The snow report came in - there is snow on Seweweekspoort Peak!
A WhatsApp group was hastily started by Zane, with myself (Simone), Ozzie, Jacques, and Willem all giving an immediate thumbs up to a Seweweekspoort Peak summit for the very next day, in the snow.
I set off to buy a rain suit from Agri as my extreme cold-weather gear is limited and decided not to think too much about the fact that I was going to be summiting the highest mountain in the Western Cape with four strong mountain men to try and keep up with.
We met at MountCo at 5 am and started the 2 and a half-hour drive in darkness.
As we drove through Calitzdorp and twilight hit, we were all incredibly excited to see just how much snow was on the mountain and the stoke levels kicked up a notch.
We geared up upon arrival at the starting point, which is just off the side of the dirt road, through a fence and then one follows a 'hope to see some cairns that previous hikers have built' to guide you as to the best route to take, as there is no path.
I started out fully kitted in my Core Merino base layers and jacket, with my rain suit on top. The guys opted to start out lighter and gear up as we ascended, if necessary.
Ozzie started in his shorts, confirmation that I was with madmen.
We started out going at a normal hiking pace, and as we got higher, I struggled to keep up and started losing a bit of steam. I took off my rain suit and continued on, feeling better for having it off at that point as the sun started to rise, and with us moving, we were all starting to get slightly hot.
Jokes were flowing and songs were being sung as we reached the first snow. I was glancing down as I unzipped my jacket when I was kindly refreshed with a ball of snow to the face.
All our spirits were high as we continued on, and despite a few stability issues due to the snow and the slippery rocks, we were all still doing fairly well at that point, but not for long...
As we started to climb higher, I got increasingly nauseous and felt the need to throw up constantly - but nothing would come out. I started moving a bit slower, and a headache set in. Zane kept on glancing back at me and asking how I was feeling, to which the answer was "kak, but I'll be fine" - haha.
At 2000 metres, I was moving so slowly and as I bent over to throw up, Zane politely suggested I rather wait it out. I agreed, despite desperately wanting to summit, I knew it was best.
I was given strict instructions to stay within a certain area so that they could locate me on the way down and told to walk in circles if need be if I got too cold. I was left with the Spot tracker in case of an emergency and waved to the boys as they continued on.
I thought I may feel a sense of disappointment at not having continued beyond that point, however, I am glad to say that I don't. It was an awesome hike to get there, and even though I didn't summit, being there at 2000 metres is the highest point I have ever been on a mountain, which I'm chuffed with.
The three and a half hours I spent alone while waiting for them turned out to be just what I needed, some time in nature on my own, to meditate, and have a moment to grieve due to the loss of a loved one recently.
When they returned, I was fully recovered and rested and after a quick snack, we continued down together.
8 hours after starting, we were back at the bakkie - with frozen toes and massive smiles.
What an absolute delight the mountains are.
Thanks to the boys for your company, and patience with my snail-like pace. It's a joy to be part of the Mountain Community/ Garden Route Trail Running Community!
All images are by Zane Schmahl, AKA Beardie MacBeardFace.