Xeni Pass

24 Jul 2018 07:14 #73710 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Xeni Pass

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02 Apr 2019 20:20 #74858 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Xeni Pass
Which Xeni Pass gully do people consider to be the "main" route?

The Xeni Pass on the Geomaps seems to the the Northern gully (ie the one in plain sight at the Xeni-Cockade junction). On Slingsby's maps however, it appears that the Southern gully is marked as Xeni Pass. I think they are variations of each other, but am unsure as to whether there is a clearly defined dominant one. The gullies do form a Y-shape with a nicely defined prow splitting the two, so if other passes are anything to go by we could refer to them as the North Fork and South Fork of Xeni Pass.

Thoughts please?

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04 Apr 2019 12:19 #74867 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic Xeni Pass
Makes sense to split them as North fork and South fork do to the "y" nature of the terrain.

For me the North fork is the more "natural" of the 2 routes up to the escarpment. here's why:
  • You can clearly see the bottom of the North fork all the way from the bottom, as opposed to the South fork variation where you can only see the top part, and also not all the way - it is only visible until you get close to it, then you go off to the right to the North fork.
  • In order to get to the South fork, you need to switch over to the left at some stage. Depending on where you are on your route upwards, this is not as easy to get to as you would imagine. If you overshot the turnoff point you have limited access points into the South fork, whereas the North fork is clearly visible for most of the way.

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08 Apr 2019 15:06 #74889 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Xeni Pass
I am in agreement with the naming of the two, which is fine for the pass names irrespective of whether the two gullies are regarded as variations of the same pass or as separate passes.

I agree with Riaan that the northern gully is the more obvious and visible one of the two, but having done both I am going to differ and say that the south fork is the main route, as per Slingsby's map.

When I did the south fork in 2016, I had no problem crossing between the two gullies when I went to scout the snow and ice conditions in both gullies on the afternoon before I ascended the south fork the next morning, so this is really not an issue, if the 'turnoff' to the south gully - which is quite obvious - is missed, it is quite easy to switch gullies higher up. This was also quite apparent when Andrew, Neil and I ascended the north fork together, we could see the gully of the south fork was just over a low ridge which could easily be crossed, and Andrew even went up onto the ridge and had a look into the south fork. Obviously once you are high enough where both gullies are in the summit rock band cliff zone it isn't possible to switch gullies.

The south fork has more water than the north fork, and is a larger stream, another reason why it can be regarded as the main route.

Although I did the south fork in snow and ice conditions, and couldn't really see what was under the snow and ice, I got a distinct impression that the south fork has less obstacles, both in quantity and difficulty than the north fork, which I have also done in snow and ice conditions. The south fork also bypasses the steep exposed scramble the north fork has just after the split of the two - so it would be logical for most hikers to regard the route with lesser obstacles as the main route.
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