Solo hiking in the Berg
Stijn wrote: The last time I did it was indeed during that post-matric hike after coming down Ship's Prow Pass. So I don't know what the current situation is but in 2002, the first kilometer or so of the contour path (in the direction of Cateract Valley) was vague and difficult to find with head-high spiky grass. Thereafter, it was clear though.
In 2009 (? I think) we ran into the spikes when heading out of the river and attempting to track onto the contour path leading to Cataract. We gave up, retreated into the river bed, went down stream for 30 minutes and then climbed up a steep bank for 25 or so minutes to find the clear contour path. It was a mild oppie getting up that bank.
We tried pretty hard to persist into the spikes because it was obvious that the contour path ran that way. But we just couldn't deal with the veg.
When I got back to the desk I read your (Stijn's) description and it was *exactly* as you described it. Not much seemed to have changed in the 7 or so yrs since.
I'm interested to know how you get along. The spikes more than the bundu bashing in the river bed itself put me off Ship's Prow.
It looked to me like the old contour path originally built when Tiny Harris ran Solitude is different from the new contour path, which appears to track through that valley at lower altitude. When you descend the bottom bit of SP, you'll see the two distinct contour paths from 40 minutes away. Twas a false dawn for us. We'd set the contour path and campsite as the end point for the day having started to descend SP in the summer rain after 3:30pm. By 7pm we were still blundering around the bundu. Ship's Prow does receieve its fair share of warnings and cussings and I upped the tally that day.
Last week I hiked from Monks cowl to Injisuthi via Ships prow and Cataract valley,back via Shada ridge,solo in 3 days.
I was planning to camp in ships cont.path, but there was "traffic" I decided to push on and also went up that uphill and through the spiky grass! (for the second time....we never learn. I think the right path is further down and then right up the valley,coming out of the bush into that valley i noticed some cairns that lead all the way down.I hiked on and decided to camp well away from the pass,couldnt believe that the pass is being used by other folk.I ended up in cataract valley 6pm....a long hike from Monks Cowl.
Be-aware when in ships solo,I never thought that the pass is being used,there were about 5 guys,I stayed out of sight and moved on quickly.
Is there any chance of water at the BMC camp in August or should I carry in?
I have seldom found the stream at the BMC camp to be dry, but if it is, the last stream that you cross (coming down from Cathkin slopes), before reaching the BMC camp is fairly strong and should suffice (about 5 minutes from the BMC camp). If you do take water from the BMC stream, rather take it from the ridge above the bush camp, as I have frequently found the bush area alongside the steam used by day hikers as a toilet stop.
I presume this massive snow dump is going to mean that the Southern side of Cowl Pass will still be choked with snow in 2 weeks time? Please comment if you have done it before but I also imagine that it would not be fun (or safe) to descend cowl pass in snowy conditions?
Considering an alternative... especially since I'll be solo.