Nguza Pass

28 Sep 2020 19:58 #76127 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Nguza Pass
We did this pass a few years ago in icy conditions and I found this section pretty frightening - clearly it has deteriorated since then from more frequent use and has become very eroded. I think it is wise to warn hikers of the dangers that lie in wait here and to rather give this area time to rehabilitate.
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29 Sep 2020 16:48 #76132 by supertramp
Replied by supertramp on topic Nguza Pass

Serious tribe wrote: Perhaps it would be best for nobody to do this pass for a year and see how it heals. It is likely only a few hikers that would attempt this anyway, so not like you would be taking away a major route to the top from a lot of people. This would be a good example of the VE community protecting a route for the future and allowing rehab to take its course.

elinda wrote: We did this pass a few years ago in icy conditions and I found this section pretty frightening - clearly it has deteriorated since then from more frequent use and has become very eroded. I think it is wise to warn hikers of the dangers that lie in wait here and to rather give this area time to rehabilitate.


I couldn't agree more with both your suggestions. It truly is a spectacular and unique pass and would be an absolute shame if this section became permanently impassable. Just by assessing the successive damage caused by our group of 4 crossing (and the sheer horror of feeling the ground below you give away completely at each step) I am really concerned whether it can be crossed safely at all by next groups in its current condition. For those that have not done the pass before, as can be seen from the images, there is a significant drop-off and the gradient is more than may be perceived.

I would generally be hesitant to issue a warning like this (acknowledging the risk we all happily take to experience our beloved mountains) but as Elinda has mentioned, it may be the responsible thing to do to make everyone fully aware of this specific risk (especially if and when conditions change). Given sufficient time, I am confident that it can be rehabilitated.
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19 Sep 2022 10:56 #78009 by Rossp
Replied by Rossp on topic Nguza Pass
Hi Guys
Has anyone been up or down Nguza Pass recently? If so, is the tricky section on the traverse still in a bad state or has it started to recover? Hoping to go down it on Saterday so any information would be appreciated! 
Many thanks

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26 Sep 2022 17:03 - 26 Sep 2022 17:03 #78013 by Edward
Replied by Edward on topic Nguza Pass
Hi Slipperyhotshot,

Did you end up doing Nguza pass? Looking at it as an option for my next hike.

Thanks
Last edit: 26 Sep 2022 17:03 by Edward.

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15 Dec 2022 21:36 #78197 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Nguza Pass
Who has a good quality GPS track of Nguza Pass, starting from the split from the Rockeries Pass trail? My own GPS data is of poor quality, especially for the side gully section which is one of the important details of the route - the readings were bouncing around too much at the time. I'd like to make the track available in the downloads section. You can submit it there directly or send it to me and I will post it under your profile for you. Thanks.

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

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16 Dec 2022 09:20 #78200 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Nguza Pass
That's a problem for everyone with a recording, the gps signal is all over the show in the side gully, the grass ledge traverse below cliffs, and the final gully to the summit, and is equally a problem for anyone trying to follow a track. I'll see what I have, and what I used for the new Slingsby maps, which I think was a combination of the best parts of my two tracks. I haven't really wanted to share my Nguza Pass tracks because of this problem, but perhaps I can edit the track a bit on Google Earth to fit the terrain well, which I may have already done for the maps, and submit it.
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17 Dec 2022 16:05 - 17 Dec 2022 16:06 #78201 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Nguza Pass
I have uploaded my gps track and waypoints of Nguza Pass, and this can be downloaded in the Downloads section.

The map below shows the track in green and the waypoints, and the magenta track (not included in the gps file) is the Rockeries Pass route.

 

Please also read the relevant write ups in this thread for more information on the Nguza Pass route, and don't only rely on the gps track.

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Last edit: 17 Dec 2022 16:06 by tonymarshall.
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19 Dec 2022 01:07 - 19 Dec 2022 01:53 #78202 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Nguza Pass
Thanks, that track gives presents a good picture of what the route entails. I echo the sentiment that the track should be used in conjunction with a good awareness of what the route entails. With poor visibility and weak, unreliable signal, one can miss critical waypoints and features of the route if one doesn't know what to look for.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 19 Dec 2022 01:53 by intrepid.
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20 Dec 2022 09:28 #78204 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic Nguza Pass
From my own experience, herewith a visual guide on how to navigate the gully and pass section of Nguza pass from below:

Head up the river valley towards the pass itself. You will clearly see the waterfall section you would have to climb if you don't want to do the side gully section. Once you are near the waterfall area (I don't have the exact measurements, but I would say start looking from about 500m away), start looking towards your left (true right) for a steep sidegully with a massive chockstone near its bottom. Turn left into this gully. I found it easiest to get over the chockstone by climbing up on the right. From here, simply walk up till you get to the top. You will be blocked by a rock wall at the top. Turn right here onto the grassy ledge. Even in mist this part is unmistakable.

Simply follow this ledge to the right till you come to another short, steep grassy gully on your left. You will wind in and out of a few gullies on the way, passing the infamous short section where you have to go over a bit of a dodgy gap section. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, don't stress, when you get here you will definitely recognise this spot. The grass gully is shortly after this spot to your left. Short, steep, but entirely manageable. There are a lot of these long, thick, grassy type of plants in this gully (yellow flowers, plant is about 50cm high, fleshy leaves).

Lots of good camping spots near the top and the river is also close by.

Enjoy!!!
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13 Jun 2024 11:21 - 13 Jun 2024 11:23 #79114 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic Nguza Pass
We ascended Nguza pass at the end of May 2024. We were a group of 4 hikers and I specifically wanted to check out the dodgy section once you get on the side-sloping sections. Based on recent reports it seemed to be a bit scetchy, but I am happy to report that it was relatively straight forward. Obviously the exposure risk is always there due to its close proximity to the drop-off (about 2m max) from where you cross it, but the ground was nice and solid beneath our feet and there were enough level sections to comfortably walk over it. My wife is generally a bit hesitant on some of the dodgier sections we (often) do, and I didn't tell her that this was the dodgy spot, although when I asked her about it once we summited she did ask me if that was the dodgy section, to which I replied yes. Interestingly enough, we found going up the chockstone much more risky this time. Just goes to show, different strokes for different folks.

Different conditions on the day, your mindset, physical condition, gear choices etc. will all make a difference in how you experience the Berg.

Below an image indicting the dodgy part.

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Last edit: 13 Jun 2024 11:23 by Riaang.
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