Rhino Pass

12 Jul 2019 08:48 #75146 by Gudstff
Replied by Gudstff on topic Rhino Pass
Hi,

Can anyone tell me whether the pass is doable this time of the year?

The thread mentions ice build up, but not sure how much or if it would force us to turn around.

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12 Jul 2019 11:09 #75147 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Rhino Pass
Hi Gudstff,

I went up Rhino Pass last Thursday. Some of the pools had ice on them, there were a lot of interesting ice crystals around, and iced waterfalls where trickles from sidestreams came into the main valley, but no significant ice anywhere blocking the pass route. I would expect it to stay like this, pretty much unchanged until the next snowfall.

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12 Jul 2019 11:37 #75148 by Gudstff
Replied by Gudstff on topic Rhino Pass
Thanks for the quick reply Tony.

We're leaving for Garden Castle on Monday, so it sounds like you confirmed that this would be the perfect pass to up by.

Water situation not a problem either?

Cheers,

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12 Jul 2019 13:00 - 12 Jul 2019 13:03 #75149 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Rhino Pass
It's very dry in the berg. I went up the direct approach from Garden Castle Hermit's Wood campsite, as per the Rhino Pass track in the Downloads section. Assuming you will do the same. Following the ridge, the opportunity to get water is even more limited. I passed two pools on the ridge, but if you use a slightly different route you may miss them. On the section where you follow the path that contours around the ridge into the valley the pass is in, there was a good trickle where I had expected to find water, which was quite a relief. It is at S 29 42.886 E 29 11.414 elevation 2444 m. I could put my cup under a low cascade I found a few metres below the path, and could fill the cup in about 10 seconds, then fill up my bottles. After that there was no water again until I got into the stream of the pass itself, at about 2500 m, with water on and off in the pass up to about 2700 m.

After summiting Rhino Peak, I walked downstream into Lesotho along the river that passes near the top of Rhino Pass (not the river from the near the top of Mashai Pass, that one was totally dry) and found some flowing water about 900 m from the top of the pass, where I tented.

So I would suggest take enough water with you from the start (either from the campsite or where you cross the Mlambonja River) to get to the trickle I described above, where you can again get enough water to get to the water in Rhino Pass. Have a good drink or fill up again on the pass while there is still water to keep you going until you can get to water on the summit.
Last edit: 12 Jul 2019 13:03 by tonymarshall.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Gudstff

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27 Sep 2020 09:36 #76121 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Rhino Pass
In July 2019 I did a three day hike at Garden Castle, going up Rhino Pass on the first day, exploring Khulus on the second day and returning down Mashai Pass on the third day.

As described in previous posts on this thread, there are two ways to approach Rhino Pass, via the Mzimkhulu River and the tributary coming down from Rhino Pass, or more directly from Garden Castle office or Hermit’s Wood campsite up and over the Little Rhino ridge north of the Mlambonja River.

I did the more direct route from Hermit’s Wood campsite, heading northeast along the path to Bushman’s Rock, and then leaving the path up the ridge in a north westerly direction, as per the Rhino Pass gps track in the VE Downloads section. The photo below shows the view to Rhino Peak (at the centre of the photo) from Hermit’s Wood campsite, with the Little Rhino ridge to the right, Little Rhino being the pointy peak similar in shape to Rhino Peak at the right of the ridge peaks. This approach to Rhino Pass involves going right out of the photo below, then left back into the photo along the ridge to pass in front of Little Rhino, and go behind Little Rhino and Rhino Peak up Rhino Pass.



Since the approach to Rhino Pass is quite long, and also on steep slopes and sideslopes, I will provide some detail on the approach, which is probably more difficult than the pass.

After leaving the Bushman’s Rock path, and going steeply up the ridge in a northerly direction, you join a firebreak heading northwest up the ridge. This firebreak is shown in the photo below, and doesn’t have a trail, although here and there you do find short bits of trail. The firebreak is followed to the base of the steep ridge in the distance, and before going up to the cliffs of the peak midway between Rhino Peak and Little Rhino, you deviate right to contour along the ridge.



There is a trail at about 2460 m that you join after exiting right (northeast) from the firebreak, and this trail is followed contouring around to the north of Little Rhino, and then west and northwest behind Little Rhino towards Rhino Pass. The photo below shows the trail soon after exiting the firebreak. Where the trail crosses the valley (in shadow in the photo below) there was water at the trail, which was the only water between the Mlambonja River crossing on the path to Bushman’s Rock and the stream in Rhino Pass. The point where the path crosses the stream is at S29° 42.886' E29° 11.414' at
2444 m.



The trail then goes around the back (north) of Little Rhino, and you have a view to Rhino Peak. In the photo below Little Rhino is the foreground peak at the left, and Rhino Peak is to the right in the background.



The trail continues northwest around behind Little Rhino towards Rhino Pass, but disappears before getting to the pass itself. The trail crosses the foreground valley in the photo below, and contours along around the base of Rhino Peak into the next valley, which is the stream coming down from Rhino Pass, but doesn’t go all the way to the stream. In the photo below, Rhino Peak is at the left, and the peak at the right (in shadow) is Verkyker Buttress, with the stream of Rhino Pass between the two peaks.



After the path peters out, you follow a fairly steep side slope with quite a lot of scrub into the base of Rhino Pass, and also have to cross the steep gullies of several side streams. I had lunch at one of the side streams before getting to the stream of the pass. The photo below shows the terrain at the base of Rhino Pass, and also the left split of the pass higher up, which is mentioned in previous posts.



A view up the lower section of the pass, showing the rugged and bushy terrain.

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27 Sep 2020 09:43 #76122 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Rhino Pass
Higher up the valley sides become steeper, and you are forced into the boulder bed, which was not difficult to negotiate.



Some steeper sections had some easy scrambling.



A view back down the boulder bed.



A view up to the split of the left and right gullies, the right being the one to use, with the rock outcrop in sunlight at the upper centre of the photo below being between the two gullies. In July there was a lot of ice in the pass where side stream trickles or seepage entered the stream.



A view back down the middle section of Rhino Pass.



A view down the grass slope to the top of Rhino Pass.



My summit photo at the top of Rhino Pass, with the long ridge going out to Rhino Peak behind me.



After summiting Rhino Peak, I went downstream along the stream into Lesotho from the top of Rhino Pass, and had to go quite far downstream before finding running water and setting up my tent for the night. It was a cold night with the morning temperature -4 º C outside and -2 º C inside my tent.

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