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

08 Aug 2011 15:20 #3547 by ghaznavid
I'm doing the exact opposite hike in October (ie up Judge and down Leslies). Judge pass is a smugglers route, there was no path there until about a year ago (if you have a look at www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/11-drakensberg-passes/2740-climbing-popple-peak.html#2747 you will find some details on it). Due to this, you must just be careful about where you camp around the pass, but during the day it should be safe.

Note that I have never done any of the mentioned passes, but I am very familiar with all 3. Corner is much steeper than Judge Pass, its also rocky and a much more narrow gully, so Judge is definately easier, faster and probably better (based on the photos I have seen from Corner Pass I would imagine that Judge Pass is also more scenic). Have a look at the photos on berg.co.za and on this forum.

When you have completed the hike, please post many photos so I can see what the route looks like!

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins

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10 Aug 2011 07:39 #3562 by hartmrol
Thanks for the advice.

Ghanzavid - I will post pics when we are done (plan to finish 25 Sep). We came down Leslie's last September and were able to follow the route easily enough (after taking advice from this forum).

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12 Aug 2011 09:18 #3632 by intrepid
Yes, Judge Pass is easier than Corner Pass.

Judge Pass is closely associated with The Judge peak, so use that as a marker. If you find yourself slogging up a steep slope out of the valley and Popple Peak suddenly seems closer, then you've probably gone too far. :) After descending the pass a little, it does traverse South a bit - don't miss that. If you find yourself endlessly clambering down a boulder-filled gully then you are probably off the trail.

Distance between the two passes is about 14km according to my own GPS tracks but that is obviously very route dependant.

Only security issues I'm aware of is the ongoing use of Judge Pass by the smugglers. Seems to be a significant route these days. Don't assume they are put off by the winter weather.

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

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24 Apr 2012 09:23 #53639 by Ant
Hi Everyone

New to the forum but looks great and really cool topics and lots of info, I need some help and have no friends that hike. All the hiking stores seem to have no idea what I am talking about.

A small group of us (6) do small overnight hikes every so often 1 or 2 in the berg and in Magaliesberg. For the past yr we have been planning Mafadi Peak, collection all the right kit clothes, sleeping bags, tents ect and now we finally ready. The Plan is to head up in Sept over 3 nights and 4days.

We have never hiked in the area before and need all the advice I can get, we heard the best bet would be to go via Centenary Hut and spend the first night somewhere in the area.

Then Corner Pass, my first 2 questions are where would be the best bet to spend the first night? and we have a map and compass is it easy to find corner pass.

Then the next day to peak and to Summit Cave, is it easy to find the cave with a map? Are there markings? Am i correct in saying Summit Cace is upper Injisuthi Cave.

We will be going down Leslies pass, my question would be is it hard to find the pass, we do have a detailed map but thinking about getting a gramin but they just sooo expensive.

Third night is at Marble baths then home. We only going in Sept. but i wanted to try get all the info i can get and at the local stores in the area i have really struggled to get any info.

Thank you

Safe hiking
Ant

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24 Apr 2012 10:48 #53642 by Smurfatefrog
Welcome Ant

Check out this website for its Mafadi hikes, gives you a good idea what you're info for www.spanafrican-adventures.co.za/drakensberg-guided-hiking/our-last-hikes.html
The 3 nights are usually Centenary Hut, Injisuthi Summit Cave (yes same one) & camp site at the bottom of Leslies. You'll do well to get to Marble Baths on the 3rd night
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24 Apr 2012 16:43 #53646 by anthony
Welcome Ant

A compass and map is all very good and well if your orienteering is good ,but if the mist comes in like it did to me on that exact route, well even the best compass is rendered useless.

The time frame and the route you intend to do is all doable,also you need to know where to cross the stream after fergie cave to head up the correct ridge to centenary hut,the other thing is there is not a clear path heading up corner pass, so the pass needs to be visible or you need a gps,leslies is easy to find, from mafadi i follow the escarpment around or otherwise you find yourself dropping down into the valley and then an unnecessary climb up again to leslies.

Also take 10m of rope for corner pass there is a choke stone to get up and some people are not comfortable climbing up there with there packs on.
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25 Apr 2012 11:09 - 12 Mar 2017 00:29 #53657 by intrepid
Welcome to VE Ant.

Due to the popularity of this topic, I'm going to make this thread the official one for all future discussions. I've renamed this thread to indicate that typically Corner Pass or Judge Pass is used along with Leslie's Pass in order to access Mafadi.

Have a look through all these links Ant, some of your questions are answered there already.

Please note that there are official discussion thread's each for Judge Pass, Corner Pass and Leslie's Pass. Specific questions about these passes should be posed there, while they can also be discussed in this thread in the context of being part of the route itinerary. Official pass threads:
Leslie's Pass: www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/11-drakensberg-passes/53654-leslies-pass.html
Corner Pass: www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/11-drakensberg-passes/86-corner-pass.html
Judge Pass: www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/11-drakensberg-passes/53466-judge-pass.html

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 12 Mar 2017 00:29 by intrepid.
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25 Apr 2012 11:24 #53660 by Ant
Hey Guys

Thank you sooooooo much for all the help. Trip is booked for the end of September, little nervous but we all cant wait.

New sleeping Bag is being fetched this afternoon and i have everything!!

Thanks again
Ant

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25 Apr 2012 14:46 - 26 Apr 2012 11:07 #53662 by HFc
Hi Ant

I'm no expert here, but have done this route and would make the following recommendations to a rookie (I definitely count myself as a rookie):
- No corner pass. Rather use Judge's Pass. Corner pass is a bit dangerous, especially with a heavy pack. I certainly would think twice about going up there with a heavy pack. Offcourse the experienced guys might think otherwise.
- You are likely to encounter contraband smugglers on Judge's pass or en-route to Mafadi (their own route into Lesotho passes just below Mafadi before heading inland). Note this, but as mentioned on this forum, do not worry. They generally mind their own business and might just ask for something to smoke or eat, or even medicine. I sincerely believe they are harmless. It is important however to know about their presence, as it can be quite discomforting to encounter them without really knowing what their intentions are (fact is, they are mules for a living carrying contraband illegally into RSA, it is tough to make a living in Lesotho and lots revert to this kind of thing). Seems you are a group of 6 so absolutely no reason in either case to feel unsafe.
- Leave quite early on your first morning enroute to Centenery hut. The last part up to the hut is quite a slog en can take some time especially if the total party is not the fittest.
- Having done some hikes in this area and using most of the passes in question, may I suggest an alternative, ascending Leslie's pass and descending Judge's. I.e. first day camp at foot of Leslie's pass (this also requires you to leave early on first morning to allow time for the twinforks stream maze between Marble baths and Leslie's foot), second day on top (either Upper Cave or tenting in one of the lovely Lesotho valleys (if your tent is high wind resistant)), and third day at Centenary hut.
- Lastly, I really do recommend getting a guide. There are a couple of good ones, I do not wish to punt anyone specific, but do refer to the links shown above in this thread. They just know the routes very well, allowing the group to breath in the scenery without having to search for the path all the time).

Enjoy this!

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Last edit: 26 Apr 2012 11:07 by intrepid. Reason: embedded image
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23 May 2012 15:18 #54033 by Wizman
Hi my wife a i just went up Leslies and down Judges and we are novices to this area, I downloaded the passes to my GPS and if I had not I would have been really lost even with the maps I had. At the bottom of Leslie's make sure you turn left to the contour path and dont go straight with the path as you will end up at Giants Castle as we did.

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