Elandshoek Pass

27 Sep 2012 16:00 - 27 Sep 2012 16:02 #55347 by diverian
Elandshoek Pass was created by diverian
Has anyone done Elandshoek Pass, if so how difficult is it ? The approach path seems quite defined, there appears to be a high and a low approach, and there is a pic posted by Bobby Stanton in a berg quiz post. Any other pics, track info or insight would be appreciated.
Last edit: 27 Sep 2012 16:02 by diverian.

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29 Sep 2012 15:52 #55357 by BobbyStanton
Replied by BobbyStanton on topic Elandshoek Pass
Hi Ian
I have done it twice, the first being pure exploration as no one seemed to know anything about it. I had spotted it beforehand on a hike around the Giant as we were about to go down Taylor's Pass back to Loteni. The best approach is from Loteni up Taylor's Pass (which is just a ridge and not a pass as we know it). You cross the Loteni river opposite the camp site/Symes Cottage area and head up the opposite valley. A bit of navigation is needed at the bottom to get on to the correct ridge. At the top don't go around the tail of the Giant's ridge (called 'The Gables' I think), but keep left and get on to a path that traverses the length of the south side of the Giant's ridge. There are flat spots around the top of Tayor's Pass to camp but none on the path to the pass proper (very steep) or near the base of the pass. It would be long day to do the entire route to the top of the pass from Loteni. Halfway there is a temptation to follow the path back downhill in the direction of Loteni, but avoid that and climb up a bank to regain the path and continue on to the base of the pass gully. It is a faily easy pass which seems to head towards a vertical rock wall as you approach the top, but a path bears off to the left, rounds a corner and you come out on to the flat area on the south side of the Giant, quite a spectacular place with good views to the south. A good flat camping spot and lots of water nearby. The peak of the Giant is visible up a considerable slope and would be fairly easy to reach. A way to return is to continue along the flat section and around the ridge and up to Giants Pass. I believe the ice climbers call this area Makaaza? You can then get on to the Basutho path which goes down the Mkhotlong Valley, but veer off beforehand to Loteni Pass or Ntubeni Pass and so back to Loteni camp.
It would make a great three day hike.
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29 Sep 2012 16:16 #55358 by BobbyStanton
Replied by BobbyStanton on topic Elandshoek Pass
Here are some pics, courtesy of Elinda.


Approximately 5 km from this point to the base of the pass.





The Tent, the Hawk and the two Redi's in the distance.

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05 May 2014 10:26 - 05 May 2014 11:06 #60554 by diverian
Replied by diverian on topic Elandshoek Pass
After the post by Bobby in the photo quiz and the info supplied by him in response to my query, this pass have been on my to do list, well this weekend we got to do it. Thanks again Bobby for the info, without the feedback I don't think I would have attempted it, which is what makes this forum so great.

We decided to do the pass from Giants Castle returning via Giants Pass, we also decided what should be a 3 day hike would become a 4 day hike.

The first day was up Oribi Ridge to a campsite near the end of the South Ridge on one of the headwaters of the Mooi River, there was limited level space, but a larger group could collect water here and move on to the plateau at the end of the South Ridge.

On the morning of day two as you round the South Ridge, do you for the first time see the length of it, as it curves around to the pass, it is 6 km of contour path at around 2500 m straight into the pass.

I think at this stage I should insert the warning;

WARNING

This is a smugglers pass occasionaly used by hikers, it is used extensively by drug smugglers and not shoppers. There is evidence of shredded white bags all along the path, and the ususal sumugglers litter at all the convenient rest spots. We found a bread packet at one with fresh crumbs in it and a sell by date of the day we did the pass. We did not see anyone along the route, however given the extensive usage ,the chances of an encounter are high.

That all being said the approach path is well worn with litte erosion and the first 3 km are a pleasure to walk with fantastic views. The next 3 km become a bit more rugged, with two places were erosion by the side streams requires a bit of scrambling. Water is available at a few of the side streams and at the start of the gully, but is often polluted by the smugglers litter.

There is a short cut that is visble traversing up and over the South Ridge to join the ridge path to Highmoor on the other side.

There is a well worn, but not eroded, path up the entire gully with one quite long scramble up what is a fairly vertical section of path around the middle section of the gully to clear a waterfall. Wendy managed it Ok and she is not good with heights, but I certainly would not like to come down it in the dark with a 40 kg bag on my back! The upper section is fine with a clear path topping out in an intersting rock "bowl" at 3124 m. The approach and pass took about 4,5 hrs.

We went on to camp up on Giants Castle butress, as the weather was so good, and visited the peak and the Dakota crash site on the third day, before going down Giants Pass to camp at the bottom. The fourth day was a stroll back down Giants Ridge to camp for brunch.

Would I do the pass again, yes, going south past the tent and into the Lotheni area looks too good to resist.

First view of the pass


A close up of the pass , morning light was unfortunely creating a shadow



Some of the litter and evidence of smugglers on the pass










The contour path as it entres the gully





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Last edit: 05 May 2014 11:06 by diverian.
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05 May 2014 11:13 - 05 May 2014 11:18 #60557 by diverian
Replied by diverian on topic Elandshoek Pass
Litter in the gully



View up the gully from where the contour path enters


Scramble on the pass





View from the top



Tenting on Giants Castle

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Last edit: 05 May 2014 11:18 by diverian.
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05 May 2014 12:12 - 05 May 2014 12:13 #60560 by Viking
Replied by Viking on topic Elandshoek Pass
Nice one diverian. Eastern Gully next?
Ja Elandshoek is definitely a smugglers/stock theft pass. That path that contours along the escarpment past Giants and into Elandhoeks has clear evidence of high traffic by both humans and a number of different domestic animals.
I think they access the Lotheni road from there and possibly into the Impendle area.

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”
Last edit: 05 May 2014 12:13 by Viking.

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05 May 2014 12:17 #60562 by BobbyStanton
Replied by BobbyStanton on topic Elandshoek Pass
On the way up the gulley, if you stick close to the stream bed you can simply walk past all the scrambly bits. We discovered this on the way down having done the scramble on the way up.

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05 May 2014 12:18 #60563 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Elandshoek Pass
@Viking: I think we have our next trip lined up quite nicely! Up Elandshoek down Hlathimba or the other way round...

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins
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05 May 2014 13:18 #60564 by Viking
Replied by Viking on topic Elandshoek Pass

ghaznavid wrote: @Viking: I think we have our next trip lined up quite nicely! Up Elandshoek down Hlathimba or the other way round...


I'll be sure to bring along a hessian sack or some animals so as to blend in.

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”

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13 Feb 2016 11:55 #67010 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Elandshoek Pass
How difficult is this pass? I am considering taking a 3AM start day hike up it from Giants side to do Giants Castle as a day hike.

The walk in isn't much further than Lotheni side, but I am wary of doing a trail I haven't done before in the dark (i.e. Taylors Pass).

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

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