Thanks for the info - it's really hard to get beta on Berg routes! What is your overall impression on the route? Would you suggest it?
I reckoned the exposure must be way insane. So I'd first like to do some other berg climbing before ever tackling this route! My first target is the Angus-Leppan on the Sentinel, which apparently also has some decent exposure. I'm just having trouble finding the right weekend to tackle it, and a partner who is also available at that time.
@mnt_tiska: How does the exposure you mentioned compare to that on the Angus-Leppan route, if you've done it? And how are the belays (size of the stances, quality of the anchor points, any hanging)? The RD mentions mostly "good stances".
The two-peg rap sounds hairy!
According to the RD of the original route on the Western Triplet (from the escarpment), the opening party only used 2 pitons on the final 35m pitch (grade G, more for bad rock than technical difficulty) as no other gear was to be found. Suicidal, perhaps???
For me, Berg climbing improved with mileage - just doing lots of routes. The technical ability you can get easily enough these days on indoor climbing walls and of course it helps to be climbing fit and to move well on rock. But the problem in the Berg is the length of the climbs, the iffy/grundgy pitches of mixed grass-slope-rock but above all, the route finding. I seemed to get used to the grundgy stuff. In the course of one year we ended up climbing the Bell 15 times. In that year we would ease up the steep, grassy slopes to where the 3 short rock pitches start on the Hooper route with the ropes in the bag. We then had a break from Berg climbing and went back to do the Bell a few years later. I was pretty scared going up those slopes again after that break. So you defintely get used to the grundge when you climb a lot there.
it's really hard to get beta on Berg routes! What is your overall impression on the route? Would you suggest it?
I would defintitely recommend the Western Triplet. Looking back, I guess its the route I think was the most improbable for me to climb.
But I only did it after I had done almost all the Berg classics (I've never done any of the new generation climbs of grades =>22) and after I'd done some long routes in the Western Cape in du Toits Kloof and Klein Winterhoek and also Mnt Kenya's 'January' route. Climbing these routes helped because the rock is better and so you can hone the route finding ability more safely.
How does the exposure you mentioned compare to that on the Angus-Leppan route, if you've done it? And how are the belays (size of the stances, quality of the anchor points, any hanging)? The RD mentions mostly "good stances".
The two-peg rap sounds hairy!
The Angus-Leppan is more friendly. Probably a better classic rock route than W Triplet- meaning the rock is a bit cleaner. But I'd also fit in Hooper's route on the Bell, the Pyramid (not a great climb, but still good for the experience) and definitely Mponjwane - the rock quality on Mponj is actually quite good. None of these routes is technically difficult but one learns a lot about 'days-out', route finding and what not on them.
About that peg-rapp on W.Triplet. Two days after the W Triplet route, we found ourselves in the lengthening shadows on the 2nd or 3rd last rapp off the Column. There was nothing to rapp off. Out of desperation we eventually used the root of a helichrysum bush - only to find out a few months later that most people use the same thing. It wasn't good.
From this photo is seems the first two thirds of the pass is straightforward bush-and-boulder joy. At the distinct column things get a little more funky, and thereafter one can picture where the route on steep grassy slopes takes you to the summit. So, this pinnacle seems to be critical in the ascent and possibly more or less marks the point where its time to get our the gully. @gollum: any comments on this? The column is visible in one of your pics (looking up the pass).
Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
The first two thirds is fine, though there are a lot of loose boulders.
We entered the pass in the bottom right where the major rockfall meets the gully.
With limited time available (usually only weekends), I need to try and plan the routes as economically as possible. The usual plan is to drive up from Durban on a Friday afternoon, get some distance under the belt that evening, have a big day up and down the pass with day packs on the Saturday and then return back to camp for the drive home on the Sunday. Absolute best is a round trip up one pass and down another (as was the case with our Injisuthi Pass trip).
So, a couple of questions...
Does anyone have any suggestions for tackling Hilton Pass? The obvious start would be to get to LIC on the Friday evening, but where to from there? Being such a tough pass, I'd really prefer not to lug a full pack all the way up there, but there's no simple 'round trip' way of getting back down again to LIC. I guess the easiest is probably going to be returning straight back down the pass?
For Ships Prow, are there any good camping spots around the contour path near the junction with the stream? I'd like to ascend via the north gully and return back down via the south gully or vice versa. Any suggestions?
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.
Any info or comments would be greatly appreciated!
"Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous."
Here is a possibility for Hilton Pass given your plan to go light and do a round trip.
Day 1 Camp out at Lower Injisuthi Cave
Day 2 Go light from LIC, up Hilton, across to Leslies, down Leslies and back to LIC
Day 3 Don't move before noon!
You know about the "up pass, across top and down Leslies" bit from your own Injisuthi Pass trip.
The deviation here is to find the spur leading up and over the ridge to LIC from near the base of Leslies. The very first time we did Leslies Pass (when there wasn't a path on it!) we did this route. We were youngsters at school carrying heavy bags but it wasn't that hard. You have to choose the right descent off the ridge a little bit upstream of LIC to miss the bush and the gorge but you can recce all this on Day 1.
On the way up Hilton you can assess the scope for Hilton descent. We descended from very near the top (having not made it through slimy waterfalls in the throat of the pass). If you can descend the steep waterfall-like sections and don't mind taking on the scruffy approach on Hilton's before the scrambling starts, then you can always go home that way.
Good idea to take light harness and a 20 or 30 m gym rope to aid ascent/descent. We would have traded our life's music collection for some of that kit near that slimy waterfall.
mnt_tiska wrote: The deviation here is to find the spur leading up and over the ridge to LIC from near the base of Leslies. The very first time we did Leslies Pass (when there wasn't a path on it!) we did this route.
+1 on this, have done it twice in day walk/climb abouts in the area. I lost a Nokia N95 a couple of years ago (must have slipped out of the back pocket when bumsliding down the Leslie's side slope, yes it is uncomfortably steep grassy ramps, but not dangerous at all. Also saw a Rooikat on top of this ridge (Scaly ridge) of all places that same day. Lovely outing.
ghaznavid wrote: Having read most of the posts on this thread and checking those awesome photos I can say with a fairly high level of certainty that Hilton Pass is not a pass that will ever form part of my list of bagged passes...
Wow - this is an old thread.
On an unrelated note, an individual who derives a nickname from a random Persian successor state prepares to eat his words...