Giants Castle escarpment

10 Aug 2011 11:07 - 10 Aug 2011 11:13 #3568 by krimpvark
Hi there, I'm pretty new to the VE crew, but it looks like this is the place to be for info! I am planning on doing the above route for the first time over the weekend of 19-21 August. It looks as though I may have to go solo, so I would love any words of wisdom or insider tips! Also, if anyone has a path of least resistance from pass to pass, it would be magical!
Last edit: 10 Aug 2011 11:13 by krimpvark.

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12 Aug 2011 07:12 #3628 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Giants Castle escarpment
Hi krimpvark,

for both passes write-ups and GPS data is available on this site. Have look for them, hopefully they are easy enough to find.

You have 4 hurdles on the escarpment: the ridge coming off Popple, Bannerman, Durnford and Long Wall. Bannerman and Durnford are the steepest. I would stick fairly closely to the edge, otherwise you'd be missing out. You can bypass the Bannerman summit, if you want, by going down/up the valley behind it where the cave is, and you can go up/down the valley behind Bond, Poterill and Erksine - the rest I wouldn't try bypass. You'd have to follow the Lesotho valleys otherwise, which wouldn't be the point, and there are also lots of kraals around, especially in the Jarateng valley. How you cross Durnford can be interesting. There is an easy scramble with a little bit of exposure, leading straight down to the northern variation of Jarateng Pass (behind Poterill). Otherwise, walk a little North-West of the Durnford summit, along the the ridge to find alternate descents into the valley. Have a look for the Grand Traverse GPS data file in the Downloads section. This will give you an idea of the route you can take through the area.

This is not a good area in terms of security, especially if you go alone - please be very careful, and try find someone to go with. The shepherds in the Giants area have been problematic for many years. Have a look through the security section in the forum and in the blogs for an idea of what has happened in this area. Judge Pass is a significant smuggling route, so don't camp near the trail there.

Have fun, and let us know how it goes.

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

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12 Aug 2011 07:45 #3630 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Giants Castle escarpment
Amazing how Judge Pass has become so popular on this forum, when I planned on doing it in April (and thanks to going with an unfit person ended up going up Bannerman Pass instead), I couldn't find any threads on it, now there are 2 active ones...

Security is such an issue in that area, personally I have spent 6 days in Giant's Castle Nature Reserve this year, 3 nights in Bannerman Hut. I only saw "our friendly neighbours" on 1 hike, they threw rocks at our group, that was on Langalibalele Pass. I personally would not go there alone, but thats just my opinion.

Ps. Please do me a favour and climb Popple Peak when you are up there, I have had 3 failed attempts on it this year (1 due to weather, 1 due to rocks being thrown at us and 1 due to hiking with a friend who wasn't as fit as I thought), it would be nice to know that someone has actually climbed it this year! For some reason, dispite possibly being the most destinctive non-escarpment edge peak in the central berg (literally you can clearly see it from Escourt and Ladysmith, from the PMB side Giant's Castle blocks it) people don't seem to ever plan on climbing it...

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12 Aug 2011 09:33 #3633 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Giants Castle escarpment
For me, Popple was one of those peaks you climb once. Due to the fact that it's set off the escarpment edge, nothing memorable about the view really stands out. The "peak" is also a broad grassy dome so it's not that inspiring to be honest. So it's not really something you go out and "conquer"... :whistle:

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12 Aug 2011 09:49 #3636 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Giants Castle escarpment
Grrrr, how dare you say that about Popple! :)

Based on my knowledge of the peak I do have to agree with Stijn though, I also can't really see the point in climbing it numerous times, but I WILL conqeur it, soon...

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14 Aug 2011 16:21 #3651 by krimpvark
Replied by krimpvark on topic Giants Castle escarpment
Ah, thank you SO much guys! Yes, I have been discovering treasure after treasure on this site - woohoo! Thank you so much for the warnings, it is unfortunate, but I guess the Berg can't be perfect, though it is frightfully close. I have managed to talk a buddy into coming along, so we will be as safe as possible. I cannot thank you guys enough, you can bet I'll be putting my hand up for advice again!

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13 Sep 2011 10:57 - 13 Sep 2011 10:59 #3988 by krimpvark
Replied by krimpvark on topic Giants Castle escarpment
Hello Popple lovers, I have now been past it twice in the last month and, alas, we just did not have the time to chat with the summit - it remains unclimbed this year.

We did the Giant's Judge loop in 2 days, which was a day shorter than planned and follwed that with an Injasuthi (what is the definitive spelling BTW?) - Bannerman Pass - Leslie's Pass - Injasuthi loop in 2 days.

Now we are looking for a 40km day starting and ending at the Chain Ladders car park this weekend... Any ideas?

All this is in prep for the Traverse in under 8 Days in aid of Breast Cancer, so please hit me with your ideas! Thanks again for all of the advice and Stijn for the pass write-ups - they have been invaluable!
Last edit: 13 Sep 2011 10:59 by krimpvark.

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13 Sep 2011 11:17 - 13 Sep 2011 11:21 #3989 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Giants Castle escarpment

Injasuthi (what is the definitive spelling BTW?)


Injisuthi - I believe.
In isiZulu adjectives combine with nouns to make a new single word. In this case (inja=dog) + (suthile=well fed or replete). But the last letter of the noun becomes modified and changes from 'a' to 'i' in the combination. So Injasuthi (which is how it is spelt in many books) is defintely wrong.

Mlambonja is the hungry dog (lambile=hungry and inja is again dog). In this case the 'i' in inja is modified to an 'o' when the combination happens.
Last edit: 13 Sep 2011 11:21 by tiska.
The following user(s) said Thank You: krimpvark

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13 Sep 2011 11:55 - 13 Sep 2011 11:58 #3991 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Giants Castle escarpment
Some EPIC weekend hikes you've done there... good stuff!

Hmmm... 40km return loop from Sentinel Car Park...

I would make Stimela Peak my goal (awesome view from the top) - take the scenic route along the escarpment edge on the way there and the inland valley route on the way back when you won't be as lus for the up-down-up-down! :thumbsup:
Last edit: 13 Sep 2011 11:58 by Stijn.

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13 Sep 2011 13:05 #3995 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Giants Castle escarpment
Good going krimpvark. Ja I would suggest the same as Stijn. I've done a loop which added up to about 43km, going the inland route along the Khubedu that Stijn mentioned, turning back along the escarpment at Stimela, but as Icidi turning back inland and walking back via the valleys, which is faster and easier than sticking to the escarpment via Amery.

Thanks for the input on the name Injisuthi mnt_tiska, interestingly enough In was gonna start a thread on this very issue. The road sign at the turn-off to Injisuhti, outside Winterton towards Loskop, has been patched to correct the spelling to "Injisuthi".

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

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