The Bell Traverse

03 Jun 2016 13:45 #68637 by Rhinoandhedgehog
Replied by Rhinoandhedgehog on topic The Bell Traverse
Well the date is set 18 June 2016

Weather permitting : Cathedral Peak Summit (hoping for a 2h45-3hr Summit)
Guts permitting : Bell Traverse there after

Having done all my research and with all the tracks / waypoints iether down loaded or worked off Google earth, looked at every picture I can find every video and all views I am as ready as I will ever be...
The following user(s) said Thank You: kbresler

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

More
27 Jun 2016 11:46 #68949 by Rhinoandhedgehog
Replied by Rhinoandhedgehog on topic The Bell Traverse
Well did the Cathedral ascent in 2h50 mins (almost to plan) but did not go on to the Bell Traverse as there was still a quiet a bit of snow and ice on the southern slopes and considering I was by myself I was was not going to put myself in any position where I could get in trouble. Maybe next time, I go with someone, any takers?
The following user(s) said Thank You: Macc

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

More
27 Jun 2016 12:02 #68951 by Macc
Replied by Macc on topic The Bell Traverse
Well done :)

"The three rules of mountaineering: It’s always further, taller and harder than it looks."

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

More
16 Jan 2017 20:17 #70652 by WarrenM
Replied by WarrenM on topic The Bell Traverse
So our adventure this weekend was really to speed hike about a 50k section in the cathedral range. It started with unrelenting rain on Friday night, we couldn't even set up our tents so we slept in the didima campsite scullery what we didn't realise was that all the mosquito's and insects in the berg also plan to use it with us, so we didn't get much sleep.

On Saturday the alarm went off at 3.15 am and we started getting ready, just after 4.30 am we headed out, with our headlamps and a full moon to guide us through the early morning darkness. Our ascent up started almost immediately and the ground was wet from all the rain and the rivers all flowing with huge force. We ascended the camel in reasonable time and stopped at the last set of water before the next climb. Windy cap was fun, it is a short section with big boulders that you need to clamber over. Once we passed through there we were in the organ pipes pass and had about 500m to the escarpment.




After we have already climbed a huge amount looking at the peaks in lesotho are ominously big and tower all around you. We traversed around to the base of cleft peak and there is no easy way up cleft it is a very tough climb to the top. The general approach we took was to head straight up. While that was the shortest it is a steep climb, Ruthie took the lead and we all followed in pursuit. After slogging up Ruth got to the summit first. The flowers that we passed on the escarpment were amazing and the colours through the whole route is wonderful to see. Time 5h30min to the top of Cleft peak.



After Cleft we traversed a couple mountains and headed down to the valley, looking back Cleft is just as daunting if you had to approach it from either side.

There were a huge amount of sheep in that valley and they all had bells and the sound just travelled across the valley.

The climb out elephant gully was tougher than I had remember and the altitude was also getting to me, by then I had a pounding headache, and I know that I had not been drinking enough. As we contoured around the valley after elephant gully there were even more cattle in the valley which I had not expected. One little Shepard boy approach us asking for sweets, but we just said hi and carried on going, the others were all happy with us waving at them from a distance. I started using wikiloc at this stage to confirm where the mlambonja pass was, which worked like a treat. We quickly descended the short section of the pass before crossing the little saddle to twins cave and the start of the bell traverse. Got to twins just under 9hrs from the hikers parking.

The bell traverse is a spectacularly beautiful section, we had good weather and the view were breath-taking that's not to say that it make the route easier, there are some difficult sections and anyone with a fear of heights would struggle. As we were rounding the northern side of the two horns there was a berg adder in the path and it didn't budge so we had to get off the path and make our way around the adder.

Getting to bell cave did drag on we were all ready to stop for the day. When we got to bell cave, we were all a bit concerned, the overhang is not big and there is no shelter from the wind and elements. We were expecting a thunderstorm that night so the thought of that was not great. We deliberated a bit but after about 11 hours and 34k we were all ready to stop for the day. After a quick wash with wet wipes under a drip in the wetter side of the Bell cave, we organised dinner and a cup of tea before setting up our sleeping arrangements. Sleeping arrangements really comprised of finding the driest section and we spread out a bit to try avoid the continuous dips in the cave. Most of us were asleep before dark.

The night was interesting the wind blew, the mist came in and it rained. By 10 pm our sleeping bags were wet and it was cold. We just had to deal with it. During the night I did wake up and the dose off again, we heard an owl who obviously enjoyed the sound of its own hoot as it must have hooted for what seemed an hour, really nice to hear. There was someone else around as well, all we heard was people taking and a dog howling/yelping as if it was being beaten, we could only assume those were basothos.

Sunday morning was spectacular, from 4am we started to watching the sun rise in the distance, it was fantastic to watch as we prepared for breakfast, and really washed away the less than pleasant night that we had. The lack of protection from the element at bell cave is enough to put me off, but I would go back for the view again and sleep in a wet sleeping bag to get that view all over again.

Once the sun crested the horizon we were all up and preparing to get packed up and going again. We were soon on the path up to buggers gully which is a tough climb but reasonably short. Once on the other side as we descended we tried to find the old route up Cathedral, but we couldn't see it easily and there was just huge amounts of water coming off the peak, so even what we thought might be the route looked risky. At base of Cathedral we picked up the path for the new route and half way up that Dave called to us to say that he was not going to come up, so we left our packs there and made our way up to the first scramble. Again the water that was coming off the mountain because of the rains was a lot, the first scramble has water coming down it, the rock face was slippery, we made it up the first little bit but with the amount of water on the actual rock faces that we were climb, we decided that it would not be wise to attempt the ascent as descending would be extremely more difficult, so we turned around and headed back to where Dave was waiting.



From there it was all downhill (literally), some fantastic running with a good path all the way to orange peel gap, and from there even better descending the ridge after orange peel. We had an idea that the Mlambonja river was going to be a problem as it had been in December when we crossed it then by creating a human chain to get each other across the river, but this time was different, the river was torrential there was no way we were going to cross it. So we started to walk down river to try get to the golf course were there would be a bridge to cross, the only thing was that we couldn't find a path and we had to make our way through thickets of bramble berries, our legs got cut up it was not pleasant, but after a while one of the staff at Cathedral Hotel helped guide is to a road out of the bramble berries, we made our way to cross the bridge and to the hikers parking.

All in all a great weekend, 47ks across the berg.

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

The following user(s) said Thank You: JonWells, ghaznavid, tonymarshall, pfoj, Macc, AndrewP

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

More
17 Jan 2017 10:54 #70655 by Macc
Replied by Macc on topic The Bell Traverse

WarrenM wrote: we heard an owl who obviously enjoyed the sound of its own hoot as it must have hooted for what seemed an hour, really nice to hear.


That is awesome, never heard one in the berg before...didn't think one would.

"The three rules of mountaineering: It’s always further, taller and harder than it looks."

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

More
17 Jan 2017 11:19 #70656 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic The Bell Traverse
I saw an owl at Curtain Cave last year, I have seen very few owls in the Berg, but there are some around.

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins
The following user(s) said Thank You: Macc

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

More
17 Jan 2017 11:21 #70657 by WarrenM
Replied by WarrenM on topic The Bell Traverse
Hey Macc

During December we also saw a owl in the dark heading to the hikers parking at Cathedral, and the same day another one in Mlambonja pass.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Macc

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

More
17 Jan 2017 12:06 #70659 by DesPorter
Replied by DesPorter on topic The Bell Traverse
I have seen and heard Cape Eagle Owl in the berg, and it is the most likely candidate to be found in mountainous areas.

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

More
14 Feb 2017 15:20 #70875 by Macc
Replied by Macc on topic The Bell Traverse
Does anyone know what the total distance is for the traverse...from hotel back to hotel

"The three rules of mountaineering: It’s always further, taller and harder than it looks."

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

More
14 Feb 2017 15:32 #70876 by WarrenM
Replied by WarrenM on topic The Bell Traverse
Hi Macc, In Dec we went up Mlambonja and along the Bell Traverse, we got 17ks from twins cave to the hikers parking close to the hotel, so from hotel to twins and back is say 34ks.

For us we went up Mlambonja to twins cave, followed the traverse then down to the hikers parking which was just over 33ks.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Macc

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

More
Powered by Kunena Forum