Hike Report - Tsepeng Pass - Mzimude Pass Loop

20 Jun 2018 16:53 - 22 Jun 2018 07:56 #73617 by JonWells
Over the past weekend (15-17 June) a team made up of Smurfatefrog, Fitness, no4stopper, Tammy, Elena, Morgan and myself completed a Tsepeng Pass – Mzimude Pass loop at Garden Castle.

Fitness, Elena and Morgan had headed up to Sleeping Beauty Cave on Friday afternoon and the plan was for the rest of us to meet up with them that evening.

We arrived at the Garden Castle at around 19h30, filled in the mountain register, and headed up the trail by headlamp.  We made decent time and arrived at the cave about 1h20 later, spotting an Eland along the way, and another unidentified small mammal which could have been a cat species according to those who caught a brief glimpse as it darted off.

We spent the evening chatting and enjoying the red wine and Old Brown Sherry we had carted up, before heading off to bed.

In the morning, the team awoke, and after having breakfast and coffee we packed up and were back on the trail not long after 8am.  It was my first time seeing the little valley
above Sleeping Beauty Cave.  It’s a really pleasant spot and I’d love to return there for some tent camping some time! 





We made our way up the valley and climbed the ridge to our South up to 2360m where we had a rest next to a small rock pool which was frozen over.  This was rather surprising
as the night before had felt very mild to us! 


JonWells, Elena, Smurfatefrog, no4stopper, Fitness, Tammy

We continued walking along the top of the ridge for another 500m before crossing over into the Tsepeng Valley and heading diagonally across it and eventually reaching the river at 2550m where we stopped for a snack break.

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Last edit: 22 Jun 2018 07:56 by JonWells.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Fitness, Richard Hunt

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20 Jun 2018 16:56 - 21 Jun 2018 07:18 #73618 by JonWells
From here it was a steep but straightforward climb up the mostly grassy bank to the very narrow gulley that makes up the final 100m of ascent.













A few short scrambles later and we were finally on the escarpment. The wind was howling and ice cold so we were forced to take shelter behind a rocky outcrop while we all caught our breath for a bit and had a bite to eat.





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Last edit: 21 Jun 2018 07:18 by JonWells.
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20 Jun 2018 17:01 - 21 Jun 2018 07:28 #73619 by JonWells
From here it was an easy flat trek South along the escarpment to the river above Mzimude Pass where we had to break through the ice to be able to fill up all our water bottles.





A quick trip down the Mzimude summit gully and up the North bank and we arrived at Mzimude Cave where we unpacked and settled in.  We spent the rest of the afternoon mainly relaxing, although no4stopper and Fitness did head off for a while to summit the nearby Walker’s Peak.









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Last edit: 21 Jun 2018 07:28 by JonWells.
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20 Jun 2018 17:04 - 21 Jun 2018 07:14 #73620 by JonWells
The next morning we were up early knowing that our longest day of the hike lay ahead.  After packing up we began heading down the narrow rocky gully that forms the top part of this pass.  There was a fair bit of patchy snow in this section.  Being a good few weeks old it had become rather hard and crusty and slippery as ice of course.  Some careful foot placements were necessary to  get through this section safely but we all got through ok and continued down the rest of the pass.

 



At the bottom we crossed over onto the South bank to begin the fairly long and frustrating 4km section of pathless side-slopes.  This section is tough on the feet, but the views are easy on the eye! 







After hours of trekking over rough ground it was a great relief to finally make it back onto a path which helped us pick up the pace to the pool at Puffadder Rock where some of us braved a rather quick and icy swim! 



Just over an hour later we were back at the car park, happy to have completed another memorable mountain adventure!

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Last edit: 21 Jun 2018 07:14 by JonWells.

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22 Jun 2018 10:56 #73622 by Dave
Smurf, you conquered her without me! You force me into these solo hikes, I tell you.

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22 Jun 2018 16:43 #73623 by Smurfatefrog

Dave wrote: Smurf, you conquered her without me! You force me into these solo hikes, I tell you.

We had to make sure it was doable, didn't want you to make a solo mission from JHB again only to not make it all the way up ;)

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22 Jun 2018 19:02 #73625 by Papa Dragon

Dave wrote: Smurf, you conquered her without me! You force me into these solo hikes, I tell you.


Even me too.
Fickle oke, this Smurf..

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