Beginners/Easy Passes

12 Aug 2008 18:16 #121 by JonWells
Hi, I am struggling to find information on Drakensberg passes in KZN but
would like to plan a hike. I have recently done Langalibalele Pass, and am
looking for another pass of roughly similar difficulty. Does anyone have any suggestions? (besides Sani and Sentinel) Thanks!

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12 Aug 2008 21:46 - 12 Aug 2008 21:47 #122 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Beginners/Easy Passes
Judge Pass is not too far from there and thanks to the Basuths it is now a straight-forward pass with a good trail - somewhat harder than Langies though.

There are a number of named and unnamed passes in the Bushman's Neck area which are of the same difficulty and even easier than Langies. Thamathu and Ngwangwane Passes are very easy and good, the former having a well established path all the way. Good caves are also associated with these passes, though I'm not sure if the SANDF is still stationed at Thamathu Cave (to curb the smugglers and rustlers).

The Thuthumi Ridge route of Organ Pipes Pass is longer and steeper but its a total classic and a well established route. It can be asended in a day with some good caves to sleep in on the Ndumeni Dome. It is a major smuggling route though, which is not a problem in the daytime but dont camp around the top of the pass.

The weight of your pack is of course a factor, and if you are doing a multi-day hike vs a short or day hike.

Hope this helps.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 12 Aug 2008 21:47 by intrepid.

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10 Sep 2012 14:19 #55188 by dunmor
Replied by dunmor on topic Beginners/Easy Passes
I'm a beginner hiker and often hiking with my wife.
1. What are the easiest beginners passes to summit?
2. What would be easy beginners hikes (routes) using these easy summits

I've looked at the section detailing pass ratings but I would like your input into the easy ones and which ones you would do first to build confidence and experience

Thanks
Duncan

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10 Sep 2012 18:44 - 10 Sep 2012 18:45 #55192 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Beginners/Easy Passes
Good question Dunmor :)

Langalibalele Pass (at Giant's Castle) is definitely the best, its really easy (well, by Berg standards anyway) The approach to the pass is steep and very tiring, but the pass itself is fairly easy. A nice loop is what myself, Kliktrak and Hobbit did in June this year (see this writeup ). The pass we descended (Hlubi South route) is really steep and has no path (as we reopened it after probably about 100 years of disuse). I wouldn't recommend heading down Hlubi Pass unless you are up for a really steep and grassy pathless pass (there are 2 gullies, I the north one looks passable, but I haven't tried it out yet). Thumb Spur Peak is within 1km of the top of Langies Pass and has an amazing view. It is really easy to get to. With a tent you could do this as a multi day route - there are also 2 possible caves on the route, "This" Cave on Langies Pass (I haven't checked this cave out, it may not be any good), and Bannerman Cave on the escarpment (which you will probably need a GPS to find). If you do camp on the escarpment in the area, be careful, this area has bad history. Otherwise a tent at the base of the pass should work well. Personally we did it as a day hike, but that was 10h30 and was tough.

A classic beginners route is Rhino Peak (at Garden Castle) via Mashai Pass. If you take a route like this, just be careful, the actual last part on the peak itself is hard, if you don't find the route up you kind of end up rock climbing!

Another classic (with well placed caves) is any variation of Thuthumi Pass, Smugglers Pass and Organ Pipes Pass (a very scenic area with well worn paths) - at Didima. Tons of amazing views, and none of the passes are overly difficult.

Enjoy!
Last edit: 10 Sep 2012 18:45 by ghaznavid.

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03 Jun 2013 12:56 #57120 by Balthazar1
Replied by Balthazar1 on topic Beginners/Easy Passes
We are planning a 3night trip over the coming long weekend. We are keen to go to the escarpment- Looking at Loteni: What is Hlatimbe pass like, or Butress pass? Any other recommendations for an easyish ascent? we will be tenting tenting... Other areas as well- your feedback will be appreciated. :)

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03 Jun 2013 14:02 #57122 by ASL
Replied by ASL on topic Beginners/Easy Passes
Hi, the easiest ascent I've had is Langalibalele (hope I spelt that correctly) pass starting at Giants Castle. There is a long walk along the ridge beforehand but the pass is a doddle... It's a very straight forward hike
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03 Jun 2013 17:09 - 03 Jun 2013 17:12 #57126 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Beginners/Easy Passes
Easiest is definitely Langalibalele - I've done it 5 times, last time I came down it it took 45 minutes to get down! You can do some awesome peaks while up there - Thumb Spur (3055m), Bannerman Face (3235m) and Senqebathu (3301m) have incredible views (other than Bannerman Face, none of those names appear on the map).

I haven't done Hlathimba or Buttress, but I have stood at the top of both Hlathiba Passes and I have read up on both passes. They seem to be pretty easy. Buttress pass is apparently very steep.

Elinda has a nice writup on Hlathimba pass here.
Last edit: 03 Jun 2013 17:12 by ghaznavid.
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03 Jun 2013 21:40 #57128 by Pitcharelloes
Replied by Pitcharelloes on topic Beginners/Easy Passes
Agreed on the fact that Langalibalele Pass is one of the easiest but if you have a bit of stamina in you then Giants Pass is not that difficult and provides you with some fantastic views of the ice waterfall (turn left once you crest the pass the traverse round for about 30 minuted - good place to camp too) then if you have extra energy once you've setup camp as the ascent of the pass is only about 2.5hrs then you must ascend to Giants Peak - the views from there are some of the best on the Berg and you're high up too (around 3330m).

Whatever you do enjoy. The mountain air is great for the soul.

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04 Jun 2013 01:43 - 04 Jun 2013 01:44 #57130 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Beginners/Easy Passes
I have not done Langies, however Giants is an easy but long pass. Buttress is a difficult pass near the top, Hlatimba is easier or so says the red field guide. The drive to Lotheni after Nottingham is on a dust road that is notoriously not good. Usually i access Lotheni via Underberg which has a shorter and less severe section of gravel rd, but then i am usually traveling from durban.

Do a search on the site for these various passes and see what you come up with, usually there are lots of images as well which is useful.
Last edit: 04 Jun 2013 01:44 by Serious tribe.
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04 Jun 2013 07:35 - 04 Jun 2013 07:38 #57134 by Clark
Replied by Clark on topic Beginners/Easy Passes
Buttress was quite steep near the top and a bit damp in mid summer with some rock clambering and grass holding. Nothing too scary as its a very narrow pass. Hlatimba North is a very nice, straightforward pass with a great cave near the top.
Last edit: 04 Jun 2013 07:38 by Clark.

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