Leslie’s Pass is a pass which is very pleasant to hike. There are some great features in this pass like the Marble Baths and the huge cliffs of the Molar towering over you near the top of the pass. It is a fairly long pass but most of the distance is covered by bushwhacking and boulder-hopping up the river. This is also the most direct non-rock pass to access Mafadi which is about 6 km south of the top of Leslie’s Pass.


Rating:
* * * (6/10)
Difficulty of the pass is rated from 1-10 (10 being very difficult, only to be attempted by the fit and experienced). A subjective quality rating is indicated by the number of stars (1 being low, 5 being the highest). Factors such as scenic beauty and overall experience come into play here, which may differ from person to person.

Access:
It’s a relatively short walk-in (8 km) from the Injasuti Hutted Camp up the Injasuti Valley and to the right (north) up the contour path. The Marble Baths Cave is passed just before the descent into the valley which contains Leslie’s Pass.

Details:
The distance from Marble Baths Cave to the top of Leslie’s Pass is 6 km with an altitude gain of 1200m. 

Route:
A clear path takes you down from the Marble Baths Cave to the Marble Baths themselves which are very refreshing on a hot day. From here, the path gets very vague but as long as you keep going upriver, you’re heading the right way. About 3 km up the river, a steep ridge coming from the Molar can be seen. The path climbs straight up this ridge and becomes more distinct from this point onwards. After a further 300m of altitude gain, the path takes you into the pass itself and crosses over a small stream to reach the southern slopes. After a short easy scramble through the rocks by the river, the path climbs up the grassy slopes to the base of the huge escarpment cliffs and then zigzags higher up to the top of the pass at 3100m.

Finding the pass from the top:
Leslie’s Pass is situated just south of the Molar on the edge of the escarpment. It is about 100m above the escarpment river valley and is clearly marked with a cairn.

Overnight Spots:
Marble Baths Cave is a good shelter sleeping 12 people at the base of the pass. There is a good place to camp just at the base of the ridge when the path leaves the river but it might not be too safe if the river would flood. As usual, there is lots of good camping on the escarpment itself.

Water:
There is reliable water for the first 3 km along the river but once you start climbing the steep ridge, the only available water is a seasonal trickle at the point where the path contours into the pass itself. There is also a river on the escarpment, 200m from the top of Leslie’s Pass.

 

Forum Topic:

More info can be found on the forum, here:

http://www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/11-drakensberg-passes/53654-leslies-pass.html

You might also find this description of the terrace path between Marble baths and the base of the pass useful:

http://www.vertical-endeavour.com/downloads/download/4-drakensberg-hiking/166-leslies-directions-for-terrace-path.html

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Smurfatefrog's Avatar
Smurfatefrog replied to: #71168 16 Mar 2017 18:57
See this thread for options on the loop www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/8-drakensberg-hiking/53639-corner-pass-judge-pass,-mafadi,-leslie-s-pass-loop.html

Corner Pass with a big group will take ages due to hauling packs
Judge Pass is not a rock pass these days, it has an easy to follow trail without any major obstacles, you'd likely find it considerably easier than Leslies, although its a bit further out the way
andrew r's Avatar
andrew r replied to: #71167 16 Mar 2017 18:00
Hi Kraig

I have not hiked from Injasuthi nor done any of the passes you mentioned, but Leslies Pass is often done in conjunction with Grays Pass (Monks Cowl) so look for hike reports and consider that as another option.

To manage your (very big) group safely and to minimise ecological impact I suggest you split into 3 clearly defined sub-groups with a spread of competencies within each group (i.e. don't put all the strong, experienced hikers in one group & all the rookies in a different group). Each sub-group should be self sufficient (maps, food, tents, etc) with an experienced leader so that if they get separated as a team they can look after themselves. Spread the sub-groups out a bit when you camp (but still within sight of each other if possible) and hike in your sub-groups, aiming to meet up all together for lunch etc. That way you will still be a group, have safety in numbers, but be more accountable to a smaller team and not put so much pressure on what is a very fragile ecosystem.

If your experience is anything like 'normal' you will probably have 30% of your hikers drop out before you even start, in which case you may want to hike as one group but break up into 2 groups with some space between them to camp.

Hope this helps.
DesPorter's Avatar
DesPorter replied to: #71166 16 Mar 2017 17:58
I am under the impression that there is a size limit for groups in the berg and that limit is 12. Thus the group should be split up and the various groups travel independently to different destinations. Can anyone clarify this?
Kraig's Avatar
Kraig replied to: #71165 16 Mar 2017 17:01
I have a group of approximately 20+ people, we plan to hike up to Mafadi from the EKZNW Injisuthi camp over the Easter weekend. My initial plan was to go up Leslie's pass and come down Judge or Corner pass or vice versa. I have done quite a few hikes a bit further north but haven't done any in this area. Furthermore there are a number of people for whom this will be their first hike. I saw now that Corner pass involves some scrambling so that plan won't work and Judge pass has Basotho traders and is labelled 'rock' so I don't think that's a good idea either. Do you think it is a feasible idea to take this many people up and down Leslie's in a 4 day hike and find sufficient space to camp? (it's not necessary for us all to camp close together)
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #70056 17 Oct 2016 19:05
There is already a lot of info on this pass on this thread, so I won't say too much [hey, stop laughing]

We followed the river for most of the stretch from Marble Baths at the base of the pass. Boulder hopping is often faster than fighting through overgrowth.

The trail up the pass is clear till you hit the gully, then you just have to figure out that it goes up the spur in the middle. It is very eroded and loose - some form of reinforcement such as erosion barriers would be helpful.

We lost the trail through the top section, but it is easy to wind up the steep grass banks to the top.

The pass is steeper than average. The pass also starts quite low and tops out high. It was harder than I was anticipating.

The pass is worth doing, even if just for the views. I am not in a huge rush to do it again, but if I end up doing something like Injisuthi Pass some day, I could imagine making a round trip down Leslies.

Here are some photos from the pass:
Redshift3's Avatar
Redshift3 replied to: #66131 11 Dec 2015 15:45
Stunning pic's Dave! I hope to do the pass in mid January 2016. :hike:
Dave's Avatar
Dave replied to: #66130 11 Dec 2015 14:03
Here are some photos from a solo hike I did up and down Leslie's in September:

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I found the riverbed far easier to navigate on the way down using the terrace route, the height advantage making the cairns easier to spot.

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There is a steep bit in the path near the start of the bushy section (the darker mound on the left of the valley in the photo above) that is very eroded, so that you literally have to pull yourself up using the shrubbery on either side. This might get tricky if the erosion continues.

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tonymarshall's Avatar
tonymarshall replied to: #61198 30 Jun 2014 08:58
Yes, both top gullies are accessible, although I think it is more common nowadays to use the southern (left in the photo with green arrow) one. I think the southern one is probably a bit easier, but do know of people using the northern one when approaching the pass along the ridge from the north.
john mark 1's Avatar
john mark 1 replied to: #61196 30 Jun 2014 08:21
Thanks Tony! Are both of the two top gullies of leslies pass accessible? Which one is better to use or are both as good?
tonymarshall's Avatar
tonymarshall replied to: #61190 29 Jun 2014 20:22
Hi John, yes that is correct. Leslies Pass has two top gullies, both are visible in the photo and the other one is just to the right of the green arrow top in the photo.
john mark 1's Avatar
john mark 1 replied to: #61189 29 Jun 2014 17:10


Hi guys. This is one of Tony's pictures from his writeup. So would the red arrow be the molar and the green be the top of leslies pass?
Serious tribe's Avatar
Serious tribe replied to: #60686 14 May 2014 01:36
Mine too, love the place for a cool chill holiday. They must be from the early 80's i would say.
firephish's Avatar
firephish replied to: #60676 13 May 2014 15:27
nice to see those old injisuthi pics, definatley my favorite of the KZN wildlife camps :thumbsup:
Viking's Avatar
Viking replied to: #60675 13 May 2014 14:20
Wow, those are fantastic!
ASL's Avatar
ASL replied to: #60674 13 May 2014 14:10
Upload not working on Firefox... :sick:
ASL's Avatar
ASL replied to: #60666 12 May 2014 17:16
Check out this old post card the Parks Board is selling. The trees are still tiny...

Nice snow...
nicovw's Avatar
nicovw replied to: #60478 24 Apr 2014 18:47
It was a fun and testing trip ...... Thank you ASL for having me
ASL's Avatar
ASL replied to: #60293 11 Apr 2014 09:02
maybe today is better... a couple more pics




ASL's Avatar
ASL replied to: #60283 10 Apr 2014 17:57
sorry... struggling with pic uploads!
ASL's Avatar
ASL replied to: #60282 10 Apr 2014 17:56
This hike was awesome! :evil:

It was a bit epic as we took a pretty direct route up Leslies pass and were scrambling for over 3 hours. A word of warning here about hiking with climbers.. they seem to enjoy ignoring paths in favour of anything that looks rocky and a bit challenging! There is also an intense 4km bushwacking section from Marble Baths to the base of the ridge before the pass which was rough.

Basically we were quite poked before we started the ridge and then the path up the ridge is most direct and steepest I have used in a long time. Due to my back injury this year I haven't been able to train so by the time we started up the pass I was very tired. The scramble up was also very tough and only pure stubbornness got me up.

We topped out at 430ish and then cruised over to a really pretty valley and set up our tent 3m from the stream. Summit Cave was an option but we decided we rather chill out and test my new tent. Once we cleaned up a bit and got properly settled in it was 6.20pm. Both of us had pushed so hard on the scrambling that we felt like puking so we decided to nap before dinner. Actually we passed out and I only woke at 9pm! I tapped Nico on the shoulder and said "dinner time"!

From there we were good though and enjoyed a bobotie and rice from Backcountry with a litre of Game and some hot chicken soup for me. Don't mention the half slab of chocolate..

The weather was incredibly kind to us and it was mostly overcast with no wind. It did drop to 1 degree in the early hours but we were toasty in our bags. Next day was a crisp and clear start and we only got going after 730am. The return route was a lot easier and quicker as we decided to try and stick to the path as much as possible and avoided much of the scrambling of the day before. There was a lot of slipping and butt sliding as the path is particularly loose and steep but we got it done and were back at Injisuthi camp by 3pm.

Post the hike I can say that I really enjoyed it. It's very deceptive on paper and the up route is the harest pass I have done in the Berg, mainly due to the scrambling aspect and the bushwacking and steep ridge just before. I may feel differently if I was in fit condition but rate it much harder than Mweni, Rockeries or Greys which I did in the past year. Nico said that Rolands Cave was a doddle by comparison too.

I have to say that I loved it though and it felt remote and more adventurous than most. It hurt so I'm not sure if I'm rushing back but I'm really glad I did it. Stunning scenary as usual for this area too. check pic..
intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #60187 03 Apr 2014 21:49
Hi ASL,

I've merged your post, along with another Leslie's Pass thread with this one, the main Leslies Pass thread, for ease of reference.

There is also a thread for the popular Corner Pass - Mafadi - Leslie's Pass loop , but for discussions specifically related to Leslie's Pass, this is the more suitable one.
tonymarshall's Avatar
tonymarshall replied to: #60182 03 Apr 2014 14:21
Hi ASL,

See some write ups of Leslie's Pass on the "Re: Leslie's Pass" thread, and I've done a write up on the escarpment route of Injisuthi Summit Cave to Leslie's Pass on the "Injisuthi Area Summit Escarpment Exploration" thread.

Indeed an awesome hike. pm me if you need gps info.
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #60165 02 Apr 2014 17:32

Fitness wrote: I'm envious :thumbsdown:


Me too. Kind of. My hike this weekend took a forced cancellation due to work :(

Oh well - Cathedral Peak next weekend, Cathkin the following weekend, taking my mother hiking the weekend after that, and Mafadi the weekend after that. Ok, all is good :laugh:
Captain's Avatar
Captain replied to: #60164 02 Apr 2014 17:32
What pack did you get? B)
Fitness's Avatar
Fitness replied to: #60161 02 Apr 2014 16:45
I'm envious :thumbsdown: