SA's nine peaks record smashed under icy conditions

Cape Town - The Western Cape's cold front over the weekend, with icy winds of 100 km/h, did not deter SA's #CodeClimbers from summiting the country's nine peaks in nine provinces in record-breaking time - and all for a great cause.

In addition to the harsh weather, a troublesome left knee of the expedition leader and only six hours sleep on the first three days could not deny the four South African world-class climbers who smashed the existing SA record of fastest to the summit nine peaks in nine provinces.

They achieved this feat by an extraordinary 2 hours and 39 minutes on Sunday 16 July, summiting Seweweekspoort in the Western Cape well before the cut-off time of 6 pm.

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This venture was part of project #CodeClimber, established by the expedition leader Tian Liebenberg. His Volunteers24-initiative was aimed at raising funds of R100 000 on the crowd funding platform Backabuddy in order to purchase coding courses from the Change the World Trust, who in turn, will train 350 learners with special coding courses that will enhance their technological and digital skills.

The ultimate aid of Change the World Trust, with the financial support of the public on Backabuddy and the brave four record-smashing quartet, is to reach 300 000 learners with special coding skills by 2020.

New national record

There was immense drama before the four climbers, Liebenberg, his two Everest-conquering colleagues Alex Harris and Sean Disney, and Adrian Saffy, summited Sewespoort to register their national record in four days, 15 hours and 59 minutes.

The previous record was 4 days, 18 hours and 38 minutes.

“After summiting Mafadi, I twisted my left knee. On the descent we were slow, which meant we had wiped out the lead we had and tracked three hours behind the record,” Liebenberg says.

“Kwaduma had very hectic weather. On a couple of occasions we had to hit the deck. We had light breezes with beautiful fluffy snow, which then suddenly changed into horizontal ice blasts of over 100 km/h,” he adds.

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“But we smashed the hills hard and gained a lead of 3 hours and 7 minutes,” Liebenberg says, adding he was now swallowing pills like Smarties.

The quartet hardly slept more than six hours on the first few days as they summited Iron Crown in Limpopo (2126 m), De Berg (Mpumalanga, 2331 m), Nooitgedaght-west (North West, 1806 m) and Toringkop (Gauteng, 1913 m). But they accelerated after conquering Namahadi (Free State, 3275 m).

They survived the torrid cold of Mafadi in KwaZulu-Natal (3451 m), and then gained a lead on the previous record on Kwaduma (Eastern Cape, 3019 m), Murch Point (Northern Cape, 2156 m) and Seweweekspoort Peak (2325 m).

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The cut-off time to reach the summit of Seweekspoort was Sunday at 18:00 but the four climbers reached it 2 hours 38 minutes prior to the deadline.

Project #CodeClimber

Through the project #CodeClimber, the four climber’s aim is to generate public funding on the crowd-funding platform Backabuddy of R100 000 in order to purchase coding courses from the foundation Change the World Trust, who are experts in empowering secondary learners wit advanced technological skills.

Coding is a set of instructions written in a language that computers understand. When someone learns to code, they are learning a new language (one that speaks specifically to computers), says Liebenberg. “People are moving digitally more and more. So the digital empowerment of people and advancing their technological skills are important to us,” he says.

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“The cause is to donate R300 to introduce training during a week-long coding course to eager and excited youth in schools,” says Jonathan Novotny, director of Change the World Trust.

“We are raising R100 000 to bring coding to schools and impact 350 learners with a fun, basic coding course, while encouraging the start of new coding clubs in these schools,” Novotny says, adding “But we need the public’s support on the crowd funding platform Backabuddy in support of the world-class climbers’ quest and in financing the code cause.”

Those who want to offer financial support towards this cause can make their donation on www.backabuddy.co.za.

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