Hilton Pass

05 Jan 2010 10:17 - 05 Jan 2010 11:03 #825 by verybritish
Replied by verybritish on topic Hilton Pass
As one of the Briton's involved in this ascent, I'd like to add that this pass is a full-on epic. Any gear you take with you is only likely to be of use for setting up top-ropes, as the rock is mostly too crumbly and loose to take any gear which would hold a leader fall. That Klipspringer managed to solo these waterfalls is testament to his courage as a climber, and to otterjasie & gollum's strength in hauling our bags up. I would be very wary if using this route as an abseil descent, as the potential for dislodging huge boulders onto the party below is huge.
All said though, it was a fantastic adventure, and the ***star belay shown above was only marred by the fact we'd run out of red wine by that stage, the bundu bashing having taken longer than we'd anticipated. Thanks to all of you for a great few days out, especially to gollum for suggesting the route. I'll most certainly be coming back to the Drakensberg!
Last edit: 05 Jan 2010 11:03 by verybritish.

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05 Jan 2010 13:44 #826 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Hilton Pass
Thanks for the feedback guys - it's always fun to read about another party's (mis)adventures from the comfort of my desk :laugh:

It is a bit of a concern that passes like this one are given the same level of warning as a pass like Cockade (which is a doddle in comparison) on the official berg maps. I distinctly remember digging up for info on Hilton & Injasuti passes back in high school before I had any climbing experience. Luckily I was warned off by an email response from the KZN section of the MCSA and did Corner Pass instead :woohoo:

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07 Jan 2010 18:10 #865 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Hilton Pass
gollum wrote:

Do you have any specific info from the party that claimed the pass was only a scramble?

Not really, was just chit chat with someone during a day of climbing in Magaliesberg. As you've suggested, when I get around to it, I'll try escaping the gully and get onto the grassy slopes on the true right.

@verybritish: warning about abseiling noted. When we were set to do this, we were intending to come down it but aborted because of rain and injuries of one of the team members that took a nasty fall on Injasuthi Pass the day before.

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

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07 Jan 2010 20:00 #866 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Hilton Pass
A brief comment on the vege hassle on the approach to Hilton....

We ascended into Hilton pass a few years ago on the south ridge (the one on the Western Triplet side). The ridge was easy going, but we had to leave the grassy ridge to gain the throat of the pass quite high up - somewhere below where the waterfall comes down. The difficult part in leaving the grassy ridge was the extremely steep bolder strewn bank between the ridge and the river. Crossing the stream was a little bushy but was fine.

On the decent we kept to the north grassy slopes, well out of the river/gully and below the hard stuff. These were steep and easy going, although right at the top we had to opt for a side gully before the grassy slopes appeared. The decent was in the mist and so we didn't get a good fix on the ridge position on the way down. We emptied out low down into the river valley itself - a couple of hours above LIC.

We did the up and down in a day because - you've guessed it, the greasy wet second waterfall (it was January) was pretty ugly and we had no gear to descend with if the higher up bits were too hard. Sounds like we made a good call! To save the day we did a ridge over ridge option to the centenary hut, arriving late in the day and went up Corner in the mist the next day. Getting to Cent hut was a bit of a haul off path.

All in all I remember the bush at the bottom of Ship's Prow as a dog but the approach to Hilton as easy on the grass. From this it seems that staying out on the ridges before getting into the throat of the pass is the best option. That and a winter (dry) ascent might make things a little easier.

I read in the Giant's Book that the pass was named after an ascent which involved a bunch of Hilton school boys. I reckon that sort of thing is beyond the Health and Safety officials of today.

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11 Jan 2010 10:48 - 11 Jan 2010 10:49 #877 by verybritish
Replied by verybritish on topic Hilton Pass
Uploaded photos of the trip to Facebook here
If I've got any of the descriptions wrong, please let me know!
Last edit: 11 Jan 2010 10:49 by verybritish.

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11 Jan 2010 12:29 #878 by zen101
Replied by zen101 on topic Hilton Pass
Holy cow, a heli return trip!! - I cringed when I saw your Injisuthi bundu bashing.. been there solo (up Injisuthi pass) fell lost my backpack, ran back to camp.
Thanks for the pic's they stir memories and serve as a reminder that the dragon is not a toy

:-)
Later

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13 Jan 2010 01:38 - 22 Nov 2013 11:37 #884 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Hilton Pass
Hi forum

Brad (a long time hiking compadre of mine) and I have tried to get up here twice,both times during feb 04&06. The reason was to get a good amount of water coming over red wall for my photography, however we were beaten back. The first time because we just ran out of time bolder-hopping to the base of the pass, and the second time we got rained out. Although on the 2nd attempt we had got very close to the base of red wall twith that amount of water everywhere it would have been crazy to attempt it, we also heard rockfall in the pass, and that kind of settled it.

It is better not far after LIC to get on the lhs grass slope and then about 500m from red wall to traverse over the river and hit the rhs to the base of the pass, that seemed to be the quickest route, and it is the route we used to get up to and down from the base of the pass on our second attempt.

Considering the difficulty of the pass proper, it does not seem to be a quick route up to UIC, I would rather use corner pass again, longer in distance, but far quicker.

Cheers
Karl

The image was taken on my 6x7 film camera on our first trip, close to where we camped.

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Last edit: 22 Nov 2013 11:37 by intrepid. Reason: Fixed broken image link

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13 Jan 2010 11:59 #888 by zen101
Replied by zen101 on topic Hilton Pass
Fantastic Photo Tribe , Is there anywhere I can download a high resolution version of it?

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18 Jan 2010 11:39 #894 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Hilton Pass
Hi Zen

Unfortunately not. It is part of my scenic fine art work that I do and sell, and can only be purchased as a print. The other reason is that it is resident on an image bank for exclusive use, thus I can't post higher res images on forum's etc because of copy right issues. Send me your email and I can send a higher res image directly to you. It won't be huge, but it will be bigger, you just can't use it for commercial uses, as a desktop or something for yourself will be ok.

Cheers
Karl

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03 Apr 2010 09:12 #1056 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Hilton Pass
Hi mnt tiska

We are planning on doing Hilton Pass in late may, and i wld like some additional info on the pass from you if you don't mind.

You mentioned that you ascended the pass on the grass slope of the western triplet side, and then dropped into the pass below the waterfalls.

Why did you have to drop into the gully, could you not continue up the grass bank?

Was this below all 3 of the waterfalls, and how did you surmount these obstacles?

How many hours did it take to get up?

On the descent, you stayed on the north grassy bank only after crossing a gully, was this leading into the main gully ,and was this easy?

You also mentioned below the "hard stuff", explain?

Do I understand from your description, that you descended the entire pass by the northern grass slope?

Thanx

Karl

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