Katana Pass

06 Sep 2016 10:03 #69704 by AndrewP
Katana Pass was created by AndrewP
Katana Pass might be a better name. But, it seems the locals coming up the Jarateng Valley beat us to it. And the Jarateng means more to me due to all my attempts at the speed GT.

Roughly speaking, the route follows the obvious and large valley just south of the 3 Jarding Passes. I have seen thus valley referred to as False South Jarding before. It is a fairly broad valley, and goes up at a steady and pleasantly gentle (all things considered) angle.


It hits an insurmountable cliff right at the top. Here, traverse southwards underneath the summit of Katana to the main ridge.


Drop down about 10m on the other side and traverse further around Katana until you get to the lowest point of the saddle above. A few short and easy scrambles on angled rock slabs take you to the top. The presence of a path for parts of the route suggests it has been used by locals. That is the conventional route. I observed the top part of the route a few months ago.


When I actually reached the south facing slopes they were covered in thick ice. Too much to do without proper ice climbing gear. I really did not want to go back down so close to the top. So, I applied a liberal dose of 'do not look down' and instead made an ascent of what could be termed Katana Frontal Ridge.



The route does of course need a clean ascent once the snow is gone. Ghaz?

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06 Sep 2016 11:42 #69705 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Katana Pass

The route does of course need a clean ascent once the snow is gone. Ghaz?

Katana Pass has been on my projects list for ages, not that exact line, but the same top. With a great degree of protest and objection, I'm sure I can drag Hobbit up yet another unmarked route at Giants Castle!

After getting nowhere near Giants Castle on the 4th attempt this last weekend (admittedly 3 of the plans were particularly ridiculous), we are planning on day-hiking up it at the end of the month - about time Hobbit completes the khulu challenge. He only has about 12 years left if he wants the youngest record...

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07 Sep 2016 08:28 #69709 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Katana Pass
Ps. the results of my previous research on Katana Pass.

The line I eyed out was basically the ridge just south of the main gully south of Katana - not 100% sure it goes, but one can often find a way through, maybe a bit of scrambling is required.


The top section of the pass. Doesn't look amazingly passable, but neither did Bond Pass - and now that Andrew has done it, we know it goes.


The ledge Andrew traversed on north of Katana:


For the record, my other Giants Castle projects (anyone is welcome to steal any of them from me)
- Auditor Pass: lots of recce work still required, this is the gully between Popple Peak and Judge Pass
- Popple Pass: go a bit further north than the gully for Gypaetus Pass, follow a large grassy spur to immediately north of Gypaetus Point. There will probably be some exposed scrambling right at the top. It can also be approached from Gypaetus Pass, but turn right instead of left at Abyss Point.
- Thumb Traverse: where the trail up Bannerman Ridge starts turning north, follow the top of the ridge of Thumb. Zig-zag south to avoid 2 major cliff lines and climb to right below the cliffs on The Thumb (south side). Traverse to the summit gully of Thumb Pass.
- Thumb Pass South Route: take one gully north of North Hlubi Pass, and use this to reach the summit gully of Thumb Pass from the south side
- Long Wall Pass: unlikely zig-zag route that tops out just north of Long Wall
- Giants Pass north variation: take the gully near Giants Cave and use this instead of the normal route up Giants Pass
- Giants Northern Gully: I know this route has been done before, but take the rocky gully between Giants Pass Peak and Giants Castle Peak. Looks hairy!

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14 Sep 2017 18:58 #72135 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Katana Pass
For the record, I have done Katana Pass a second time. This time around, there was no snow about, so I followed the vague path all the way along the traverse and to the top.

There is a cave at 2805m on the true right hand side which could sleep several people. It was dry in winter, but could be wet in summer.
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15 Sep 2017 08:07 #72139 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Katana Pass
On the first weekend of September, I did a solo ascent of Katana Pass, although AndrewP and I were together, he went up Elandshoek Pass, and we met up that afternoon near Long Wall.

Amazingly, I found quite a distinct path from the cave to the top of the pass, and evidence of a vague path at several spots lower down, so the locals are using this one.

More detailed write up to follow.

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15 Sep 2017 08:20 #72142 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Katana Pass
I need to bag this one still, I have fallen behind at Giants recently - I used to have all the passes, but the list keeps growing :lol:

I only have 3 projects that have remained untouched there (well, someone might have already done them, but I am not aware of any record of this), I wonder if I can beat you guys to completing them...

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23 Aug 2020 10:34 - 23 Aug 2020 10:48 #75974 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Katana Pass
On the first weekend of September 2017, I did a three day hike at Giant’s Castle, ascending Katana Pass and descending Central Jarateng Pass. AndrewP and I travelled together from Gauteng, and although we did different hikes, we met in the evenings to overnight together.

I approached Katana Pass along Middle Ridge, and the photo below shows the upper section of Middle Ridge, with the Katana Pass gully directly behind the end of Middle Ridge, to the left of the centre of the photo. Katana is the peak to the left (south) of the gully, with the other peaks fltr Carbineer Point, Kambule, Mount Durnford, Potterill and Bond.



I had an early lunch at the Jarateng Stream where the Contour Path crosses the stream, after joining the Contour Path from Middle Ridge. Heading a short way south on the Contour Path, I crossed the stream of the gully coming down between Katana and Carbineer Point, and headed up on the left (true right) of this gully. The photo below was taken a short way up the gully from the Contour Path.



Nearing the top of the gully, getting into rock bands, with the cliff at the top of the gully apparent.



I was keen to visit the cave AndrewP had told me about, and the photo below shows the grass ledge approach to the cave below the rock band the cave is in. Mist had come in and was coming and going, and I was trying to take photos as the mist cleared.



Leaving my pack behind, I took the grass ledge to Katana Pass Cave and was soon at the cave.



A view of the entrance to the cave.



I went back to my pack, and had an afternoon break before continuing the ascent. There had been faint bits of trail on and off from the base of the pass at the Contour Path, but the trail became quite clear and easy to follow from the cave to the top of the pass. The photo below shows the top of the gully, blocked by cliffs. I would turn left (east) below the cliffs to traverse around Katana Peak and ascend further east of Katana peak.



A view back down the grass slope gully I had ascended.

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Last edit: 23 Aug 2020 10:48 by tonymarshall. Reason: spelling

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23 Aug 2020 10:38 #75975 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Katana Pass
I followed the trail east along the grass slope ledge below the cliffs of Katana peak.



Continuing along the trail on the grass slope ledge east around the cliffs of Katana peak.



Rounding Katana peak, the trail continued to the south, and I had the view to the top of Katana Pass in the photo below. I was quite relieved to see there was hardly any snow or ice on this slope. The path continues on the grass slope and then ascends to the top of Katana Pass on the narrow grass slope through the upper rock band visible just to the left of the centre of the photo below.



Further along the path, a view ahead to the narrow grass slope through the upper rock band to the top of the pass.



A view back along the grass slope traverse I had walked on.



Some views of the ascent through the upper rock band on the narrow grass ledge.


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23 Aug 2020 10:42 #75976 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Katana Pass
Once through the rock band, there was a section of loose sand and gravel to the top of Katana Pass. The photo below shows this from the top of Katana Pass.



My summit photo of Katana Pass.



I summited Katana Peak, and then headed south to find an area to tent somewhere along the Jarateng River towards Long Wall, where AndrewP and I had agreed to meet. Andrew had gone into Lesotho to summit some of the 3300 m peaks in Lesotho, and we met up as arranged. It had become cold, and the strong wind was freezing cold, so we decided to head to Giant’s Summit Cave to try to get some shelter from the wind. Unfortunately the wind was blowing straight into the cave, so we decided to head down to Giant’s Cave, going straight down the gully from Giant’s Summit Cave (Giant’s Pass North variation), and were relieved to get out of the wind as we descended to Giants Cave.

After a comfortable night in Giant’s Cave, we ascended Giant’s Castle Pass, and I headed north back towards Katana Pass, while Andrew again went into Lesotho to do some more 3300 m peaks.

After some exploration and a morning break at the river, I was on the summit looking back down the gully I had ascended to get to the top of Katana Pass the day before. The photo below shows the view of the cliffs at the top of the gully I had ascended.



From above the cliffs, a view back down the gully.



From above, a view along the grass ledge traverse around the base of the cliffs of Katana peak, which is the high point at the left of the photo below. Giant’s Castle peak is in the background at the right.



Below is a Garmin map of my track of the area around the top of Katana Pass. Heading south west up the gully, the visit to Katana Pass Cave, south west to the top of the gully, the traverse (clockwise) below the cliffs of Katana peak to the top of Katana Pass, and north to summit Katana peak. The track to the west was where I walked the following day to get the views from above.



I spent the rest of the day summiting khulus and exploring the summit area, and Andrew and I again met up that afternoon to tent next to the river close to the top of Central Jarateng Pass, which we would descend the next day.

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