The Bell Traverse

18 Apr 2019 12:15 #74908 by MarleyB
Replied by MarleyB on topic The Bell Traverse
Thanks so much. We will definitely take this into consideration. 

Also thanks for the heads up regarding the Umlambonja river.

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15 May 2019 12:44 - 15 May 2019 16:04 #75031 by Dr1kus
Replied by Dr1kus on topic The Bell Traverse
Good day everyone. I want to do the Bell Traverse next month and need some info on the hike please. Where does it start and end? Are there GPS log of the route available? 

Thank you 






Mod Note- Post moved to existing thread
Last edit: 15 May 2019 16:04 by JonWells.

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15 May 2019 15:11 #75032 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic The Bell Traverse
Hi Dr1kus,

Welcome on VE.

The Bell Traverse links Cathedral peak hotel with the escarpment,coming in at Twins Cave on Mlambonja pass. You can combine it with a number of other passes, all options will typically be determined by the amount of time and fitness levels you possess. I've done it both ways, can't say any direction was substantially easier or more difficult than the other.

If you are fit and only have a weekend available, you can start Sat morning early at CPH, go up through Orange Peel gap, then go over Buggers Gulch and make for Twins cave for the night. NB": There are no water on this route. Coming from below your last water spot will be at the waterfall (1900m ASL) just after Shermans cave. You will then also have to o up to the escarpment to get water on top for the night - quite a mission after your trek for the day. Anyway, has to be done if you want water...

Sunday you can come down via Mlambonja Pass as the most direct route back to the hotel.

A nice(er) variation could be to arrive Friday night, do a short hike up to say Ribbon falls cave (just below 1900m ASL), Sat hike up via the Camel, go North across the escarpment to Twins Cave and then Sun down via the Bell traverse. Note - Sat will be a long and tough day. After your ascent to the escarpment you still have to go over Cleft Peak and Mahout/Elephant. You can easily stretch this over a more relaxing 3 full day hike like we did recently. In reverse you could stay in Shermans cave on Friday night, then go up via the Bell traverse and come down via the Camel or Organ Pipes pass

You can download the tracks for the Bell traverse and other connecting passes and routes on this website in the downloads section.

Couple of things to take note of on the Bell traverse:
 - The route contains no or very little water as you will be walking on ridges most of the way. Plenty water on the escarpment
 - The route contains sections where the exposure can be a bit ....... daunting. On our recent Bell traverse trip my wife did her first unassisted walk into and out of Rolands cave. SERIOUS exposure risks on this approach (if you fall here you are dead, simple as that). She found the exposure on the Bell Traverse worse than the approach to Rolands cave. This was probably due to the prolonged exposure on the Bell Traverse, vs the very short approach to Rolands cave, although there is this one dodgy section under the chessmen.
 - In thick mist (like we had) you do want to be sure of the route, as the switchback between the inner and outer horns could be missed if you don't pay attention.

I've always enjoyed this route - it is very scenic with spectacular views and I don't have issues with heights, but if you have then I'm not sure this route is for you. There are many other routes to get you to the top of the escarpment in this area with less exposure risk but no less dramatic scenery.

Either way, enjoy!!!
The following user(s) said Thank You: GerritHuman

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