Hilton Pass

29 Nov 2017 13:19 #72425 by tonymarshall
Replied by tonymarshall on topic Hilton Pass
Our plan of action was to avoid the waterfalls in the main rock gully at all costs, so we 'consciously' chose to go right, away from the waterfalls instead of left, towards them when presented with a choice. On the photo where I drew in the red line of our route, that pretty much meant we would always get into the major grass gully which we used to descend, where the red line is dashed and the route is behind the projecting foreground spur. I feel that there was an opportunity to descend sooner than we did, but the trail took us past this. If we had descended there, down a 'sub' gully of the larger grass gully, we would have got into the larger gully lower down onto the same route anyway, which also presented several options. This is not visible in the photo though, so cannot be distinguished. Looking up from below, where we had our break once we had got into the river bed, we also thought that this alternative possible line looked better.

Descending, we were not concerned at all where we would get into the river bed (main gully) because we could see an extensive length of grass slope below us which we could use to get into the riverbed virtually anywhere, knowing that we were already below the level of the waterfalls. The problems I interpret the other groups had, ascending, was getting trapped into the main gully by not exiting early enough to the grass slopes on the left (true right), and thereby having to climb the waterfalls. I think now that it is known that there are various doable routes on the grass slopes on the true right, that it will be (visibility permitting) quite easy to pick an efficient route out of the main gully onto the grass slopes before the sides of the main gully become too steep. I thus concur that this line would be easier to spot from below than above.
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29 Nov 2017 14:37 - 29 Nov 2017 16:01 #72426 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Hilton Pass

Viking wrote:

tiska wrote: Many thanks for the write-up TM.

What do you make of the trail near the top of the pass? I would be surprised if other members of the VE community had ascended Hilton Pass without writing anything on this thread. Most of those who have been up the pass have done so via the direct route in the gully and therefore not using the trail. We probably account for at least 60% of the 'leisure' traffic on a pass like that. Likely 90%..


I have to disagree here. There is a fairly large berg user group of experienced hikers and climbers that don't use nor have ever been on VE.


What is your gut feel, Viking, on the number of experienced Berg hikers not reading or contributing to VE, specifically those tackling Hilton Pass? Below or well below my limit of 60%?
Last edit: 29 Nov 2017 16:01 by tiska. Reason: added the detail about Hilton Pass

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08 Dec 2017 09:41 #72466 by Viking
Replied by Viking on topic Hilton Pass

tiska wrote:


What is your gut feel, Viking, on the number of experienced Berg hikers not reading or contributing to VE, specifically those tackling Hilton Pass? Below or well below my limit of 60%?


Apologies tiska, I somehow read your post to mean total berg users and not specifically things like Hilton Pass. Yes I'd agree VE members would most likely make up the majority of users of something like Hilton Pass.

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”

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23 Dec 2019 06:38 #75569 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Hilton Pass
On the topic of the Barnes line on Hilton Pass - I had a good look from the top and bottom this weekend. Based on what I have seen, and the fact that I seriously doubt Barnes would confuse the gully between LIB and GIB with the gully between LIB and Red Wall, I rate the Barnes line goes. It looks slightly less serious than the Geoseries pass, but the top scramble does look very serious.

The lower section


The top scramble (which isn't visible from below)


Looking down the top section from the escarpment:

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07 Jan 2020 11:14 - 07 Jan 2020 11:16 #75582 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Hilton Pass
The last few weeks have been fairly hectic, so I am behind on hike reports.

Myself and Graeme did Hilton Pass a few weeks back. My thoughts:
1) The approach is long and strenuous, but no worse than many other Drakensberg passes
2) The lower rock hopping section of the pass would be fun if more of the rocks were stable
3) Once you leave the gully, it gets exceptionally steep
4) The crux of the pass is the 2 scrambles lower down. The first is very exposed but not very difficult - just don't slip. The second is not quite as exposed (with a small ledge below it to reduce the risk of a massive fall).
5) The scrambles and traverses above this are exposed and serious, but not nearly as bad

In summary: only attempt if you are experienced, have a good head for heights and are aware that there is a significant degree of risk taken on this pass. Also remember that once you are committed, it is hard to back out.

Hike report at this link .

     

The first of the dodgy scrambles


The second of the dodgy scrambles

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Last edit: 07 Jan 2020 11:16 by ghaznavid.

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07 Jan 2020 11:18 #75583 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Hilton Pass
      

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