Garden Castle hikes - 2 days

09 Jan 2018 14:58 - 09 Jan 2018 15:03 #72605 by CaptRon
I am hiking up to Rhino Horn via Mashai pass after a night in Pillar cave. I then hope to spend a night on top of escarpment before descending next day. I hope to come down either Wilsons pass or Bollard pass after we have hiked to top of Rhino Horn. I am competent hiker and will be with 2 Springbok scouts. The hike will be 17-19 Jan 2018.

Which pass is easier to descend? My gut feeling is to come down Bollard that will take me close to Engagement cave and then it is a relatively easy hike back to car park.

Any advice or further recommendations.

Take only photos. Leave only footprints.
Last edit: 09 Jan 2018 15:03 by CaptRon. Reason: Grammar

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09 Jan 2018 18:10 #72607 by ghaznavid
I wouldn't come down Bollard Pass - the section near Stealth Cave would be really hairy, and outright dangerous if wet. There are also two scrambles that wouldn't be easy to downclimb.

Consider doing the route the other way around - Bollard Pass is a great pass, but is very exposed in places, and requires navigational experience. Wilson's Pass is much easier, but does include a lot of scrambling in the riverbed, and you have to know how to approach it if you don't want to get lost in the maize of overgrowth around Cods Eye Cave. Mashai Pass has a good trail, and is great for descending.

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09 Jan 2018 19:56 #72608 by CaptRon
Thanks for the advice. Would it be easier then to ascend Bollard at this time of year considering it may be wet? Obviously easier going up than down. I know Mashai trail is relatively good all the way to the horn and agree that it would be easier to descend. Therefore change route to day 1 drive to berg and hike to engagement cave. Day 2 up Bollard and hike to Rhino and try find a decent place to camp near Mashai. shelter. Day 3 down the pass and back to car park.

Take only photos. Leave only footprints.

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09 Jan 2018 20:03 #72609 by Smurfatefrog
Alternatively descend Tsepeng pass, that will be more straightforward
The following user(s) said Thank You: CaptRon

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10 Jan 2018 06:35 #72611 by intrepid
Go through the threads on each pass for more info:
www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/11-drakensberg-passes/919-wilson-s-pass.html
www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/11-drakensberg-passes/3970-bollard-pass.html

Both passes have different sets of challenges which have been mentioned already.

You don't have to follow the gully to do Wilson's Pass, but it is easier navigation to stick to the gully. It is possible to do it almost fully on grassy slopes, simply crossing the gully once - we managed to do this, but good route finding is required. You also don't need to do the lower part of the valley around Cod's Eye Cave. If you are descending Wilson's you can exit the valley higher up and follow the ridge above Engagement Cave and drop down to the cave from there. Alternatively you can follow a contour path which appears to have been formed by the Eland which connects into the Mashai Valley much higher up. Again, navigational skills will be needed.

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

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