Corner Pass

29 Apr 2008 12:50 #86

Hi Guys

Me and 4 other people wants to hike to Mafadi. A route which looks attractive (on paper) is up Corner Pass, sleep at Upper Injisuthi Cave, summit Mafadi and down Leslie Pass.

We are only hikers, not climbers. I personally have hiked Gray's Pass, Cathedral Peak, Rockeries and Mnweni Passes.

How hard is Corner Pass exactly?

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05 May 2008 09:42 #89

Hi Hennie,

have you already done this hike this last weekend? I've been out hiking in the Berg the entire week myself, so I hope this info is not too late.

Corner Pass is not a climbing route, though it certainly is more challenging than the other passes you've mentioned. It is a fascinating, narrow gully that does have parts where you would need to scramble and use your hands, much like climbing Cathedral Peak that you also mentioned. It is generally steep and there is no path. The gully is full of loose stones and boulders.

You may need to take your packs off at some places and hand them up to someone, or pull them up with rope. There is a waterfall roughly halfway up the actual gully which does require some climbing but it is not too difficult and can be done by strong hikers. See picture below:

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Just before the top the gully narrows into a small chimney (rock, soil and grass mixed) but the trickiest bit is probably less than 2 meters.

I've recently been up the pass and that with 2 people that are definitely not climbers and they made it. It was also very wet and slippery at the time, with water coming down the gully. If you have a sense of adventure and can handle some scrambling then you will probably be OK. I would imagine however that this pass could become very tricky in snow and ice conditions, so bear in mind that it may not be usable at times in the winter.

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Last Edit: 02 Aug 2013 00:16 by intrepid. Reason: Fixed broken image link
The following user(s) said Thank You: RudiVE

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05 May 2008 09:45 #90

This is a view of Corner Pass from the contour path. It looks a bit daunting but it's do-able. There are definitely harder passes around.

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06 May 2008 09:44 #92

Thanks very much for the info. We are planning this for the long weekend in June.

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25 Jul 2008 17:12 #104

Hennie
Did you do it?
We are planning the same route for last weekend in August.
It sounds pretty good

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07 Aug 2008 13:09 #116

No, Hennie and the others did not do it, but we will be doing this exact same route this weekend (9-12 August), I will post a message again once we completed.

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13 Feb 2009 02:58 #306

Hi Forum

My mate and I climbed Corner during winter. I had snowed quite heavily the night before and we were looking forward to getting some snow in the pass, which we did.

We started the pass at about 9:30 and topped out at about 17:30. The snow started off at our ankles and by the time we had passed the chock stone, it was pretty much thigh deep, just before the top it was waist deep. We climbed the w/f section and hauled our packs up. It was more difficult because you cld not see where you were stepping and my mate twice stepped into holes up to his groin and once almost disappeared there was much cursing and snow flying. We used out hiking poles to probe the way forward.

We were carrying 25kg packs with camera gear so this also slowed things a bit.

It was a nice trip though.

Karl


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13 Feb 2009 13:08 #312

Corner pass is one 'lekker' Pass. Very enjoyable if you like something a little different. Camping amongst the protea bushes, with great views up the Pass and down onto the lower berg ....

I can imagine it to be a bit hectic in snow !!!

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20 Jul 2009 13:13 #509

Me and some friends are planning a 3 day trip to Mafadi in early August. Our current plan is as follows:

Day 1: Injasuthi camp to bottom of Corner pass.
Day 2: Ascend Corner pass, visit Mafadi, then camp somewhere on top (maybe Injasuthi Summit cave, but preferably closer to Leslie's pass).
Day 3: Descend Leslie's pass and back to camp.

Does this seem feasible? I haven't hiked in August before. I've climbed the neck between Monk's Cowl and Sterkhorn in June, where we found frozen snow a foot thick and had to descend through that. My other June trip was during perfect weather.

But I haven't experienced a blizzard before, and I believe we have a pretty good chance of snow. Has someone done this route or area during foul weather?

Thanks in advance
Lukas

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20 Jul 2009 18:14 #510

Hey Lukas,
the norm for this route is over 4 days, though it is possible for a strong, fast and well prepared group to do it as you have proposed. Fair weather and the snow/ice conditions will naturally play also a big role in determining whether you can pull it off or not.

For some additional info on Corner Pass, including a pic of last winter's conditions, see this link:
http://vertical-endeavour.com/forums/drakensberg-passes/86-corner-pass.html . Soft snow in the gully is one thing, but if you encounter hard ice on the main crux and the short chimney right at the top, it could get really challenging and maybe even impossible without equipment. Given that it will be late winter then, the chances of encountering frozen snow-melt are good. The bottom of the pass is not that great for pitching a tent, though you'll find a spot eventually.

Bear in mind that you will not have a lot of time to enjoy the area over 3 days. The top is spectacular, especially the spine-tingling view right on the edge, looking over the Triplets. The summit cave is one of the finest escarpment caves and is well worth the visit. You will wish you had more time up there. If you have the luxury of taking 4 days, rather do that, and take on the challenge of doing it over 3 days some other time.

At the very least, keep a fourth day as a spare in case you encounter difficulties. The route has some fairly strenuous parts that may easily be underestimated (besides Corner Pass and the slog up the Trojan Wall from there). The climb up from Fergy's Cave to Centenary Hut will get you breathing hard, Leslie's Pass is not technical but pretty steep (make sure you don't loose the trail at some key points), and you'll be doing lots of boulder hopping and river crossings from the bottom of the pass to Marble Baths Cave.

It's very hard to predict what the conditions will be like, though expect savage winds at some point, if not the entire time :laugh: . The area is very high-lying, so good chance of snow on the ground on top. How much is hard to say. Check the weather report shortly before the time for any major fronts and snow warnings, and re-assess as needed.

Above all, have fun, and please let us know how it went!


Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last Edit: 20 Jul 2009 19:08 by intrepid.

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