Giants Castle Pass and Peak hike

11 Mar 2012 17:55 - 11 Mar 2012 17:57 #53207 by ghaznavid
I am hoping to do a 2 day hike up and down Giants Pass with a climb up Giants Castle itself. Some advice/tips would be appreciated :)

The basic plan goes as follows:
- Day 1 we head up Giant's Ridge to the contour path, sleeping in a tent near the base of the pass
- Day 2 we head up Giant's Pass, bag the Khulu and return to the car park via the same route

I have some questions regarding this route:
- How difficult is this route?
- Is it safe to camp near the base of Giant's Pass?
- Is there much traffic on this pass?
- Anything I should know about this route, tips etc?
Last edit: 11 Mar 2012 17:57 by ghaznavid.

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13 Mar 2012 08:37 #53216 by intrepid
- The route is easy to moderate
- Relatively safe to camp at base of pass. Alleged muggings took place in the caves half-way up the pass a few years back, but have never read any definite reports on this.
- There are signs of cattle rustling on the pass. Does not appear to be a major smuggling route.
- Provided you start at a reasonable time it is not difficult to ascend the pass on the first day, which will make your second day more enjoyable. Lots of options for camping on top. There is an established campsite at the Makhaza Icefall on the Lotheni side of the Giants Castle massif. Nice spot, but it is close to a significant smuggling route however, which descends "Elandshoek Pass" near the actual summit of Giants. If you look around a bit on the massif you will find more secluded spots. There are 2 usable caves half-way up the pass too.

Enjoy.

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

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13 Mar 2012 08:59 #53217 by ghaznavid
Thanks for the response.

You say there are some caves half way up the pass? Please provide more info, these could be awesome, that gives us the opportunity to be ultra-lazy and split the pass into 2 days B)

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14 Mar 2012 10:58 - 14 Mar 2012 10:59 #53229 by intrepid
They are approx two thirds of the way up where the rock bands start. There is a feature in the gully at this point that I refer to as the Shark Fin in my own notes - a small, narrow knife-ridge, which you can scramble up instead of clambering through the boulders. All the caves are at this level. There is one on the true right and very visible from the gully. Very low roof but deep and tunnel-like, 3-4 people, may be damp. The other one is on the true left and you have to exit the gully and carefully cross a steep scree slope to reach it (only visible from lower down). This one is very big and roomy and has a massive boulder blocking the entrance. Awkward sleeping area though and only allows 3 people to have a comfortable nights sleep. There is a third cave a little beyond the Shark Fin, haven't had a close look but I think the floor is too sloping.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 14 Mar 2012 10:59 by intrepid.

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16 Mar 2012 11:10 #53242 by ghaznavid
Thanks for the info :)

Do you have photos or GPS co-ords by any chance? It will just be 2 of us, so the one with a boulder blocking the entrance is sounding good (especially considering the fact that the friend I am hiking with is 6ft4)...

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22 Mar 2012 16:24 #53282 by intrepid
For co-ordinates check out the cave downloads, or see the list of waypoints in the blogs.
{joomplu:662}{joomplu:661}

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

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02 Apr 2014 12:29 #60142 by susanalkema
Hi everyone,

We are wanting to camp at the top of Giant's castle on a flat piece of ground (we are going for the scenic camping spot rather than the cave lower down the pass)...round about the following GPS co-ordinates: -29.342626, 29.458430

Does anyone know if we will find a stream of sorts?

Thanks!

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02 Apr 2014 13:03 - 02 Apr 2014 13:36 #60143 by Smurfatefrog
Hi Susan

I have done some of my own drawings on your map B)
Giants Peak is the yellow circle
There are a few streams going off into those gullys, depends when you are going but they should all be running now. I would assume something also runs off in the other direction, perhaps Ghaz can help there
Also check this thread for when we camped in same area www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/drakensberg-trips/55254-hike-report-giants-castle-giants-pass.html

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Last edit: 02 Apr 2014 13:36 by Smurfatefrog.

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02 Apr 2014 14:12 #60148 by susanalkema
Awesome! Thank you Merv. You are welcome to draw on my drawing :thumbsup:

And, yes...the peak is on the other side. :lol: Was just thinking the view will be better on that side...am i right?

Will be reading up on that blog. Thanks.

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02 Apr 2014 14:13 #60149 by tonymarshall
Hi Susan,

That peak you've marked with the blue circle is more or less the southern end of the Long Wall, and very close to the Dakota crash site. To the north west of your camp area just over the ridge is the source of the Jarateng river, and not far downstream there should be water.
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