Rockeries & Mnweni Pass loop

07 Jan 2017 19:00 - 07 Jan 2017 19:09 #70543 by Smurfatefrog
Needing to get at least one multi-day hike in during the holidays; 5 of us headed off to Mnweni on Monday the 2nd of January. Papa Dragon was the only one in the group that had been to Mnweni before (on the trip 2 weeks prior as Roger the Dislodger).

We had not finalised the route until the afternoon before, but finally we agreed that with heavy rain forecast for the 2nd afternoon we'd like to be in shelter by then, and leave ourselves with just a lower berg walkout in the light drizzle forecast for day 3.

We met at the Cultural Centre at 8am for our booked lift to the Rockeries route.
The fee for the ride had not been discussed earlier so we were charged a hefty R200 for the 6km lift (200m ascent), but with 5 hikers it was not too bad. Especially in the blazing heat!

Papa Dragon, Smurfatefrog, Diff, JonWells, Nolai


At 9am we started the day's trek, every small patch of shade passed was fully utilised for a small break from the sun. There was plenty water around with all the side streams flowing strongly.

The group found Rockeries Pass fairly comfortable with quite a gradual gradient. We had all topped out by 4PM.


There was warm slowly flowing water 100m from the top of the pass which we reluctantly collected for the night. We weren't in the mood to head much further down and give ourselves more of a climb up to Mponjwane Cave.

We settled into the cave for a very calm night with amazing views, especially the morning sunrise.




An early start was planned for day 2 to get to 5 Star Cave before the afternoon rain, so we set off at 6:30, explored the escarpment and Ledgers Cave before starting down Mnweni Pass.

Ledgers Cave


View from Ledgers

Please login or register to view the images attached to this post.

Last edit: 07 Jan 2017 19:09 by Smurfatefrog.
The following user(s) said Thank You: elinda, AdrianT, Richard Hunt, Scott M., Dave

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
07 Jan 2017 19:07 - 07 Jan 2017 19:16 #70544 by Smurfatefrog
Quite a few stops were made to take in the views from the pass as the clouds started forming around the peaks.

Crossing the mighty Orange / Senqu river





The calm Mnweni river on day 2


5 Star Cave was reached at noon. We enjoyed a quick swim in the Mbundini river before settling in for an afternoon & evening of constant driving rain.

5 Star is the lower cave / Mbundini 1 the upper cave


Papa Dragon's tarp came in useful to keep us dry.


The next morning was rather noisy... looking down at the Mbundini river all we could see was white & brown water rushing over rocks.

We set off again at 6:30, allowing us plenty time for our 11am pickup, or so we thought!
Arriving at the banks of the Mnweni river was scary, it was a completely different river to the previous day!
The cut back forms a large & very quick catchment area which pours into the Mnweni with a lot of power!
We walked up & down the river for about 90 minutes looking for a safe spot to cross, those that know the area will know that we wouldn't want to cross below the Mbundini and we can't cross higher than the Rwanqa because the south bank contains a large impassable rock face.
We considered the much longer walkout sticking to the north bank but eventually found a spot where the river had split into 4 channels, the last of these channels was about 5m wide, 1.5m deep and flowing very strongly.
Nolan went across first, got knocked off his feet but got across safely. He then used a hiking pole to help the others across the last deep section. The current knocked us all off our feet which washed us about a metre downstream before grabbing onto the pole & bushes, Papa Dragon however got washed 3 or 4m down, Nolan instantly jumped towards him and managed to help him grab onto bushes on the side.

Here are a couple screen grabs from Papa D's videos here

This is just a smaller portion of the river, you can see the main channel in the top of the pic


We were all massively relieved to be across, with the only casualty being Roger's GPS which ended up in the river, and his phone which got wet.
It was now 8:30, leaving us 2h30 to get to the road for our lift. A little bundu bashing and we were soon on a path and could finally hike at a steady pace. The day had consistent drizzle but we hardly noticed considering everything was completely drenched anyway!

Good time was made to get to the road at 11:10, only to find a lift hadn't been arranged as promised... luckily one was quickly sent, although it was a car so two trips were required which only ended saving some of us the last 2km.

Overall an awesome hike in a new area, we'll definitely be back soon!

Please login or register to view the images attached to this post.

Last edit: 07 Jan 2017 19:16 by Smurfatefrog.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
08 Jan 2017 07:27 #70546 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Rockeries & Mnweni loop
Great photos and well done guys, glad you all made it back safely! It's amazing how those rivers can rise so swiftly and a sobering reminder to us all to be aware of this when in the Berg.
There seems to be a common denominator in the last two epic Mnweni hike reports......... :silly:
The following user(s) said Thank You: JonWells, Smurfatefrog, Papa Dragon

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
08 Jan 2017 07:39 #70548 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Rockeries & Mnweni loop
Thanks for sharing - those rivers can be scary at times! We took a very wide line around the Pitsaneng for the same reason - flooded rivers are exceptionally dangerous. Glad you guys all made it.
The following user(s) said Thank You: JonWells, bos, Smurfatefrog, Papa Dragon

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Jan 2017 10:14 #70755 by Viking
Replied by Viking on topic Rockeries & Mnweni loop
Lifts???

I thought it was tradition that at least your first Mnweni / Rockeries loop should be walked in it's entirety.

Stijn will be very displeased... ;)

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”
The following user(s) said Thank You: Stijn, Macc

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Jan 2017 14:20 #70756 by DesPorter
Replied by DesPorter on topic Rockeries & Mnweni loop
Lifts?

Good grief! What would todays hikers do if they had to start walking from the police station and go over Scramble kop with its river crossings to get to Rockeries or Ntonjelane.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Jan 2017 16:09 #70757 by Smurfatefrog
pshhh, kids of today, lazy buggers! :blush:

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Jan 2017 21:21 #70758 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Rockeries & Mnweni loop
This banter reminds me of the Four Yorkshiremen Monty Python sketch.

Y4: Oh, we never had a cup. We used to have to drink out of a rolled up newspaper.

...

Y3: Eh, you were lucky to have a room! We used to have to live in the corridor!

...

Y4: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o’clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, eat a clump of coal poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.

Y1: And you try and tell the young people of today that ….. and they won’t believe you.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
Powered by Kunena Forum