TREVERTON TRIO TAKE ON RHINO PEAK CHALLENGE
“S top staring at mountains. Climb them instead. Yes, it’s a harder process but it will lead you to a better view.”
This quote sums up the passion which Treverton teacher, Travers Pellew, and Grade 11 pupils, Jarred van Alphan and Kai Broom, have for hiking and running on the trails of the Drakensberg.
Earlier this year, Jarred and Kai, completed South Africa’s most gruelling hike, the
Grand Traverse; a rigorous trek of approximately 246km from the Sentinel car park in the north to Bushmen’s Nek in the south.
The mountainous terrain, altitude (an average of 3 000m), distance, remoteness, variable weather and lack of a predefined route and path make it a huge challenge.
The traverse wasn’t plain sailing for the two young men and their teachers, Shaun Robertson and Derrick Brown.
Disorientating mist made navigating a challenge and cost them time and energy. Ascending and descending approximately 1 100m and fitting in 25km to 30km a day also proved a serious physical challenge.
Added to that were the high winds, cold drizzly rain, long days of walking, frustrating mountain bogs and innumerable tufts of grass.
Having completed the Grand Traverse, Kai, whose family lives in Mooi River, and Jarred, whose home is in Fourways, Johannesburg, are now preparing for another feat of endurance – the Rhino Peak Challenge (RPC).
The two 17 year olds were invited to be ambassadors for the conservation fundraising initiative, which takes place takes place in the Maloti Drakensberg World Heritage Site each year.
A limited number of RPC ambassadors set themselves the challenge of ascending the famous Rhino Peak (3 056m) and raising funds for its beneficiaries while doing so.
Since its inception in 2016 the RPC has raised almost R3.7 million for Wildlife ACT, the Endangered Wildlife Trust and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. These funds have been spent on projects involving vultures, rhinos and cranes.
Kai and Jarred were both very surprised to get the invite to do the challenge.
“I thought we were just going to get our few minutes of fame on the news [following the Grand Traverse] but not actually receive anything afterwards, so it was quite a surprise,” Jarred said.
Kai added: “Since we found out we were ambassadors for it I, personally, have been looking up about it. I hadn’t actually heard about it until I was invited, so I researched up about it and saw how much money they’d need. It’s quite an amazing challenge and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
They will be joined by Pellew, 28, who said doing the Rhino Peak Challenge had been on his bucket list for a long time.
“When we got the call I was really happy as I have been wanting to do the Rhino Peak hike. To do it as a run is even better,” he added.
Pellew, who teaches geography at Treverton and also takes on the role of school sports coordinator, said he, Kai and Jarred are all doing a lot of trail running as part of their fitness regime for the RPC.
“They run four or five times a week and I try and run about six times a week and then I also do strength training and a lot of hiking. We need to spend time on our legs,” he added.
Jarred agreed saying that running was really good for training the knees and to help get your fitness up to where it should be.
“We are also doing a lot of stair climbing … and general high intensity cardio,” he said.
All three participants believe the biggest challenge will be to raise money for the wildlife charities supported by the RPC.
“They are encouraging us to each raise R20 000, which is going to be hard, especially in these tough economic times,” Pellew said.
Kai added: “Me and Jarred do quite a lot of hiking, so the actual physical aspect of it won’t be as hard. We haven’t actually raised this much money for anything before. So it will be quite a challenge, but I am sure that we will manage to figure it out.
“I knew that the money was going to conservation so that’s definitely a big contributing factor for me. I’m not sure I would have tried to raise as much money if it wasn’t for that.”
The teenagers have already started to raise money and to-date have managed to bring in around R3 000. Both Kai and Jarred have the full support of their parents, and especially of their fathers who have a similar adventurous spirit.
“My dad is an avid adventure so he’s really proud of me,” Kai said. “He’s done quite a lot of stuff himself. My mom is quite a careful, cautious person, and she gets scared when I do these kinds of things, but she knows that I love it. I’m grateful to them.”
Jarred added: “My dad used to be a Scout, so he’s very proud of me. He’s been doing a lot of rallying for me, sending me links to friend groups to help me raise money.
“Both our parents are just super supportive and trying to help us raise as much money as we can and want us to just really enjoy the experience.”
As for Pellew, who is getting to married to Kelly Slater a week after the challenge, he says he has strict instructions from his fiancée to get back safe and sound.
“I’ve been warned to take care of myself!,” he added.
If you would like more information on how to support the Treverton trio’s Rhino Peak Challenge, visit www.rhinopeakchallenge.co.za and www.Treverton.co.za