The Bell Traverse

23 Mar 2018 18:43 #73049 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic The Bell Traverse
@Petroengel - we were in this area a few weeks ago.



Top of Orange Peel Gap



Looking up to the top



At the bottom of Orange Peel gap - you can see the path that leads off to the right and you continue all the way down the ridge

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24 Mar 2018 09:29 - 24 Mar 2018 11:39 #73051 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic The Bell Traverse
Hi petroengel,

Some pictures showing the Cathedral Peak Gendarme, the first is from the escarpment side, and the second from between Orange Peel Gap and Cathedral Peak





The steep section where the path goes up and down in the gully between Cathedral Peak and the Gendarme is Buggers Gulch Gully.

Sorry that the pictures are not the best I could use, but I found them quickly, and they show you what the Gendarme is. Looking through the earlier pages of this topic it should help you to identify the Gendarme and Buggers Gulch gully in the other photos, for example the only photo on the first page shows Buggers Gulch Gully with the Gendarme on the right, viewed from the escarpment and The Bell side.

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Last edit: 24 Mar 2018 11:39 by tonymarshall.
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24 Mar 2018 13:43 #73052 by petroengel
Replied by petroengel on topic The Bell Traverse
Thank you tonymarshall!
I actually started wondering if the Gendarme is actually the pillar on the one side of BGG.
Thank you very much. So looking forward!

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15 Mar 2019 12:43 #74803 by zwakefield
Replied by zwakefield on topic The Bell Traverse
Hi all, I'm new to this forum and planning my first multi-day hike in the Drakensberg over Easter with a small group. Our plan is to start early on Day 1 from Cathedral Peak Hotel, ascend via Shermans Cave and Orange Peel Gap, hopefully summit Cathedral Peak and camp somewhere near to the base of the summit/Bugger's Gulley. Day 2, will be Bell's Traverse to Twin's Cave, hopefully pushing on to camp somewhere near the peak of Cockade Pass that night. Day 3, descend via Cockade Pass and return to the hotel.
I've read a lot of the comments on this thread and the Bell Traverse Itineraries one, which have been really useful, apologies if this has all been asked & answered before but I just have a couple of questions. I posted this on the Itineraries forum but looks like this is the thread that is most regularly used for BT. 
1. Does this sound like a doable itinerary? I guess we can always exit via Mlabonja Pass if necessary?
2. Is it easy enough to find Bell's cave and the start of the traverse from Cathedral's peak/Bugger's gulley? I've found the instructions quite vague on this point.
3. I haven't been able to find any GPS routes for the route from Twin's Cave to Cockade Pass, is this easy enough to find?
4. Does camping at the top of Cockade Pass for the 2nd night make sense?
5. Is the descent and return to the hotel from Cockade Pass easy enough?
Really appreciate the help in advance! 
Zoë

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15 Mar 2019 23:35 - 16 Mar 2019 01:11 #74805 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic The Bell Traverse

zwakefield wrote: I posted this on the Itineraries forum but looks like this is the thread that is most regularly used for BT.

The BT itineraries thread was the right one to post under, as you did at first, since most of your questions related to exactly that - your itinerary. We found that many questions related to the Bell Traverse are actually more on how the trip is planned in conjunction with other trails and routes (for example in your case, adding on Cockade Pass) - rather than relating to the Bell Traverse part specifically (for example "How exposed is it?" ). Keeping all these discussions together in one thread makes it very long and this becomes laborious to read if you are looking for specific information afterwards.

Not to worry though, we are not the kind of forum that will delete posts if they are in the wrong place, but we do keep things organised and as tidy as possible. :cool:

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 16 Mar 2019 01:11 by intrepid. Reason: grammar

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17 Mar 2019 20:39 #74813 by Smurfatefrog

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19 Mar 2019 10:52 #74818 by zwakefield
Replied by zwakefield on topic The Bell Traverse
Definitely feel free to delete from here! 

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28 Mar 2019 20:27 #74833 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic The Bell Traverse
A guide to the route along Bugger Gully/Gulch

This two-sided gully is a significant feature of the Bell Traverse route. My impression (which could be wrong) is that it used to be called Bugger Gulch more in years gone by, whereas it is often referred to as Bugger Gully these days. I don't recall ever hearing much history on the origin of the name, though one can imagine why it may have been called that.

The gully is distinctly visible between Cathedral Peak and its associated gendarme. Post #73051 in this same thread shows some good perspectives from further away.

The Orange Peel Gap side is the shorter of the two sides and also seems to have less loose boulders, scree and soil. It is also the sunnier side.




From the neck between Cathedral Peak and the gendarme (ie the top of the gully) Bell Cave is visible, as well as parts of the trail leading to the cave. The following shot was taken partway down the Bell Cave side of the gully, showing a similar view to what you get from the neck (however, the junction between the trail and the gully is not as apparent from the neck).


The loose sections of the Bell Cave side of the gully can be made out in the next two photos. Take care along these parts as it is easy to slip and stumble, as well as to loose stones and boulders onto other hikers.



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

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18 Apr 2019 09:11 #74906 by MarleyB
Replied by MarleyB on topic The Bell Traverse
Hi guys,

We are planning to descend via the Bell Traverse on Sunday (21/04). After looking at the weather forecasts this week, I have some doubts as it show constant ran from Saturday evening. I already have the track for Mlambonja Pass prepared as well. How dangerous are the exposed sections on the Traverse, would you rather descend via Mlambonja in wet weather?

Kind Regards 

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18 Apr 2019 11:28 #74907 by vivo101
Replied by vivo101 on topic The Bell Traverse
Hello MarleyB

In my opinion the bell traverse should not be a problem in wet rainy weather, only Buggers gully might be a slight challenge. However with snow/sleet and gusting winds I would err on the side of caution and rather take Mlambonja Pass. If some members are not completely sure of their footing though, Mlambonja would also be a safer option in rainy weather, as there is one scramble that might create a problem then. All comes down to group experience, if someone is not comfortable on scrambles when it is dry, they definitely wont be when it is wet. Enjoy the Trip and try to do Bell Traverse if possible, definitely worth it.

On a sidenote , be careful of Umlambonja river after heavy consistent downpours. 

"To those who are enthralled by mountains, their wonder is beyond all dispute. To those who are not, their allure is a kind of madness." - Mountain
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