Cathedral Peak hikes - 4 days or longer

24 Aug 2018 14:45 #73862 by andreklopper
Sorry , failed to mention that we would like to do a one way hike south. We do not intend to finish at Cathedral Peak.

Max 8 people.

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28 Aug 2018 10:03 #73891 by tonymarshall
Hi Andre, where do you intend to finish? Presumably Monks Cowl office?

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05 Feb 2019 17:16 #74611 by MarleyB
Hi Guys,

Our group is planning a 4 day hike in the Cathedral Peak area in April.

We have previously done the Mafadi hike (Judge's Pass Ascend - Leslie's Pass Descend) as well as the Mnweni - Rockeries Loop. We are looking to do a hike that would be a little bit more difficult than the Mnweni Loop.

Currently we are considering doing a hike-
Day1: Cathedral Peak Hotel, via the waterfall route, over the camel, reaching the escarpment via Organ Pipes Pass. Then we will camp somewhere on top of the escarpment.
Day2: Explore and visit Rholand's Cave, attempt to summit Cleft peak. Then hike on top of the escarpment towards Twins Cave. Sleep in Twins Cave or somewhere on top of the escarpment.
Day3: OptionA- Either hike down Mlambonja Pass and camp half way down the pass, perhaps near Neptune's Pools and camp there OR
  OptionB- Hike from Twins Cave towards Bell Cave or further towards Orange Peel Gap and camp there.
Day4: Hike from Day 3's Campsite toward Cathedral Peak Hotel.

I would really appreciate the veterans' advice/suggestions.
1) Would it be manageable to hike to the top of the escarpment on Day 1? On both of our previous hikes we only reached the escarpment on day 2, due to the long walk in at both passes. I am not familiar with the Cathedral Peak area. 
2) I am not sure of descending via the Bell Cave route, I am concerned that it might be too sternuous? Everyone in the group are fit but for a few of the people it would be there first time in the mountain. After paying school fees on our Mafadi hike (which were our first hike in the Berg) we do not want to scare the newbies away from the mountain, but we also want to good stories to tell after the hike.. Picky I know hehe.

If anyone have any other 4day route suggestions, the input would also be appreciated.

Thanks!

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05 Feb 2019 18:16 #74612 by DesPorter
Organ pipes is shorter than Mnweni pass so you can move Rolands cave from day 2 to day 1.
Day 2 seems reasonable
Day 3 -  down the pass to the hotel in a morning so perhaps go down to the contour path and along the path to camp at the base of Tsetseke pass.
Day 4 back down via Xeni cave

Another option would be coming back down organ pipes or one of the other nearby passes and going south and through Ndedema
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05 Feb 2019 18:30 - 05 Feb 2019 18:36 #74613 by Dave
Hi MarleyB,

Your route is definitely feasible over four days.

1. A group with newbies could probably manage a one-day ascent via The Camel, but even a fit group would have to push to do Organ Pipes in a day. I wouldn't recommend camping near the top of Organ Pipes - lots of traffic. Rather head to the Lower or Upper Ndumeni Caves or to Roland's Cave if you know where you're going and you're fine with the exposure.

2. If you descend Mlambonja, your Day 3 will be very short: it will take you a matter of hours to get from Twins to the Campsite/Neptune Pools - though the group might like a relaxing day by that point. If you split the Bell Traverse over Days 3 and 4, it should be manageable. This would be a fairly major hike for first-timers, but if everyone's fit, cool. (Re DesPorter's Day 3 suggestion, be aware that the contour path has some vague overgrown bits between Cockade and Tseketseke. Walking out via Xeni Cave on Day 4 would mean back-tracking through all this.)

Other options would be ascending farther south via Tlanyaku Pass, but, again, starting that wide will increase distance significantly and make Day 2 (Schoongezicht to Roland's, probably) a long slog.
Last edit: 05 Feb 2019 18:36 by Dave.
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06 Feb 2019 07:38 #74618 by firephish
I recently came down the Bell Traverse from Twins in a day with a number of inexperienced hikers. Its quite a long day, but ok with an early start. We took it really easy and still get back to the hotel around 18h00.

Its a stunning route, just be aware that there are two or three quite scary places for people that are not comfortable with a bit of exposure!
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06 Feb 2019 23:16 - 06 Feb 2019 23:17 #74624 by intrepid
Hi MarleyB

I have merged your post with the current thread which is specifically for getting ideas for hikes in the Cathedral Peak area that are 4 days or longer. Please have a look through the older posts in this thread to see if there is something useful there. Also note the following specific threads which may be helpful:
Rolands Cave
Mlambonja Pass - Organ Pipes Pass link-up & escarpment traverse
Organ Pipes Pass - Camel Route
Mlambonja Pass
The Bell Traverse
Itineraries for doing the Bell Traverse

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 06 Feb 2019 23:17 by intrepid.
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