Just read the report from the hikers. They seem to have been very composed - wasn't the epic I was expecting to read about.
This pass follows a spectacular route up the Tseketseke River and gully alongside the Pyramid and the Column. Even though it has similar route details to Mlambonja Pass (see above), the upper grassy slopes are a lot steeper and make this pass feel as if it belongs in the Mnweni area. The beautiful river section and stunning views near the top make this a classic Drakensberg Pass.
I am not sure exactly when the bad water came down Tseketseke, but about 4 years back it was a completely different pass. I remember taking up a bunch of “First Timers” and although it was a long day, it was certainly not dangerous, which, in my opinion, it now is.
Floods, ( I can only assume floods) in the past few years have scoured the river down by up to 10m in places, leaving very exposed banks which are very unstable. Unfortunately the river has also widened, eating away at the path leaving one to look for alternate routes, usually clinging on to steep slopes or boulder hopping. The boulder hopping is OK, but it tires one out and there are places where it’s just too steep and “Slope Clinging” becomes the order of the day. The thing is, you can’t just climb out of the river, and the banks are just too deep, steep and very unstable in most places.
There is a lot of collective experience in our little group of 8, and the feeling is that the pass is now still doable, but dangerous and certainly not for the inexperienced and not for large groups.
The VE track was spot on, but now academic in most places. In the past one could walk from the camp to the Hut in less than 5 minutes, it’s now a 10 minute rock hop. You can, however, still get to water from the camp without having to abseil, just.
We also noted the condition of the contour path in this area. Disgusting is a good description, and we were happy not to be walking towards Cockade along it. Just what are we getting for our R50/day, one asks oneself. Just a wee bit of erosion control and a good weed whacking once a year.
Anyway rant over, be warned, PM me for more info if required, looking forward to the next one.
I haven't heard of Tseketseke being a hard pass, but when a friend & I descended it last year we were like what? It has been eroded quite bad a you've mentioned & dangerous for sure. We also took a few tumbles. I bent my 1 trekking polea bit, bt it was fixable.
We were very tired & happy when we reached the hut (came from twins that morning)