Route options - Giant Castle area

30 Apr 2021 13:41 - 30 Apr 2021 14:17 #76820 by supertramp
Thanks for all the advice on potential routes in the Giants Castle area. Given that this area is quite a drive from Mpumalanga and that we do not visit it often enough, we decided to make the trip worth our time and effort. 
My wife and I have been deliberating for quite some time on doing 4 passes on a single hike and this was our ideal chance. 

With the recommendations from Richard Hunt, TheRealDave, Riaang & Smurfatefrog, we ended up doing the following route:
Day 1: Camp - Giant's Ridge - Ascended Giant's Castle Pass - overnighted in Giant's Summit Cave (also called Long Wall Cave I believe)
Day 2: Summited Giant's Castle - descended Elandshoek pass - Gable shortcut - contoured around and tented close to the base of Giant's Castle pass
Day 3: Ascended North Jarding pass - tented at the top of Bannerman's pass
Day 4: Descended Bannerman's pass back to camp

We thoroughly enjoyed our hike and it was a good test of our mountain legs. The weather was very pleasant and the views were amazing. It was again notable for me how much of a different feel the central / southern Berg has to the northern Berg. 

Herewith just a couple of pics. 

Giant's Castle pass - strong path all the way. The top 10% is or so is quite eroded but not bad at all if you stick to the true left
 
 
 
The view from Giant's summit cave (apologies for the bad quality but wanted to bring across the location of the cave).
 
Summit of Giant's Castle (the little scramble to the top was a non-event). Elandshoek pass down below
 
 
 Elandshoek pass
 
Looking back 
 
Junction to the Gable shortcut
 
View back from the top of the shortcut with The Tent & Hawk & Lotheni area
 
 

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Last edit: 30 Apr 2021 14:17 by supertramp.
The following user(s) said Thank You: elinda, Smurfatefrog, TheRealDave

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30 Apr 2021 13:47 - 30 Apr 2021 13:49 #76821 by supertramp
Approach to North Jarding pass with the 3 alternatives  
 
Perspective on the slope of the grass bank (with no path I didn't really enjoy this "kant berg" part very much). Got a lot easier in the 2nd half
 
Back down North Jarding pass
 
 
Bannerman's pass (2nd time descending the pass. Path was in good condition and a pleasurable experience)
 
 
 

Final look back before "bannering" it down
 

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Last edit: 30 Apr 2021 13:49 by supertramp.

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05 May 2021 12:33 #76837 by ivan
Hi  What would be a  more scenic/enjoyable option? (Cathedral peak Area) : starting at Mikes  Pass and  going  up Organ pipes to  the summit (overnight at the  lookout) and second  night on top
then  return day 3  or :

(Giants Castle Area)
 Starting at Giants Castle rest camp :doing Bannerman,s  pass  up  and  Langabilele  Pass down (sleeping at Bannerman,s  hut first  night  summit second  night and  third night halfway down  fourth  day back  to Giants Castle rest camp?

thanks....




 

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05 May 2021 14:06 #76838 by Joe Welman
Ivan! The cathedral peak option is great. As I have not done your other option I will only give you my two cents on the organ pipes route.  If your group is adventurous you can sleep in Roland's cave which is an anomaly. To make it a circular route you can easily descend via the camel. The camel does however have hairy bits that become really dangerous(read undoable) under icy conditions. Also note that there is no water near the old lookout, and the hut itself is in a bad state. The lookout is also on a smuggling route. I would rather camp on the contour path at one of the regularly used camping spots.

Whatever you end up doing, enjoy and be safe. 
 

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05 May 2021 14:28 #76839 by JonWells
Hi Ivan

If you do look at the Bannerman Loop you wouldn't need a third night unless you very intentionally want to take it very easy.  You can camp above Langalibalele Pass on night 2, and its only about a 4 hour hike back to the carpark from there, depending of course on your group's fitness.  Just something to bear in mind 

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05 May 2021 23:08 #76841 by ivan
Thanks for the info . Any advice re my planned four day trip. first night bannermans hut second day bannermans pass .sleep on summit third day descend down langalabilele pass and sleep halfway between the pass and giants rest camp. 4 th day home . Any pointers or advice?thanks ivan

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06 May 2021 10:39 #76842 by ivan
Thanks Joe
Security  is always a worry . 

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06 May 2021 10:59 #76844 by Riaang
Ivan,

What you are asking for is super subjective. Which is better: Cathedral Peak are or Giants Castle area? I mean, how does one answer such a question. Both are great areas to explore, the question is, what are you looking for? For me, the Giants Castle area is more "open", the CP area is more rugged, hilly, mountainous. In the CP area you can get to the top quicker as it is shorter (assuming you are fit enough for the steeper inclines), the GC area has further walk-ins to get to the passes. So in short, I can't answer your question as I like both areas.

Regarding your second question, I can offer my opinion. Your route for a 4-day hike around the Bannermans area is very doable. The distances are relatively short and you can tent at all the spots you've mentioned. Just check water availability at the bottom of Langies. There is a nice waterfall not too far from the contour path as you descend, I'd top up here as I doubt you'll find water on the ridge below it. Not impossible, but unlikely.

Whichever route you take, enjoy!!! 

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08 May 2021 09:20 #76852 by Drakie1
We did Giant's Langalibalele loop recently. I can confirm water situation as Riaang stated in his post. Good camping spot right at the top of Langies, close to a stream. Going down Langalibalele you can find water at the waterfall at the bottom of the pass, just before walking up the ridge. The last water is of course where you cross the river (Boesmansriver?) on your way back to Giant's Castle camp.
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