Cathedral Peak hikes - 4 days or longer

27 Oct 2013 07:39 #58889 by Viking
Hi Cameron

It is my opinion, (use it, don't use it) that if you are all inexperienced or first timers, that you stick to the little berg and to existing paths.
There are many great loops in the little berg that will give you what you want. I believe that this type of hike gives a good and relatively safe introduction to the berg.

Although people do go "off path", I don't believe (and I may be wrong) this practice is endorsed by EKZNW.

There are 6 map available for the berg. They are available online as indicated by Ghaz or even perhaps a Cape Union Mart or other outdoor retailer.
There are also books that could help you plan, like David Bristow's "Best Walks of the Drakensberg" (this book is even on Google books) or "Walking in the Drakensberg" by Jeff Williams. Just note that these books route descriptions are not always 100% accurate but they give you a good overall feel for the routes.

Hope this helps and enjoy it.

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”

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27 Oct 2013 07:41 #58890 by Viking
Just to give some perspective to my advice: I generally take a cautious approach to most things.

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”

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27 Oct 2013 08:39 #58891 by ruthtbl

You can download maps from www.berg.co.za


When I click on the map link in ghaznavid's response, I get a 'this page is not available' error. Anyone else having this problem, or is it just me?

'Please accept the stimulation'

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27 Oct 2013 11:25 #58893 by Smurfatefrog

ruthtbl wrote:

You can download maps from www.berg.co.za


When I click on the map link in ghaznavid's response, I get a 'this page is not available' error. Anyone else having this problem, or is it just me?

Yup, unfortunately that site seems to have quite a lot of downtime

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27 Oct 2013 11:35 #58894 by ghaznavid

ruthtbl wrote:

You can download maps from www.berg.co.za


When I click on the map link in ghaznavid's response, I get a 'this page is not available' error. Anyone else having this problem, or is it just me?


If it goes wrong on the weekend, the guy who runs it usually fixes it on Monday. Maybe try again tomorrow. The site is hosted off a school computer network (the guy who runs it works at a school in Durban).

The maps on the site are low res versions of the old Singby maps. You can plan a route off them, but I wouldn't hike with them - they are a bit hard to read due to the low resolution.

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins

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28 Oct 2013 07:34 #58900 by Cameron.N
Thank you all for the helpful replies. I will check out all the links/books and routes suggested.
Can't wait, I think this trip is going to be amazing!

@viking5... thank you for the concern, When I say off the path, I don't really mean that we are going to be stupid and get ourselves lost. We are all level headed and would not like to get ourselves stuck in the vastness of the Drakensberg. I just mean that we don't want to do the 'Sunday family walks'. We want to do a walk that is a bit more challenging. We all have a lot of travelling and planning that would be required for this trip and I just want to make sure that we don't go to all the expense and trouble and then end up having a boring walk. This concern is mostly because I really don't know what the Berg has to offer.
Thank you for the map recommendations, I will start collecting what I can :-)

@ghaznavid.... Great response! Thank you. I think Giants castle/ Langalibalele is the one. It looks great from the pictures I've found on google. I will see what route maps I can find and see if we can't plot out a decent 4 day hike!

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28 Oct 2013 08:00 - 28 Oct 2013 08:01 #58901 by ghaznavid

Cameron.N wrote: @ghaznavid.... Great response! Thank you. I think Giants castle/ Langalibalele is the one. It looks great from the pictures I've found on google. I will see what route maps I can find and see if we can't plot out a decent 4 day hike!


No problem :thumbsup:

You managed to find pictures of Langalibalele Pass on Google - seriously :laugh: that's a first...

I have some writeups with Langies Pass pics in them (I have done this pass 7 times after the events of 1 weekend ago):
www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/8-drakensberg-hiking/54179-the-thumb-that-spurred-us-on.html#54179
www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/drakensberg-trips/55432-the-dragons-missing-thumb.html#56073
www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/drakensberg-trips/55431-i-am-crazy-but-im-not-stupid.html#55317
www.vertical-endeavour.com/blog/38-drakensberg/passes/220-langalibalele-pass.html

I wouldn't recommend any of those "other" passes mentioned in my writeups for your trip - both Hlubi passes and Gypaetus Pass are great, but they are obscure and are not shown on the map.

Some other passes that may be of use to you:
Judge Pass - www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/drakensberg-trips/55434-you-be-the-judge.html#55578
Giant's Pass - www.vertical-endeavour.com/blog/38-drakensberg/passes/188-giants-castle-pass.html and www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/11-drakensberg-passes/55369-giants-castle-pass.html?start=10#58559

Some loops that have been done that may give you some ideas:
www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/drakensberg-trips/55254-hike-report-giants-castle-giants-pass.html#56421
www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/drakensberg-trips/55251-giants-hike-report.html#56378

Another option, but not necessarily the most interesting pass would be Jarateng Pass:
www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/11-drakensberg-passes/55389-jarateng-passes.html?start=20#58660

A pass map of Giant's Castle (ignore the blue arrows):

ghaznavid wrote:


Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins
Last edit: 28 Oct 2013 08:01 by ghaznavid.
The following user(s) said Thank You: ruthtbl, Cameron.N

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28 Oct 2013 19:18 - 28 Oct 2013 19:20 #58911 by intrepid
Welcome to this forum, Cameron.

Cameron.N wrote: @viking5... thank you for the concern, When I say off the path, I don't really mean that we are going to be stupid and get ourselves lost. We are all level headed and would not like to get ourselves stuck in the vastness of the Drakensberg. I just mean that we don't want to do the 'Sunday family walks'. We want to do a walk that is a bit more challenging.

I think a classic ininerary of ascending a pass, traversing the escarpment and descending another pass will give you plenty of satisfaction. You needn't use a pass that doesn't have a trail I would say, as there are plenty of passes with trails around that will be big enjoyment for you especially since you are new to the Berg.

Maps:
www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/8-drakensberg-hiking/2501-geomaps.html

With 4 or 5 days you can also do some classic circuits in the Mnweni, such as combining Ntonjelana and Rockeries and even Mnweni Passes, assuming you are of reasonable hiking fitness.

Cathedral Peak would also offer you some real classics such as combining Organ Pipes Pass with Mlambonja Pass. In ideal conditions and smooth sailing this can be done in 3 days, but in your case I would say 4-5 days is much more enjoyable.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 28 Oct 2013 19:20 by intrepid.

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29 Oct 2013 10:02 #58920 by ASL
B) I can recommend to Organ Pipes to Mlambonja route. It's stunning. I would probably do up Mlambonja and down Organs.

Coming down the ridge from Organs is very spectacular and there are great caves at the top of Mlambonja!
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29 Oct 2013 10:31 #58921 by ghaznavid

ASL wrote: Coming down the ridge from Organs is very spectacular and there are great caves at the top of Mlambonja!


There are also plenty of great caves above Organ Pipes Pass, and a good one near Thlanyako Pass as well. The route being recommended, or the first one I mentioned in this area (Organ Pipes to Thlanyako) - or even Mlambonja to Thlanyako are all great routes. You have access to photos and RD's of all the routes in question and you can use these to make an informed decision. Also feel free to keep asking questions about them.

I see that www.berg.co.za is back up and running, they have great reviews on caves on that site.

Interesting that Organ Pipes Pass has now been recommended by 3 different people! I rate it as one of the best passes I have ever done.

Tony Marshall did a really nice writeup on the pass some time back www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/11-drakensberg-passes/55360-organ-pipes-pass.html?limitstart=0

I don't think there are any writeups about the traverses in the middle, but my old writeup on the Grand Traverse I took part in last year may help. Its a bit low on pictures though (I took 2000 pics in 12 days, so if you are looking for more pics let me know). Days 5 and 6 would cover the bits at Giant's Castle, days 8 and 9 cover the options at Didima. Writeup at www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/16-drakensberg-grand-traverse/53719-the-upside-down-dragon-gt2012.html?limit=6&start=6

Stijn did a really nice writeup on a 2 day loop up Xeni Pass (I am not recommending this pass, but it tops out a few kms south of Mlamnbonja Pass so the writeup may help) to Thlanyako. I can't find this writeup though - can anyone help with providing the link?

Ok - so now you have writeups and photos of the possible ideas at Giants Castle, Didima and there are plenty of writeups on the loops Intrepid suggested for Mnweni, so have fun choosing a route!

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins
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