Itineraries for doing the Bell Traverse

08 Apr 2013 08:06 #56578 by tiska
We spent a night in Xeni cave and went up Cockade the next day - reaching Roland's Cave in the late afternoon following an early start (5am) from Xeni. I remember it as quite a long day. It takes a couple of hours from Xeni to reach the start of Cockade. For newbies it would be better to get closer to Cockade I think.

As far as passes go, I really like the views onto the Column and Pyramid from Tseke though I agree with what Stijn says about Cockade closing you in. I think Cockade is closer to what newbies might expect a Berg pass to be.
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08 Apr 2013 18:23 #56588 by intrepid

ghaznavid wrote:

plouw wrote: Also, are there any caves between Cocakde pass and Twins?


The only one I'm aware of is Easter Cave . Its in that massive rocky khulu above the top of Mlambonja Pass.

Easter Cave is a detour, may as well use Twins then. There are some minor shelters along the route, one of them being near Xeni Pass nothing to get excited about it and better not to rely on them.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
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09 Apr 2013 00:58 - 09 Apr 2013 01:38 #56593 by Serious tribe
Are you able to exit Xeni Cave, by going up onto the contour path instead of down the same way you came up? I have noticed what looks like a path, but I was near C5, and it was hard to make out if it was just an animal track. Loosing 300m in altitude just to have to gain it agin wld be rather soul destroying so early on the morning. If not, I would agree with mtn_tiska and try to get closer to the base of Cockade.

I have camped in two spots see the attached map. Karl and Lloyd Campsite was just a trip to that spot and we parked off there for a few days, again on second trip on the way to Cockade Pass in July 2010. There was a fair amount of water in a small stream, enough for a shower in Jan, and enough to wash hands and face and collect water in July. It is about 200m NNW of the campsite, you wld cross the stream on the path.

And the Cockade Pass tent site was at the base of the pass and you could easily fit 3 tents onto an area right next to the path. There was water there in July, so shld be plenty now.

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Last edit: 09 Apr 2013 01:38 by Serious tribe.
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09 Apr 2013 06:33 #56595 by plouw
Am I correct in saying the campsite is right at the base of the pass, in other words, the pass is that gully that runs down on your image, towards that tag says "Cockade 3161m"?
We are considering going via the Tsekeketseke hut, to take in extra scenery.

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09 Apr 2013 07:32 #56596 by Serious tribe
Yes the base of the pass runs from the campsite up to and past the Cockade 3161m.

Here is a larger map of the area...

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09 Apr 2013 08:27 #56601 by plouw
Ignore the comment about going via Tseke hut, didnt realise it was so high up the valley. on the map it looked like there was a contour path between the hut and cockade.

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11 Apr 2013 07:21 #56645 by plouw
Google earth reveals a path between the hut and base of Cockade...is this at relatively contour level?

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11 Apr 2013 09:33 #56653 by Serious tribe
The only path i am aware of is the contour path and that would be about 2000masl. The slingsby map shows a small yellow square at the junction of the contour path and tsek pass, I am not sure if this is just an area where one can camp or it is the hut. I don't have the hut mapped on my ge data set.
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11 Apr 2013 11:47 - 11 Apr 2013 11:49 #56656 by tonymarshall
Yes, the contour path crosses the Tseketseke valley a few hundred metres downsteam of the Tseketseke hut. The sections to and from the Tseketseke valley are quite steep, but the rest is typical Didima area contour path. I have done the section from the Tseketseke onto the slopes of the Camel, where you can either go down the route along the 'Ribbon Falls' valley back to Cathedral Peak Hotel/Didima Office or continue on to Mikes Pass or towards Monk's Cowl area. Below is a picture of the contour path leaving the Tseketseke valley via a side valley with the Camel in the background.



The contour path in this area gives grand views of everything from Cleft Peak to the Cathedral Range, below is the view of the upper Tseketseke, Tseketseke Pass, Column and Pyramid. Tseketseke Hut can just be made out in the river at the base of the slope coming down to the left from Pyramid.



The contour path towards Cockade/Xeni/Cathedral Range can be seen to the right of the photo above the bush line. I haven't used this section of the Contour Path before but would expect it to be quite overgrown.

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Last edit: 11 Apr 2013 11:49 by tonymarshall.
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11 Apr 2013 12:37 #56658 by intrepid

tonymarshall wrote: The contour path towards Cockade/Xeni/Cathedral Range can be seen to the right of the photo above the bush line. I haven't used this section of the Contour Path before but would expect it to be quite overgrown.

Yes it is pretty overgrown. Haven't done it in recent years, but diverian and witchiwoo did it last year, and can vouch that this is still the case. Its also longer and more strenuous that what you might think when studying it on a map.

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

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