Gray’s Pass: The Smoking Dragon

09 Nov 2013 16:19 #58997 by brio

Daniel at the massive wall.


Heading down. Keith's is light colour on the bottom left.

Back at Keith's, we relaxed the rest of the late afternoon.

Monday night, there was some strong winds, but warmer than Sunday night.

With enough water, I could have coffee now. :laugh:

Tuesday, the sun was hot and no clouds. The trip back to the car was uneventful and boring and long.
There was not a breath of wind below the Sphinx and the hot sun. It was a dry heat and very energy sapping.
We ended a good hike with a burger and coke from the Spar in Winterton for lunch.

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09 Nov 2013 17:12 - 09 Nov 2013 17:24 #58998 by Guardian
Thank you for the pics of your hike! I thought id share some photos of the top of Grey's last year a day after the September? snow.
We slept at Blind mans on the first night, On top on the second night and hiked out on the 3rd day. Totally doable even for a relativly unfit, experienced hiking family.
When you mentioned the rocky gully on top being unstable I must say I never thought it was especially dangerous even when I had to go down this gully at night in the snow to go fetch my parents who gave up just below the the gully to bivy (And probably die of hypothermia) not knowing how short this gully is


Parents deciding to bivy for some reason at the big rock face just before the gully.



Starting the gully as light fails

The little 2m rock climb up the pass was a bit of a nightmare in thick snow though. Stepping down only to feel snow fall away for a few minutes until I could see the rocky grips to step on. My parents nearly fell of this. Not a problem in good weather though.





Monks cowl as light fails

There's also a bit on this pass that I always find tricky to navigate, basically when you start traversing upwards on the real mountain


Traverse area looking like the Andes. Tricky bit is before this.

Amazing experience. Need to get back to this mountain

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Last edit: 09 Nov 2013 17:24 by Guardian.
The following user(s) said Thank You: diverian, Stijn, JonWells, ghaznavid, brio, Smurfatefrog, tonymarshall, pfoj, Viking, ASL, ruthtbl

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09 Nov 2013 19:34 #59000 by Viking
So to clarify, did your parents carry on up and make it to the top or did they bivvy at the rock?

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”

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10 Nov 2013 14:02 #59010 by ASL
thanks for the great pics of Greys in the snow... I'm jealous as I haven't seen it like that after 4 times up there!

Will keep trying! B)

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11 Nov 2013 05:21 #59012 by PeterHowells
Great write-ups. Thanks. Gray's is probably my favourite hike in the Berg - have now done it 4 times with various people. As previously stated the wind can get quite hectic at times. I have the honour of losing my complete tent one a hike in November (2000 I think) at Keith's when a particularly bad storm hit for 2 hours. Driving rain, high wind. I found the fly-sheet the next morning 600m from Keith's on the way out but never did see my tent again.

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11 Nov 2013 13:22 #59015 by ASL
:ohmy: Hey Peter that's pretty scary weather! Where did you spend the rest of the night? and I have to ask what tent that was?

PS. Greys is also one of my favourites. I love the view going up the pass and the traverse across the steep part of the face.The view of the Vulture colony and Dragons Back is also amazing. Check out the waterfall from the river at top, it often freezes...

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12 Nov 2013 05:26 - 12 Nov 2013 05:47 #59022 by PeterHowells
It was quite scary. I was monitoring the temperature during the storm. Although it was a warm summer day on the way to Keith's Bush Camp, during the storm the temp dropped to 2 deg C - I have no idea what the windchill was but it was certainly substantial. I cannot remember what make of tent it was. I do remember it was a dome tent purchased from Outdoor Centre in Durban - definitely not a Game special.
The 2 of us spent a very uncomfortable night crammed into a friend's tent with the 2 of them.

IMO the view from the waterfall looking towards Vultures is very special. Always leaves me in awe.

[img]http://instrumentation.dut.ac.za/graphics/Vultures Retreat Pano.jpg

Just out of interest, can someone tell me how to upload an image to a post instead of linking to it on another site?
Last edit: 12 Nov 2013 05:47 by PeterHowells.
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12 Nov 2013 05:55 #59023 by ghaznavid

PeterHowells wrote: IMO the view from the waterfall looking towards Vultures is very special. Always leaves me in awe.


Its one of my favourites - not sure of the height of Vultures Retreat, if over 3000m I would add it to the khulu list but the height isn't shown on the map.

The reverse angle of that view (from Icidi Crown) is also quite something - I rate those 2 spots as some of the best views I have seen in the Berg.

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12 Nov 2013 07:43 #59024 by ASL
:silly: thanks for that stunning photo Peter! Makes me want to go up there immediately...

Not sure I understand your issue regarding uploading a photo? In the reply topic page the is a submit file function at bottom and I just browse for the photo on my drive but I have never inserted pics and text like Ghaz does, maybe he can enlighten us on this subject?

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12 Nov 2013 07:57 #59025 by ghaznavid

ASL wrote: :silly: thanks for that stunning photo Peter! Makes me want to go up there immediately...


Are you up for heading up there and down Ships Prow - a day on top to bag the numerous really high khulus? Monk's Cowl is 1 of 3 KZN areas where I am yet to bag a khulu (with Cobham and Vergelegen).

ASL wrote: Not sure I understand your issue regarding uploading a photo? In the reply topic page the is a submit file function at bottom and I just browse for the photo on my drive but I have never inserted pics and text like Ghaz does, maybe he can enlighten us on this subject?


You use Internet Explorer don't you? IE is the only browser that seems to accept uploads these days. Personally I use Firefox, so if I want to add a photo I have to use IE.

Not sure what you mean by pics and text though.

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