Hlatimba Pass South

30 Aug 2012 11:55 #55108 by elinda
Hlatimba Pass South was created by elinda
We are planning on doing this route this coming weekend. The plan is to leave Lotheni and hike as far as Hlathimba North cave for the night, or perhaps Lynx Cave, depending on how we feel and the weather conditions. Next day we head North and summit Redi Peak and then head down Ka-Mashilenga pass and back to camp. Anyone have any comments/advice/suggestions/warnings :unsure: with regards to this route? Any photos would be welcome!

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30 Aug 2012 15:03 - 30 Aug 2012 15:11 #55109 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Hlatimba Pass South
Oh how depressed I felt - on 31 March I was supposed to do KaMashilenga Pass, 3:00AM I got an sms saying the hike was cancelled :(

However, thanks to GT I have done the top few metres of both Hlathimba's, I have looked down the main gully of the the pass, I have climbed Redi (my facebook profile picture is even me standing on top of Redi) and I have walked past the top of KaMashilenga Pass. (I also almost got lost in the mist at the top of Hlathimba Pass)

I haven't been to the Hlathimba Caves or Lynx Cave, but berg.co.za has writeups on all 3. See this site .

I have photos of the South Hlathimba Pass, but the mist had picked up a lot by the time we reached the north pass, so those won't be much use.

The view from the south over the valley in which the Hlathimba Passes top out (the khulu in the distance is Litseketseke Spur:


If you go the sleeping in tents route there are tons of large flat spots right near water to pitch tents (thats how we found the camp when we got lost - we followed the river):


South Hlathimba Pass looks like this:


That slog up the Litseketseke ridge is tough, be prepared! When you head up that steep bank and reach the top, there is a khulu called the Litseketseke Spur (3267m). The view is basically the same as the view from the saddle, but no effort is required once you are on top of the ridge. Only Tony Marshall and I climbed it on GT. This photo was taken from the top and you can see how close the group is to the top:


Once you reach the top of the Litseketseke Ridge, you follow a land bridge that leads across to Redi peak. Litseketseke Spur is the little top on the left:


Redi Peak itself is the flat topped big long thing, the Conical Hill next to it isn't as high as the flat topped thing.


The view from the top of Redi is really worthwhile, we had a hazy day so I didn't get great pics, but you look down on the Tent, Hawk and Giants, really nice area.


There is a path below Redi which leads you straight past the top of KaMashilenga Pass. The path is a steep downhill from Redi, a bit of walking over loose rocks at times as well, but nothing too major (its much worse after your turnoff). If I am correct, the following photo is the top of the pass (Redi is the peak in the distance):


Hope that helps :)

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

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Last edit: 30 Aug 2012 15:11 by ghaznavid.
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31 Aug 2012 06:45 - 03 Sep 2012 13:37 #55110 by JustinBaker
Replied by JustinBaker on topic Hlatimba Pass South
Hi Elinda

Myself and some friends went up Hlahimba pass last year, We left the office at about 9am and reached Hlatimba cave north just before nightfall. Hlatimba pass itself has clear path. Once on top you just walk north to the next pass/cutback and the cave is not far below.

It was wet and dripping the first time we went in summer but in winter it was all gooood!

You can also reach it by going straight up the pass which it lies in(we went down this way).

some pics of Hlatimba pass (south), the cave and the view.






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Last edit: 03 Sep 2012 13:37 by intrepid. Reason: embedded images
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31 Aug 2012 07:01 - 03 Sep 2012 13:38 #55111 by JustinBaker
Replied by JustinBaker on topic Hlatimba Pass South
The first pic is a view from Redi, followed by a 'sort of' shot looking Ka-Mashilenga.

When we passed Ka-Mashilenga it looked very icy and a sheperd indicated to us to use Lotheni pass rather so we trekked on past The Tent & The Hawk.






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Last edit: 03 Sep 2012 13:38 by intrepid.
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31 Aug 2012 07:18 #55112 by Clark
Replied by Clark on topic Hlatimba Pass South
Agreed with JB. Hlatimba Cave North, for me, is a pretty special cave and one of my most enjoyable hikes was up Buttress Passage. The view from the cave is superb! We had a huge downpour minutes after arriving at the cave resulting in a massive, cascading waterfall across the valley. Quite spectacular.
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31 Aug 2012 10:15 #55113 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Hlatimba Pass South
Thanks for your input guys - certainly informative. We are hoping to make an early start tomorrow morning as it is going to be a longish day. We are a party of 4 so will make the call to go up either Hlatimba South or North when we get there. It seems that Hlatimba North has the better cave? Our leader has been up the North Pass before so he may opt to do a different route up the South Pass. Either way it is new territory for me. Ka-Mashilenga is an unknown quantity for all of us so it would be good to get feedback from the forum from someone that has done it. In any event, watch this space for a report back!

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31 Aug 2012 15:12 #55114 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Hlatimba Pass South
I see that yr.no is forecasting snow on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

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

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03 Sep 2012 13:42 #55127 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Hlatimba Pass South
Hlatimba South is the main pass with trail (compared to the Northern variation). Very straightforward and you can get it up it very quick. There should be a GPS data download for it in the Downloads. The better cave is definitely in the Northern pass though. In fact the cave in the South Pass is rarely usable, if at all. I've seen it in summer and winter and it was dripping wet and iced up on those occasions respectively. It may only be usable during the driest of seasons.

Ka-Masihlenga looks long but otherwise do-able. ST has done it, but I guess by this time you would have done it already.

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

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03 Sep 2012 13:57 #55130 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Hlatimba Pass South
Yes we completed this route - Hlatimba South, overnighted Hlatimba North cave and came down Ka Mashilenga. A tough hike with long days, especially the walk out! I will post a write up shortly with photos. At the moment I am in the midst of month end reporting......... :(

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04 Sep 2012 12:54 - 04 Sep 2012 14:06 #55143 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Hlatimba Pass South
Here is the promised report back on the hike.
We left Lotheni just after 8.00am and headed up towards Redi Pass. Once on the contour path it was a long trek around the Buttress (Passage) and into the Hlatimba Valleys.

The views here are spectacular although we noted that the ice waterfalls had all but melted already. We then had to decide which Pass we were going to go up, North or South. We opted to do the South route and started our climb at 2.30pm. We carried water from the bottom but did find water from the melting snow patches further up the pass.
Hlatimba South Cave was not at all impressive and as Intrepid has mentioned, very wet and uninviting.

The weather which had been pretty warm up to now started to change and thick mist started rolling down from the escarpment. We topped out at 4.30pm and then had to find our way through heavy mist to Hlatimba North Pass Cave. This is a short distance but felt further than it was due to the mist – thank goodness for GPS! We also managed to find a small pool of water en route, again from melting snow drifts. We found the cave after a short search and were happy to settle in for the night. This is a very comfortable cave with a flat sleeping area and could easily accommodate 8 people. We were able to catch tantalising glimpses of the opposite side of the Pass when the mist cleared now and then and we hoped it would clear up by morning. It was pretty chilly in the cave and as hoped the wind came up during the night so it was totally clear the following morning.



We left the cave just after 7 and headed North and upwards towards Redi in a stiff wind. We kept to the contour path that runs below Redi all the way to Ka Mashilenga and came across a caravan of smugglers – about 10 in number including a woman. We approached them whilst they were taking a break and greeted them – they were friendly and we went on our way without any problems. They appeared to be headed towards Lotheni Pass but did not indicate where they would be going down.
We got to the top of Ka Mashilenga just before 11.00am and found it to be very daunting and covered in a thick layer of snow that extended some 100 metres down into the gully.

We spent some time weighing up our options as the snow was very steep and hard and extremely slippery. In the end our leader opted to bum slide down very slowly, using walking poles and digging in his heels. The rest of us found a way down the steep grassy slopes on the side which necessitated careful placing of your feet before dropping down into the gully and avoiding most of the snow. Our leader arrived safely at the same time, although with a very frozen posterior……….



We proceeded downwards and kept to the grassy banks on the right hand side. We found vague traces of a path here and there but mostly had to find our own way. Further on we had to get down another snow filled gully which again necessitated careful negotiation and took quite a lot of time. A few anxious moments!

This pass is very long and just never seemed to end.

We were fortunate though that the grass had recently been burnt so it was relatively easy to walk through although we did have to go through quite a few messy patches above Yellow wood Cave which slowed us up a bit. We reached Yellowwood at 3.00pm and then it was the slog down to the office which we reached at 4.30pm. Two hard days and I have the sore muscles today to prove it. Nonetheless an interesting hike, although I can see why not many people do Ka Mashilenga!

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Last edit: 04 Sep 2012 14:06 by intrepid.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Stijn, plouw, Selous, ghaznavid, brio, Smurfatefrog, tonymarshall, HFc

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