Cockade Pass

22 Apr 2021 18:57 #76782 by Geordie
Replied by Geordie on topic Cockade Pass
Anyone done Cockade, in the past few weeks??   I want to do it this weekend but I am not at my fittest and heard that a resent flash flood may have upset things????
 

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

More
09 May 2021 19:56 #76855 by vaughan
Replied by vaughan on topic Cockade Pass
Hi Geordie, did you get to do the Cockade pass? Also keen on doing it, but wanted to hear what the conditions are like?

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

More
14 May 2021 21:31 - 15 May 2021 09:50 #76877 by TheRealDave
Replied by TheRealDave on topic Cockade Pass
I'm not sure about Cockade, but I came down Mlambonja recently and there was clear evidence of flooding, both higher up the pass where the grass slope narrows into the stream, and further down on the Neptune's Pool path after the Xeni junction, where a section of the path has been washed away. There might have been similar flooding down Cockade.
Last edit: 15 May 2021 09:50 by TheRealDave.

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

More
13 Jul 2021 12:16 - 13 Jul 2021 12:26 #77030 by supertramp
Replied by supertramp on topic Cockade Pass
(1/2)
We ascended Cockade pass the weekend of the 3rd of July as part of a fastpacking hike from Didima Camp to upper Ndumeni Cave . It took some deliberation on whether we should give it a go, given the uncertainty around the state of the pass (and riverbed) due to the heavy rains earlier in the year.As we never shy away from an adventure and with a favorable weather forecast, we decided it was all flags go. We left the carpark at 07:40 and found ourselves entering the Cockade riverbed from the contour path at 10:00. It only took one glance to immediately see that the riverbed we once knew had a complete make-over.  

Gone are the days of feeling obligated to immediately find the path on the true left (on the right going up). There are now hardly any signs of the trees / overgrowth that "plagued" the riverbed, replaced by freshly "bulldozed" rocks, tree stumps and sand 

This image is hidden for guests.

 
We however still needed to make a decision on whether to go up the riverbed or stick to the tried and tested path on the right. By looking at the extent of the erosion on the riverbed walls, we were concerned that our usual re-entry point back into the riverbed (close to the Cockade/Xeni junction) would be inaccessible , and not being a big fan of backtracking we opted to chance our luck up the riverbed. 
 
 
The going was quite easy but as was expected, there were plenty of loose rocks that slowed us down a bit. As we progressed up the riverbed we encountered a couple of scrambles (mostly next to waterfalls) but nothing serious. It may however be different in the rainy season when the rivers are flowing stronger.  
 
 
Below is a photo of our usual re-entry point (on the left) and we felt like our decision was justified
 
Peculiar clean riverbed section showing the force of the water
 
We reached the Cockade / Xeni junction at 11:50, again very noticeable difference to before
  
We were forced to stay in the riverbed for a while longer even after making the left turn. The side walls were heavily eroded and we could only get safely up to the path on the righthand bank a bit further up.
 
 

Please login or register to view the images attached to this post.

Last edit: 13 Jul 2021 12:26 by supertramp.
The following user(s) said Thank You: intrepid, GriffBaker, riaan300, PJordaan, Smithers_23

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

More
13 Jul 2021 12:25 - 13 Jul 2021 16:15 #77031 by supertramp
Replied by supertramp on topic Cockade Pass
(2/2)
 
From there onwards the remainder of the pass felt relatively normal and we were again amazed by the magnificence of this section.
 
 
We had lunch just before the dual summit gullies (we took the one to the right this time) and summitted just after 14:00. A bit later than we wanted but given the slow riverbed and initial apprehension, we were super stoked with our effort. We summitted a blustery Cleft Peak and reached Upper Ndumeni Cave just before dark. We really enjoy the freedom of the fastpacking and will in most likelihood make this our preferred way of hiking in the future (with tented hikes only over longer weekends and DGTs 

This image is hidden for guests.



Some more comparisons from our previous trip 2 years ago
 

Needless to say but the known Cockade camp spot is no more. We only managed to find one flattish spot for a tent or 2 much further up the riverbed

 

 

Please login or register to view the images attached to this post.

Last edit: 13 Jul 2021 16:15 by supertramp.

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

More
13 Jul 2021 13:25 #77033 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic Cockade Pass
Wow, amazing to see how the terrain has changed!

If only it looks the same up Ships Prow ;-) which I plan to do next.

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

More
13 Jul 2021 13:32 #77034 by supertramp
Replied by supertramp on topic Cockade Pass

If only it looks the same up Ships Prow ;-) which I plan to do next.

Hahaha, I was thinking that very same thing! I still have nightmares from my previous trip down Ships last year. Hoping that you can bring back some good news 

This image is hidden for guests.

The following user(s) said Thank You: ASL

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

More
13 Jul 2021 16:17 #77035 by wildingo
Replied by wildingo on topic Cockade Pass
@Supertramp.  What was the weight of your fast pack?  Thanks Chris

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

More
13 Jul 2021 16:27 #77037 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Cockade Pass
Thanks for sharing! That's crazy - its easy to forget that mountains are constantly changing.

Cockade remains overwhelmingly my favourite Drakensberg pass with no close contender for second place. I even have an A1 canvas print of the view hanging on my wall. I know it isn't everybody's favourite - but its scenery that speaks to me in a way no other spot I have ever visited does. I say that having done the pass 3 times, and been through the Elephant Gully many additional times - that cutback between Xeni and Cockade Peak never disappoints.
The following user(s) said Thank You: supertramp

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

More
13 Jul 2021 16:30 #77038 by supertramp
Replied by supertramp on topic Cockade Pass
@wildingo - I use the Ultimate Direction Fast pack 30L - weighs in at 647g. Packed weight including clothing, food, sleeping bag, mattress, groundsheet and Windboiler - 5.5kg (excluding water) 
The following user(s) said Thank You: riaan300

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

More
Powered by Kunena Forum