Camel and Organ Pipes

30 Sep 2021 11:11 - 30 Sep 2021 11:39 #77153 by andreklopper
Good morning,

We will be in the Berg during the holiday. Want to take the kids on there first Berg experience.
We will have three night to stay in the mountains.
The thinking is:
Day one: Short hike to ribbon fall cave
Day two: Summit and sleep at windy cap via Camel
Day three: Come down organ pipes pass an sleep along the contour path back to the hotel
Day four: Back to the hotel.

Any one done Camel to windy gap lately? What is the path condition?
Any safety issues sleeping in Windy gap?

Cheers 
Andre
Last edit: 30 Sep 2021 11:39 by andreklopper.

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30 Sep 2021 15:27 #77154 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Camel and Organ Pipes
In my opinion, that's the best value-for-effort route in the Drakensberg.

I last did Camel Pass around three years ago, but I doubt the trail has changed significantly since then. It is generally a very clear path, so unless part of it has been washed away, it should still be an easy trail to follow.

What do you mean by camping at Windy Gap? I would suggest pushing on a bit further and just sleeping on the escarpment or in one of the many caves near the top of the pass (Lower Ndumeni, Rolands or Ndumeni). Water is often a problem in that area, but you definitely won't find water at windy gap.

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01 Oct 2021 09:25 #77158 by BergAttie
Replied by BergAttie on topic Camel and Organ Pipes
What's the age of your Children? - this can impact route options.

I came down the Camel in August. Path in good condition with one or two exposed but relatively easy scrambles. Organ pipes pass definitely easier option if that is a concern. I would suggest hiking higher up than Ribbon falls to reduce the ascent day - tent on Little Berg somewhere.

Camp in Ndumeni caves or else hike over Windy gap and turn North up towards escarpment under Cleft peak. Water close by and more out of the way of Basutu traffic. 

Roland's cave is a risk from a first come first serve perspective - quite a climb up there only to be turned back by occupants in possession of the cave already. Also - very exposed access.

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03 Oct 2021 07:46 #77160 by andreklopper
Replied by andreklopper on topic Camel and Organ Pipes
The children is all between 12 and 14 and very fit. Reason for ribbon falls cave is that we will only be able to start hiking at dawn.

I like the idee too move north on top especially if there is water. And may be even climb to the top of cleft for the view if they have energy left. 

Do one need to book those caves? Never been in one of them up on top in this area

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04 Oct 2021 08:10 #77161 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Camel and Organ Pipes
I wouldn't say age is really an indicator of ability - I day hiked Cleft via Organ Pipes Pass with a 14 year old in 2015, but there are also 14 year olds who won't be able to hike up Mikes Pass. Really depends on the individual. A week ago I was with a group in the Hex Mountains who managed to get an 8 year old (she also refuses to wear shoes) on up Fonteinjies - which is over 1.5km in elevation gain (over 3 days). That group also included a 12 year old who had never done an overnight hike before - and he was carrying all his own gear, including a tent that he wasn't sharing with anyone.

Cleft is a great peak with amazing views, although it is a slog to get up - but if you have the time and energy, definitely do it.

You can't book Rolands, but you can book the others. That being said, the odds that all the others are occupied is low. There are 5 caves relatively close together - odds are most (if not all) of them will be available. I would still suggest booking one of them as it is good form. If you look on youtube, there are videos of the Rolands access ledge - so you can judge for yourself if you and your kids will be ok. If you get to the cave and decide its too hectic, the lower Ndumeni Caves are right near it, so you have an alternative right there.

You can also consider using the Thuthumi Gully approach to get to Organ Pipes, so you don't use the same summit gully up and down - basically go down the main gully below Rolands Cave, and look for a trail to the left just after the short uphill by the Organ Pipes. This trail goes over the ridge and joins Organ Pipes Pass fairly high up.
The following user(s) said Thank You: andreklopper

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04 Oct 2021 08:24 #77162 by BergAttie
Replied by BergAttie on topic Camel and Organ Pipes
Roland cannot be booked. The others can be booked. Very much depends on which weekend you pick. Due to easy access to information Roland's is getting more and more popular - for a reason!

There is water north from windy gap in the small valley you get to below cleft. Good camp sites around here if you scout a bit and close to the edge for sunset views. This area allows several ascent and descent options: Organs, Camel and Thutumi.

 
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04 Oct 2021 12:18 #77165 by andreklopper
Replied by andreklopper on topic Camel and Organ Pipes
Hey thanks for all the info, 

The route described down Thuthumi pass to link up with Organ pipes. Do you perhaps have the GPX track, I've been down there once and could not find the mentioned path

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11 Oct 2021 13:13 #77188 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic Camel and Organ Pipes
Hi Andreklopper,

Apologoies for the rather late reply - been on leave for 2 weeks.

The path to Thutumi pass is very obvious (less so in snow), but not so much at the turnoff point, rather, it's more visible from the path down to the Camel. So, here's how to find it if you can't see the turnoff from the top. Walk down Organ Pipes pass, and where the path goes to the left and you start climbing a bit, turn back, you've missed the Tutumi path. From this spot you will clearly see it going down on the other side of the pass.

Bergattie, no escarpment caves can be booked. You can mention (in the berg register, at camp/hotel, on forums etc.) that you are planning to sleep over in a specific cave, but that's simply being nice to other hikers. Anything at or near the escarpment is occupied on a first come, first served basis. Remember, Basothoes, Shephards, smugglers etc. don't book caves and you might well end up sharing a shelter with them.

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