Mashai pass, Rhino Peak

07 Aug 2008 10:58 #115 by Errol
Errol created the topic: Mashai pass, Rhino Peak
Im going up to the Mashai area early in September for a night or two. Does anyone know of problems up there (ie security issues) ?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
08 Aug 2008 09:34 #117 by intrepid
intrepid replied to: Re:Mashai pass, Rhino Peak
I have not heard of any problems myself but not all incidents get reported and circulated. Personally I'm a little more on my guard in the Southern Berg because there seem to be more shepherds around, but I would not feel uneasy going there. It's not like Giant's Castle, Amphitheatre or Didima.

The Basutho shepherds are most definitely around in that area (even now in the winter it is still likely that there will be some individuals), so take every precaution you can, especially when camping - see some practical tips here . Though I have not known them to be malicious like the ones at Amphitheatre and Giant's Castle, I have no doubt that they are opportunistic.

It's been a while since I've been on Mashai Pass so I'm not sure how much the smugglers use it currently. It would be great if you would post back onto this thread once you've done it. If you see fresh signs of smuggling activity you may want to avoid camping near the trail and avoid using the 2-man cave.

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

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
09 Aug 2008 23:35 - 09 Aug 2008 23:36 #119 by domsmooth
domsmooth replied to: Re:Mashai pass, Rhino Peak
A recent trip to the giants area indicates that the smugglers are no longer using Langalibelele pass as their major route up and down, although there are still signs of their movements. There is a new pass that appears to have been opened up 2 or 3 gulleys south of Langali, which appears quite easy, but not as easy as Langali. My thinking is that they have opted for that because of the increased patrols on Langali to combat the activity there. From there I assume they move around towards Highmoor, although it did not appear like there was much activity on the contour pass there. They apparently use a new pass on the south of the giant (some of the ice climbers may be able to shed more light on this, as we didn't go to the south side of the giant to verify), and then head down through Highmoor into the rural areas beyond to do their trading and back up.

Would love to know if anyone has spotted any activity on the south of the Giant recently....

Ps, Errol, would love to see some pics of Mashai and hear a report back if possible??;)

Lets all help maintain the values for which the Berg was proclaimed a World Heritage Site
Last Edit: 09 Aug 2008 23:36 by domsmooth.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 Aug 2008 12:48 #120 by Errol
Errol replied to: Re:Mashai pass, Rhino Peak
Thanks for the replies thus far, I'll be sure to put up a post once i've been. Hoping to capture some images of the area, if they any good i'll upload those too.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
21 Sep 2008 11:10 - 21 Sep 2008 11:25 #157 by Errol
Errol replied to: Re:Mashai pass, Rhino Peak
Half way up Mashai Pass…

It all started off well of Friday, leaving the Garden Castle Office in cool clear conditions suited to hiking. Upon reaching pillar cave I was saddened to see the amount of litter lying around. Further more, it would seem that some people don’t feel the need to take a spade on the toilet run. “Cairns” of faecal matter comprise part of the litter to be found just outside the cave (as close as 2m from the entrance). It also appeared that fires had been made in the cave, on the inside of the pillar, although I could not say how recently. That is to say, there were no coals lying around, but soot lining the pillar. Candles had also been placed around the cave, wax stains running down the walls and soot trails marking the rock above were evidence of. Not really the kind of features I was hoping to see on the trip, and a poignant comment on how some of society views the Berg...
Beyond Pillar Cave the trail is less well defined. I assume this is the result of it being less used, by hikers or Basuthos alike, as well as that the majority of people probably head for Pillar Cave rather than the top.
Upon reaching an area of the trail opposite, but below the elevation of the Mashai Fangs, we stopped to take stock of the weather. The light mist that had wrapped around the upper escarpment earlier in the day was now thicker, and extended a good distance below us. It got denser and wetter as we stood there.
I did not know the area, and decided that perhaps setting up tent (on the flattest spot available) was better than pushing on up, what I understand is an ill-defined scramble, to the top in worsening weather. The plan was to see what the morning would bring.
In the tent by 12:30pm, it was raining shortly after (after numerous weak cold fronts, I didn’t think this one would bring much weather with it…). Unknown to us, it started snowing during the night. We climbed out the igloo at 5:30am on Saturday morning to find ~6inches had fallen, with more coming down constantly (which was pretty awesome to see). Happy with our decision to get in to the tent when we did, we also decided not to continue up. It was misty, snowing hard, we had no snow gear, and weren’t sure of the path. To go on, I think, would be fool hardy. Further more, our main objective (apart from getting on top), was to try and capture come images of the Berg. With so much snow falling, the images weren’t going to be great.
We packed up and headed down. 1.5km from the car park we met two hikers on their way to pillar cave for the night. They too had changed their plans to get on to the escarpment due to the inclement weather.

Due to the fact that the trail was not well defined (once past Pillar Cave), I don’t believe it is used much by Basuthos (or hikers…). Obviously I cannot speak for how things were on top…


Although it didn’t work out as planned, we still had a good time and learnt a bit more about the Berg. Neither of us are experienced hikers. The hikes I’ve done in the past have been lead by people who knew where they were going (i.e., knew the trail from experiance), its abot harder not knowing the trail. Looking forward to going back, and getting up on to the top.

If anyone has been up there recently, or is going up, I really like to hear how it went/goes.

(got some images which i must just resize etc before posting.)

Please login or register to view the file attached to this post.

Last Edit: 21 Sep 2008 11:25 by Errol.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
21 Sep 2008 20:07 - 21 Sep 2008 20:32 #158 by intrepid
intrepid replied to: Re:Mashai pass, Rhino Peak
Thanks for reporting back and look forward to seeing the pics! I'll probably be in the Berg on Wednesday for a few days...wonder how much snow will be left.

Sensible turning back, good decision.

Sad about the state of affairs in Pillar Cave :( . Its not the only cave that has that problem. I'm also amazed to have seen poor toilet practices around some "remote" caves which theoretically only serious hikers go to. One would think that people who have read about the caves and make a point of going there would have good hiking etiquette and a concern for the environment...but not so.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last Edit: 21 Sep 2008 20:32 by intrepid.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
22 Sep 2008 17:45 #159 by Errol
Errol replied to: Re:Mashai pass, Rhino Peak
I should imagine there will be a fair amount of snow still up there.

Sadly its just about always the case that where ever people go, a portion are bound to leave their negative mark in some way or another...

Have a good time up there, Im currently working out dates etc for the next trip.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
23 Sep 2008 07:33 #162 by NinjaMasta
NinjaMasta replied to: Caves for Toilets
I was Errol's partner in this little adventure and the cave situation was the definite low-light, the ground around was hard and difficult to dig in,having been burnt over but definitely not impossible!

Also, another concern was the fact that the NCS station at the bottom was not open when we departed on Friday (07:30am which is the scheduled office opening time)or returned on Saturday (12:30pm)with no evidence of them being open the entire time we'd been up there, which is not the greatest confidence booster in the concern for hikers' safety in the area!

Also got some images, will tryb upload ASAP

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
23 Sep 2008 09:05 #163 by Magan
Magan replied to: Re:Caves for Toilets
Sad that no-one was there ..... cant answer for others responsibilities, but at most offices the Mountain Register is outside, so hope you guys filled that in ...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
23 Sep 2008 14:25 #165 by NinjaMasta
NinjaMasta replied to: Re:Mashai pass, Rhino Peak
Yeah it was and we did...

It was great hiking and staying for free but if we'd really been stuck or had serious problems no one there would have been no help to anyone...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
Powered by Kunena Forum