"Fake Ship's Prow Pass"

25 Mar 2011 14:18 #2613 by MountainGoat
Hi guys, this is a tongue in the cheek thread / post, as this is the route we've planned for the past long weekend.

Congrat's & 2 thumbs up for Intrepid & the VE team! As this was my first trip to the Monks Cowl area I was stunned by the infestation of the pines! There are hundreds of them!!! It was very nice to meet everyone from the forum.

OK-back to topic. Unknowingly we camped at the bottm of Cowl pass the night. The mountains were all covered in clouds/ mist & the gps said the top of the pass is 4km away, so it was Ship's Prow, isn't it? For the record I only use my gps for tracking what we've walked & not to navigate. In this instance we only browsed the maps & not paid as much attention to it than we should have...

As we ascended the next morning we came across some few tent polkes that's been washed downstream, so it had to be Ship's Prow, right? WRONG!!! when we got to the top where the supposedly infamous right hand / north fork is the wheather cleared & we knew we were in the wrong pass (we took the left fork). When we got to the top / neck we saw a narrow, boulder choked gully downwards & I realised we went up Cowl pass. To say the least it's a pretty tough (& hairy at times) gully after a pass like Cowl Pass. We spent that evening at Keith Bush camp. To say the least, I was very discouraged & displeased with myself :angry: :sick: :thumbsdown:

It just shows you. Never put your maps / gps too far away & make shure you are on the right track as planned.

Nevertheless it was a lekker berg weekend. Next time the real Ship's Prow!!!

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28 Mar 2011 12:47 #2621 by intrepid
Oh that sounds agonising Jacques...but amusing too... :laugh:

It goes to show how tricky things can get in the Berg. I'm sure many of us have stories like that to relate.

A story of my own which comes to mind, also involving Ships Prow. Many moons ago domsmooth and I hiked up Grey's Pass late November and slept in Nkosazana Cave. It was out first visit to the area. We woke the following morning to a white landscape, and it still snowed until later in the day. Then there was thick mist. We had intended hiking up Champagne Castle and then heading down Ships Prow. We tried to find Champagne Castle, and did get to a summit of sorts, with a cairn, but to this day I'm still not sure what summit it was, even after revisiting the area several times since. Anyways, on that summit, the mist partially cleared for a minute or so, and white peaks started popping out everywhere. Something about what we saw in that moment made us change our mind about descending Ships Prow, and we decided to head back to the cave. But because of the visibility, instead of descending along the same little valley back to the cave, we subtly slipped into another nearby valley running into Lesotho. After some time we realised that something about the stream was different from what we remembered. Now, this was in the days of Slingsby's maps and no GPSes. We only had a hunch about what may have happened and what our location was (we didn't consider backtracking since the snow was melting and our footprints where not that easy to follow ). We had a hunch that the slopes to our right was the 3300m ridge separating us from the cave and proceeded climbing over it. After lengthy stumbling around in mist and snow we hit the escarpment edge (which turned out to be the view over Vulture's Retreat area), and this in turn brought us back into the valley near Grey's Pass, but even this didn't seem familiar at first. We were very happy to eventually find the cave again.

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

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