Old Woman Pass

21 Jul 2014 00:01 #61339 by dirktalma
Old Woman Pass was created by dirktalma
This weekend was my first trip to the Injisuti area and I cant wait to go back.

We camped just below the Old woman on her southern leg (ridge) and I found a path (I marked it with a cairn) contouring into the valley between the Ape and the Old Woman. It is not shown on the Ezemvelo map or my old Bosbou map. I thought it would be a great idea to try going up that pass. Who has gone up that pass? It looks quite do-able...

I also thought a great weekend trip would be to start at Monk cowl campsite, sleep in Cowl cave and then down the other side the next day. I'm sure this trip would get your blood pumping? Who has tried this route?

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22 Jul 2014 08:30 #61356 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Old Woman Pass

dirktalma wrote: We camped just below the Old woman on her southern leg (ridge) and I found a path (I marked it with a cairn) contouring into the valley between the Ape and the Old Woman. It is not shown on the Ezemvelo map or my old Bosbou map. I thought it would be a great idea to try going up that pass. Who has gone up that pass? It looks quite do-able..

This is one of the variations of Ape's Pass, which I finally managed to do in March this year after being snowed out on a previous attempt. It is not a particularly difficult pass. It does however have one section where the gully gets very narrow, and the rocks were very slippery and wet due to a small waterfall - which was not passable. I managed to climb out and around to the left but others in the group where not happy with that. Eventually I found a grassy ramp lower down the gully and much higher up on the side, which allowed you to escape the gully and contour the slopes a bit to avoid the wet section. There may be yet another pass which could also qualify as "Ape's Pass", but I will have to go back and assess that one another time.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
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02 Dec 2014 15:40 - 04 Apr 2019 18:59 #62389 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Old Woman Pass

Moderator edit: previous thread was split up and some parts added here

Dillon wrote: And then just when I thought I would be done after those 2 trips, another pass with very little info suddenly pops onto the radar: Apes Pass. Does anyone have any inside info or GPS tracks for this pass? Technical rock scrambling or is it just bundu bashing involved? Looking at the map, if it's not too technical, this pass could make a nice, tough, day trip from Marble Baths Cave returning back down via Leslie's Pass.


I think there are 2 unmarked passes at Injisuthi, I see you have Apes already, but I there may also be an "Old Woman Pass" (vaguely remember this from an old thread).

I still need to get off the mark with passes at Injisuthi. I rate the region has a southern border of Corner Peak (no marked border on the map - but it is visually logical). It is ironic seeing as I have done 13 out of 14 at Giant's Castle, just missing Around The Corner Pass (although probably more like 13 out of 16 if you count the 2 passes on either side of Giant's Pass - at least one of which has had a documented descent).
Last edit: 04 Apr 2019 18:59 by intrepid. Reason: splitting up threads
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02 Dec 2014 21:46 #62399 by Dillon
Replied by Dillon on topic Old Woman Pass
Thanks for the replies!

@Ghaz hmmm, ok that's the first I've heard of "Old Woman Pass". From the one or two pics I've seen of Apes Pass, it seems to start right in the valley just to the south of Old Woman Grinding Corn. Perhaps this is just another name for it? Can anyone confirm?
I see where you're coming from about Corner Peak being the border between Giant's and Injisuthi, personally I've always considered Corner Pass to be part of Injisuthi, but that's probably just because both times I've done it have been to and from Injisuthi camp.

@mnt_tiska wow! This is exactly the type of 'out the box' idea I was hoping to get! I would never have dreamed of heading back over the ridge to LIC from Leslie's, but it all makes sense and actually just might work! Now I just have to find a couple of team mates fit/crazy enough to join me! And for the record, I was planning on taking a light trad rack and 30m rope with, so we will have the option the ab back down again, but I'd much rather do a round trip epic!

@Highlands Fanatic - I'll be sure to keep my eyes peeled for your N95... oh and the rooikat too! :laugh:

"Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous."

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02 Dec 2014 22:00 - 02 Dec 2014 22:05 #62400 by HFc
Replied by HFc on topic Old Woman Pass
If you speak to the guys at Injisuthi Camp they will refer to 'Old Woman's Pass, and then proceed to describe the route up Ape's Pass. So in my opinion it is the same thing.

(Ps. Heck, a lot of people even confuse the two peaks, however the reason for the naming of the Ape becomes very apparent as you walk into the Buttres Fork stream valley (enroute to Marble Baths). Its silhouette resembles King Kong....
Last edit: 02 Dec 2014 22:05 by HFc.
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02 Dec 2014 22:03 #62401 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Old Woman Pass

Dillon wrote: @Ghaz hmmm, ok that's the first I've heard of "Old Woman Pass". From the one or two pics I've seen of Apes Pass, it seems to start right in the valley just to the south of Old Woman Grinding Corn. Perhaps this is just another name for it? Can anyone confirm?

I can't remember whether it was on this forum or not, but I recall having a discussion on Apes Pass and being told that Apes Pass is a name off the survey maps, but the route that has been referred to as Apes Pass on this site is actually not the Apes Pass on the map. I haven't found the old thread, but hopefully someone will have some more info on this one. Failing which - it can be fun to look for a pass that may or may not exist :thumbsup:

Dillon wrote: I see where you're coming from about Corner Peak being the border between Giant's and Injisuthi, personally I've always considered Corner Pass to be part of Injisuthi, but that's probably just because both times I've done it have been to and from Injisuthi camp.

I have done Judge and Corner Pass from Giant's Castle, but I have also hiked to the base Judge Pass from Injisuthi. Judge Pass is definitely easier from Giants, and I would say that the gully approach to Corner is also easier to reach from Giants. The High Approach would presumably be easier from Injisuthi, but I haven't done it, so I can't really comment.
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08 Dec 2014 15:13 - 08 Dec 2014 15:13 #62434 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Old Woman Pass
I have done what is currently mostly understood to be Ape's Pass - its the obvious valley heading up between Old Woman and Ape. It is easier than Injisuthi Pass. It does have an obstacle which is not passable when wet (if ever?). It can be bypassed via an exposed climb and traverse on the true right slope (which is definitely not for everyone), or via a system of steep grass slopes and a critical grass ledge, much higher up on the true right, and back a bit from the obstacle. After this best to stay out of the gully until the last rocky split at the top.

As for the approach, the easiest is definitely via the northern ridge/slopes of the valley (which is Gibisila Ridge), splitting off from the contour path. I have walked the river bed all the way from Junction Cave too, as well as the southern ridge crest.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 08 Dec 2014 15:13 by intrepid.
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11 Dec 2014 11:06 #62454 by Dillon
Replied by Dillon on topic Old Woman Pass
Thanks intrepid!

Do you reckon it's possible as a (very long) day trip from MB Cave and back down Leslies?

intrepid wrote: It does have an obstacle which is not passable when wet (if ever?).


You mean it's not passable at all? Or the obstacle is in a spot where it is unlikely to get wet?

"Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous."

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11 Dec 2014 12:01 - 11 Dec 2014 12:02 #62455 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Old Woman Pass
These days a lot of things are possible in the Berg, this included - but what will happen to you on the day of the attempt, who knows! It would probably make sense to follow the gully all the way up from the cave due to the direction of approach, though this is more cumbersome than the Gibisila approach.

The first obstacle I mentioned gets very wet - with that glassy, soapy rock where you start imagining slipping and whacking your head on something. What I meant by "if ever" is, if this obstacle does ever dry up, it may only be suitable for rock climber types - but I am not certain about this as I could not see it all the way though. Luckily there are alternatives so no need to worry about it.

Have fun!

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 11 Dec 2014 12:02 by intrepid.
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08 Oct 2015 13:14 #65327 by Biomech
Replied by Biomech on topic Old Woman Pass
I went up Gibisila Ridge on Monday morning after overnighting in one of the Grindstone Caves. The view from up there was amazing, extending from Cathkin to Giants Castle. I can see the Ape's Pass route that Intrepid is talking about, but was wondering whether the approximate location of the obstacle referred to that requires the exposed traverse is visible from the picture below?




Apes Pass

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