Security

09 Sep 2019 12:15 #75311 by NHill
Security was created by NHill
Morning - we are planning to hike up Grey's Pass via Keiths Bush, returning either on same route or down Ships Prow Pass. It is some time since I did this route. I would appreciate any feedback please about safety/ security hiking this route. 
Many thanks, Naomi

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09 Sep 2019 13:08 - 09 Sep 2019 13:09 #75312 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic Security
Hi Nhill,

Welcome on VE!!!

The route up and down Grays pass carries a bit of traffic, but I've never seen anyone else (hikers or otherwise) while doing Ships, either up or down.
Ships is much harder than Grays, so smugglers and Basothu's would typicaly take the easier route.
We've never had any hassles in this area. It definitely helps if you are in a group of people.
If you intend to sleep over at Keith Bush Camp, I'd advise you to leave nothing outside your tent as I've seen locals sleeping over in this area. They typically stay on the other side of the scree field, i.e. more towards Gatberg than KBC. 

Couple of places to sleep over in the Ships valley, but I prefer the one closest to the exit point. Nice spot for at least 3 tents.

Enjoy!!!
Last edit: 09 Sep 2019 13:09 by Riaang.

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11 Sep 2019 15:04 #75315 by NHill
Replied by NHill on topic Security
Thank you Riaang for helpful info

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11 Sep 2019 21:52 #75316 by NHill
Replied by NHill on topic Security
Hello again - we have since decided Greys Pass/ Ships Prow too long/ demanding in available time and have decided to relocate to Cathedral Peak area:  Night 1 at junction of river and contour path below Tseketseke Hut; Day 2 up Pass and south to Organ Pipes; Day 3 down Camel and return to Hotel.

Several posts warn against tented camping at top of Organ Pipes for safety reasons. I assume next alternative is Ndumeni Caves. Which is the preferred cave? Any other suggestions? 

Many thanks

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12 Sep 2019 10:23 #75318 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic Security
Hi Naomi,

You are spoilt for choice at the top of Organ Pipes pass regarding overnight options. I've tented there numerous times without any issues, but yes, the pass carries a lot of traffic and it is best to camp out of sight where possible. If you do decide to tent then there are a couple of nice flat spots towards Castle Buttress side, which will also be out of view from anyone travelling up or down the pass. Let me explain how to get there when topping out at Organ Pipes pass. When you get to the rather large cairn at the pass head, Castle Buttress will be on your 4 O clock position, so turn right at the cairn and walk towards Castle Buttress. The camping spot is half way between Castle Buttress and Cleft Peak. There are about 3 spots that are easy to find and 2 of them are even close to a small stream. They are situated sort of in the little dip (or neck) between Cleft Peak and Castle Buttress. Only downside is that there are not much protection from wind here, but the views are awesome.

Regarding caves, you can either aim for Rolands cave (not recommended if you or anyone in your group has a fear of heights - the approach can be intimidating), or a bit higher up you will find the two Ndumeni caves. The one right above Rolands is a bit small and exposed, but 2 adults can be comfortable in this cave. Never tried it in the rain but I think you will get wet. The second cave is more towards Cleft Peak. You need to walk about 200m or more along the rock band to find it. The cave is low and deep. We fitted 4 adults in here, but I had to lie with my legs outside as there wasn't quite enough room for us all inside. The low roof height isn't great if you suffer from claustrophobia.

There are two more choices. When you descend Smugglers Pass (the pass head is to your left as you walk up to Rolands cave) you will find two caves, a lower and a higher one. I wasn't too impressed with either. I visited the one in the rain and it was flooded, the higher of the two was half dry but a bit small. The higher one would be fine if you have a bivvy though.

Enjoy!!!

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12 Sep 2019 12:13 #75319 by NHill
Replied by NHill on topic Security
Thanks again for your detailed info - so helpful!

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