Ifidi Pass to Fangs Pass Round Trip Hike Report

05 Sep 2013 23:19 - 01 Oct 2013 21:08 #58400 by pfoj
A group of 3 of us did the Ifidi Pass - Fangs Pass round trip from 26th to 28th July. Our group consisted of my mates Jonathan Klynhans, Grant King (not on the VE forums) and myself. We booked ourselves into rondavels at the Mweni Cultural centre for the evenings of the 25th and the 28th so that we could get an early start on the morning of the 26th and have a bit of time to chill once we got off the mountain. The plan was as follows:
Day 1: Cultural Centre to top of Ifidi Pass
Day 2: Top of Ifidi Pass to first campsite we could find on the way down Fangs pass (sounded easy in theory :P)
Day 3: Back to Cultural Centre

We reckoned the first day was going to be the most challenging so we started in the morning as soon as there was enough light to see, and organised a bakkie to take us from the centre to as far along the road as possible to get a good start. Great to see that the bridge over the river is finally complete! We were really pumped up on day 1 so we hit a decent pace all the way to Cycad cave and arrived there just after 09h30.

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Heading towards Cycad cave

After reading about Ifidi pass in the forums, we decided the best was to simply follow the river all the way up to the rock gully. The river was thankfully not very full so the going was relatively easy with a clamber up some rocks every now and again. The rock gully itself also did not pose any problems, and the 2 or 3 “climbing” sections are a lot of fun!

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Looking up towards the rock gully (right hand side)

There was also a bit of ice in the gully, and we would definitely have not attempted the pass if we knew that there was going to be much more ice than we encountered. At the final “mini-climb” in the gully we got a bit worried about ice that was thawing and falling around us. A few cries of “CHIPS!” were necessary to avoid some fairly large blocks of ice falling from high above! Not a hazard I’ve encountered in the berg before!

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Where we encountered the falling ice

We arrived at the top of Ifidi Pass at 15h20.

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Top of Ifidi pass

We scouted a flat spot next to the nearby stream to set up camp and enjoyed a lekker beer each that we had cooled in the stream while we set the tent up. Nothing better!

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Campsite on the escarpment near Ifidi pass

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Beer, cooled by berg water!

The second day proved to be pretty tough. The higher altitude definitely seemed to play a role.

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Heading out on day 2

We however found Fangs pass relatively easily and started heading down at about 13h30. Fangs pass is unbelievably beautiful!

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Top of Fangs pass

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Looking down Fangs pass

We were lucky enough to stumble upon a small campsite just big enough to pitch our tent at around 16h00. This site was also one of the most scenic I have experienced in the berg thus far.

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Heading down Fangs pass

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Our campsite on the way down Fangs pass

We woke the next day to fantastic views in the morning light which were visible from inside our tent.

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View out the tent, morning day 3

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Looking back up at Fangs pass

The hike out proved to be an easy one, and we called ahead to the Cultural Centre to organise the bakkie to pick us up from the same spot from which we departed. I would recommend getting this ride in/out from/to the CC as it saves a bit of tedious hiking along the road.

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Mandatory waterfall photo :)

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Almost back to the road, looking back

We arrived back at the CC where manager Agrippa had organised us some victory beers at our request. It was great to deal with such helpful and polite staff! All in all it was a fantastic hike, and we will be back soon to tackle the other passes in the area!

(PS: Please excuse the low quality pics, we only had a cheap point and shoot with us :( )
Last edit: 01 Oct 2013 21:08 by pfoj.

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06 Sep 2013 04:55 #58401 by Smurfatefrog
Best 1st post ever :)

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06 Sep 2013 05:14 #58402 by Geordie
Cold beer in bottels up Ifidi!!!!
God, I wish I was young again.

Congrats on a great hike and good report
Is Ifidi not just the greatest??

At the pace you guys walk you will get the Mnweni and other places done in no time at all.

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06 Sep 2013 05:32 #58403 by Stijn
Great report, thanks!

I just love this route! For those who haven't been to Mnweni yet (ahem... Ghaz!), the combination of these two passes captures the essence of the area and everything that makes it great IMO. Which is strange, since it skips the entire cutback.

Up Mnweni down Rockeries is a good intro - but this is just more remote and adventurous I suppose. Bring a good tolerance for boulder-hopping though :thumbsup:

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06 Sep 2013 07:08 #58404 by firephish
great report and pics, thanks for sharing!

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06 Sep 2013 07:11 #58405 by elinda
Well done guys - I enjoyed your write up! The Ifidi - Fangs loop is one of the most scenic hikes in the Mnweni and well worth doing

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06 Sep 2013 07:15 #58406 by ghaznavid
I agree with Smurf on this one! Nice start to posting on VE :thumbsup:

You may also have the highest post to thank you ratio ever - currently on 8 thank-yous per post :laugh:

pfoj wrote: The hike out proved to be an easy one
....
(PS: Please excuse the low quality pics, we only had a cheap point and shoot with us :( )


We may differ on what constitutes an "easy hike" and "bad photos" :P

Stijn wrote: I just love this route! For those who haven't been to Mnweni yet (ahem... Ghaz!), the combination of these two passes captures the essence of the area and everything that makes it great IMO. Which is strange, since it skips the entire cutback.


Lol - I'm getting there, you just can't really do a day hike in that place (other than from Chain Ladders - which is my plan for the upcoming long weekend).

Fangs Pass always looks so easy in photos (as opposed to a pass like Bannerman's - ironically) - I really need to do that pass. But my plan is to start in the cutback - if I go adventurous I'll head up Mnweni and down Manxome, but otherwise I'll go conventional and do Mnweni and Rockeries. I didn't find the Mnweni escarpment to be that great on GT - but I imagine the passes are what makes Mnweni, much like the escarpment itself being the highlight of Giant's Castle?

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06 Sep 2013 07:26 - 06 Sep 2013 07:26 #58407 by plouw

" I didn't find the Mnweni escarpment to be that great on GT - but I imagine the passes are what makes Mnweni"


Ghaz: don't be mistaken, :thumbsup: the Mnweni escarpment is one of the best. The Senqu river has its origin there and the views over the pinnacles and needles are very impressive!

great write up!
Last edit: 06 Sep 2013 07:26 by plouw.

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06 Sep 2013 07:51 #58408 by ghaznavid

plouw wrote: Ghaz: don't be mistaken, :thumbsup: the Mnweni escarpment is one of the best. The Senqu river has its origin there and the views over the pinnacles and needles are very impressive!


Ok - let me clarify. I have stood in roughly 5 spots in nature where I have looked at the view and thought it to be in a class far ahead of anything else I have ever seen. Those spots (in order of occurring) were the view from the top of Icidi Crown Peak, the view as you come around the corner on Gypaetus Pass, the view from the summit of Mashai Peak, the view from the summit of Bannerman Face, and the view from that spot just before that massive drop on Vultures Retreat peak (which is the same view as Icidi Crown, but from the opposite end). So, yes I do think Icidi/Ifidi area is really beautiful and I do plan to return there. But I have also stood at the top of Mnweni Pass and looked over the Hanging Valley, and have also come over the North Saddle ridge and looked into the Senqu valley with Rockeries and Mponjwane in the background - but I did not find that to be nearly as amazing as the things I mentioned before.

This is completely a matter of opinion and there is no "correct" answer, but what I have seen of Mnweni so far has not really captured me as being that incredible. Doesn't mean I don't plan on knocking off at least 6 of the passes there.

The area I don't know well that really did capture me as looking amazing was Vergelegen - especially around KaNtuba/Mohlesi area. But I do plan on doing at least 1 pass per area, and I am yet to do a pass at Cobham, Vergelegen, Lotheni, Injisuthi, Mnweni or RNNP (seeing as there is only Inner Tower Gully there - this one might be a tad hard!).

@pfoj: sorry for temporarily hijacking your thread :silly:

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06 Sep 2013 16:54 #58411 by pfoj
Thank you to everyone for your replies and kind words!

Smurfatefrog wrote:

Best 1st post ever :)


ghaznavid wrote:

I agree with Smurf on this one! Nice start to posting on VE :thumbsup:


Thanks, VE is THE place to go for berg-related info and I've been wanting to contribute for a while now, glad I finally got round to it!
Reading up on other hikers' experiences here has helped immeasurably!

Geordie wrote:

Is Ifidi not just the greatest??


It is! I don't think I've felt a greater sense of achievement at the top of any other pass!

Stijn wrote:

Bring a good tolerance for boulder-hopping though :thumbsup:


Indeed! It seems that as you get closer to either of these passes, a tonne of boulder-hopping is the only way forward.

ghaznavid wrote:

@pfoj: sorry for temporarily hijacking your thread :silly:


No worries :thumbsup: It's interesting to hear how different people rate the scenic value of various areas in the berg. What I love is the fact that there are so many completely different views to be had. The berg is one of a kind!

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