Bollard/Tsepeng Passes

19 Jun 2012 10:11 - 19 Jun 2012 11:26 #54415 by elinda
Four of us attempted Bollard and Tsepeng Passes this last weekend. We went up on Friday afternoon and overnighted at Cods Eye Cave (or what we think is Cods Eye Cave). This is the most beautiful little valley just behind Sleeping Beauty Cave and not visited very often as the approach is a bit steep and requires a bit of bundu bashing. We left at 8 the following morning and hiked up through the top of the valley and out and on to the ridge separating Bollard and Wilsons, and headed left to get into Bollard Pass. It was the most perfect day – cloudless blue skies and no wind.

Leaving Cod's Eye Cave



I had got as far as Stealth Cave in September last year but did not go to the top of Bollard. Quite an epic adventure as the pass was choked with ice and snow so we did not know what to expect this time around, and were now hoping to get to the top of the pass proper. None of the others in the party had done the pass at all before. There was no water at the bottom although we did manage to find a small pool of water slightly higher up. Thereafter it remained dry all the way to the top. The pass was entirely different without the snow and very iced in sections with drifts of snow on the grassy banks. The temperature at midday was zero degrees – rather icy! We got as far as the first waterfall where progress was halted while the one male in our party attempted to find a way around
the heavily iced obstacle. We thought we may have to turn back but eventually managed to climb out on to the left hand steep grassy bank and continued climbing and traversing upwards.

Walking on ice - Bollard Pass


Slippery climb up Bollard


Trying to find a way around the waterfall- it looks much easier than it was


We had lunch at Stealth Cave and were a bit worried about overcoming the next obstacle – getting down the steep bank back into the gully ( which was just above another iced up waterfall), but all managed it successfully, but not without the sterling help of our man and I must add, a few heart stopping moments! What lay ahead was unknown territory but we were pleasantly surprised to find the going relatively easy the last 180 metres or so to the top, a steep climb out with snow and rocks, but no more tricky bits. We topped out just before 3.00pm.

Top of the pass in sight!


It was windless and sunny on the escarpment – a rather rare state and we made quick time traversing around to the left and along the ridge to find the first gap to descend down into the Tsepeng Valley.

Finding the route down to Tsepeng Pass


Water was a problem as everything was frozen, but we managed to find a small pool and put up our tents. The temperature was plummeting and we were keen to get inside and warm – we struggled to get our tent pegs in as the ground was completely frozen – we estimated the temperature that night definitely went down to minus figures, possibly 5 or 6. The wind came up strongly during the night and was still blowing in the morning, but the one benefit was no ice on the tents! Having said this my wet wipes in the tent were frozen the following morning and despite wrapping water bottles up there were still big chunks of ice floating around.

We headed for Tsepeng Pass at 7.30am – an unknown quantity and not done by any of us before. After checking out the area we went down a rock filled snowy gully and into the pass proper. The descent was slow as the snow made it slippery and the boulders were loose and not stable. At one point we had to bypass a waterfall by passing backpacks down and sliding around and down a slippery snow filled corner. Lots of focusing required!

Tsepeng Pass


Further down we had to climb out and traverse the grassy slopes on the left hand side until we were able to head out left over the ridge and traverse round until we got to the Sleeping Beauty Valley. We got back to the car park just after 2.00pm – a very satisfying and enjoyable hike and one that will be remembered for some time to come!

Tsepeng Pass

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

Last edit: 19 Jun 2012 11:26 by intrepid.
The following user(s) said Thank You: intrepid, Stijn, JonWells, plouw, Bigsnake, ghaznavid, brio, Boerkie, Smurfatefrog, tonymarshall, Captain

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

More
19 Jun 2012 11:17 - 19 Jun 2012 11:29 #54421 by ghaznavid
Nice! Thanks for the write up. That pic of standing on the ice is really cool!

Do I see a cave near the top of Tsepeng Pass?
Last edit: 19 Jun 2012 11:29 by ghaznavid.

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

More
19 Jun 2012 11:47 #54422 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Re: Bollard/Tsepeng Passes
We saw lots of little caves on both sides of Tsepeng - some serious rock climbing skills required! :ohmy:

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

More
20 Jun 2012 07:05 #54426 by Fitness
Replied by Fitness on topic Re: Bollard/Tsepeng Passes
this sounds like a great trip, i am heading up the Mashai Pass on friday, then right to Rhino, back track and then head off and come down by Ngwangwane Pass, i will write a little story on my return on sunday night.
i am looking forward to it, weather looks decent, maybe a little rain on saturday.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Bigsnake

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

More
22 Jun 2012 09:05 - 22 Jun 2012 09:05 #54493 by Serious tribe
Thanx for the write up. Gr8 images, I like the one exiting Cod's eye cave.
Last edit: 22 Jun 2012 09:05 by Serious tribe.

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

More
25 Jun 2012 08:17 - 25 Jun 2012 08:22 #54518 by Christine

Attaching a photo of the waterfall which presented a few "problems" in Bollard Pass :ohmy:



Descending Tsepeng Pass.



Waterfall in Tsepeng Pass

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

Last edit: 25 Jun 2012 08:22 by Christine.
The following user(s) said Thank You: plouw, ghaznavid, tonymarshall

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

More
25 Jun 2012 08:48 #54519 by Captain
Replied by Captain on topic Re: Bollard/Tsepeng Passes
Nice pix!! :thumbsup:

Btw...did you guys have to melt snow or ice for water? Which was better tasting? Some whiskey would go great with that water!!

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

More
26 Jun 2012 05:11 #54530 by Christine
We carried sufficient water from Cods Eye cave to see us to the top of Bollard Pass. Fortunately we managed to find some water on the escarpment, collected through the ice and then collected water again lower down Tsepeng Pass From previous experience I would say melted snow has a terrible taste.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Captain

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

More
27 Jun 2012 06:06 #54536 by Serious tribe
crampon material :laugh:

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

More
27 Jun 2012 12:45 #54538 by Beard
Replied by Beard on topic Re: Bollard/Tsepeng Passes
Hey this is a great write up..well done!
Where did you start the hike from? IM looking at doing a ONE NIGHT hike, to an area i havent visited. Would you suggest this route? We would be a group of 5 and looking at going this coming weekend. Are the caves suitable for 5...i would as mush as you can provide.thanks tons

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

More
Powered by Kunena Forum