Corncob Pass

18 Dec 2018 05:48 - 18 Dec 2018 15:55 #74388 by Richard Hunt
Corncob Pass was created by Richard Hunt
Hello Guys. Just back from a glorious 4 day hike in the Southern Berg. On our second night we stayed at Corncob Cave and the next morning studied the gully (Corncob Pass) that runs from the cave. It looked like the gully went right through into Mzimude Pass. We decided to go down that gully, a risk as we were not 100% sure if it did in fact go straight into Mzimude Pass. When we got to the bottom we were not able to go into Mzimude as there was a big cliff blocking our passage. We did not want to climb back up as this gully was rather steep with lots of loose rocks. I then went through a neck on a ridge that runs on the right side of the gully and found a way down into the bottom of Mzimude Pass. It was steep and one section had to go down on our backsides and also had  a 15m steep climb. We were relieved to make it out and was wondering if anyone else has done Corncob Pass?
In the steep section which is not in the main gully/pass I had to put my camera away so have no footage of that.
BTW we found an old corn cob in the cave and was wondering if it was the original one that got this cave its name??

 

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Last edit: 18 Dec 2018 15:55 by Richard Hunt.
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19 Dec 2018 19:22 #74402 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Corncob Pass
For many years I have wanted to  go to Corncob Cave, a small cave not that well known and  tucked away in a corner of the escarpment between Mzimude Pass and Walkers Ridge.  It had eluded us on a previous attempt to find it from the Garden Castle side, so when an opportunity came up, we decided to try again, this time our approach would be from Bushmans Nek.  Richard and I were joined by Jeremy, Richards son and we left Bushmans Nek under blue and sunny skies.



The walk up this pretty valley is always pleasant, but we were nonetheless pleased to arrive at Bushmans Cave where we settled in and spent a relaxed afternoon.




 Jeremy is a chef and cooked up a storm that evening with a Buckwheat risotto that tasted out of this world!  



We were up very early the following morning as we wanted to reach Corncob Cave before the predicted afternoon thunder storms. After climbing up to the contour path we traversed around until we reached Saddlenek Pass.  





The climb was mostly on a grass slope, but sustained and steep in places.  The wind became stronger the closer we got to the top and it was really pumping  as we traversed across to and then up Isacatula Pass.

 

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19 Dec 2018 19:30 #74403 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Corncob Pass
Once at the top we could clearly see the ‘gap’ in the Walkers Ridge line ahead where we believed Corncob Cave was.




 We were a bit concerned about water, but could see some pools lower down so that was a relief.  We reached the gap and were met with the view of  a very steep grassy slope heading downwards towards the base of Mzimude Pass.

 

There certainly did not  appear to be any cave in sight but we climbed down the top section and discovered it tucked away to the right in a little corner. What a fabulous outlook this cave has!  Its basically a blowhole and fits three comfortably with 4 at a push.  The base of the cave has lots of small stones scattered all over which proved to be comfortable enough once our mattresses were down.  



We were most surprised to find an ancient corncob on the floor of the cave, presumably the very one the cave was named after!



 You can also see Mzimude Cave from here which was interesting.






As the afternoon progressed, the skies turned dark and the wind thankfully dropped.  We heard a lot of thunder and the expected rain came, although not as bad as we had thought. No lightning apart from one massive strike which made us all jump. Later on the mist drifted in from the valleys below and it was quite surreal to be enjoying fried potato chips and a Mexican spicy sauce as a mid afternoon snack - courtesy of Chef Jeremy!  It was still a total white out by the time we settled in for the night and we hoped it would clear by the morning.




 

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19 Dec 2018 19:38 #74404 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Corncob Pass
We had taken a good look at the pass below the cave and decided to see if we could find a way down.



 Of course if we couldn’t, then we would have to come all the way up again, so we were holding thumbs.  It is a wide grassy gully with lots of rocks and a bit of scree that made the going a bit slow at times, but otherwise easy.

 


 As we approached the bottom we could now see that there were big drop-offs into Mzimude pass…..our hearts sank, but after a bit of exploration, Richard found a way through a little saddle on the true right side of the pass.  We needed to do a bit of bumsliding down a steep grassy section and then some careful down climbing through a small rock band before descending a gully and then out right on to the huge grassy plateau.  We headed towards Whytes Cave,and saw some hikers ahead of us.  We wondered whether they were also headed for Whytes, but when they continued on to the ridge above Painters Cave, we assumed they were hiking out to Bushmans Nek.  We arrived at the cave quite early and it was not long before a swim in that glorious pool became top  priority!



Not long after this, the hikers we had seen previously arrived from the Garden Castle  side.  It turned out they were from the MCSA and I knew quite a few of them - it was great to catch up with them again!





 We enjoyed another chilled afternoon and the last of Chef Jeremys dinners that night - this time it was green millet and sorghum with soft goats cheese and curds, dried chilli, garlic, dried cauliflower, carrots, salami and goji berries.  Wow!!  How can we go back to 2 min noodles after this?We were up early again the following morning and said our goodbyes to our fellow hikers and Whytes Cave before heading out on to the Giants Cup trail and back to Bushmans Nek.

 

 It had been an amazing weekend with gourmet food, good company and a bit of adventure  all thrown in!




May I take this opportunity to wish all my fellow VE members and friends a safe, happy and relaxing festive season!

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21 Dec 2018 08:40 #74409 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Corncob Pass
I descended the same pass a few years ago. At the time I thought it was South Mzimude pass. If I recall correctly, Ghaz corrected me and mentioned that I had done Walkers Gully pass. Corncob is a nicer name though :-)

The waterfall, sigh, and trudge back up to the small saddle to gain the adjoining gully a are common theme suggesting we all did the same pass.

For info, there are 2 other caves in the area. From the saddle, traverse out onto the main ridge. Once you pass beneath the peak, bump, you will find yourself trapped above a cliff blocking you way onto Walkers Ridge. Here you will find another cave, probably big enough for 2-3 people.

Also, from the saddle, drip right towards Bushmansneck. 100m later you will see 2 caves on the true right. One has a decent wall in front if it. I was running from a storm at the time so did not look inside, but guess it is a good shelter. Possible full of dung.
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01 Jan 2019 07:50 #74418 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Corncob Pass

AndrewP wrote: I descended the same pass a few years ago. At the time I thought it was South Mzimude pass. If I recall correctly, Ghaz corrected me and mentioned that I had done Walkers Gully pass. Corncob is a nicer name though :-)


The allocation of the name was as per Dave Gay. I agree, Corncob Pass sounds better.

I did the pass twice on the same hike in 2015. I rate Walkers Ridge Pass is the more scenic line, but this one is worth doing as well.

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