MPHO RAMAGOMA

TuksExploratio is an exploration club part of the TuksSports clubs. Their activities include the grunt of climbing walls and mountains with a satisfying bird’s view once you have finished climbing. Other activities include hiking and slacklining. The club is a small community of people who have a real thirst for adventure and get fit while quenching it. PDBY spoke to Sean Rudd, Club president and slacklining expert.

When was it established and for what purpose?

Exploratio was established around 1959 as a diving club I believe. It has evolved over the years and transitioning into an all around exploration group and has previously included paragliding and unicycling. Currently we are a climbing, hiking and slacklining club. With a focus on outdoor activity. Climbing is a great way to experience nature and spend time outdoors. You get to see some epic and rewarding views made even better by the work required to get there.

How many members do you have?

Climbing is a great sport for beginners with a small but inclusive community.

Who can join your club?

Climbing has a large learning curve, however, it requires no real skill to begin with. Climbing also has several completely different forms and styles of climbing, allowing the beginner to pick a style that suits them. The different styles include bouldering (for those with a fear of heights), sport climbing, and traditional climbing. It is a great sport for those that itch for an adventure.

What about beginners? Can someone who has no experience join?

We have no entry requirements for our members, and cater for absolute beginners with no experience. We do train our beginners leaving space to grow within the club.

What activities do you currently have to offer to club members?

Unfortunately, our main climbing wall on LC is closed for maintenance, and has been for over a year. We are currently waiting for Tuks to rebuild our boulder cave, which burned down approximately 7 or 8 years ago, according to the project architect, construction was due to take place this April, but COVID-19 has obviously affected this plan quite significantly. Normally our members would have full access to our facilities and equipment, as well as two club nights per week.

Do you take part in tournaments or competitions?

We planned on sending a team to the intervarsity competition USSA last year, however, we were unable due to financial reasons. There is a competition this year in December, where we are hoping to send a team if it still happens. We normally host a challenge called the Everest challenge, in which a team of 12 attempts to climb the height of Everest in under 24 hours, however, due to maintenance this event is unable to take place.

How do you ensure the safety of your club members?

We have a committee member on safety duty at all our events ensuring the safety of our members. All the gear used is rated to take a minimum of around 20 kN, which translates to about two tons. Willingness to learn also assists a lot with safety as using the gear right is the most important factor when it comes to safety.

What costs are involved in becoming a member of the club?

We have a yearly membership fee of R500 for students, and R600 for non-students.

How does someone who is interested get in contact with you?

We have a Facebook page https://www. facebook.com/Exploratio/, our details are on the TuksSport website and you can email us on Exploratioup@gmail.com.

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