My 9 Peaks Challenge


An ascent of the 9 highest peaks across the 9 provinces of South Africa . . . or so we thought!

by Alda Waddell

In memory of a kindred spirit, Kelly Gielink, who passed away on Gray’s Pass in the central Drakensberg on Sunday 22 September, 2019. Kelly summited Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2018, as hiking was her passion. It was her dream to complete the 9 Peaks Challenge and she sent Tumi and I the following message: ‘I wish you two strong legs, courageous minds and a spirit that endures to the very end. May God carry you when you feel like you can’t go anymore. Until the next one bright light.’ Kelly, as we grieve, know that we are remembering you and honouring your memory. 

Like many things South African, it started at a braai: A group of us were relaxing around a camp fire after attending a training camp at Waterval Boven with Blue Mountain Adventures, and to make a long story short, Tumi Mphahlele and I decided then to attempt the 9 Peaks Challenge. The Challenge includes the ascent of the highest point in each province of the Republic of South Africa. To successfully challenge a category record, the challenger/s need to adhere to all applicable rules. The clock starts at the foot of the first peak and stops on the summit of the last peak.

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