Interesting to see the route you took, ST2. Yes - we did stick to the gully and climbed out just below the cave and then a scramble up - not sure whether we did the 'open book' scramble - there was a steep section where we pulled packs up and then on and upwards to the cave. I will attach a tracklog of our route. The gully was doable with the snow and ice, albeit tricky and slippery - crampons would have helped. Do you think it is possible in Summer conditions, or too wet?
Yeah. Gullys aren't always the answer. The snow and ice helped out to a degree there. The gully is very narrow, choked with loose rock and constant 'step-ups'. The snow looks like it covered all that.
Do-able in summer if you use the left hand bank. Would imagine the gully proper would be a bit wet.
The most significant scrambling is in accessing the cave. See pic below for approach to the cave:
From below, this is what the overhang, in which the cave is situated, looks like:
From the cave we did not return along the route in - we simply cut straight across towards the gully. This does involve a short sequence of careful moves over some rock and some exposure:
ST2 has posted several pics of the pass and cave in the Drakensberg Passes section in the Galleries - check these out too. My own pics above are also in there, if you want to view the full size (except the cave pic, which in the Drakensberg Cave section).
For additional GPS data, my own tracks are available in GPX format in the Downloads section. You can open this file with a text editor or browser to get specific waypoint data. The "Narrow Access" waypoint in there refers to the first pic above.
Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Pretty interesting. Your second pic is what i refer to as the 'open book' formation. Not the classic crack between 2 right angles, but close enough.
I got halfway across the route you took out of the cave but, having a companion averse to height, I backtracked and we went across lower down. Although the scramble out of there also had a bit of exposure.
Once you are on the bank, the natural line of ascent is pretty much self evident.
I was on the trip when ST2 and Stealth found the cave in 2010, having gone on the recon the day before with them into the valley just north of this. Brad and I had spoken about this 'pass' on numerous occasions since we had first slept over in 'Waterfall Cave' in 2002 (opposite Sleeping Beauty Cave). Sadly on the 2010 trip, due to a bad dose of flu a few weeks before I was quite wasted by the next day, and thus I stayed back at Waterfall Cave shooting plants and trees and thus have still not seen Stealth Cave or been up Bollard Pass. And it really brings a salty tear to the eye being so far away from the Berg when I read of these kind of good experiences.
Sleeping Beauty cave is a ratty, damp hole. If you thrash through the narrow bushy defile above the cave, you exit into the valley above proper, the path takes you to a large tent-like rock. If you look up, and diagonally left, to the cliffband you will see an overhang with a semicircular cutout where a waterfall flows over quite strongly in summer.
Climb the large rocky spur above, traverse left over the grassy bank and in.
Please do add to the walls we built.
Water is close (although sparseish in winter), and around the corner is an incredible perch for breakfast/lunch/dinner.
The ST has some shots.