Giant's Castle Pass

17 Jan 2011 13:36 #2341 by Stijn
Giant's Castle Pass was created by Stijn

One of the most identifiable passes around, Giant's Castle Pass is a short, steep and loose pass which is most often used to climb Giant's Castle itself. The gully can be seen from as far back as the lodge and looks fairly bland. Once in the throat of the pass, however, some very impressive buttresses and cliffs tower above you.

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01 Feb 2011 18:48 #2342 by TTCollins
Replied by TTCollins on topic Giant's Castle Pass
A useful winter cave,damp in summer, is on the left hand side ascending, shortly before the impressive crack/gulley on that side. This is all about 120 metres (?) below the head of the pass.

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03 Feb 2011 05:03 #2348 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Giant's Castle Pass
Yes, 120m sounds about right. By the way, we managed to squeeze our isodome tent into the cave, both the inner and outer. We slept 4 in the tent that night, a bit of a squeeze but it was snug and warm. It is always a good idea to know of these little caves if the weather turns sour.

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11 Feb 2011 07:55 - 14 Feb 2011 11:37 #2387 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Giant's Castle Pass
There is another cave on the opposite side of the gully at this point, more or less the same level, but not visible at that point. Involves a traverse on a steep scree slope to get there. Very roomy, with a large boulder which crashed down at the opening. Sleeping area only allows for 3 comfortable places though.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 14 Feb 2011 11:37 by intrepid.

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12 Feb 2011 02:10 #2390 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Giant's Castle Pass
I did not realize there was a second cave on the other side. One wonders how many good caves there are sitting in side valleys that no one uses and never know about. I know that there are some with really good caves with paintings like Eland Cave which are not marked on the maps. And in this case for good reason.

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14 Feb 2011 11:42 #2394 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Giant's Castle Pass
Yip, exactly, re: Eland Cave and other rock art sites! Nor do I appreciate material where their exact locations are made known.

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

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08 Jul 2013 17:11 #57579 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Giant's Castle Pass
On the last weekend in June I was part of a large group that summited Giant’s Castle via Giant’s Castle Pass. Although there have recently been some write ups covering Giant’s Castle Pass (Giants hike report by Geordie and Jax, and Hike Report: Giants Castle – Giants Pass by Smurfatefrog) I want to supplement these with some more detail and photos on Giant’s Castle Pass and the approaches to the pass.

We used the Oribi Ridge route to access the area, and had the morning view of the ‘berg from Giant’s Castle to the Cathkin Range, still with some snow on the high ridges, although this soon disappeared.



Near the end of the ridge we passed the old Lammergeier hide. Giant’s Castle is the peak behind the hide, and Giant’s Castle Pass is to the right of Giant’s Castle, behind the ridge coming down to the right from Giant’s Castle in the photo below.



After a leisurely lunch break near where the Oribi Ridge route joined the Contour Path, we passed the newly roofed Giants Hut. See the ‘Giants hike report’ thread by Geordie and Jax for a picture of the roofless Giants Hut a few months ago.



We tented on a large flat area next to the Contour Path below Giant’s Castle, and had a great afternoon view of the peak and part of the pass.



Early the next morning, we departed from our camp, following the contour Path to cross a stream, and then heading diagonally up the ridge towards the Giant’s Castle Pass gully.



We kept to the left (true right) side of the gully on the ridge, crossing a large patch of scree and boulders.



After entering the gully, we found the trail which was on the right (true left) side and led us upwards into the pass.



A view down Giant’s Castle Pass, showing a steep section in the loose scree and gravel.

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The following user(s) said Thank You: susanalkema, GerritHuman

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08 Jul 2013 17:16 - 08 Jul 2013 17:20 #57580 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Giant's Castle Pass
A view up Giant’s Castle Pass.



The view down the pass from the top, showing the upper section of scree.



The view from the top of the pass (in the opposite direction) to the escarpment, the Tent visible in the foreground with the Hawk to the left, kaMasihlenga Pass behind these two peaks and Redi the high point to the left.



From the top of Giant’s Castle Pass, we contoured around the peak to the south of the pass and got a good view of the Giant’s Castle high point from the ridge near the Makhaza ice climbing waterfall.



Soon it was just a short scramble up the final slope, and then 15 of us stood on the small summit of Giant’s Castle.



On the way back down the pass, some of us visited one of the Giant’s Caves, a short detour off the route into the largest gully entering the pass. The cave appeared well used and although the front area was on a slope, there was a flat area at the back of this cave where 4 to 5 could sleep.



After returning to our camp and packing up, we retraced our previous days route back along the Contour Path for a short distance before taking the path to our return route along Giant’s Ridge.



Near the Giant’s Castle Main Camp, we had a last view back to Giant’s Castle and the pass up the Bushman’s River.

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Last edit: 08 Jul 2013 17:20 by tonymarshall.
The following user(s) said Thank You: diverian, JonWells, plouw, tiska, Selous, Bigsnake, Balthazar1, ghaznavid, brio, Smurfatefrog

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08 Jul 2013 20:09 #57581 by Smurfatefrog
Replied by Smurfatefrog on topic Giant's Castle Pass
Map/track from the contour intersections to the head of the pass


And an alternate way of doing the pass

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The following user(s) said Thank You: Trev, plouw, firephish, Balthazar1, brio, Spykid

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08 Jul 2013 20:15 #57582 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Giant's Castle Pass
I always enjoy photos of passes - it makes them look so much easier than they actually are :laugh:

Thanks for sharing Tony, can't wait to bag this pass and the accompanying khulu next month :woohoo:

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

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