|Drakensberg - Passes|
|Tuesday, 25 September 2012 23:17|
The term "Langalibalele Pass" was originally a reference to a pass used by the Hlubi people led by Chief Langalibalele. The route was mainly used for cattle theft, but after Langalibalele's Rebelion ended in 1873, this pass fell into disuse. The name "Langalibalele Pass" was then appropriated to the "Bushman's River" Pass. The original Langalibalele Pass is still usable and is now known as "Hlubi" Pass.
This pass is definitely one of the easiest routes to the escarpment. It tops out between the Sanqebethu and Durnford ridges. With a good path along the entire route and no overly steep sections, its a good route for newbies.
There is a good easy to follow path the entire way to the summit of the pass. The pass starts after a small waterfall. Start by following the obvious steep path up the north side of the slope next to the waterfall. The path then takes a sharp turn up towards the escarpment. This first section is the steepest part of the pass. The path leads straight up a moderately steep bank. This first assault is fairly short. The middle section of the pass is not difficult, altitude is gained fairly gradually. Near the middle of the pass there is a short section where the path is hard to follow. There are cairns on top of large boulders to guide you through and across the stream that flows off the slopes of Erskine Peak.
The top section of the pass is steeper than the middle section, but not particularly difficult. The summit visible from near the bottom of the pass is the actual summit and the pass is as easy as it seems. The pass tops out around 50m below the Carbineers' Grave - the final resting place of the 5 non-Hlubi casualties of the skirmish that happened here in 1873.
Finding the pass from the escarpment:
A common route is to traverse from Bannerman Pass to Langalibalele Pass. This route is often attempted by beginners. This is NOT recommended for those who are unfamiliar with the area as the traverse over from the Sanqebethu ridge will land you in the wrong ridge in Lesotho, thus making it very easy to get lost. To find the pass from Bannerman Pass, head up the Sanqebethu ridge at roughly a 45 degree angle from the top of Bannerman Pass (i.e. half the angle between following the rock face above Bannerman Pass and the Sanqebethu Ridge summit itself). Near the top of the ridge, traverse towards the escarpment edge and find one of the large gaps in the summit rock band. As you cross over the top of the ridge you will see a large valley between 2 ridges. Follow the west facing ridge, slowly losing altitude. There is a large rock band that extends from quite far up the ridge, traverse below this. The ridge tapers off towards a valley - as you reach this section, avoid losing too much altitude and follow the contour around the corner to the other side of the ridge. You will see a river below you, drop down to this river, cross the river and then once again traverse without losing too much altitude until you are on the watershed. Follow the watershed until you reach the saddle below Erskine Peak. There is a cairn marking the top of the pass here. The path starts about 20m downhill from here.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 19 October 2012 08:02 )|