Tata Ma Chance Pass

30 Jul 2018 17:05 #73750 by AndrewP
Tata Ma Chance Pass was created by AndrewP
I have now on a few occasions done a pass that is neither written up or may never have been done before.  On all of those occassions, it was a line I had seen previously, and had a good enough look at to know it has a chance of going.

This weekend, I was ambling along the cliff edge in the Rwanqa area when I came across a narrow chasm. I instinctively peered down and was amazed to see that it might just go. I moved a little further along the edge of it and peered down and decided to take a chance.  More specifically, when looking up Rwanqa, this is the obvious gully to the right of Rwanqa, topping out just south of Rwanqa Peak.

The top of the pass is fairly narrow and steep, but went easily. At one point about 100m down I had to traverse about 50m right into an adjoining gully to dodge an obstacle. This side gully had a 2m easy scramble in it and soon rejoined the main gully.






This carries on easily enough. A few obstacles can be easily bypassed and after a while the gully opens up.  Amazingly enough, even though there are several cliffs to the side of the gully, the gully itself goes smoothly. Or at least when it is dry.


Later still, I got to a point where I thought I had finally done it. And then suddenly, a waterfall popped out of nowhere.  I could have sneaked down on the right on very steep grass, but another waterfall was just below that. So, I did a rising traverse to my right onto broad grass ledges and followed some baboons down to the next grass ledge and after a while on that, made my way back into the main gully, a little way above a large rockfall on the opposite side of the gully.


The rock fall made it easier for a while as it had taken out all the vegetation, and once past that I had to take the best line through the usual fight at 2200m.
I joined the Rwanqa path a little below the point where it does the big zig-zag to get out of the valley.

At a few points, it looked like it may have seen traffic before. Sometimes by baboons but lower down it seemed like there were a few vague paths in the vegetation.

Because it is narrow, it has disappointing views (considering the 5 star views in nearby Fangs and Rwanqa), but it has its own appeal.

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30 Jul 2018 18:13 #73752 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Tata Ma Chance Pass
I seriously need to start trying out the gullies I have been eying out - before Andrew beats me to all of them :lol:

Incidentally it was only very recently that I realised that this gully wasn't actually Rwanqa Pass. Probably because Rwanqa is obscured by vegetation when seen from the approach to Mnweni (well, if you are looking at the wrong time). I had always thought that the writeups and photos on the site looked far more pedestrian than what I had observed!

Here's a photo of what I mean, with Andrew's pass marked as "North Rwanqa"

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

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31 Jul 2018 10:11 #73758 by BobbyStanton
Replied by BobbyStanton on topic Tata Ma Chance Pass
Hi Andrew
Is that not the pass known as Frenchman's Gully where a solo French hiker had to be helicoptered out by the MCSA rescue squad in 2015. See attached map. The coordinates of the rescue point are from Gavin Raubenheimer. If my memory is correct there was a picture in VE taken from the helicopter of his tent, just above the waterfall. He had to leave all his gear behind as he hadn't packed it when the helicopter arrived. Maybe there is a free tent and some other gear there for the taking (only three years old).


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31 Jul 2018 13:20 #73759 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Tata Ma Chance Pass
The pass shown in both Ghaz's photo and on Bobby's map is the one I did.

I do recall seeing the pic from the rescue but do not recall it well enough to confirm from that pic alone. 

The map suggests he was rescued by the waterfall whete I did a big traverse out right and followed baboons down. He probably got down the first waterfall then, which I stayed away from. And hence why I did not see any gear.
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31 Jul 2018 14:06 #73762 by Viking
Replied by Viking on topic Tata Ma Chance Pass
Here it is.. 


“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”

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31 Jul 2018 16:24 #73764 by BobbyStanton
Replied by BobbyStanton on topic Tata Ma Chance Pass
I believe the Frenchman a had cellphone signal, and when he realised that he would rather not reverse his route up the first waterfall,  he managed to call someone in France who called someone in South Africa who called someone in authority who activated the rescue squad. The helicopter traversed up and down that area for some time before they found him. He can thank his lucky stars there is a good market for the cellphone companies in the Mweni area.

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31 Jul 2018 19:33 #73765 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Tata Ma Chance Pass
Definitely the same gully I came down. 

I traversed out onto grass on true right above the mega chockstone you can see in the pic. 

From his position,you could move onto the mega grass ledge on true left. Walk maybe 500m until you clear the rockfall in the cliffs below you. And then go down very steep grass.

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01 Aug 2018 08:36 #73766 by Viking
Replied by Viking on topic Tata Ma Chance Pass

BobbyStanton wrote: He can thank his lucky stars there is a good market for the cellphone companies in the Mweni area.


That, and the dedication and skills of the SAAF pilots and crew and MCSA Mountain Rescue team members.

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”

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01 Aug 2018 08:37 #73767 by BobbyStanton
Replied by BobbyStanton on topic Tata Ma Chance Pass
It's all here in glorious technicolour:

zoom.earth/#-28.870073,28.967106,17z,sat
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