Ntonjelane North Pass

05 Dec 2016 22:24 #70329 by AndrewP
This is a fairly major variation to Ntonjelane Pass. Intrepid and I took it in late November, having heard from a few of the guides at the Mnweni Visitor Center that it should not present us without too many difficulties.

From waterfall cave, follow the main path up Ntonjelane Pass, up the initial steep section. After a while Ntonjelane Pass breaks a bit right and then goes up again before starting the long rising traverse to the left.

Go up the main path until a point where you are as far to the right as the path will take you. Break off the path (you are at about 2450m here), and mostly contour about 500m into a big gully. If you get the line right, you are on a broad sloping grass ledge the whole way, and you get into the gully above a few waterfalls.



The gully narrows for a short while. There is a single, brief scramble through a short rock band



And then opens up for a broad and easy grass gully to the summit.



There are a few cool pinnacles in the gully. I scrambled up one of them, the others probably need a rope or two.



At the top, you enter the head of the valley running behind the saddle, getting a good view of north saddle peak.

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06 Dec 2016 12:30 #70336 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Ntonjelane North Pass
Is this one different to South Saddle Pass?

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06 Dec 2016 12:52 #70337 by Viking
Replied by Viking on topic Ntonjelane North Pass
Is this it?


“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”

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07 Dec 2016 07:36 #70340 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Ntonjelane North Pass
@ Viking. Yes, that is it.

@ Stijn. South Saddle pass takes the break further right, topping out at the lowest point in Viking's photo.
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22 Nov 2017 07:13 #72401 by AndrewP

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11 Nov 2018 13:25 - 11 Nov 2018 13:30 #74202 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Ntonjelane North Pass
After my mid morning break at the Ntonjelane River after descending Twins Pass, I headed up the ridge on the path of Ntonjelane Pass, on my way to ascend Ntonjelane North Pass. 

The photo below shows the multiple track path heading up the ridge of Ntonjelane Pass, and the prominent peak on the skyline to the right of the centre of the photo is Ntonjelane Knife, which is just on the right of Ntonjelane North Pass. A ridge coming down into the valley from Ntonjelane Knife is obscuring the pass. South Saddle Pass comes down the valley just behind the ridge in the right foreground. 

 

Higher up the Ntonjelane Pass path, I passed some forlorn looking donkeys, who were probably thinking about the crazy bloke going past them and where he was going to. South Saddle Pass is in the photo below, flanked by Ntonjelane Knife on the left and Saddle South Peak on the right, and had been visible for some distance along the path. I planned to descend South Saddle Pass the next day. 

 

Higher up still, as described by AndrewP in his previous post, I was at the place on the path before it turned sharply left to go up Ntonjelane Pass, and had the view of the grass slope traverse into Ntonjelane North Pass and the pass as shown in the photo below, with Ntonjelane Knife to the right of the pass. 

 

I had to drop down a slope from the Ntonjelane Pass path, and cross a stream on the approach to the grass slope traverse into Ntonjelane North Pass. I was carrying 2 litres of water with me from the river at the bottom of Ntonjelane Pass, as I hadn’t expected to find water, so the water in this stream was a good surprise, and at just the right time for lunch at water, although I had a few thoughts go through my mind about unnecessarily carrying an extra 2 kg up this far. 

After lunch, I headed off on the grass slope traverse and had this view back down the lower section of Ntonjelane Pass. In the photo below, The Puddings, Cathedral Peak and Bell are in the background. 

 

The view ahead along the grass slope traverse, and up Ntonjelane North Pass. 

 

At the end of the traverse, and the entry into the pass gully. 

 

As described by AndrewP there is one minor obstacle, an easy scramble, in the gully section of the pass, as shown in the photo below. It was also about here, at about 2600 m altitude, that the water in the stream ran out. 

 

A view up the boulder bed section typical of the lower section of the pass. 

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Last edit: 11 Nov 2018 13:30 by tonymarshall.

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11 Nov 2018 13:35 - 11 Nov 2018 13:39 #74203 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Ntonjelane North Pass
Once past the gully section, the pass gets a bit wider and is typical steep grass slopes. 

 

From the grass slope, a view back down the pass, with the Ntonjelane Pass path visible in the photo below. The sharp bend to the left, where I left the path, is visible, as well as the path going higher up Ntonjelane Pass. 

 

A view up Ntonjelane North Pass. The spires at the top of the pass just didn’t seem to be coming any closer. I was walking in a section of boulders again, preferring to use the rocks as steps to the adjacent grass slope. 

 

A view back down Ntonjelane North Pass. I had strayed a bit to the right (true left) of the grass slopes. The left (right looking down in the photo below) would probably have been easier, but it was a hot day and I was grateful for the shade on the left, and that I had carried 2 litres of water, which was nearly finished. 

 

The upper section of the pass offers an amazing view to the entire Cathedral Range, and over Ntonjelane Pass below. 

 

Near the top of Ntonjelane North Pass, not far to go now. 

 

My summit photo of Ntonjelane North Pass, with some of the Cathedral Range in the background.  

 

I hid my pack behind the rock outcrop at the right of the photo above, and headed into Lesotho with a small day pack. First stop was the stream nearby for some much needed water, before summiting some of the peaks in the area. The photo below shows the view towards the escarpment from theslopes of Ntonjelane Ridge, with the positions of the two passes in the area nicely displayed. 

 

After summiting the peaks, I retrieved my pack at the top of the pass, and headed down to the stream and a bit downstream to tent opposite the top of South Saddle Pass, which I would descend the next morning.

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Last edit: 11 Nov 2018 13:39 by tonymarshall.
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