Over the weekend, two of South Africa’s best male climbers decided to create an event that raised money for the local climbing club in Waterval Boven – The Emgwenya Climbers.
With the help of MSCA, the Emgwenya Climbers have received various climbing equipment that will help them train to become the “climbing force of Mpumalanga.”
Christopher Cosser and Mel van Rensburg decided to take it upon themselves to raise even more money by showcasing their skills and passion for climbing. With each of their climbing skills peaking well into the mid-30s. When it came to choosing a route for the fundraiser Mel and Chris settled on one of Boven’s most famous and enduring testing routes, Snapdragon (Grade 29).
So, we have two exceptional rock climbers, raising money for other climbers and we have a grade 29 climb in front of them. What are they going to do with that?
Mel and Chris gave themselves a 12-hour (10 am-10 pm) window to climb Snapdragon as many times as they could. Getting the community involved was not difficult as this was an event that was new and exciting, and it was all going to a good cause. People began to pledge money in various ways; one was donating a certain amount of money per lap that each of the boys completed, two was betting on how many laps each individual climber would complete, and the third was to bet how many laps would be completed overall.
The weather was both for and against the event, but it persevered, nonetheless. A little bit of sun and a little bit of rain didn’t hurt anyone and so the boy’s fundraiser was well underway and not showing signs of slowing down, even though they were climbing a 29. With the help of MSCA and Gustav van Rensburg organising parking and portaloos for everyone coming to support. It was a great vibe down at the Superbowl Crag with everyone anxious and eager to see how the boys would do. Tegwaan Country Getaway took care of everyone with a stall set up of pancakes, sandwiches, coffees, and snacks, what more did we need!
A top rope was also left up while they were taking a break for one of the Emgwenya climbers to give Snapdragon a go and the support went through the roof. The hours went by, supporters came and went, and got the inspiration to take a break from watching to go give some of their projects a try. No matter, everyone was back to watch the boys in their final hours.
When the sun went down, the lights came on and drinks and coffees and dinners started to flow at the base of the crag. What was amazing to see is that throughout the day, people were still pledging, and by the end, the boys were raising R1 705 per lap! To all the enthusiastic betters, some were not expecting the number of laps that Mel and Chris ended up completing.
As we started to reach the end of the 12 hours of climbing, the vibe grew and it all ended with Mel coming down from his final attempt at 10:01 pm. Both showed incredible strength, endurance, and skills and smiled the whole way through.
The results were as follows: Chris completed 25 laps and Mel completed 32. 57 laps of grade 29 were completed in 12 hours, which resulted in over 1000m being climbed and completed by two individuals who made it seem like they were climbing a grade 17. Beyond the money that was raised for each lap they had completed, the entire event raised almost R100 000 for the Emgwenya climbers!!
A shoutout goes to Gustav and Alex van Rensburg for feeding everyone, organising the event, and for keeping the spirits high! Another shoutout goes to The North Face and Black Diamond for their generous donations to the Emgwenya Climbers. With the money that has been raised, we are excited to see how they progress and train and to see them in competition stages in the near future.
It was such an exciting event to witness. The energy of everyone there was contagious resulting in the greatest vibes and all the excitement when they had completed something truly remarkable.
Well Done Mel and Chris