Corner Pass / Judge Pass, Mafadi, Leslie's Pass Loop

27 Feb 2019 11:37 #74691 by Riaang
Hi Dave,

The Around the Corner Pass variation can be done without a rope, BUT a rope is certainly helpful, especially in wet, snowy or icy weather. I've done it a couple of times, mostly fair weather except the last time in the rain. There are a couple of smooth rock bands to cross which can get "interesting" in the wet! Ropes just add a big safety margin in risky situations.

Another variation is the NHA (Northern high approach), although this doesn't bypass the chimney section on Corner pass, but rather gets you to the start of the chimney faster, and over a shorter distance. Just watch out for that first rock band you have to get through, it is steep and in the wet (which I've done) again risky. Lots of steep drop-offs below you, if you start sliding here I don't know where you will eventually stop, but you will most likely go down all the way to the valley floor, which is far far down.

In inclement weather the safer option would be to use Judges pass. Also steep at the top but with way less exposure risk.

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27 Feb 2019 13:27 - 27 Feb 2019 13:29 #74692 by diverian
Last edit: 27 Feb 2019 13:29 by diverian.

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21 Apr 2019 15:20 #74914 by Bruere
Good afternoon guys.

In the planning phase of a hike up to Mafadi and was wondering if anybody could help me with estimated km's and estimated times for "normal" time and a very slow time.( I know this would depend on fitness,packweight etc)

Section I would like to know about:

Centenary hut to bottom Judges pass km's and duration 

Judges pass itself  about 2.2km but hike time up?

Top Of judges pass to UIC distance and duration.

Would also like to know water availability between centenary hut and bottom of judges pass?
And water availability between top of judges pass and UIC ( know about the stream below UIC ) 

Thank you very much! 

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25 Apr 2019 12:53 #74928 by Riaang
Welcome to VE Bruere!

I will attempt to provide answers to your questions, but bear in mind that pace is relative. However, based on my personal experience when I took newbies to the Berg, the times listed below can be considered average based on the newbie sample I tested :-)

Centenary hut to the bottom of Judges pass is not far, probably 6km's or so (don't have a map in front of me now so can't verify exact distances). It's mostly level and easy walking on a path (except the short climb up near Corner pass). Path ok, except a bit vague here. 2 - 3 hrs hiking time if you take it easy.

Judges pass 2.2km sounds about right. a typical pass will take between 3hrs - 4H30 if you are going at an easy and slow pace. The top is quite steep and last time I was there the ground was quite loose as well, which means you could take a bit longer to do the top section than what you thought you would when you started the pass. Consider water sources for Judges. I don't recall it having water above 2500m ASL. There is normally water near Centenary hut and at Corner pass, sometimes also in the gullies on the way to Judges. If you are unsure, rather collect when you see a good source of water.

Top of Judges to UIC. There is the small "problem" of the Trojan Wall that lies between the top of Judges and UIC. Distance probably around 4km's max (probably less than this). Trojan wall is considerably tougher after the climb up the escarpment, so might take longer than when you consider it on its own. Normal time probably around 2hrs. I would say absolute max 3 to 3,5hrs when tired and unfit. If you are really tired, try hugging the escarpment edge so you don't loose too much height from Judges side. You might want to consider collecting water at the stream from Judges to UIC, which is basically just below where corner Pass tops out. There is no water at UIC, although you can collect from a stream below the cave, closer towards the escarpment edge. However, this is quite a drop in altitude, although you can do it without a pack (which would be left at UIC). Choices choices :-).


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02 May 2019 12:36 #74972 by Bruere
Hi @Riaang 

Thank you for this information.I was first thinking of going NHA into Corner pass, but we are planning on going first week of August and I have read that snow/ice might pose a problem further up in the pass, don't want to walk all the way up there and then have to turn around so would rather keep it save and just head for Judge's.

August because we want snow yes! 

How reliable is that stream below UIC first week of August?  

Could you explain the top escarpment area from top of Judges to UIC ? I have google earthed it and it seems like two options.1.) Hug the escarpment 2.) Stay close to a stream it seems ( like in a valley )  and then go up the ridge close to Njesuthi then over to UIC.

Have played around in the lower berg but not on the escarpment and I have a suspicion we will definitely be on the tired side of things once we have ascended Judge's.

Sidenote: We will be super prepared kit-wise for the winter conditions , fitness so-so probably.


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03 May 2019 06:04 #74976 by vivo101
Hey Bruere

You can always use "around the corner pass" as a backup, if you still want to do Corner pass. If you use the NHA into corner pass, the path leading to "around the corner pass" leads out of the gully on the opposite side (if that makes sense). "Around the corner pass" will be fine with snow. 

There is a clear path leading from Judges to the valley below the Trojan wall. With regards to what route to take, it depends if you want to have views or not? Hugging the Escarpment offer spectacular views of the triplets and Trojan wall, while the valley route will be a bit shorter but not nearly as scenic, I would recommend the former. With the escarpment edge route I would suggest contouring into the valley as shown below to avoid the steeper climb up the Trojan wall.

The river below UIC was flowing last year Aug on one of my trips, so I'm sure water should not be a problem.

"To those who are enthralled by mountains, their wonder is beyond all dispute. To those who are not, their allure is a kind of madness." - Mountain

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03 May 2019 15:16 #74978 by Sabine
Just returned from DGT having spent a day and a half in UIC due to close hypothermia of one of the members and extreme weather conditions.  The river below the cave was flowing in full force.  In fact, the whole Berg was really wet, so no issue in finding water anywhere.  So water should still be fine in August.

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06 May 2019 14:04 #74994 by Riaang
I've done Corner pas sin the snow, the only difficult section (for me) was the very first obstacle in the final chimney section. It is quit e a large step up, and where you would place your foot is sloping down so it makes stepping up difficult. This can easily be solved with somebody placing their hands as a foothold for the first climber. A rope will then easily get everyone up. We hoisted packs as it made the climb easier. Or take something like an ice-axe along, as the nice handholds are just out of reach for a normal sized person.

As stated you can also use around the corner pass, but this route contains a number of smoothe slide (I mean side) sloping rockplates that you have to corss. If they are ice up it could be dangerous - the slopes are really steep here and you will roll down really really really far before you come to rest in the riverbed below :-0. The chimney section on corner pass itself is steep but the exposure risk is much lower, in my opinion. Here's what I would do if I were you: I'd first try Corner pass, and if I battle with that first scrambling section I'd turn around and attempt Around the Corner pass. You would probably lose less than 100m ASL on the down climb.

The black route on the above map is a good line to follow. Descending from either Corner or Judges pass to the bottom of the stream and then all the way up the Trojan wall - aikona! After the pass you will feel a little bit frail (you mentioned your fitness level is so-so), and the Trojan wall is a proper climb. The black route combines fetching water, having nice views and missing some of the rock bands on the Trojan wall, so probably a good route to follow. Just aim for that large cairn at the top and you'll be fine.


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16 Jun 2019 23:06 - 17 Jun 2019 20:55 #75074 by abrahamvlok
My 2cents on Corner pass. I did it twice - a rope saves time at "Shunt" rock and the rest of the pass is doable in the rain but its a whole different story when it had lots of snow that partially melted and froze thereafter. We had the experience of climbing up corner  pass on ice in July 2011 (at night). We made (read broke) steps in the ice with our hiking sticks and poles and climbed Corner pass like a ladder. (Crampons would have helped alot)..We never set foot on any rock.   Let me say this as it is - that was the most unforgettable experience of my life (Imade the decision to ask my girlfriend of then to be my wife (if i lived) - somewhere in that gully cause I thought that I would regret not taking the chance if that was my last friend Herbert was with me so he was first to know because I asked him to be my best  man)...Nadia said yes a and we were married almost exactly a year later in 2012...its almost 7 years since and  i am still very happy that Cornerpass helped me to make the best decision of my life. But i will never EVER do that again...if  that place has snow in then ill turn around.

So, if you get to cornerpass and there is snow in the pass at the bottom...then know that the snow may be ice  sewhere up...and by that time it will be too late to turn around.

About fitness -- if you cannot run  a 21 now...then it will be difficult...if you cannot run a'll be able to do a 21 by the time you get back home or you'll probably never hike in the berg again.
Last edit: 17 Jun 2019 20:55 by abrahamvlok.
The following user(s) said Thank You: AdrianT, MarleyB

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19 Aug 2019 17:56 #75264 by wildingo
Hi VE Community,

I'm planning a hike in mid/late September and I'd like some feedback on the my proposed route.

The plan is to do a circular hike, starting from Injisuthi camp.  Day one to Marble Baths or surrounds.  Day two hike up Leslie's Pass and camp one night at the top, then descend via Corner pass, camp at Centenary hut, and then Day 4 hike back to Injisuthi.

A couple of questions:
1) Are there better variations on this hike--in terms of places to camp overnight--proximity to water, scenery, spreading the effort over the 4 days etc? 
2) Will water be readily available at the top of Leslie's pass in mid September?
3) Would it be better to do the route clockwise--up Corner pass, and down Leslies?
4)I've read a bit on the forums and it seems their is a need in places at Leslie's pass for a bit of bushwhacking. How bad is this and should I consider another pass for my circular hike, for example up Judges Pass and down Corner Path?
5) Are there any suitable caves to camp in at the top of Leslie's pass, or Corner pass if going clockwise?
6) I'm also not great with exposure (I found the route to the top via The Camel a bit daunting)--are the above routes better, in terms of exposure?

We are reasonably fit--we recently did a 25km circular day hike in the little Berg, starting at Injisuthi, up Catharact valley and then back to Injisuthi via Grindstone caves.  Will the hike up to Marble Baths be similar to hiking up and out of Catharact valley?

Thanks in advance!



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