An interesting alternative route if you've done the Organ Pipes thing too often. This route is well used by Basothos as can be seen by the eroded path but don't let this keep you away from checking it out. There are some impressive views of the Ndumeni Dome cliffs and the back of the Organ Pipes on offer and it is a very direct route to (or from) the Didima Gorge.
A similar view after the clouds had dropped to reveal the Cathedral Range, and the area south of the Amphitheatre in the far distance. Cleft Peak is the high point on the horizon.
Thuthumi Pass has a false summit, seen in the photo below taken from near the top of the Pass looking down the pass, with one of the Lower Ndumeni Caves at the right of the photo.
The photo below is taken from near the top of the false summit looking up to the grass sloped top of Thuthumi Pass, with Organ Pipes Pass visible to the right and Cleft Peak and Castle Buttress the peaks on the right skyline.
After cresting the false summit we descended the other side and were soon at the level of the cloud. The photo below shows the Smugglers Pass route path going over the ridge to Organ Pipes Pass, and Thuthumi Pass goes down the misty gully to the right. The path follows the true right side of the stream the whole way down the pass.
A view back up the pass during a rare moment of the cloud and mist clearing.
Most of Thuthumi Pass has a path, but in places it is quite eroded,
and in other places easy to lose on overgrown sections.
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Once we emerged below the cloud, visibility ahead improved, although by then we were on the lower section of the pass following the flatter path along the stream.
The route crosses the Thuthumi stream and contours along the valley slopes to join the Contour Path at The Nek. For some reason the new hiking maps show the route following the true right of the Thuthumi stream all the way to the junction with the Didima River, at the bottom of Phillip’s Folly, but this is incorrect (the older Slingsby map shows the correct route) and I am not sure that this path even exists. The photo below shows the Thuthumi stream crossing in an overgrown area.
We had our lunch break at the stream crossing, tonymarshall, Sabine, John and Neil.
The route after the stream crossing contours gradually upwards to The Nek, crossing several side streams and passing through vast areas of blue wild agapanthus.
A view back up the Thuthumi valley. The Organ Pipes route follows the ridge above to the right of the photo below, and at the times the mist would clear enough for us to glimpse the Thuthumi Hut (Old fire lookout) high above to our left, although it was too indistinct to photograph.
There were several bushy areas around the side stream crossings on the path to the Nek.
Unfortunately the cloud prevented photographing Thuthumi Pass from a distance, so I have included this photo below of Thuthumi Pass, taken in September 2012 from near the bottom of Phillip’s Folly.
We used the Vertical Endeavour Thuthumi Pass gps track to aid with navigation, but it should be noted that the track from the top of the false summit to the Thuthumi stream crossing is not totally accurate and can be used as a rough route guide, but not as a detailed step by step route.