Ape Pass

30 Jul 2016 19:57 #69335 by AndrewP
Ape Pass was created by AndrewP
This is a question to the masses

Until now, numerous posts on this forum, including some by me have referred to Apes Pass as lying north of Ape. This pass is easily accessed via Gibisella ridge.

The government issued 1:50000 maps though, indicate Ape Pass as lying south of Ape and this would be approached via Marble baths. The hiking maps, in all their glory, do not know of an Ape Pass in any form.

I have now done both these passes and it makes sense to include both in the passes list.

I would like to suggest that The current "Ape" Pass be renamed "Old Woman" Pass and that "Ape" Pass is given to the pass to the south, as per the map below.


Please offer comments and or suggestions.

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30 Jul 2016 22:57 #69337 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Ape Pass
@Andrew: a bit off topic, but I think a discussion on which gully is actually Hilton Pass also warrants discussion - seeing as Bill Barnes describes it as between the Injisuthi Buttresses in his book. You will need to knock off that gully before we can sign off your "all passes at Injisuthi" badge :P *

How did you find this route? I know you rated Old Woman Pass as dangerous - which probably means "suicidal" for us mere mortals.

* let's also overlook the fact that Injisuthi is the only area of the KZN Berg where I am yet to bag a High Berg Pass, where there actually are non-technical passes, that is - i.e. so not RNNP

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

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31 Jul 2016 19:18 #69342 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Ape Pass
This one is less scary but needs some interesting route finding. Proper write up will come, I promise

I had a look at the gully coming up between the Injasuti Buttresses in December. That will have a few tense moments. It is also not the only gully in the area that might go, so I still have some way to go for the "all passes" tick.
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04 Aug 2016 20:14 #69410 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Ape Pass
Myself and others on this website have previously referred to a pass that tops out north of The Ape and makes use of Gibzella Ridge as an approach as Ape Pass.

The Gov. Surveyor maps though mention Ape Pass as being south of The Ape at the top of a gully that drops down towards the stream flowing into Marble Baths.

This is a write up of that pass, and I suggest that the one further north be renamed Old Woman Pass.


I feel that the pass is harder than Old Woman Pass in terms of effort, but less scary.

About midway between Marble Baths and the ridge where Leslies Pass proper starts, is a large river / gully coming down from the north. Ape Pass starts up this valley. Looking up towards the pass from just after the split off the Leslies Pass river.


Initially, the going is easy, with a feint path on the flattish ground on the true right of the valley. It crosses over to the true left and later, you are forced into the river bed itself. Here, I got lazy and just boulder hopped to infinity.

At any major split in the river, I just kept tending right, aiming for the major V up ahead.




There are a lot of really large boulders to negotiate but the way around them is normally obvious and easy. This makes the route finding rather intricate and involved.

Higher up, the gully narrows. I moved out left into a side gully and then onto the ridge between it and the main gully. Really high up, I sneaked through a tricky rock band and then carried on up into the mist. Later, I looked down and saw to my despair that I had gone too high up the ridge and after a failed attempt at traversing into the gully up high, I had to drop a long way down to get into it. I think the correct thing to do is to follow the ridge through the obvious rock band, as I did and then to immediately start dropping into the main gully – but, it might be possible to traverse in just below the rock band on this ridge.

I got a bit too high above the main gully and had to scramble down various grass slopes.


At the point where I joined the gully I was surprised to see a cairn. This is obviously a clue for people descending the pass, and it also told me I would now be able to get up to the top from here.

I passed the next waterfall on the right and from there it was easy going to the top (lungs and legs provided of course)

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