Beacon Buttress Gully
This short and steep gully used to be the only way of accessing the escarpment in this area before the chain ladder was put in place. It is a really fun alternative to the over-used Chain Ladder Route (see above). No scrambling is involved but it is a boulder-strewn gully and a lot of the rock is loose. It tops out near the summit of Beacon Buttress and has an awesome view as a reward for the steep climb.
The Chain Ladders
This must be the easiest pass in the entire berg (yes, easier than the Chain Ladder route) as it tops out at only 2500m after an easy trundle up a Little Berg ridge. Thamathu Pass is used as the descent route for the Grand Traverse but it's certainly worth doing when you're feeling like a pretty chilled hike. The views of Thaba Ngwangwe and the Devil's Knuckles are impressive and some interesting rock formations can be seen on the way up.
This pass is frequently used by hikers climbing the Rhino as it is by far the most direct (hiking) route to the top of this impressive peak. It is by no means a walk in the park though and there are some tricky sections higher up due to some heavy erosion and scree fields.
Devil's Tooth collapses
The iconic Devils Tooth, a well-know peak at the Amphitheatre, has finally collapsed. Reports from hikers on Tuesday afternoon, 29 March, could only be verified on Wednesday due to the mist. Details are not entirely clear at this point how and when it happened exactly, but it is believed that a massive landslide on the southern slopes of the peak weakened it's base, causing it to topple over and fall down the slopes leading to the Busingata Valley below. The landslide was triggered by recent heavy rainfall in the region.
This legendary peak will truly be missed in the Drakensberg.
EDIT: Please note that this is an April Fool's joke!
Lesotho border to be patrolled by SANDF once again
The SANDF is to be re-deployed to the Free State - Lesotho border, replacing the SAPS, and the dilapidated and almost non-existent border fence it to be re-built.
Should Sterkhorn be renamed Mount Mandela?
A call has been made to rename Sterkhorn, in the Monk's Cowl area, Central Drakensberg, to "Mount Mandela" in honour of Nelson Mandela. This proposal was put forward in a recent speech by John Tungay, founder of the Drakensberg Boys Choir School.
Ascending right up through the middle of the Giant's Cup, this pass catches the eye from all sides. It's obviously the most direct way to climb the Hodgson's Peaks (definitely worth it) and a good pass to use if you don't feel like slogging up its next-door neighbour, Sani Pass, along with all the traffic. For me, it's the approach to the pass that makes it special. Hiking up the Pholela River Valley and up into the pass via Fingall's Rock must be one of the best ways to start a berg hike: scenic, secluded and unique in the berg.
Giant's Castle Pass
One of the most identifiable passes around, Giant's Castle Pass is a short, steep and loose pass which is most often used to climb Giant's Castle itself. The gully can be seen from as far back as the lodge and looks fairly bland. Once in the throat of the pass, however, some very impressive buttresses and cliffs tower above you.
Three Hikers Airlifted at Cathedral Peak
The three hikers Mr Andrew McAughey (44), Mr Tom McAughey (66) and Mr Paul Neame (42) had undertaken a hike from The Sentinel car park at Royal Natal National Park to Cathedral Peak and were delayed by bad weather.
Hiking Article Count: 19
Climbing Article Count: 7
Peaks Article Count: 8
Passes Article Count: 39
Caves Article Count: 4
Grand Traverse Article Count: 8
Environment Article Count: 8
Security Article Count: 15
General Article Count: 21
Page 3 of 13