Cathedral Peak Hike - 29 October to 1 November

08 Nov 2020 16:28 #76280 by Paul J
Work commitments left us arriving at Cathedral Peak late afternoon on 29th October. A short walk from KZN Didima took us to a great campsite between Barker's Chalet and Sherman's Cave.


First night campsite between Barker's Chalet and Sherman's Cave

The following day we headed up to the contour path with a comfortable walk to just below Orange Peel Gap for breakfast.


Breakfast below Orange Peel Gap

The plan was to follow the Contour Path all the way round the Cathedral Peak valley to the bottom of Tseketseke pass, up Tseketseke Pass then down Organ Pipes and back to Didima. We had not been to Cathedral Peak area before so this was an initial explore of the area for us. The morning of the 30th was great and we made good progress - then it started to rain! While the weather forecast had predicted rain, we had hoped for showers and instead had a non-stop torrential downpour with only a brief respite when we reached Mlambonja Pass. This made it difficult going with what would normally be a straightforward path transformed into a river of slippery, cold, wet mud.


Drakensberg Cycads at the Mlambonja Pass


Bottlebrush in flower at Mlambonja Pass

The contour path across the head of the Cathedral Peak valley is very variable, with some sections being clear and easy to follow. A number of the river crossings were heavily overgrown which required quite a lot of back tracking to find the correct route - particularly around the bottom of Tseketseke pass. The Tseketseke river was in full flood which required removing boots and wading to get across - which was not popular with 2 wet kids. We pitched a tent at the bottom of the pass, hoping for a break in the weather but instead the rain got steadily heavier. Eventually deciding that there were limits as to how much rock, paper, scissors you could play in a tent even with a limitless supply of hot chocolate, we decided to leave Tseketseke Pass and Organ Pipes for another occasion. This proved to be a good decision as the rain steadily worsened during the day of the 1 November with the steep section of the path above Ribbon Falls Cave transformed into a waterfall requiring a rope to belay packs down.

Paul

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10 Nov 2020 10:09 #76292 by Serious tribe
Interesting how much water is in this valley, the place of the hungry dog, and how little there is now in the iNjisuthi Valley, the place of the well fed dog.
The following user(s) said Thank You: TheRealDave

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