The challenge involves successfully ascending the highest point in each province of the Republic of South Africa, in the fastest possible time. The current record is:
More info can be found on the challenge at - ninepeaks.co.za/
FKTs for each of the categories (see below) are given here: http://ninepeaks.co.za/fkts.html
"The 9 Peaks Challenge includes the ascent of the highest point of 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."
"The 9 Peaks Challenge has been around for longer than most people realise. It has been attempted by numerous teams and individuals since the Republic of South Africa went from four to nine provinces in 1994. During March of 2011 the first solo non-stop journey was undertaken by Kobus Bresler. His trip was proudly supported by First Ascent as Kobus' employer at the time. He successfully completed the challenge after numerous mistakes, frustrations, scary moments and most importantly, a super adventure. Only a few weeks were spent on the planning as this was a fairly new adventure after all. This journey earned Kobus an invite to the FEATSA stage and numerous radio and newspaper interviews followed. People were now talking about this amazing mini-adventure right here in South Africa. Watch the FEATSA video of Kobus' talk here.
During March of 2015 the father/daughter pair, Colin and Bianca Cooper, set out on single speed bicycles to complete the 9 Peaks Challenge and raise much needed funds and awareness for Qhubeka. They completed their journey 45 days later, making them the first people to successfully complete the 9 Peaks Cycle Challenge. Read more about their journey here and watch their talk on the FEATSA stage here.
Subsequently the rules have been amended to add to the adventure and to make it more consistent, accessible and transparent. The challenge has also expanded to seven main categories. This makes the challenge more accessible and competitive. The purpose of this website is to serve as the official home of the 9 Peaks Challenge and to guide challengers by providing the rules and some peaks information. Good luck, be safe and have fun!
A big thank you to everyone that contributed to the information and accuracy of this website. The site is proudly sponsored and maintained by www.adventureworksafrica.co.za. If you have any suggestions, ideas or additions please contact the site administrator."
Here are the categories and rules:
- The correct grid references for summits and specified vehicle parking (where applicable) must be reached and recorded to within 150m.
- The challenger/s may only make use of legal road travel to move between peaks.
- No designated drivers are allowed for any of the categories. A safety vehicle is allowed with the cycle challenge.
- Challengers must adhere to the rules of the road at all times, including speed limits on public roads. As far as possible proof must be provided as part of the verification process. For this rule an element of trust and respect for the challenge is involved.
- The challenge is self-contained and all aspects of planning, logistics and travel should be completed by the official challengers/s only.
- There are no minimum equipment requirements but challengers are urged to act responsibly and safely at all times.
- Prior to a record attempt the current record holder/s for the applicable category must be informed of the challenge.
- An accepted tracking or recording device must be used throughout to provide sufficient evidence of routes, summit points, travel time and all other aspects of the challenge.
- The clock starts at the foot of the first peak and stops on the summit of the last peak.
- The challenge can be done in any sequence but may only be started at one of the following two peaks. From the north at Iron Crown or from the south at Seweweekspoort Peak. Please refer to the peak specific rules for further guidance.
- Some of the peaks have easy access and in some cases may even allow for vehicle travel to the top. Please refer to the peak specific rules for further guidance.
- All effort must be made to obtain the necessary access permissions. Don't mess it up for future challengers.
- All record attempts must be verified by the existing record holder/s. To claim a record all relevant tracking details, photographic proof and other requirements as stipulated in the rules must be submitted to the current record holder/s within 14 calendar days. Upon receipt of all relevant information the verification process may take no longer than 14 calendar days.
- Upon completion and final verification the details of the new record must be submitted to www.ninepeaks.co.za for updating.
- We urge all challengers to always act responsibly, safely, with integrity and honesty. Please respect those that have gone before you and more importantly, those that still wish to follow. Do not break the rules, disrespect access arrangements or act dishonestly.
Cycle Specific Rules
- All general rules and peak specific rules apply, except where it is evident that a rule, or part of a rule, is not applicable. To avoid any uncertainty please connect with the current FKT holder/s or CONTACT the site administrator.
- The entire distance must be covered on foot or by bicycle. Challengers can decide when to switch from the bicycle onto foot for the ascents. It is the challenger/s responsibility to ensure that this does not transgress any area, landowner or environmental rules. Please apply some common sense in this regard.
- Portages are permitted to and from the peak for practicality and safety reasons. To account for this the distance portaged must be cycled the day before the climb (e.g. from accommodation to base of Kwaduma and back).
- A safety vehicle is allowed to travel with the team for the duration and full distance of the challenge. It is imperative that this vehicle adhere to the peak specific rules where vehicle parking locations are concerned. The safety or backup vehicle can carry supplies, safety equipment and anything else that is required. Challengers are not allowed to travel in the safety vehicle, except where a portage is required as referred to in Cycle Specific Rule 3. A high level of trust, integrity and honesty is required with this rule.
Peak Specific Rules
- Iron Crown – The vehicle may not be driven to the top of the peak and must be left near 24°00’44.0″ S 29°56’47.2″ E . If this is the challenge starting point the clock starts as you leave the vehicle.
- De Berg – The vehicle may not be driven to the top of the peak and must be left at the gate near 25°14’17.5″ S 30°08’15.0″ E . Do not park in front of the gate as this will block access for other vehicles. Please arrange access permission well in advance.
- Toringkop – The vehicle may not be driven or parked closer than 400m from the designated highest point. Please take note of gate closing times and pay the required entrance fee to the reserve.
- Nooitgedacht – The vehicle may not be driven or parked closer than 400m from the designated highest point. Please arrange access permission well in advance.
- Kwaduma – We advise that the vehicle is parked at Tabase police station for safety. You may however drive up to or near grid reference 30°30’41.3" S 28°16’25.0″ E , either in your own vehicle or with a lift. Parking at the village school may also be used if this can be arranged.
- Seweweekspoort Peak - May be approached from the north or south. If this is the challenge starting point the clock starts as you leave the old gate on the public road near 33°21’59.0″ S 21°21’54.0" E , when coming from the north. If starting from the south the clock starts from the parking near 33°27’24.5″ S 21°23’07.1″ E .
- Murch Point - This peak may be approached on foot from any direction that the challenger/s have arranged land access for. Please arrange access permission well in advance.
- Namahadi - Namahadi may be approached from any direction. If accessing from the Sentinel Car Park always sign the mountain rescue register prior to leaving from the parking lot.
- Mafadi - The mountain rescue register must be completed and signed at the relevant KZN Wildlife office prior to starting out on foot. These registers are usually available even if the office is closed. Any mountain pass may be used for the ascent and descent.
The aim of Kobus' trip was not to set a record or achieve a fastest time, but rather to break ground and become the first person to achieve the Solo 9 Peaks in less than 9 days. This he achieved in 8 days, 6 hours, 52 minutes. Kobus made it clear afterwards that the mistakes were now made and that we could all learn from his attempt. He felt that the real time should be much faster than what he achieved, by days. The fastest known time for a team during March 2011 was only 8 days, 16 hours.
Shortly after Kobus completed the solo challenge, a few interested people set out to face the hills, mostly with little success. It was only when Daniel Barnard and George Louw challenged the team record in December of 2012 that a real effort was made to improve on the time. The new team record was set at 4 days, 18 hours. This has subsequently become the pair's record. Daniel then took it one step further by challenging the solo record during July of 2014. He successfully completed the journey and the new solo record was confirmed at 4 days, 16 hours, 34 minutes. Read Daniel's account of his trip here.