Giants Lotheni Passes in the snow

01 Oct 2018 16:19 - 01 Oct 2018 16:58 #74060 by Sabine
Over the long weekend in August I planned to hike up Giants Pass and come down Lotheni and somehow get around to come back to Giants Resort.  I asked some questions on VE and then Google Earth came to the rescue.  I found a path going from the base of Lotheni to the left and all the way around the mountain.  I was going to test this route.

Four of us, Lucho, Simon, Anita and Sabine left Johburg in the early hours of the 9th of August and started hiking at 1pm heading for Giants Pass. Snow was forecast for the next day and we were well equipped for that eventuality.  We camped at the bottom of  Giants Pass.  It started raining that night and in the morning there was even a thunderstorm.  I called out to the others that we would not move with that storm raging.  At about 8.30 the mist started clearing and we saw a white mountain top.




 All excited we started packing our gear and headed up the pass, now being about 10am already.  We had lunch at about Giants Cave.  At this stage, Lucho said, this was too difficult for him and he turned around. We continued and once in the pass proper we got to the snow.  It was slow going with about 20-30cm of snow concealing slippery rocks.  Finally at about 2.30 we were on top.  What a view. 



 

The sun was shining but the wind was pumping so we started moving slowly over the thick snow wanting to head to the top of Lotheni and camp near there..  However, having left so late, and the slow going in the snow, we got to the Lotheni river and there was water flowing.  It was 3.30 and we were buggered so we stopped right there for the night.  It took a while to find a spot to camp as every time we trampled the snow some rock or big tuft of grass would emerge.  However, we finally got into the tent and settled for the night.  I don't think I need to mention how cold it was. Luckily I had brought my hot water bottle which had to be re heated a few times during the night. It was minus 8 in my vestibule out of the wind the next morning.  It was soo cold that we only emerged at about 9 and got going by 10.

 

Now we were even more behind schedule but I didn't mind, we were having a great time in the snow, until I stood at the head of Lotheni pass.  Never having done that pass, I was looking down the mountain and back at my GPS, saying ok, this is it, we have to go down there!  It looked scary.  However, Simon went ahead and zig zagged down and we followed in his steps.



 As it was still fresh snow, we were lucky and could get a good footing.  Further down, Anita and I would sit down and bum slide certain sections.  Later, when it was becoming really steep, I remembered the track went off to the right, but when I looked on my GPS we had missed that turn off.  We scrambled up the side and found the path and were on our way only to land back in the gully a short while later,  but by now it was getting easier and we continued down.  We got to the base by 1pm and had lunch there.  We were now below the snow line again.

After a quick lunch we crossed the river and continued on the right hand side contouring around the mountain.  On google it had looked pretty easy but it was quite a bit of up and down until we came to this point

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Last edit: 01 Oct 2018 16:58 by Smurfatefrog.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Serious tribe, supertramp

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01 Oct 2018 16:29 - 01 Oct 2018 16:59 #74061 by Sabine
After a quick lunch we crossed the river and continued on the right hand side contouring around the mountain.  On google it had looked pretty easy but it was quite a bit of up and down until we came to this point 



The path disappeared straight down the mountain.  This turned out to be quite a steep descent, especially for Anita and myself.  We went really slowly.  By the time we got down to the river it was 5.30 already and we still walked to the main river for another half an hour.  It was just getting dark as we found a campsite.

The next morning we immediately had a very steep ascent up the next mountain.

 

and a very long way around until we got to see the Giants hut in the distance.  We had a short break and headed for the resort, getting back at about 1.30pm.  Our last day was 20km and it would have been nice to have the whole day to do it as the scenery was exceptional with lots of animals.  However, we still had to get back to Johburg

 

this is a google earth pic of our route.

What an epic trip. And the snow made it so worthwhile.

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Last edit: 01 Oct 2018 16:59 by Smurfatefrog.

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01 Oct 2018 16:45 #74062 by Sabine
I don't understand why my photos are being displayed twice each time.  Can someone in the know help me here please?

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01 Oct 2018 17:01 - 01 Oct 2018 17:10 #74063 by Smurfatefrog

I don't understand why my photos are being displayed twice each time.  Can someone in the know help me here please?

Fixed Sabine
The photos had been inserted twice.

Did you not have really strong winds on night 2 like we had at Upper Injisuthi cave?
Last edit: 01 Oct 2018 17:10 by Smurfatefrog.

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01 Oct 2018 18:02 #74064 by Sabine
Night two being Friday night?  That was when we were on the escarpment.  Yes the wind was extremely strong and cold.

Thanks for fixing those pics.

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