Cockade Pass

19 Aug 2009 02:02 - 26 Dec 2018 08:04 #570 by intrepid
Cockade Pass was created by intrepid
References

Trip reports:
www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/drakenberg-trips-cathedral-peak/55297-cockade-pass-report.html
´╗┐https://www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/drakenberg-trips-cathedral-peak/55378-cockade-half-organ-pipes-day-walk.html
www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/drakenberg-trips-cathedral-peak/55700-mlambonja-pass-elephant-gully-cockade-pass.html

Southern split:
www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/drakenberg-passes-cathedral-peak/55385-the-upper-southern-split-in-cockade-pass.html

Halfway between the more popular routes of Mlambonja Pass and Organ Pipes Pass lies the Xeni Cutback, a steep river valley with dramatic cliffs towering in all directions. There are two passes which climb up to the escarpment via this cutback. Xeni Pass, however, looks pretty mean and unlike Cockade Pass, probably deserves its "rock" affix. Cockade Pass is one of the most direct routes to the escarpment in the Cathedral Peak area and with its spectacular views and enclosure, one wonders why so few hikers see this secluded part of the Berg.

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in Bell Traverse thread Hermann wrote:

Cockade pass was a killer because of the flash flood in February....we didn't know about that!!!!

I've heard more than one reference to the flash flood that washed down Cockade Pass. Haven't been out there myself since then to see the extent of the damage. Does anyone have more specific info on exactly how much damage was done, where it is on the pass, and perhaps some pictures?

This just reminds me again how treacherous the rock passes can be (and Cockade is definitely one of the easier of the rock passes!). Several times I've found myself in narrow gullies full of loose boulders, either in the middle of the rainy season or when there has been tricky ice, wondering to myself what on earth I was doing there! :S

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 26 Dec 2018 08:04 by intrepid. Reason: Fixed broken links

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19 Aug 2009 10:45 #571 by gollum
Replied by gollum on topic Cockade Pass
I don't have any info and this is in fact off-topic :blush:, but I plan to do Cockade sometime, and I'm curious about campsites.

Apparently there's a nice campsite not far above the contour path, but there's talk of another one deeper into the pass, and I'm curious about the latter. Does anyone have info on it?

To keep on-topic - how were the campsites affected by the flood? :P

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19 Aug 2009 17:39 #572 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Cockade Pass
There is a small site where one could pitch a tent, some 200m after the junction with Xeni Pass, before the first significant grassy uphill. I would imagine it's not very pleasant camping in bad weather. Other than that there may be something between the junction and the main site - enough level ground around for there to be something, but the bush is fairly dense and I haven't come across anything.

I anticipate that the main site should mostly be fine from the flood. The upper one, hmmm, not sure.

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

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25 Aug 2009 22:23 #580 by Hermann
Replied by Hermann on topic Cockade Pass
yes about 200m from the contour path there is a site for 2 maybe 3 small tents..very hard ground! and its away from flood line.I heard that hikers came upon Basuthus that were busy erecting a shelter...with hiking equipment that was stolen, they tried to attack the hikers,but the hikers had 'shamboks and basutus hit the road.this apperently happend 3 years ago in the upper Xeni where the cocakde pass begins.

We really had a slog down from Cockade, left the top at 11 am and reached harry's bar 7pm!!! 3 of our party were lagging behind because of an injury...they got to the hikers parking 5 am the next day!!!!

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19 Oct 2009 15:17 #704 by Selous
Replied by Selous on topic Cockade Pass
Hi I did Cockade Pass and Tseketseke Pass as a day loop hike on the 04/09/2009.

Just above the Xeni River as the contour path winds down towards the river the path was washed away - probably about a 3 metre section. It was easily negotiated. Once in the Xeni River you could see that a flash flood had been through there.

The biggest danger we found was that the boulders and rocks are not secure and settled as would be the case with and an old established river bed. The person behind must always watch out for this. Also, be very careful when walking over these unsetteled boulders as many moved and made walking within the river bed a bit tricky.The path has been washed away in many places and the river bed has been widend but we found the path and cairnes in sections. many of the trees in the river bed had been shredded.

As we got higher up the Xeni River, there was more evidence of land slides coming into the river from both the left and the right hand sides. None of these slides really blocked our way up.

Close to the Junction of Cockade Pass and the Xeni River, stay in the river bed. Do not head left.

Once in the actual Cockade Pass it is fairly staight forward with a fairly ovious path heading up. We added to the cairnes in the Xeni River and Cockade Pass.

It seems that the Xeni River was most affected by the flood, and also the lower section of Cockade Pass.

On the way up the Xeni River, have a look at Xeni Pass. It looks daunting and intimidating but one to look forward too

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20 Oct 2009 05:15 #706 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Cockade Pass
Thanks for the report, exactly what I was looking for. I had thought the damage might have been more in the middle section of the pass where there are lots of boulders. But I guess it makes sense that it happened further down, after the convergence of the several gullies and would-be passes in that area. Good thing no-one was caught in it.

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

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01 Jul 2010 15:46 #63195 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Cockade Pass

Halfway between the more popular routes of Mlambonja Pass and Organ Pipes Pass lies the Xeni Cutback, a steep river valley with dramatic cliffs towering in all directions. There are two passes which climb up to the escarpment via this cutback. Xeni Pass, however, looks pretty mean and unlike Cockade Pass, probably deserves its "rock" affix. Cockade Pass is one of the most direct routes to the escarpment in the Cathedral Peak area and with its spectacular views and enclosure, one wonders why so few hikers see this secluded part of the Berg.

Read more...

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24 Jul 2010 16:18 #1503 by Zecrates
Replied by Zecrates on topic Cockade Pass
Hi All,

First off, lots of thanks for this site and the forums. It's fantastic reading about other people's adventures and I'm sure this site will prove to be an invaluable resource for any future hiking trips.

A bunch of friends and I are planning on visiting the Drakensberge early next month. We're thinking of doing a 3 day/2 night trip, leaving the cars at Cathedral Peak Hotel and spending the first night at the Cockade camping site. The next day we'd like to take Cockade pass to the top of the escarpment and Tseketseke pass down in order to spend the night at the Tseketseke camping site. The final day is reserved for the hike back to the hotel.

We've done Cockade pass before, in 2008 before the rock slide, and were wondering how feasible doing both it and Tseketseke in one day is? I believe there's a river on the top of the escarpment, will it be flowing this time of year? Finally, is there anything else we should take into consideration when doing this route (excluding "Fake Tseketseke" which we are aware of)?

Thank you!

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26 Jul 2010 19:47 #1508 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Cockade Pass
Welcome to the community Zecrates.

I haven't seen the extent of the flood damage on Cockade, but in principal I see no issue with your intended day 2, even if you are delayed a little more. Get a good start on the day. The summits of the two passes are not far from each other and Tseke should be fairly quick to descend. The bottom end tends to be overgrown.

I've never tried to collect water right there in late winter before. You'll have to descend into the valley in any case - the water is seldom right at the passes. The question is how far you'll have to descend before you hit water....it could be up to 1km, but it does grow into a decent sized river at some point. Let us know!

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

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27 Jul 2010 08:38 #1510 by Zecrates
Replied by Zecrates on topic Cockade Pass
Thanks for the response Intrepid.

Sounds good, the availibility of water was going to determine our lunch, but looks like it will be biscuits and crackers ;)

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