I wonder if anyone has further information on the following:

(All references made to Maps here relate to Slingsby old Maps - the REAL ones that you can sleep in/on/under, fold, eat off and use in high wind/rain/snow, without them turning to mush- including orientation/grid lines, spot height etc.)

After one has climbed Cowl gully, and reached the cave (left hand fork) the gully tightens up and you can walk out onto a rather sharp prow that hangs over the valley of the eMlwanzini river catchment. (Leading down to Keith Bush camp). Looking directly WWNW at the face opposite, a vertical narrow gash can be seen running clean from the Escarpment edge (just N of spot height 3317) down into the valley below.
Viewed on Google Earth this clean, straight, fault line can be seen clearly.
Does anyone know if this is passable, and if so how serious a climb?!
Does anyone know, or has anyone ascended/descended same?
Does it have a name?

Is anyone keen?!

Putting it out there.

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Frosty Ice's Avatar
Frosty Ice replied to: #57500 02 Jul 2013 08:11
Okay, so its that time of year again when I start thinking of snow gullies...

Has anyone been up to the neck between Cathkin and Monks and had a look at the gully. I'm not too sure if enough snow has fallen yet to bring this route into form.

We so far have a party of 3, anyone on this forum interested to join us? Just let me know.

SeriousTribe2's Avatar
SeriousTribe2 replied to: #54650 15 Jul 2012 16:45

Frosty Ice wrote: Looking down the gully

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I have stood here!! But never even though to look in properly. Probably too distracted by the view beyond. Thanks all.
DubbelBuys's Avatar
DubbelBuys replied to: #54487 22 Jun 2012 08:25
Has anyone been down from where the 'snowy' photo was taken?

My brother, a friend & I went down that route last year & it was quite hectic at some points (for us at least)

Can anyone compare that to Ifidi perhaps?

The route opposite looks a bit too daring for my liking, but who knows :whistle:
RobD's Avatar
RobD replied to: #54450 20 Jun 2012 18:27

This pic gives an idea of the gradient. Taken 16 June 2012.
Frosty Ice's Avatar
Frosty Ice replied to: #3641 13 Aug 2011 05:24
WOW!!! Going need to make a plan to do this route soon!
Stijn's Avatar
Stijn replied to: #3637 12 Aug 2011 09:55
Champagne South Gully should be in good nick about now. This photo was taken on 7 August (excuse the graininess... there was lots of spindrift around!) - looks like a spectacular route:

Serious tribe's Avatar
Serious tribe replied to: #3496 01 Aug 2011 22:40
Wow, those ice climbing images r really cool. Yes i know, awful pun. It is amazing how thick that ice looks.

It must be the result of thawing of the river during the day and then as it flows down the falls freezing during the day, or later afternoon and night, thus adding layer upon layer of ice. If anyone knows the science, i would be interested in hearing if my theory is not correct.
intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #3495 01 Aug 2011 16:46
I was actually thinking of this thread recently! Conditions must be pretty much perfect for this gully! Still won't make it though again since I'm on another trip this weekend, and my snow/ice gear is stashed in Canada currently.
Frosty Ice's Avatar
Frosty Ice replied to: #3490 01 Aug 2011 12:44
So, is there anyone out there who would like to climb a gully soon? I ended up very unfortunately getting flu this weekend and missed all the snow!


Seems as though the gullys should be good un in a week or two!

Let me know

intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #2484 01 Mar 2011 11:33
Welcome Rob. Pictures always welcome. Good place is the Climbing section in the galleries.
RobD's Avatar
RobD replied to: #2479 28 Feb 2011 20:39
I had a good look at this gully from the top of Cowl - have some pics with it choked with snow. looks like a straight-forward climb. Let me know if you want the pics.

Frosty Ice's Avatar
Frosty Ice replied to: #1280 10 May 2010 16:13
Looking down the gully

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Frosty Ice's Avatar
Frosty Ice replied to: #1279 10 May 2010 16:10
Looking further into the prospect of doing this gully, I have come accross Peak High Mountaineerings website.
They give the route a grade 2.
Which means: Grade 2 Easy angled front pointing, short sections of 80 degrees with good protection.
My thoughts are around the type of protection refered to here? Snow anchors, ice screws or traditional placements. (Conditions dependent maybe? Surely trad placements might be availible on the sides?) I think a few ice screws may go a long way. (Dont think they had those in 1955?) This description also makes me think that crampons are a good idea.(The semi rigid ones. Sigh $$$$) On 80 degree slopes self arrest surely becomes difficult, so should you not make the route down climbing will be needed as ab points will probabaly not be availible.
@serious tribe 2 - I would take ropes to ab because you cant see the whole way down. There may well be a number of steps requiring rope work. Yes I was standing at the top of the gully. We had walked up the peak to the left looking up from keiths.

I'm thinking about trying it in July.
intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #1235 30 Apr 2010 08:41
Yup I think the name is simply messed up. Maybe "south" of Gray's Pass??

@Serious tribe: for my own references I've always regarded the 3377m dome to be Champagne Castle, and the buttress which overlooks Monks Cowl to be "Champagne Castle Buttress". I know that various maps have confused this distinction somewhat.
gollum's Avatar
gollum replied to: #1206 22 Apr 2010 09:07
Some berg routes, especially gullies and ridges, have gotten really haywire names over the years, and this is one of them ("Why the route is called the south gully route, heaven alone knows"). Same with Giant;s Castle "south" ridge which runs almost perfectly west-to-east!
Serious tribe's Avatar
Serious tribe replied to: #1205 22 Apr 2010 04:02
I don't think that this could be the route on Champagne Castle. We were looking west from the ledge near Cowl Cave, and the prominent rock face to the right of the gully is the wall above grey's pass. Champagne Castle would have been the huge rock that was above Cowl Cave. Certainly the route description given in the mcsa is correct, and would get you to this gully.

Perhaps that entire section is called Champagne Castle, however this is not apparent from the Slingsby map. Although on the new map, the name Champagne Castle is correctly sited at trig 3377m. South of this would be Ships Prow Pass? Not sure why it is called the Champagne Castle South Gully.
Stijn's Avatar
Stijn replied to: #1180 16 Apr 2010 17:49
If this is indeed the Champagne Castle South Gully, then yes (in 1955) - here's the RD from kzn.mcsa.org.za/berg/bcathkinrds.html#ChampSGully

CHAMPAGNE CASTLE: South Gully Route (D) (Map #2 : AY:61 : 3246m)

Opening Party: Des Watkins, Pam Richards, J B Anderson and Roy Denny.

Date: July 1955.

Time: About 3 hours to the top.

From Keith Bush Camp walk upstream for about one hour to a major fork. The gully on the left leads up to the Monk's Cowl - Champagne Castle nek and the gully on the right leads straight up the north west face of Champagne Castle. Why the route is called the south gully route, heaven alone knows. Climb the gully, with a couple of D pitches, to reach the top of the escarpment about 500m from the highest point of Champagne Castle. This is possibly one of the better known winter climbs. Depending on conditions it can range from a most enjoyable snow and ice route to a 6 hour slog through slush! Descend via Grey's Pass.

Ref: MCSA Journal 1955, pg 39.
SeriousTribe2's Avatar
SeriousTribe2 replied to: #1177 16 Apr 2010 06:50
Hi Intrepid

That is indeed the gully. In fact the red speck at left is my good self looking long and hard at same gully.Forgot about that pic. Awesome weekend, and we got snow.

Hi Frosty

Interesting that you say you would have had to abseil in. Were you at the top out of the gully or further along the ridges N or S ?
Deff enough snow (read ice)for a winter ascent.

Am still interested to hear if ANYONE has in fact DONE this. Any MCSA guys out there?
Frosty Ice's Avatar
Frosty Ice replied to: #1173 15 Apr 2010 09:48
I have been really keen to do this gully as a snow accent. We stood on top over easter and thought about tyring to do and abseil down it to check it out. (steps etc) I think it could be a really awesome climb in winter!!!

Maybe we get a group of us together to do it. I have 2 people.

I think snow axes, crampons and ropes would be a good idea too. (Maybe a few screws as well.)

Serious tribe's Avatar
Serious tribe replied to: #1170 15 Apr 2010 02:00
Hi Guys

You are going to make me jealous. I recall when Brad aka serious tribe 2 was standing on that point and i was taking the images. We had a chat about doing that gully. In fact the topic has come up in conversation a few times when we have been in the area. Just never got around to doing it, always another trip to get images was planned.

I have attached another image of the gully a bit zoomed in.