Bollard Wilson Loop version 2.0

11 Jul 2011 10:11 #3293 by ghaznavid
On Friday morning we left the car park at 6:30AM with the intention of doing the Bollard Willon loop. Due to heavy snow we got quite delayed, at an altitude of around 2600m we realised that we would not summit, so we cut up the right hand bank of Bollard Pass (upfront we decided to stay out of the gully for as long as possible to avoid rock scrambling), we then gradually ascended the ridge and aimed at getting half way up Willon Pass. On the top of the middle ridge we where at about 2700m (based on the view of certain peaks and the angles). We then descended towards the Willsons Pass river, we were under the impression that we could follow the bank by this river until it rejoined the Mashai River, but on reaching a rock face, then trying to descend to the river and standing above a 20m waterfall we had to reverse up the ridge to the bank above sleeping beauty cave (insanely steep trying to descend this ridge, especially with snow on it). We got back to the car park at 4:55 under late afternoon light. All in all it was an incredibly scenic hike, and I'm looking forward to doing the loop a a 2 day hike in summer (sleeping on the ridge between the 2 passes or in Sleeping Beauty Cave).

Anyway, thanks to my exams I won't be going to the Berg till October (hence the speed at which this was written and the fact that it is so light on details and includes no photos) :( :S :dry:

Looking forward to hiking in spring/summer this year!

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11 Jul 2011 16:48 #3294 by SeriousTribe2
Hmmm.

Well, better luck next time. I am a bit confused about your approach details though.

Did you try and access the pass via the valley of Sleeping Beauty cave and beyond, or from another direction?
Trying to access Bollard from the right hand (facing) ridge out of the Bollard stream valley will end up getting you in a spot of bother.
The South facing slopes of Bollard Pass are rather steep.
If you were accessing from Tsepeng valley then I get you.
How choked was the pass, and from what elevation.
I have a front on pic of the pass and various spot height features in this link:
www.vertical-endeavour.com/gallery/drakensberg/passes/288-bollard-pass.html
Can you point out the ridge you are referring to?
Would be interested to hear.

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11 Jul 2011 16:54 - 11 Jul 2011 16:55 #3295 by SeriousTribe2
Hah.

Upon reading it slowly, the second time, I appear to understand what you did. You looped at (approx.) contour level onto the ridge North of Sleeping Beauty, and then attempted a descent into the valley of Cods Eye cave? Yes?
A tricky move. There is a way in, but only having crossed over to the other side (above the waterfall), to a scramble down below the overhanging wave shape at the point where the south facing cliffline meets that waterfall.
You are right about the descent from this ridge to the sleeping beauty valley below The Monk though. It ia a steep enough grass descent!
Much fun!
Last edit: 11 Jul 2011 16:55 by SeriousTribe2.

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11 Jul 2011 17:28 #3296 by ghaznavid
We hiked up past sleeping beauty cave (standard route from the car park, snow all over the place). We went past sleeping beauty cave and climbed the steep bank on the left side (Southern side of the river, probably East facing) of the river. We crossed the river after about 500m and kept on the south facing bank. The bank was steep but very scenic (not too steep to manage though). I don't know the definition of where a pass starts, but in my opinion it starts once you are hiking between rock face (hence passing through them), in which case we reached the height of the start of the pass, but we where at least 100m away from the river (on the South facing slope).

We then hiked up the bank between the 2 passes (I have to say that the view when on the outer most part of the ridge was incredible (we where looking down into the hidden valley, I could even see the rocks above the cave I named "I'm sure it's not a" Cave, we could clearly see the ridge in which Pillar cave is found, we could see Grimm's Castle, Swiman Rock, Mlambonja Peak, Random Peak and the last 2km of the Rhino Peak hike looked like the 200m height gain that it is (as opposed to looking like a short steep uphill section)). There is a large flat area which would be awesome for camping in, its flat and high, but has rocky outcops nearby, so it doesnt look like flash floods, rock falls or lightning are big issues.

We then hiked down the Willsons Pass river (but once again high above the river gulley). At the point where the river changes directions (that sharp 30 or so degree turn) we crossed the river. The river is in a steep gulley surrounded by rocks, we couldn't see a way through (we found what is probably an eland path, but it lead us straight to a 3m high rock face on a steep bank). Thats where we eventually turned around and hiked up the steep bank we had come down, we then dropped down the south facing slope above sleeping beauty cave (probably about 50m west of the unnamed rock feature which is west of Swiman Rock). It took about 40 mins to drop the approx 80m bank which mut have been at a 70 degree angle, on the bright side, whenever we slipped on the snow covered bank, you stopped falling before you gained any speed - no damage is done when falling 10cm! We then returned past sleeping beauty cave on the route we started on.

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12 Jul 2011 09:26 #3302 by ghaznavid
We went across the ridge above the 2651 point as shown in this photo from Rhino Peak, we were closer to the higher rock face than this point though.

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12 Jul 2011 15:51 #3304 by intrepid
Thanks for the write-up ghaznavid. I've looked at that ridge too and thought that it must be traversable at various levels. When we came down Wilson's Pass in May we did climb over it, but much further down. Its a great ridge with very rewarding views. There is also a distinct Eland track connecting the two valleys, roughly at 2550m on the Mashai River.

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

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