Xeni Pass

22 Mar 2016 21:10 #67444 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Xeni Pass
I have heard a few interesting tales about Xeni Pass. Prominent amongst the list is a fellow X-Berg competitor who got it completely wrong and abseiled his way down the pass in the night using the cords used to tie a paraglider into a neat bundle.

My real purpose of the trip was to get to the Saddle Peak in the Mnweni Peak, but if you need a rope to gain the true summit, then it makes sense to use the rope to do something else. Simple progression led to climbing Xeni Peak and hence Xeni Pass. Tony Marshall and Neil Margetts signed up for the trip as soon as I suggested it!

We left Cathedral Peak hotel shortly after 9:30am, and made our way steadily up towards the contour path. We reached this early and decided to push on upwards, hoping we could find a campsite higher up.

At the split between Xeni and Cockade Passes, things get a bit more interesting, Thick vegetation and a few large boulders combine to ensure that you know you are now off the beaten track and onto something a bit more serious. Even so, it is fairly easy to work your way upwards.

100m vertical higher and just above the first proper waterfall (which we bypassed easily on the left, looking up) we found a lovely campsite.



The next morning, we moved upwards and then had to break out left to skip another waterfall.

I moved further left onto the ridge, and could thus clearly see the “variation” pass, while Tony and Neil stayed lowed and closer to the main river. At the junction to the2 passes we joined again, now following a grassy gully upwards and left of the main gully to skip a few waterfalls.


Tony and Neil at the top of the grassy gully and a long way above the main rocky gully.



The traverse into the main gully was easy and we began to wonder if we had missed something.

Once in the main gully, we passed a few “boulder” problems. Each is about 3-5m high and if you look properly, is easily enough surmounted.



Higher up you reach a significant chockstone that it sneaked past via a wormhole in the back. This might be the easiest portion of the pass as you feel really secure inside the hole.



Above that we had a few more boulder problems, but nothing serious.

I would rate the pass as Not-So-Bad.
It is probably to go up than down because you can then see a way though the short boulder problems.

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22 Mar 2016 22:03 #67445 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Xeni Pass

AndrewP wrote: I would rate the pass as Not-So-Bad.




Thanks for sharing - I'm happy to hear that! Now to make a plan that includes going up there as part of a day hike :whistle:

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins
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31 Mar 2016 13:10 #67563 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Xeni Pass
Some photos of Xeni Pass to add to Andrew’s above.

On the walk in up the Xeni River past the worst of the bush, and approaching the Cockade – Xeni junction at the centre of the photo below, with the stream from Cockade Pass coming in from the left and the Xeni River in the foreground and behind the ridge on the right. The background peaks are Elephant at the left and Xeni Peak at the centre.



Bypassing the first waterfall upstream of the Cockade – Xeni Junction on the grass slopes to the left. Andrew had scouted ahead and found a campsite on a flat area above the waterfall.



Our awesome campsite – space for two tents – above the waterfall, with Xeni Peak and Leopard in the background. Leopard divides the two Xeni Passes, with the main pass to the right and the alternative pass to the left.



Our first view up the whole of Xeni Pass. We would follow the grass slope up the centre of the photo below to avoid the obstacles in the gully below.



That grass slope was really steep.



We took a brief stop near the end of the grass slope, and while I was taking this photo of Neil with the upper section of Xeni Pass behind him, Andrew was taking his photo posted above of us. We traversed into the rocky portion of the pass at the base of the lower rock band.

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31 Mar 2016 13:12 #67564 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Xeni Pass
Ascending the boulder bed in the gully.



A view down Xeni Pass with a rarely seen perspective on Pyramid and Column. The Plume is the peak to the right.



We took a tea break just below the huge chockstone with the wormhole beneath it.



The cavity beneath the chockstone is spacious enough to move comfortably in, as Neil scrambles up.



Tony exiting the wormhole on the upper side of the chockstone.



The boulders continue nearly to the top of the pass, with just a short grassy slope at the top.



Andrew, Tony and Neil take a celebratory break at the top of Xeni Pass, before traversing left around Leopard to go and climb Xeni Peak.



This was quite a milestone pass for me as it was the final pass I had to do to complete all of the official named Didima (and Northern ‘berg) passes, although there are still a lot of unmarked passes and pass variations to go and do.

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31 Mar 2016 13:20 #67565 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Xeni Pass

tonymarshall wrote: This was quite a milestone pass for me as it was the final pass I had to do to complete all of the official named Didima (and Northern ‘berg) passes, although there are still a lot of unmarked passes and pass variations to go and do.

Well done Tony :thumbsup:

On an unrelated note, aren't Didima Pass and Inner Tower Gully labeled on the survey maps :whistle:

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins

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31 Mar 2016 13:33 #67566 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Xeni Pass
Good stuff Tony! I'd say an even greater achievement is the number of people your photo-writeups have helped get up these passes as well. :thumbsup:

Btw, that grassy ramp looks like a great route choice. We stayed mostly in the gully, bypassing obstacles using much shorter grassy traverses. The scrambling in that section was often quite tricky and there was a lot of it!

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31 Mar 2016 13:39 - 31 Mar 2016 15:42 #67568 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Xeni Pass
Ghaz,

You have a good point and it's not that unrelated. :ohmy:

Didima Pass is noted but not named on the SG map, so it's probably somewhere between the two categories - official named passes and unmarked passes - and I have conveniently assigned it into one of the unmarked passes still to go and do.

Apologies on Inner Tower Gully, I haven't done that pass, but have chosen to disregard it as a pass due to it being a technical rock pass. I should have qualified my statement above by adding 'non technical rock' before passes.

(Edit)

Stijn (and andrew r),

Thanks, that's a really nice compliment, and it's great to know that the info I share adds value and helps others, which is my reason for sharing it.

Yes, we thought it would be easier, as well as perhaps give us a glimpse of the Xeni Pass variation to the left, but only Andrew who went higher got that right. I'd guessed that was where your write up mentioned bypassing stuff in the gully on the grass slopes to the right.
Last edit: 31 Mar 2016 15:42 by tonymarshall.

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31 Mar 2016 14:15 #67569 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Xeni Pass
@Tony: Don't worry, I'm just joking around - Inner Tower Gully is a fun one to throw into the mix, seeing as Intrepid is the closest I am aware to anyone doing this route. I know he has done Singati Cave to the saddle, and escarpment to the saddle. I don't actually know anyone who has done this route continuously.

Hopefully Didima Pass will drop its mystery status soon.

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins

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31 Mar 2016 14:54 #67570 by andrew r
Replied by andrew r on topic Xeni Pass
Stijn wrote:

Good stuff Tony! I'd say an even greater achievement is the number of people your photo-writeups have helped get up these passes as well. :thumbsup:

+1.
Thanks :)

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18 Apr 2016 18:13 #67879 by Jklynhans
Replied by Jklynhans on topic Xeni Pass
hi guys

great post. we're doing Xeni-Cockade this weekend and wanted to know if you had GPS data for the route up Xeni pass?

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