Uklebe Pass

17 Jul 2013 12:10 #57727 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Uklebe Pass

intrepid wrote: The smugglers use Lotheni Pass, so go figure :) They use the "South Fork" though, not the "North Fork" which is the one marked on the map (this one does indeed have a very nasty looking rock step in it). It doesnt make sense to me why the hikers decided on marking this one when the south fork is so obvious and not technically challenging. Anyway, the smugglers (and rustlers) figured it out and you can walk on their trail. The trail wont take you to Ash Cave though, you have leave it an arbitary point and bundu bash the rest. Do this early enough though (ie higher up). We left the trail to late and really struggled to descend the valley slopes to get to Ash Cave.


Awesome :thumbsup:

That raises a different question then - is Lotheni Cave a safe overnight spot?

Quite honestly, overnight hiking in winter isn't overly appealing to me when compared to the beautiful green (but misty) summer hikes. But seeing as security is better in winter, and Lotheni is dodgy for security, that's the cause for the timing. I also would probably get lost on Uklebe Pass if there was mist around.

intrepid wrote: Ash Cave is pretty good, not too deep but works well enough. It was welcome relief from the wind and rain pelting us at the time. Yellowwood Cave is not that deep, but its in a yellowwood forest and that makes it much more sheltered. Lotheni Cave is a little down from the escarpment, the south fork of Lotheni Pass. Its a bit weird in that it has a steep grassy ramp descending into it before you reach the flattish sleeping area at the bottom. Not the greatest sleeping area, can be drippy too. The cave is both deep but still open to wind blowing in the weather due to the high roof.


All 3 are probably ok in winter if its not snowing, right?

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17 Jul 2013 12:19 #57728 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Uklebe Pass
Just to confirm I am looking at the right things (photos from the base of the Lotheni Peak/Giant's Castle ridge):


Tent included just to make the angle clear


Zoomed in on the above

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17 Jul 2013 12:40 #57729 by JustinBaker
Replied by JustinBaker on topic Uklebe Pass
Ghaz, that's not Lotheni cave. It's more in the shadow near your arrow marker for the south gulley and probably only about 50 metres below the top of the pass.

I spent a night in there two years ago. It's a fairly deep cave with level sleeping area for about 4 people. The smugglers path goes right past the entrance but we were fine there for the night(There were barefooted tracks in the snow on the pass path the next morning, suggesting people had descended that night)

Its a fairly easy pass to descend with a very strong path. When you cross the river at the bottom it carries on along a spur to the left. We decided to rather stick with the river here and head straight back via ash cave. There is no real path along this section though.

Hope this helps.
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17 Jul 2013 12:55 #57731 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Uklebe Pass
Ok, that's great. So the cave is easy to find?

Just checked for the GPS co-ords, I see there is a Tarateng Cave listed on VE? Never heard of this one before - not that it would help much on this hike, but could be useful for a loop with Hlathimba Cave and maybe Giant's Cave in the future. Also curios as to why Garden Castle isn't listed for caves - it only has about 10 on the map...

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17 Jul 2013 13:15 #57734 by JustinBaker
Replied by JustinBaker on topic Uklebe Pass
You cant really miss it if your going down the pass but it's probably not visible from the top looking down.

I also checked out Tarateng cave. Great views,it's a small shallow overhang, with a well trodden Sheperds path close to its opening. It was full of snow when I checked it out so I would not rate it for winter shelter and neither would I want to be in it in a summer thunderstorm.

We did a up Hlatimbe pass down Lotheni Circuit.
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17 Jul 2013 13:57 #57741 by Selous
Replied by Selous on topic Uklebe Pass

JustinBaker wrote:
I spent a night in there two years ago. It's a fairly deep cave with level sleeping area for about 4 people. The smugglers path goes right past the entrance but we were fine there for the night(There were barefooted tracks in the snow on the pass path the next morning, suggesting people had descended that night)
.


Those Basotho's are tough. Barefoot in the snow.

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17 Jul 2013 16:22 #57746 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Uklebe Pass
Ok, so I have had a chance to look at GE and the photo in the MCSA journal - looks like this is roughly the pass:


I have also attached a GPS track that should be roughly the pass - for use on GE or as a rough guide only, not for navigation in thick mist :laugh:

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21 Jan 2016 20:07 #66628 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Uklebe Pass
My GE pic below was done off the MCSA journal entry on the pass - I got a good look at the gully that I believe is the top on GT2015/2016:


I found this photo on berg.co.za that looks like it shows the pass on the side, unfortunately in the shadows:


And my revised opinion on where the pass runs (quite similar to my previous estimate):


I am hoping to bag it later this year.

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21 Mar 2016 18:54 #67407 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Uklebe Pass
So Uklebe Pass goes and is not a rock pass. Story to follow soon, but here's a preview:


There is also a nice cave 150m vertically below the top. We named it "Hawk Eye Cave", and spent about an hour removing thorns and building a rock wall (which needs a lot more work). It had a lot of drips, but I rate it would be an 8 sleeper in the dry months:

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21 Mar 2016 20:00 #67411 by Hobbitt
Replied by Hobbitt on topic Uklebe Pass
Its a very good pass, quite enjoyable. I would definitely rate it in the top three of the passes I've done. The caves on the route are definitely a large bonus to the pass. There are a few steep bits and one scramble, but its quite a straightforward pass.

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