Rwanqa Pass

21 Sep 2009 07:03 #669 by Magan
Rwanqa Pass was created by Magan
What is the best route up Rwanqa Pass ?
2 Opinions i've had suggested up the middle ridge and work your way into the Pass to avoid the waterfalls at the bottom

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
21 Sep 2009 17:52 #671 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Rwanqa Pass
The trick with Rwanqa is exactly that: avoid the gully and the waterfalls. For the most part it's a steep, grassy pass - no need to clamber up boulders. I've heard about people needing ropes to pull up packs, but that can be avoided.

The grassy ridge coming down directly below the Black and Tan Wall is your salvation on Rwanqa. Be alert for a small trail which will guide you onto the southern flank, where it starts disappearing, but where you simply ramp onto the crest of this ridge. Follow the crest up as far as reasonably possible, directly below the Black And Tan Wall. From there it's a steep, grassy traverse across to the main gully from where the going becomes easier (no trail).

If you download the GPX file from the downloads section and open it in Google Earth, you will clearly see how the track avoids the main gully. Hope this helps.

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

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
22 Sep 2009 07:23 #673 by Magan
Replied by Magan on topic Rwanqa Pass
There's a rock-band that runs across the Southern slope about 1/2way up to the Black & Tan wall. Are you saying use the ridge to go above this rock-band and then traverse into the Pass ?

sorry, could not view on Google Earth

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
22 Sep 2009 18:47 #674 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Rwanqa Pass
On the hiking map you'll see 2 annual rivers, one originating directly from the summit of the pass, the other from the southern part of the Black and Tan Wall. The ridge I'm talking about lies exactly in the middle of these and sticks out 90 degress from the wall. It's a steep slog up the southern flank of this ridge, a short scramble through a small rock band, onto the crest of the ridge (a knife-ridge of sorts). You continue up this ridge directly towards the wall until it's almost on top of you. From there you traverse towards the main gully.

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

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
20 Oct 2009 16:10 #710 by Magan
Replied by Magan on topic Rwanqa Pass
Thanks for the advice Intrepid.
I didnt fancy the exposure using the steep middle Ridge. From my overnight at the junction I made my way up river : 2 waterfalls to navigate, the 1st I scrambled up the RHS but the 2nd was impassable so I made my way thro the thick bush on the RHS.
Just after a little cleft on the LHS banks I made my way directly up the left slopes, away from the riverbed : pretty steep !! Thro thick bushes again to just below the rock-band that runs left to right (obvious in pics). I contoured along the steep slopes into the Pass itself (avoiding a pretty large waterfall).
Then I kept mostly on the RHS boulderbed, 1 or 2 minor scrambles ... and very steep ... until I could no more and then navigated into middle and then back again on RHS onto very steep grassy slopes crossing one rock fall .... then its just a slog onto the summit.
I'd rate it right up there with Icidi ito difficulty.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
21 Oct 2009 08:08 #711 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Rwanqa Pass
Magan wrote:

I didnt fancy the exposure using the steep middle Ridge.


This coming from a man who even managed to turn Langalibalele into a rock pass :P

Your route sounds like the route we used in descent, back in 2002. Quite hairy and I think I'd take that Black & Tan ridge over the gully any day...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
21 Oct 2009 11:43 #712 by Magan
Replied by Magan on topic Rwanqa Pass
:laugh:
Yes, that Langalibalele Pass incident is worthy of mention in "funniest Berg incidents" :laugh:

But thanks to Stijn shouting out directions from way down the riverbed, I navigated ok thro the rockbands... amusing now .. :laugh:

Seriously, there's a warning there : on a descent of Langalibelele Pass there's a clear path off right ... Dont take this !!!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
21 Oct 2009 14:55 #713 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Rwanqa Pass
I'm curious about Rwanqa cave. We found a HUGE cave quite far down the pass (400m or so) - one of those igneous blow-holes like Upper Injesuthi and Crows Nest. Getting in was OK, but downclimbing took some doing what with the 10m or so grade 13 or so. So my question is whether this HUGE cave with the tricky approach is Rwanqa cave. We ended up sleeping under a v.v.small overhang further up the pass instead.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
21 Oct 2009 20:12 #714 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Rwanqa Pass
Great to get your report-back Magan. It seems you have a knack for finding trails that no-one else sees :laugh: . Rwanqa definitely has 2 route variations, but it seems the gully route has exposure too, and I've stories of people clambering up rocky sections, probably around that second waterfall. Granted, the Black-And-Tan Ridge is steep, but it is clean in that it's all grassy - no bushes. The traverse across below the Black-And-Tan face is steep and exposed, but pretty manageable nonetheless. Its all a question of what you fancy. And yes, one should remember that, while its not a technical pass, it is a true Mweni classic that ranks with Icidi Pass.

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

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
21 Oct 2009 20:47 #715 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Rwanqa Pass
In my mind, Rwanqa Cave is in the category of little known Berg caves that are typically not documented properly. I particularly enjoy looking for them. I've had one of the older Mweni Guides explain to me that, even after doing Rwanqa Pass several times, he had never come across the cave.

What I believe to be Rwanqa Cave is exactly the one that you have described, mnt_tiska. I did fine-comb the area and am fairly confident that its the one. My own measurements indicate its altitude to be 2741m, with the top of the pass being 3088m. It certainly is a deep, well-sheltered tunnel, and pretty big. The big pity is that in its current state it can only sleep an estimated 3 people. The first half is sloping ground, and after that one would have to move big boulders out the way. So while it certainly has the potential to accommodate several people, it would require some labour. While its location roughly corresponds with what is suggested on the maps, it cannot accommodate 12 people as indicated. Not sure if that error originates from an intention to convey the size of the cave.

Picture of the cave in the galleries:
www.vertical-endeavour.com/gallery/drakensberg/caves/86-rwanqa-cave.htm

I have also come across a second shelter, some 50m lower in altitude, a short distance out of the main gully, below the Black-And-Tan face. Its an overhang, which, thanks to a flat shelf below it, can accommodate 3-4 people.
www.vertical-endeavour.com/gallery/drakensberg/caves/87-rwanqa-cave-ii.html

GPS data is available in the article listing caves (which I see is due for an update), and can be downloaded in the downloads section.

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

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
Powered by Kunena Forum