quick fix to fatigue without addressing the underlying issue which is often dehydration. Fix that and the theory goes that you won’t need caffeine.

A matter of taste:

I only got to try the lemon flavour of Dripdrop but it is fairly pleasant if on the sweet side.


I would prefer to have a large bucket or refill pack that I can choose my concentration from. This for me was a great selling point of Rehidrat when they still sold refil packs. But they have seemed to discontinue this offering.

Dripdrop seems to have the medical grounding and be deeply involved in humanitarian efforts. Dehydration is a massive problem. Especially in developing communities where water quality and related pathogens cause huge issues for infants, and compromised individuals. The potential performance problems for us athletes is one thing but infant mortality due to dehydration is another level.

We can all strive for optimal health despite the consequences being on a different scale.

On your next ride or run try to play with nutrient levels via one of the above.

Try use DripDrop it might just improve things


Full Disclosure:

I was given a box of DripDrop by John O Connor to try out.

The opinions here are my own.

I did not receive any financial reward for writing this.

Two Spitzkoppe Scrambles:

Gross Spitzkoppe left and the Pontoks (1 - 4) to the right

Gross Spitzkoppe left and the Pontoks (1 – 4) to the right. (the gully between Pontok 2 and 3 is just to the left of where the road dissapears)

The Matterhorn of the Desert stands proud of the flat plain below, Visible for many kilometres in any direction. The best way to take in the surroundings is to get some altitude. The Rock climbs are fairly well documented over the years. See several links at the bottom of this post.

However if you are not carrying all the gear to scale these more serious objectives then there are still some pretty cool adventures to be had.

Spitzkoppe is a granite peak with many large boulders strewn about. Camping is very basic. Long drop toilets are available, showers can be had at the gate entrance, you need to provide everything else. The best is to buy all supplies in Windhoek (including all water – 5l per person per day should be a minimum). Security is not a huge problem but you are advised to keep valuables locked in your car. There are many camping sites dotted about and you have the choice of many different vistas and getting away from it all.

To access the Spitzkoppe take the B2 from Windhoek to Swakopmund. 23km past Usakos you will see signs to Spitzkoppe and Henties Bay. Follow these until you land on the D3716 and drive through the Spitzkoppe Village. Shortly after the shacks finish (with roadside stall selling stones from the area) you will see the main gate on the left. Day and overnight entrance fees are payable here. Cabins are also available.

Spitzkoppe Overview showing the Swakop scramble in blue, Pontok 3 in multi colour and the A indicates the gate to the reserve

Spitzkoppe Overview showing the Swakop scramble in blue, Pontok 3 in multi colour and the A indicates the gate to the reserve



at the rock pools look at the Gross Spitzkoppe

The easiest scramble ascends the dome between campsite 1 and The Bridge (a natural rock arch best viewed at sunset). This is south of the gap between the gap between the Pontoks and Gross Spitzkoppe. Park at Campsite 2 and ascend the gentle ramp to the left. This curves up and after a couple of minutes you will pass rock pools (these will obviously only have water after heavy rains) There is a nice shady spot here. Continue up to the left, curving to the right where it steepens slightly. You will find a rock step here with one tricky move. The rest is an easy slop to the top with great views.

pontok 3 close up

Pontok 3 scramble from Movescount

Pontok 3:


the obvious gully gives access to the nek between Pontok 2 and 3

Park at Campsite 17 and walk up one of the rounded ribs of granite towards the gap between Pontok 2 and 3. You will find cairns here. Soon these will split into a higher and lower ascent. The lower crosses some exposed slabs but follows a more obvious line. The higher winds through some bushes and is probably more direct and possibly quicker. Both options take you to the gully between Pontok 2 and 3. Once here you find a fairly well defined path which goes steeply up. Once at the neck you will find the obvious dyke line to follow. It might feel exposed in places but is not too bad. There is a short step up to be negotiated but otherwise the rest of the route is no problem and can be done quite easily without a rope.

The round trip car back to the car should take between 2 to 3 hours depending.

In theory the Nek can also be accessed from the north but this involves a rather long walk around the base.

IMG_2068There are many other scrambles that can be done here including getting to the top of the South West Wall via the left hand gully but I will save that for my next visit. The Standard Route on the main peak is a must do for any climber irrespective of grade. It is a brilliant feat of route finding and sheer determination.

Check Alard’s Bigwall Page here.

Climb.co.za here.