Tseketseke Pass - South Variation

23 Sep 2015 07:02 - 23 Sep 2015 09:25 #65173 by tonymarshall
On the previous VE Berg Trips to the Tseketseke area, we had seen a gully to the south of Tseketseke Pass which looked like a possible pass to the summit. On the 2014 Berg Trip intrepid and I had even succeeded in ascending to the base of this gully after working on pine trees high up on the slopes of Cleft Peak, and being able to look up the gully to the top, and so we decided that on the next VE Berg Trip to the area we would attempt to ascend this pass. Intensive research could not reveal any previous recorded use of this gully to the summit, and so ours would be the first recorded ascent. The photo below shows the gully, which we named Tseketseke Pass South Variation in relation to Tseketseke Pass as seen from the Contour Path. The peak to the right of Tseketseke Pass is Tseketseke Peak, and Column is to the right of that.



The gps map below shows the track of our route. We used the Tseketseke Pass trail up to just below the final escarpment cliffs, and then traversed south on the grass slopes below the cliffs into the gully and ascended the gully to the summit, then traversed north along the summit and descended via Tseketseke Pass.



Near the start of our traverse south on the grass slopes below the escarpment cliffs, with the Shark Fin, a well known landmark of Tseketseke Pass in the background.



A view north to Tseketseke Pass; Tseketseke Peak is at the centre of the photo below.



Traversing south on the grass slope, with a seldom seen view of Column.



The traverse ahead; Tseketseke Pass South Variation is just behind the rock prominence on the right of the photo below. The sheer cliff at the centre of the photo is part of Cleft Peak, and Camel is visible to the left of the centre of the photo.



The group at the entry into Teseketseke Pass South Variation, with Pyramid on the skyline in the background.



The gully of Tseketseke Pass South Variation. We chose to use the grass slope on the right (true left) to ascend the pass, which proved to be the easiest way up.

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Last edit: 23 Sep 2015 09:25 by tonymarshall.
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23 Sep 2015 07:06 #65174 by tonymarshall
A rock feature in the pass, reminiscent of the ‘donkey’ at the top of Fangs Pass, with a view down the pass with the Camel at the right.



The pass is steep, but the grass slope goes the whole way up, with very little scrambling required.



A view up Tseketseke Pass South Variation.



A view down Tseketseke Pass South Variation.



The final grass slope to the top of the pass.



The view down the pass at the top of the pass.



The top of the pass.



The group taking a break at the top of Tseketseke Pass South Variation, fltr Viking, smurfatefrog, Andrew P, intrepid, tonymarshall and Lorinda.



Although ours is the first recorded ascent of Tseketseke Pass South Variation, we are sure we are not the first group to use this route, and that it must have been used in the past.

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The following user(s) said Thank You: elinda, ghaznavid, Smurfatefrog, Richard Hunt, Drakensbergie

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23 Sep 2015 07:40 #65175 by ghaznavid
Well done guys and thanks for the writeup Tony :thumbsup:

"The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't." Douglas Adams

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23 Sep 2015 08:17 #65177 by jamcligeo
Thanks Tony for the write-up.

It took me a while to twig, but in 2010 myself and my brother in law headed down that pass in a careless error of judgement thinking it was Tseketseke Pass. Even then I was convinced the pass had been used as we came across a fair bit of sweet wrappers on the way down, which only encouraged us to go further. Not realising we could tranverse to the North we headed down until it dropped off, we then returned the way we came, back up to the escarpment and to the correct pass before heading down to the hut.




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23 Sep 2015 08:59 #65179 by ghaznavid
@Jamcligeo: that's interesting. Its probably similar to the gullies on either side of Giants Pass - you will struggle to find any documented use of either, but both have probably been used in error on a few occasions.

"The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't." Douglas Adams

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23 Sep 2015 09:43 #65181 by tonymarshall
Very interesting, we saw no evidence of the pass being used, such as sweet wrappers or other litter, or anything like torn pieces of clothing, but near the top there was evidence of a trail. We didn't really consider the possibility of the pass being misidentified as Tseketseke Pass, but certainly thought it must have been used during the early exploration of the area being so close to Cleft Peak and all the history associated with the various climbs of Cleft Peak. While we were at the top of the pass two other hikers came past us and we had a chat, descending Cleft Peak on their way to Twins Cave, so that was clear evidence of people passing by, and the possibility that others could mistakenly also think that it is Tseketseke Pass.

A pity you had to go all the way back up to the top to get into Tseketseke Pass, but good to know we were right in assuming the pass had been used before, and fairly recently.

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