Organ Pipes Pass - Camel Route

27 Mar 2012 12:02 #53315 by Geordie
Did the Camel this past weekend, and had no problems , BUT, being aware of possible snags, everyone was warned about the possible dangers and the lesser experienced were watched carefully and assisted in places.
We had camped about 500m below the contour path, so we started the Camel early and it was a good day weather wise., and were on the “ Tricky” section just after lunch and way before “storm time”.
This was my 4th camel experience, (That does not sound good, does it) having done 2 up and 2 down (Oh, come on) in various weather including ice, I still would not call it dangerous, but yes, one must concentrate.
In wind and bad weather??? I would rather be protected by the slope of the Camel, than be exposed on the ridges of the Fire hut walk. But that’s just me.

G
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25 Jun 2013 10:11 - 25 Jun 2013 10:11 #57464 by Boerkie
Please help:

1) Does anyone have pictures of the "exposure" bits on the Camel route?
2) What is the current state of mikes Pass? Can we drive up in our own vechile and would it be safe there for 2 nights?

Thx
Last edit: 25 Jun 2013 10:11 by Boerkie.
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25 Jun 2013 10:16 - 25 Jun 2013 10:28 #57465 by mike
Replied by mike on topic Organ Pipes Pass - Camel Route
Hi

I recently did the Camel route and there are no longer any exposed bits. I can vaguely remember hearing there was a section washed away a few years back where the exposed bits were. I last did the route in 2005 and I remember it being a lot worse.

Mikes pass is ok at the moment,you will need a raised vehicle to get up there. I advise you park at the Hotel or Didima site and get a lift up Mikes pass, I think the cost was +-R40 from Didima. Logistically it makes sense if you coming down the Camel towards the hotel.
Last edit: 25 Jun 2013 10:28 by mike.
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25 Jun 2013 11:06 #57466 by tonymarshall
I posted some pictures of one of the exposed sections on the Camel route a while back on the "Don't look down" topic.

EKZNW no longer permits private vehicles to use Mike's Pass, not sure if that includes Mountain Club members going to Cambalala House or not. Two weekends ago our group of 6 got a lift with EKZNW up Mike's Pass at the start of our hike for R50.00 per person. On our return we phoned Didima office, having pre arranged at our departure to do so, as soon as we had signal near the weather station and the vehicle took about half an hour to arrive at the top of Mike's Pass to give us a lift down, which cost R40.00 per person.
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24 Jul 2013 12:43 #57793 by Zecrates
Hi All,

I need some advice on the Camel/Cockade route. We're thinking of heading out this weekend and starting from the Cathedral Peak hiker's parking going pass Ribbon Falls, up the Camel pass, through Windy Gap then down Cockade Pass and back to the parking pass Neptune's pool. See the attached Google Earth route for reference.

We've read and heard some conflicting reports on how dangerous/difficult the Camel route is. A fellow hiker completed the route last year around this time and didn't feel vulnerable at all, though other posts seem to indicate that it is very dangerous and has had fatalities in the past. An obvious worry seems to be ice, but barring that, how doable is the Camel route? We've done Cockade/Tseketseke twice before and barring the last flash food in Tseketseke, have never felt unsafe.

Secondly, where can we expect to find water? It seems we might be able to fill up just past Ribbon falls and then where the Camel route meets the Windy Gap route? I guess we shouldn't expect any water on top of the escarpment, but we should find some again halfway down Cockade?

Thanks!

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24 Jul 2013 14:14 #57796 by Selous
Hi Zecrates

I think with the current mild winter we have been having I don't think you will find ice on the Camel Route. Having looked down it from windy Gap and probably being a bit tired I just felt it was not worth the chance on Monday

You will find water once you top out of Organ Pipes Pass about 200m into Lesotho. There is also plenty of water in the Malereng river between Tseketseke Pass and Cockade Pass. There is also water in Cockade Pass at the start of the rock gully section about 1/2 way down, flowing nicely :)

Regards
Selous
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24 Jul 2013 14:28 #57797 by Zecrates
Hi Selous,

Thanks. Nice to hear that water shouldn't be a problem.
Have you done the Camel Route before? I think we're pretty much convinced and will give it a try, but some of those photos look hair-raising :D

Regards,
Zecrates

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24 Jul 2013 14:34 #57798 by Selous
Hi Zecrates

Might see you as we will be camping close to the Malereng River between Cockade and Tseketseke Passes.

No have not done Camel. Don't think I will do it. Will be very interested to see how you guys find it. Have fun and be safe

Regards Selous

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24 Jul 2013 17:34 #57808 by intrepid

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24 Jul 2013 18:18 - 24 Jul 2013 18:20 #57812 by tonymarshall
Hi Zecrates,

The Camel Route can be dangerous in very windy, wet or ice conditions, but otherwise is not abnormal and should be quite comfortably doable by experienced berg hikers. Keep an eye on the weather forecast beforehand; so far this coming weekend's forecast looks good.

There was a fatality on the route a few years ago, Luciano Colombo, a respected club leader and experienced hiker that I knew, and I have regular contact with two other hikers who were present at the time and explained the circumstances to me. This is recorded somewhere on VE, one of the 'Dragon's Wrath' threads I think, and it should be pointed out that the fatality happened at a fairly level section on the path near Windy Gap, and not at one of the more exposed sections, and (presumably) resulted from a stumble that could not be recovered in time to prevent tumbling down the adjacent slope and over a cliff.

I haven't done Cockade Pass, but agree that you should be able to get water above Ribbon Falls, near Windy Gap and with a minor detour down to the stream between Tseketseke and Cockade Passes.
Last edit: 24 Jul 2013 18:20 by tonymarshall.
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