Sentinel Gully

09 Oct 2017 14:24 #72245 by AndrewP
Sentinel Gully was created by AndrewP
Sentinel Gully is another of those mostly unheard of lines in the Drakensberg. It is given a name on the map, which suggests it has been done, and this time around, I know of people who have either done it or who confidently believe it is possible.

The upper reaches are steep and loose. The huge south face of the Sentinel distracted me enough though and soon I reached the first waterfall. I dodged this easily enough to the right and romped down into an area covered by debris from a fairly recent landslide.

The next waterfall proved trickier. Thanks to the landslide, I could no longer exit the gully safely right here and had to go up rather a lot. By now, the cliff was bigger and harder to see a way through, so I traversed about 500m right into a side gully. This was not exactly trivial to get into or to descend, but I could at least see a way down the cliffs due to my ability to move right or left for a view. I was just about to regain the main gully, almost an hour later when I saw another waterfall, so I stayed on the grass a bit longer.

The 3rd waterfall went quickly simply because I was not going to mission about any more and just took a line straight done the steep stuff.

The angle now eased off and I started hitting vegetation. I kept to the watercourse itself to avoid the worst of the bush. My feet were still wet from earlier, so stepping in the occasional pool did not bother me too much.

There are relatively few tricks in the last bit.

Yet, within 100m of the Tugela, you hit a 3m drop down a 70 degree slab into a shallow pool. The landing is open enough that I felt comfy doing a slide down it. Getting up it would involve an awkward and very wet fight through the waterfall itself off to the side.

From here, it was an easy boulder hop to freedom.
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02 Nov 2017 17:58 #72320 by AdrianT
Replied by AdrianT on topic Sentinel Gully
Did you happen to take any photos? You make it sound like a Sunday stroll, but I would imagine it to be pretty solid stuff.

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06 Nov 2017 07:18 #72327 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Sentinel Gully
No photos.

The view looking out of the gully is the classic view of Devil's Tooth. I admit by then a sense of humour failure had entered the scene, so I stuffed my camera away and concentrated on getting down. Its always a bit nervy doing something you know nothing about - there is always that hidden thought that I might be unable to continue and would then have to turn around, head back up and then run down via Witsieshoek.
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