Rathole Cave

08 Jan 2008 16:12 #41 by Oneye
Rathole Cave was created by Oneye
I swore I would never use rathole cave again, but .... I do get claustrophobic, so I slept as close to the entry as I could. Spiders were everywhere, and I am very respectful of wildlife, and expect the same from them! I especially like spiders, they eat mozzies, and anything that eats mozzies is my friend! The spiders though feed on each other. A big one was scurrying on the roof, above my head, and each small spider would drop down a thread of silk to avoid him, drop close to my head that is. After watching this dance for 15 minutes, I decided I wasn't on the menu, and went to sleep. They did leave me alone.

But rathole is my least favorite cave, I would only use it again in an emergency.

Can't we get the Zulu gods to enlarge the thing?

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09 Jan 2008 12:04 - 10 Sep 2009 02:20 #42 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Rathole Cave
It certainly is a fascinating cave...what intrigues me is how the thing was created in the first place.

I once slept there with 2 others...I slept right at the back with my head furthest in. My friend slept next to me with his head towards the entrance. The other friend slept in the narrow middle section and we left packs and wet equipment (it was raining) at the front. It worked but I did wake up in the middle of the night and almost got claustrophobic (and I dont normally get that either). For the guy at the back to get out, everyone else has to get out too!

But it is certainly a snug cave, very warm and well protected. On my last visit there in April 2007 I noticed that the cut grass at the back had been burned...possibly a knocked over candle! :laugh:

You may have noticed the cave directly across, which you see if you look out the entrance. We refer to this one as "Skylight Cave" because it has a gap in the roof at the back, in addition to a side window and a large entrance. Sleeps about 3 people but is rather exposed and not good shelter, in addition to it being wet in the summer.

Fangs Cave, pretty close to Rat Hole, is a gem on the other hand, very well sheltered, spacious and pretty comfortable. Much harder to find though. If I'm staying over in the area Fangs Cave is my first choice.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 10 Sep 2009 02:20 by intrepid. Reason: removed old quotes

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10 Jan 2008 14:06 #43 by Oneye
Replied by Oneye on topic Rathole Cave
Fangs is a great cave. I stashed my non-overnight gear (as in the silly rocks I collected and all my exposed film) in a rock (marked it on my GPS) and went down the gully. I have the top of that gully marked on my GPS.

While I was there the most amazing scene transpired - the mist was all through the jagged rocks (the worshippers? the fangs?) below and the sun was shining through. I think it was late afternoon. Sadly, I was out of film.

Strangely I have never seen skylight cave. I have small 1 person overhang marked on my GPS, but I still pitched the tent, so it gave little shelter. Seems there are always new things to discover. Good thing, too, else I'd be bored.

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09 Sep 2009 11:46 #648 by fatshark
Replied by fatshark on topic Rathole Cave
anybody got any pics of Fangs Cave?

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09 Sep 2009 18:27 #650 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Rathole Cave
Solid cave it is. The sleeping areas are all around the boulders and packs in the centre.

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

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10 Sep 2009 10:45 #651 by fatshark
Replied by fatshark on topic Rathole Cave
looks pretty decent.

I keep hearing it is a real mission to find though. And whats the sleeping capacity?

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10 Sep 2009 12:34 #654 by Magan
Replied by Magan on topic Rathole Cave
It shouldnt really be a mission to find ...

There's a clear set of cairns leading left to a side gulley when ascending. Up this side gulley (some 50m)you cant miss it on the rock-band to the left.

That being said, I headed up about 4 side gullies when descending in heavy mist before I eventually found it. I had forgotten about the set of cairns :lol: and it did appear further down the Pass than one would expect.

Capacity : about 6

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10 Sep 2009 12:51 #655 by Magan
Replied by Magan on topic Rathole Cave
sorry, should have been a bit more clear ....

the side gulley is on the grassy slopes, some 100m from the summit of Fangs Pass

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11 Sep 2009 06:08 #657 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Rathole Cave
I've read accounts by people that did Fangs Pass where they mentioned that they had heard talk of a big cave at Fangs, but had not found it themselves. I also read a reference to it once where Rat Hole Cave had clearly been mistaken for Fangs Cave. So, while it's not the most elusive cave I've looked for, it certainly is not an obvious find.

Agree with Magan, on an ascent, near the top, stick far left and be very observant for cairns leading you into a small gully. You won't see the cave until you are a few meters from it. An alternative approach is from the top of this gully, because it is also a variation of Fangs Pass. If you walk along the edge, some 350m south of the main pass summit, you'll find the top of the gully which will take you straight to the cave (be warned, it's pretty steep). These waypoints are available in the Fangs Pass GPS data download.

It's a very well sheltered cave because it's deep and because the entrance is well protected by the gully. I've had snug nights in it while the wind was raging outside. 6 people is a comfortable fit, though it could take up to about 10. I've only used it in the autumn and the winter, and am not entirely sure if the one side gets damp in the rainy months (looks like it might) - but even if it does, there would still be plenty of space in the dry looking side.

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

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14 Sep 2009 13:26 #662 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Rathole Cave
I seem to remember that Fangs Cave lies up a side gully to the left on ascent (as everyone has noted) but that the distinguishing feature of the side gully is a well formed and large rock arch.

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