Organ Pipes Pass Loop

03 Oct 2015 17:24 #65292 by LouisvV
Replied by LouisvV on topic Organ Pipes Pass Loop
After breakfast we packed up camp and made our way towards the Organ Pipes Pass. Our bodies was sore from the previous day en we each had about 1 litre of water in our camelbaks.

The plan was to fill up on-route at the waterpoint on the Thutumi Ridge. We were worried that we might not find any up until we reach the top of Organ Pipes pass. We did find a small pool of water that did not look like it had been standing for too long. We filled up our supply by about 1.5 litres and decided to use some purifying tablets just to be safe. After we filled up we continued on the path that snakes towards Organ Pipes. I

t was very hot and we stopped for a break under a little overhang to cool down and have something to eat.















This was the first time we had hiked this far with heavy packs and at this altitude and our bodies started to take strain. We finally reached the pass and started climbing - it was very slow going and after a few slips and slides we finally made it to the top of the pass. (For second-timers in the Berg this was quite a huge feat for us and we did take a lot of strain going up. My wife found it particularly difficult with her short legs going up).

Once on top the mission was to get water ASAP as we were consuming a lot going up and the heat was really getting to us. I had a constant dry mouth and worried that we might not get any water soon. We descended into the valley and found a huge pool of cool mountain water in the Kakoatsan river. We stopped here for a while and cooled ourselves down and soaked our sore feet in the water. After a well rested stop we decided to head more upstream to find water closer to the source as we could see animals had been drinking from this stream. After a few hundred metres we reached the source and filled up our supplies. We did see sheep grazing and could here Basotho's calling each other but we could not see them. We made our way to the suggested camping spot between Cleft Peak and Castle Buttress.

By this time we saw other hikers (forum member Dillon and party) coming down from Cleft Peak's side. It was good to see someone else in the same valley as well. We set up camp on a fairly flat spot and could here some thunder in the distance.



View from our camping spot into Lesotho



Cleft Peak in the background





The thunder increased and it started to rain after a while. We were glad the temperature dropped and light breeze flowed through our tent cooling us down after a hectic day of climbing a pass and very hot temperatures. Our tired bodies fell asleep to the sound of rain drops on our tent as we listened to the thunder all around us and roaring in the valleys.
At 2am in the morning we woke and looked outside - it was a clear night and the moon was shining bright. We tried to sleep but couldn't really.

We woke up at 5am and packed up camp. We decided to change our route to Ribbon Falls instead of going down via Tryme Hill as we were worried about our water supplies and the amount of water we consume during the day. This of course would have us ending up at Cathedral Peak instead of Didima, but we decided to go ahead with our plan and deal with getting a lift back to Didima later.

After breakfast we made our way back to Organ Pipes pass and started the descent - hoping to see Dillon and his fellow hikers on route as we didn't know what to expect going down the Camel and "that dodgy section".

As we got to the turnoff towards The Camel we could hear voices and and soon Dillon and his mates caught up with us. Our legs didn't work with us on the last day and we found it very tiring going down. We could not believe the pace the other hikers descended. Luckily Dillon waited for us at "the dodgy section" and showed us the way across. The continued ahead of us and soon we could not see them anymore. We descended slowly.



Descending the pass

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03 Oct 2015 18:06 - 03 Oct 2015 18:37 #65293 by LouisvV
Replied by LouisvV on topic Organ Pipes Pass Loop







Tseketseke Pass in the background

Going down The Camel proved very tiring for our sore feet and legs and after much cursing going down we had reached the contour path in what I believe was something close to 34 degrees. It was very hot and we needed to get to water soon. We linked up with the Ribbon Falls path and met another big group of hikers going up. We stopped for fresh water and hydrated ourselves and had something to eat. By now we could feel the strain on our bodies and our feet did not want to walk any further. We could see the hotel in the distance and going down wasn't much fun. We slid down on our bums in places and stopped wherever we could find water just to cool down. I didn't even took any further pictures going down as I found it a mission every time to get my camera out of my pack.


After a very tiring and long day we finally made it into Cathedral Peak Hotel. We asked reception if there was some way we could get a lift back to Didima? Luckily there was, a taxi leaving at 2pm takes staff to Didima. I checked the time - it was 2pm!! Luckily it had not left and we took the taxi to Didima. Got there, downed a few Coke's and booked ourselves in for one night, had a shower and a hearty meal to end off the VERY LONG day. Had a awesome night's sleep and woke up with VERY stiff legs and my wife had very blistered feet. I must say as our second hike in the Berg it was tough - maybe the heat played a role or we are not berg hiking fit.

All in all an adventure we won't forget! The Drakensberg remains one of our favourite places and these mountains really do something good for your soul.

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Last edit: 03 Oct 2015 18:37 by LouisvV.
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04 Oct 2015 05:38 #65296 by DeonS
Replied by DeonS on topic Organ Pipes Pass Loop
Organ Pipes was my very first hike into the Bergs as a school boy and still holds a very special place in my life. Not a easy hike in the heat up or down.

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05 Oct 2015 08:40 #65301 by LouisvV
Replied by LouisvV on topic Organ Pipes Pass Loop
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05 Oct 2015 09:27 #65302 by ASL
Replied by ASL on topic Organ Pipes Pass Loop
Thanks for the great photos!

PS. Your wife is tough! :laugh:
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