Uklebe Pass

02 Mar 2013 11:46 #56136 by ghaznavid
Uklebe Pass was created by ghaznavid
Ok - so I have been looking at pass lists again and came across a pass I had never heard of, called "Uklebe Pass". It seems to be between Mzimkhulu Pass and Sandleni Pass. Apparently it was featured in the 1985 MCSA journal.

Does anyone know anything about it, pics, RD's, difficulty, where exactly it is etc?

With a goal of doing all passes at Garden Castle (yes - even Minaret Pass), it is one I need to do in the future, always fun to do routes that aren't on the maps...

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10 Jul 2013 15:47 - 10 Jul 2013 15:50 #57611 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Uklebe Pass
Not sure if anyone is interested in this one, but I finally found where and what Uklebe Pass is.

Just north of KaMasihlenga Pass, but before the Hawk there is a route.

"the route ascends by a prominent rib to the base of a large pinnacle, marked on the map as having a height of 2934m, skirts around the base and then up an obvious gully to the only break in the rock band" (MCSA journal 1985)

Apparently the name is Zulu for "Hawk".

I think this is the line:

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Last edit: 10 Jul 2013 15:50 by ghaznavid.
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16 Jul 2013 19:01 #57708 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Uklebe Pass
Ok - so seeing as this pass seems to have had a grand total of 1 ascent in the last 28 years I think its due a repeat.

So my plan for the upcoming long weekend is to head up Uklebe Pass and down eNtubeni\Lotheni\Elandshoek Pass, hoping to go tentless and use some combo of Ash Cave, Lotheni Cave and Yellowwood Cave. Anyone keen to join is welcome to PM me, should be epic :thumbsup:

Some questions:

The 3 caves I referred to, anyone have experience with them? How good are they, easy to find etc?

The map shoes eNtubeni pass as having a path, I somehow doubt this. Anyone have experience on this pass? Lotheni Pass looks great, any advice on it? David Bristow says in his book that both are iced up and therefore not usable in winter, but his facts are usually wrong, any thoughts?

I know very little about Elandshoek Pass - any info will help :thumbsup:

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16 Jul 2013 19:43 #57709 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Uklebe Pass
Ps would this be a pass (maybe Eastern Gully or Elandshoek Pass)?


Photo taken from the top of Taylor's Pass

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17 Jul 2013 05:00 #57710 by Stijn
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17 Jul 2013 09:16 #57715 by BobbyStanton
Replied by BobbyStanton on topic Uklebe Pass
Yup, that's Elandshoek Pass. Eastern Gully is on the northern side of the Gables ridge.
I did Ntubeni Pass many years ago. It is a fairly easy pass but I just remember a large waterfall lower down the valley which we had to do some scrambling up steep grassy banks to get past. It is probably your best bet but there is no path.
Loteni Pass has a main gully and a side chute around on the south side, which is the best way to go. I haven't done it myself but stood bone idle at the top and watched John Pickup descend it looking for a cave down there. He said it was easy all the way. Not too sure about the main gully but it looks Ok from the top.
I doubt if these passes are iced up. Judging by the number of errors in in his books I think David Bristow smokes something and the resultant little genie writes the books.
Elandshoek Pass is fairly obscure and finding the top can be difficult as colleagues have discovered in the past. There is no obvious big gully to look for from the top. I can dig up some gps coordinates if you are desperate to do it. The next question is where do you go once you have descended the main pass. I have bundu-bashed down the Elandshoek River valley which eventually comes out near the Loteni River in the vicinity of Simes Cottage. There is a path off to the left at the base of the main pass but finding the takeoff point without my gps coordinates would be a challenge. You then have 5km of smuggler's contour path along the south side of the Gables until the top of Taylor's Pass. From there it is straightforward.

ps. Intrepid. This site does not like Firefox 19 and won't allow me to reply to anything. I'm doing this in Chrome.
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17 Jul 2013 09:35 #57716 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Uklebe Pass
Thanks, that info is a great help :thumbsup:

BobbyStanton wrote: I did Ntubeni Pass many years ago. It is a fairly easy pass but I just remember a large waterfall lower down the valley which we had to do some scrambling up steep grassy banks to get past. It is probably your best bet but there is no path.
Loteni Pass has a main gully and a side chute around on the south side, which is the best way to go. I haven't done it myself but stood bone idle at the top and watched John Pickup descend it looking for a cave down there. He said it was easy all the way. Not too sure about the main gully but it looks Ok from the top.


Awesome. Based on the map it looks like the 2 top out and bottom out right next to each other. 1st prize is Lotheni Pass because I want to use Lotheni cave, but if the pass looks iffy I can always switch seeing as the cave is almost at escarpment level. I'll look for the south chute.

BobbyStanton wrote: Elandshoek Pass is fairly obscure and finding the top can be difficult as colleagues have discovered in the past. There is no obvious big gully to look for from the top. I can dig up some gps coordinates if you are desperate to do it. The next question is where do you go once you have descended the main pass. I have bundu-bashed down the Elandshoek River valley which eventually comes out near the Loteni River in the vicinity of Simes Cottage. There is a path off to the left at the base of the main pass but finding the takeoff point without my gps coordinates would be a challenge. You then have 5km of smuggler's contour path along the south side of the Gables until the top of Taylor's Pass. From there it is straightforward.


I was thinking of this as an option if the other 2 passes might be iced up, but I think this route is more likely to have ice issues than the other 2. If you have GPS co-ords it would be great for when I get around to doing this pass, but don't go out of your way to look for them.

Definitely one for the future, but maybe more a route to go up if the top is hard to find.

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17 Jul 2013 09:44 #57717 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Uklebe Pass
Re: Best Walks of the Drakensberg

I emailed the publishers of the book a while back with a long list of errors I have found (including RNNP to Tugela Falls summit being a 24km return trip, the walk to Ash Cave being rated as being as hard as Gray's Pass, Langies Pass being rated as harder than most Berg passes etc) and they replied that they would send my comments to the author and sent me a free copy of his book "Been There, Done That". Well past being in double digits on errors found in the latter book :laugh:

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17 Jul 2013 11:40 - 17 Jul 2013 11:41 #57724 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Uklebe Pass
The smugglers use Lotheni Pass, so go figure :) They use the "South Fork" though, not the "North Fork" which is the one marked on the map (this one does indeed have a very nasty looking rock step in it). It doesnt make sense to me why the hikers decided on marking this one when the south fork is so obvious and not technically challenging. Anyway, the smugglers (and rustlers) figured it out and you can walk on their trail. The trail wont take you to Ash Cave though, you have leave it an arbitary point and bundu bash the rest. Do this early enough though (ie higher up). We left the trail to late and really struggled to descend the valley slopes to get to Ash Cave.

Ash Cave is pretty good, not too deep but works well enough. It was welcome relief from the wind and rain pelting us at the time. Yellowwood Cave is not that deep, but its in a yellowwood forest and that makes it much more sheltered. Lotheni Cave is a little down from the escarpment, the south fork of Lotheni Pass. Its a bit weird in that it has a steep grassy ramp descending into it before you reach the flattish sleeping area at the bottom. Not the greatest sleeping area, can be drippy too. The cave is both deep but still open to wind blowing in the weather due to the high roof.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 17 Jul 2013 11:41 by intrepid.
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17 Jul 2013 11:57 #57725 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Uklebe Pass

BobbyStanton wrote: ps. Intrepid. This site does not like Firefox 19 and won't allow me to reply to anything. I'm doing this in Chrome.

Firefox used to be easy to work with in terms of web development, these days Chrome seems to be the easy one to have. I am aware of several browser-related issues creeping in and do apologise for the inconvenience they cause. I personally get frustrated with them too when I post on the forum. The upcoming site overhaul / software upgrade will solve several of these issues and the remaining ones will have to be dealt with on a case by case basis with the developers of this forum software.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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