Fallen Boot Pass

23 Nov 2017 08:45 #72405 by AndrewP
Fallen Boot Pass was created by AndrewP
Neil Margetts led an ESSA meet down this pass about 2 years ago.

He nicknamed the route Fallen Boot Pass because, while on a very steep section, one of the members of the group had taken off his boots to remove his outer trousers and dislodged his boot. It tumbled down a ways and another member had to scramble down to get it.

I decided to go up it, having taken a rather unusual route to get to the base of the ridge.

If approaching from Fika Patso dam, there is a good path on the true right of the river as far as the base of Namahadi Pass after which relatively easy bush bashing, boulder hopping and grass slopes lead to the base of the ridge.  If you stick to the true left, there is a path system high above the river. Neil has used this and has this to say if walking up the valley from the dam:
From the gate of the old hotel, walk along the tar road for 150m and turn left after the building to join a jeep track. This track descends into a shallow dip and then ascends alongside a small sandstone cliff. Follow this track across the Little Berg plateau. You will see a small sandstone canyon down to your right. Further on you will pass above Fika Patso Dam on your left. The path then takes you around a long spur towards the vast Namahadi River Valley above the dam.

You start out up an easy ridge. There a great views of the area, and I especially like the angle you get of Sentinel. You get a good view of Namahadi Pass and Barricade Pass to your left and to the right you get a view of all the gullies and peaks in the Mom / Dad area. After an honest amount of effort, you reach a rock band. I traversed 100m left and broke through on a very steep grass slope. A cairn at the top of this suggests other hikers have used this gully before.

I got back onto the crest of the ridge and soon afterwards it flattens out. This is a delightful stretch as you weave your way through a few small knolls.  before reaching a 30m deep saddle.

A few options now present themselves. I now know with hindsight that Neil and party did (coming down of course) a monster traverse left of 500m or more before a chance to break up a steep gully. I took a 150m vertical drop to the right into the valley between Tongue and Namahadi Ridge. Yuk. Or if you are brave, you could try traverse right at the height of the saddle into what I thought would be a dead end, but having looked back along it from the top of the gully, I think it could go with some good route finding and maybe a scramble or two.

The final rock bands of Tongue are now looming ahead.  From the saddle just ahead, either traverse left (Neil) or drop down (Andrew)

The gully out right is pleasant. A river flows down it, so you get dense bush at 2800m. This is easy enough to sneak past and soon you are working your up towards what turned out to a the first of several false summits. This does not help as you know you will have to grind another 200m to get out of the bowl the pass tops out into.

I have never used it for camping, but the bowl should be a lovely spot. You have a waterfall down the pass you came up and a simple stroll out onto the spur of Tongue gives great views. Below photo shows where our 2 variations top out. Mine by the snow in the foreground and Neil's behind that.

You may as well grind up the hill behind to the summit of Namahadi Peak. On a clear day, if you look inland you will see radio towers on a high peak. This is Mahlasela, and Afriski is directly behind that.

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The following user(s) said Thank You: elinda, Stijn, ghaznavid, tonymarshall, Biomech, TheRealDave, Christinejvr, GriffBaker, WarrenM, Iano2

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