Walker's Pass - Ridge Route

02 Apr 2019 21:00 - 02 Apr 2019 21:02 #74860 by intrepid
Excerpt from Smurfatefrog's Walkers Ridge Pass and Thamathu Pass Hike Report

Smurfatefrog wrote: The first 4km were along the Giant's Cup trail heading towards Garden Castle, before breaking off towards Walkers ridge

This is where we left the trail, the Whytes Cave valley is on the right. Note the wind on my jacket

There were stops at Painters Cave and White Horse Cave before having lunch at Whytes Cave. This route was a bit of a detour but we were keen to see this area. A big thanks to Elinda for her help with this in the last couple weeks!

Painters Cave

Whytes Cave. The GPS co-ords for this cave are about 350m out, correct co-ords: -29.792753 29.185926

After lunch we headed up the valley before contouring to the south to join the ridge route again, this gave us our first view of Walkers Ridge Pass. Rough route marked in yellow

The only real scramble on the pass, I'm not sure its necessary though, it seemed to be possible to continue around this and head up an easier spot in the rock band. Although a fairly easy scramble, the gale force winds coming at us from the right made it a little heart stopping.

We contoured along here before crossing over to the south side via the low point on the left

This is where you cross over to the south side

The lower gully from Mzimude Pass with a 2 man cave

The route after crossing over to the south side

Almost there! One of the small caves ahead, and the top of the pass. The main Corn Cob Cave is around to the right

This was an 18km day, but felt quite a bit longer due to hiking into strong wind most of the day!

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 02 Apr 2019 21:02 by intrepid.

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03 Dec 2021 10:42 - 03 Dec 2021 10:56 #77338 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Walker's Pass - Ridge Route
( Mzimude North Pass via Wave Cave and Walkers Ridge Pass)  This hike is one that we had attempted before but changed plans as Roger had been feeling unwell on the walk in. The route in question is Walkers Ridge Pass  descending via  Mzimude North Pass.  The latter had long fascinated me as it’s a fissure and a completely straight line down from the escarpment.  So it’s always been on the backburner  and we made plans again to try it again this last weekend.  There was a lot of uncertainty with the weather – despite me studying it every day for the week running up to the hike, the forecasts remained stubbornly unpredictable  ranging from rain every day to very little rain.  We had a few team members pull out which left our numbers down to three by Thursday  morning ( Thora, Roger and myself)  Should we, shouldn’t we………….. in the end we decided  we would take our chances and in the words of Richard Branson “ Screw it lets do it!”We drove to Garden Castle in thick mist and slight drizzle which cleared up once we arrived at the carpark.  We set off and made our way along the Giants Cup Trail and then cut off down Hidden Valley to Wave Cave which was our stop for the night.  The skies were still overcast which made for cool hiking but it then started to drizzle for the last hour to the cave.  We spent the afternoon relaxing and chatting and keeping warm in our bags as it was pretty chilly.]We were off to an early start the following morning and made our way on the ridge above the cave to the plateau, following a very strong path all the way up – making us think this is a smugglers path.  It certainly was not there many years ago when I first started hiking.  It had been misty to start off with, but the sun was starting to appear amongst the clouds and we were hopeful that we would get some good views along Walkers Ridge.  This was indeed the case the higher we climbed but a strong wind had sprung up which made the going a little difficult in places, especially on the traverse sections. Once through the notch we were on the South side of Walkers Ridge and continued along under the top rock band until we reached Corncob Cave.  We had hoped the cave would be in a better condition than the last time we were there, but it was unfortunately much the same – rubbish lying all over and full of soot and smelling of smoke.  It would take hours of hard work to get this cave back to its former state.  So it was onwards and very much upwards  - that final climb of the day to the Walkers Saddle was tough on tired legs.  From here it was downhill to the Mzimude South Caves and we found these also to be in the same condition although a bit cleaner.  Shepherds have made the main cave much smaller by moving the rock wall back and making space for a small bed behind it.  We had a look at the other cave further along but this was a bit wet.  In the end Thora and I put up a tent just outside the first cave and Roger elected to stay in the cave.  We had not seen any sightings of shepherds or their animals in the area at all which was quite odd, especially for this time of year.  We enjoyed the last warmth of the sun before settling down for the night.  I was awoken at 9.00pm by a massive lightning and thunderstorm accompanied by gale force gusting winds.  Thora and I did not get any sleep for some hours afterwards whilst the storm crashed around us – Luckily we had used some big rocks to weight the tent pegs down but I must confess to having had visions of the flysheet being ripped off.  Roger had to move further back into the cave and endured  gusts of wind driven rain but we all managed to survive the night.

Our account of our descent down Mzimude North pass can be found here: www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/drakenberg-passes-garden-castle/56628-mzimude-pass-north.html

Wave Cave


Approaching Walkers Ridge


The notch is visible in the middle of the rockband


Corncob Cave


Climbing up to Walkers Saddle - Corncob Cave is visible below


Approaching Mzimude Caves

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Last edit: 03 Dec 2021 10:56 by elinda.

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