The toughest pass in the Berg

16 Apr 2012 09:36 #53571 by ghaznavid
ghaznavid created the topic: The toughest pass in the Berg
What is the general consensus on the hardest pass in the Berg? Hardest being defined as most difficult/tiring to walk, but not looking at passes or routes that require any ropes/technical rockwork. For the purposes of this post, the level of danger on a pass doesn't impact on its difficulty. Assume the pass is dry (unless it is usually wet) and assume there is no ice or snow.

The candidates seem to be:
- Mnweni Pass (which David Bristow in his book describes as "Extreme, very extreme")
- Ifidi Pass
- Xeni Pass
- Ship's Prow Pass (the one that gets my vote, not that I have done any of these, but 6km vertical and a height gain of 1.3km :blink: )

On a similar topic, what do you guys put as the easiest pass (it must top out over 2700m - so not Bushman's Nek Pass, the chain ladders must be considered as part of a hike from RNNP, not Witsieshoek, and driving up Sani Pass doesn't count). The candidates for this seem to be:
- Chainladders
- Langalibalele Pass
- Hlathimba Pass
- Mzimude Pass
- Walkers Pass
- Iscutula Pass

Thoughts?

"Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory." - Ed Viesturs

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16 Apr 2012 10:11 #53572 by plouw
plouw replied to: Re: The toughest pass in the Berg
Of the passes that i have done, I would rate Ships Prow and Corner pass as the hardest. Corner pass for the steepness and Ships Prow for that never ending boulder hopping!
Mnweni pass is really not too hard! :thumbsup:

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16 Apr 2012 10:33 #53573 by tiska
tiska replied to: Re: The toughest pass in the Berg
I would suggest that any pass that requires most people to take their pack off for a technical bit should be excluded - otherwise it is shades of grey when it comes to the technical part dictating how hard the pass is. I would say Ifidi and Corner are examples of passes which are technical and so not in the mix.

That would leave passes which really are a walk and the walk is made tough by three things: the approach (bush and no path), the steepness and the length. In all, the metric which quantifies this kind of pass would be length of time taken to summit. Ship's Prow does it for me. Langa gets my vote for the easiest.

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16 Apr 2012 12:45 - 16 Apr 2012 12:46 #53576 by intrepid
intrepid replied to: Re: The toughest pass in the Berg
Mnweni Pass, "Extreme, very extreme"?? :laugh: :P :woohoo: :dry: erm, not so much...

mnt_tiska, your constraint throws out several good candidates. But there is an important distinction to make when it comes to discussing how hard a pass is. Ships Prow is hard for different reasons than Ifidi or Corner.

There is definitely a class to which the more "technical" passes belong, these would be Corner (which is among the easiest in the class), Xeni, Ifidi, Injisuthi, Hilton, Pins. Then there also also the more forgotten ones like Eastern Gully on Giants and Inner Tower Gully (which used to be one of the ways of getting onto the Amphitheatre).

Then there is a monster class to which the likes of Ships Prow South Fork, Icidi, and Cathkin Mountain Pass (Ships Prow North fork) belong. They are monsters for a different reason: length, altitude and obstacles like boulders and bush. I've named them in increasing order of difficulty according to my experience.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last Edit: 16 Apr 2012 12:46 by intrepid.

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16 Apr 2012 13:21 #53578 by tiska
tiska replied to: Re: The toughest pass in the Berg
agree with all of Intrepid's - except Pins. There's nothing technical there I don't think - or else we must have found the only non-tech way down.

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16 Apr 2012 13:22 #53579 by tiska
tiska replied to: Re: The toughest pass in the Berg
Its also time to send TonyMarshall up Inner Tower Gully with his camera :)

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16 Apr 2012 15:06 #53580 by Stijn
Stijn replied to: Re: The toughest pass in the Berg
My vote goes to Icidi - never been up it but both times I have come down it were at least 7-hour "ordeals" to bundu-bash down to contour path level. If you take the bush factor out if it, then Manxome must top the charts in terms on sustained non-technical steepness!

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13 Sep 2016 20:43 #69762 by ghaznavid
ghaznavid replied to: Re: The toughest pass in the Berg
Looking at this old thread. DaveG rated Minaret the hardest, I had Ships Prow down as the hardest, and a lot of votes seem to be for Icidi.

IMO Ships and Minaret don't come close to cracking the top spots. Having done 67 different passes, Pins is by far the hardest pass I have done (including rock passes). Second would be Mbundini. None of the other passes I have done have been in the same league as these two. I am hoping to do Ifidi and Icidi later this year, so I will hopefully learn whether or not their reputations are deserved.

My vote for best effort to reward ratio still goes to Cockade Pass - not even in the same league as any other pass I have done. Other stand-out passes include Organ Pipes, Pins and Walkers Ridge Pass. Although the Berg is full of awesome passes...

"Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory." - Ed Viesturs

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14 Sep 2016 07:25 #69763 by AndrewP
AndrewP replied to: The toughest pass in the Berg
Based on effort alone, I would put down:
Both variations of ships prow as a stand alone winner especially if going up these passes.
Icidi
Pins

Ifidi and xeni should come off your list as they are technical

For hardest technical pass, I would put down hanging valleys and injasuti as being harder than Hilton or apes or xeni. I still need to do inner tower gully and eastern gully on giants.
The following user(s) said Thank You: ghaznavid, AdrianT

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14 Sep 2016 08:11 #69764 by Stijn
Stijn replied to: The toughest pass in the Berg
Andrew, it's interesting that you found Hanging Valley Pass technically harder than Hilton. Puts things in perspective for me as I have always assumed Hilton to be at another level entirely.. (never been anywhere remotely near it though).

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