Mzimude Pass South

20 Nov 2008 09:41 #234 by Stijn
Mzimude Pass South was created by Stijn
I've noticed that you don't have details for Mzimude Pass on your lists, etc. Well here are a few for the sake of completeness ;)

It's not a rock pass, just steep grassy slopes without any trail. The pass forks about 2/3rds of the way up - we took the South fork which was steep with a narrow sliver of grass allowing access through the upper rock bands to get to the escarpment. In hindsight, it appears that the North fork is the logical way of ascent, a little more rocky but it still looked ok from above. For both options, simply follow the course of the river all the way up (no waterfalls or similar obstructions).

Mzimude Cave is found about 50m down the North fork from the top of the pass, in the Northern wall of the pass. There is a little grassy ramp to be ascended to get access to the cave ledge (I think there is a cairn). The cave is roomy and well sheltered. Also nicely tucked away like Fangs which helps with the safety aspect.

I don't think this pass is used very often, mainly due to the difficulty of access to the bottom. As you know, many of the "trails" marked on the Southern Berg maps are non-existent. However, I find that the remoteness and adventurous aspect of making your own way through the little berg give you a unique berg experience in the south which is very appealing.

We made our way to the bottom of the pass from Bushman's Cave - an interesting approach and well worth it, although not the most direct (the trail marked on the map is non-existent).

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20 Nov 2008 11:17 #235 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Mzimude Pass South
Thanks Stijn that's a handy write-up! I've been aware of the pass but have yet to do it. My impression from other comments I've heard is that North fork is harder than the Southern one, but yours is the most detailed account I've read so far.

I've studied the cave from the slopes of Walker's Peak on occasions, but I've never actually been right there to have a look. How many people can it sleep?

I love the wildness and "trail-lessness" of the Southern Berg. Wish I could get there more often than I do, but it's a long drive for me. Will be there in December though.

We've put lots of thought into how to handle Berg Passes on this site. It seems for now the best and most sustainable way is to let it happen through the interaction of this community and through voluntary contribution. We're looking at extending the features of this site to include personal blogging and gallery space which will facilitate this kind of thing.

I did start this page as a catalogue of all references made to passes on this site in order to keep track of all the info. I'm looking at making this a little smarter in future, possibly by implementing some kind of Wiki feature.

Thanks again for the contribution and keep it coming!

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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20 Nov 2008 13:11 - 20 Nov 2008 13:13 #236 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Mzimude Pass South
Sho - now you're testing that memory of mine... I honestly can't remember the cave's capacity - here's a pic from the inside... maybe 6??? Not quite as hidden as I remember it either :-)

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And a photo of the pass from below:

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For more photos of that trip (Tarn Cave, Devil's Knuckles, Bushman's Pass, Bushman's Cave, Mzimude Pass, Mzimude Cave, Rhino, Umzimkhulu Pass, Fun Cave, Sleeping Beauty Cave, Giant's Cup Trail), go here:
http://www.mountain.uct.ac.za/gallery2/gallery/2006/2006-q1-southern_berg_january/
Last edit: 20 Nov 2008 13:13 by Stijn.

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19 Apr 2011 09:57 - 03 Jun 2015 21:12 #2739 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Mzimude Pass South
I tried Mzimude Pass in December 2010, the route through the hidden valley is really beautiful and clearly defined, but very long (about 12km before you exit the valley). We ended up at the base of the pass by sunset, there was a cave which we thought was curtain cave (but on checking a picture of curtain cave after the hike we found that it was actually an unnamed cave, but it was very sheltered, you can't see the inside of the cave from the path (the cave is 40m up a steep grassy bank)). When we got up in the morning it was misty, so we turned back, but the hike through the hidden valley was worth it (especially the view of Rhino peak at such a distance). The nice thing about the route to the pass is the number of caves, there must be atleast 3 caves that will sleep 10 people and another 8 or so that will easily sleep 5. At the top of the pass there are 3 caves, if I remember correctly they sleep 6, 6 and 3, but I have only seen photos of them, as I say, we never reached the top of the pass, I only know this from my research before the hike.

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins
Last edit: 03 Jun 2015 21:12 by ghaznavid.

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09 Jul 2013 14:00 - 09 Jul 2013 14:03 #57591 by ahowes
Replied by ahowes on topic Mzimude Pass South
I tried Mzimude (South) Pass in May 2013 as a decent as part of a 24hr round trip from Garden Castle.

Myself, Keith and Gerard left at 22:00 on Friday up Mashai Pass, summit-ted Rhino's and then south along the top to the bottom of Walker's Peak.

We got to the top of Mzimude Pass at about 12:00 on the Saturday. From the top there seemed to be 4 distinct routes.

The Northern route looked passable to start with but started looking very sheer we could not see a route from where we were.

The Center pass had a huge jug jutting out and had a left and right route to it the left could be scrambled down but headed out of view towards the north pass. The right (South) center route needed some climbing and although down would be easy as you could hop down to come back up would have been a major problem. Again the plausible route ran towards the south route but ran out of site. The Southern route was very visible and you could see right down the grassy slope into the top of Hidden Valley. The Southern route from the top didn't look like the obvious route at first and required us to hike round a huge ravine towards a very obvious wall. There were a couple of small cairns at the top to confirm the route down.

Although very steep to begin with was easier than Mashai pass, however what I really liked about it was the exposure to the entire 1000m of height. In terms of the exposure it would not be for the faint hearted. There was snow and a little ice on the route but nothing to cause any concern.

We hit water at about quarter of the way down. The Hidden Valley turned out to be our demise! As per the post above was meant to be well marked and have good paths. Lets just say the only thing we found was Eland tracks that kept zigzagging and disappearing. The last decent path we were on was way back at Pillar Cave and after some 15 hours of hiking in wilderness we decided to hack a direct path left up, round, over and down straight to Garden castle parks board office. Got there just after 20:30

The pass was scenic, nicely exposed in terms of height but safe to do! Access to the pass is a @#$%@$
Last edit: 09 Jul 2013 14:03 by ahowes. Reason: Making it sound good!
The following user(s) said Thank You: ghaznavid

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09 Jul 2013 14:05 - 09 Jul 2013 15:26 #57592 by ahowes
Replied by ahowes on topic Mzimude Pass South
Here is some pics!





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Last edit: 09 Jul 2013 15:26 by diverian. Reason: pics inserted into post

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09 Jul 2013 14:25 #57594 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Mzimude Pass South
Thanks! Please keep the photos coming - I'm hoping do to a route up Mzimude South South Pass, climb Mzimude Peak and return via Mzimude North South Pass as a day hike later this winter.

Just to clarify the routes (as per my understanding):
- Mzimude North Pass (one of Dave Gay's passes) is the fissure pass south of Mzimude Peak, but north of the minor buttress below Mzimude Peak. This route was classified by him as "difficult - no path".
- Mzimude South Pass has 2 "official" gullies on either side of the prow between them:
- Mzimude North South Pass (with 3 caves near the top, the harder of the south passes)
- Mzimude South South Pass (easier, but no caves)

I'm not sure about a 4th pass, but Walker's Pass tops out fairly close to Mzimude South South Pass and Tsepeng Pass (with a massive summit cairn) tops out north of Mzimude Peak.

I went up Tsepeng Pass last December, I know Elinda also did it last year (descended with ice and snow). I would not want to go down that summit gully! It is bordering on proper rock climbing at 1 point, probably a C+ or D grade scramble on crumbly loose rock/grass/sand, near vertical, exposure onto sharp pointy rocks. Easier than the exposed bit near the top of Rhino Pass, but the exposure (while not at all scary) is actually much worse.

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins

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09 Jul 2013 14:48 #57595 by JonWells
Replied by JonWells on topic Mzimude Pass South
Hey ahowes

I take it this is your track on Google Earth, I happened to come across it yesterday and noted the rather direct route back home! :laugh:


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09 Jul 2013 14:51 #57596 by ahowes
Replied by ahowes on topic Mzimude Pass South
I did not do any of the routes but from my observation from the top and not having a view to the bottom except the Far South Pass it looked as follow:

All passes routes were South of Mzimude Peak: (Fall under the South fork of the Mzimude River)

- Mzimude North Pass (one of Dave Gay's passes) is the fissure pass south of Mzimude Peak, but north of the minor buttress below Mzimude Peak. This route was classified by him as "difficult - no path".

- Mzimude Center Pass has 2 "official" gullies on either side of the prow between them:
- Mzimude North Center Pass (with 3 caves near the top, the harder of the south passes) - I could not see a way down without a rope
- Mzimude South Center Pass (easier, but no caves) Could get down but not sure I could get up with out a rope.

- Mzimude South South Pass - in the next gully closet to Walkers Peak and comes down the gully next to the obvious wall which forms part of Walkers Peak. --> This is the one I did and was a walk in the park! lol

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09 Jul 2013 14:53 #57597 by ahowes
Replied by ahowes on topic Mzimude Pass South
Yip thats it lol! Says Walkers pass but on the map it says Mzimude pass!

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