Up Fangs down Mnweni September

13 Oct 2021 18:57 #77209 by Drakie1
Much appreciated, thank you.

During our Mnweni Rockeries hike early January we had rain for almost 3 out of 4 days. I am considering making this real easy........ doing Fangs Rockeries over 6 days. If it rains for a day or two we will just sit it out and continue when the weather clears. The hike in January was actually supposed to be Fangs Rockeries, but due to the bad weather we opted for Mnweni Rockeries on the second day of our hike.

Thanks again for the GPS track

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14 Oct 2021 07:29 #77211 by wildingo
This is why I really like VE, like minded people, sorting things out. If this was my suburb's WhatsApp group this would have gone on for days. Thanks to all.
The following user(s) said Thank You: supertramp, Carl Gebhard

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14 Oct 2021 12:22 #77214 by Riaang

Well done on your hike write-up, and glad to hear you guys had a good hike.

Seeing that I gave Swartpeet the tracks, maybe I can add some further explanations as to why the tracks were hard to follow exactly, and add to what Tony has already offered.
- How your GPS is set up (datum) plays a critical role in interpreting other users tracks. For instance, if you use WGS84 but try to compare tracks and waypoints to for instance the official maps which uses Cape datum, you will be out by roughly 40m or so. In a riverbed, this will make a significant difference.
- The conditions experienced on the day the tracks were created will influence them, sometimes significantly. When we did Fangs pass earlier this year, it was overcast and very misty, especially above 2500m ASL. It's kinda difficult to get lost in Fangs as the gully is fairly broad with not too many side gullies, but in thick mist it can be surprisingly difficult to pick the most optimal route. In fact, all 4 of us were following different paths up the gully, mine probably being the most difficult as it hugged the steeper sections in the pass - I was trying to stay right on the edge of the gully so that I don't get lost, while the others had an easier time staying on the flatter sections.
- As Tony mentioned, GPS's often lose signal and the software then creates its own interpretation of what the route should be. My old Fenoix 3 was BAD with this, but the Fenix 6 uses a gyrometer that builds a much better track in such conditions, but it is still often incorrect.
- Tony got the washed up conditions spot on. We got here within 3 weeks of the floods and yes, we were wandering around looking for the path (never found it in the riverbed section near the Fangs turnoff, or in fact the first section where you cross over the Mnweni river), so I picked out the route I liked (which suited my 1,97m frame well, but my wife at 1.6m was complaining all the way :-))
- Finally, personal preference. For me, I like bundu bashing. Everyone else I hike with hate it, so I always try to balance our preferences when I build tracks. We'll typically bundu bash on the in-hike, but going out I like a path that can get me down and out in a relatively fast time. I prefer to get home before 6pm, and achieving this when living in Centurion, especially on a Mnweni hike, can be a challenge. I also like walking near the edge of everything as I enjoy the views, but my wife hates this. Her tracks are definitely less risky than mine. I like getting out of the hot and humid riverbeds quickly, so I'll make a beeline for the cliff faces where possible. Again, not everyone's cup of tea.

In summary, I use tracks to assist in navigation, but definitely not as my sole resource for finding my way in the berg. What I typically do (especially when I attempt a new part in the Berg) is to first look at the terrain on maps, then I study the terrain on Google Earth, then I build my own tracks in Basecamp, and then I go and hike it. This way I have a pretty decent understanding of the terrain, and I also look for contour lines, possible positions of caves, watersources and possible shortcuts and escape routes, should I need them for whatever reason. More and more I try to rely less on my GPS and the more I hike, the better I become at reading the terrain and finding caves, water etc. This doesn't always work though, as I have taken wrong turns, stubbornly refusing to look at the GPS until everyone shouts at me :-) If you walk religiously on such a track, (ps: I don't edit my tracks, ever), you might be wondering what on earth I was doing. Don't worry, I was probably thinking the same at the same spot when that question came into your head. However, when visibility is poor (rain, mist, at night), out comes the GPS.

All of the above combines to make hiking in the Berg such an adventure. You might think you know the area, and one flood later you are back to route finding. Hiking in the mist or rain can be totally confusing, not to mention hiking at night, in the rain and getting lost with a GPS.

Whatever you do, stay safe and enjoy the Berg!!!
The following user(s) said Thank You: tonymarshall, ASL, Lana.1

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15 Oct 2021 11:07 #77220 by tonymarshall
Thanks for setting the record straight swartpeet and Riaang.

From swartpeet's post I concluded incorrectly that you were not in favour of navigating with gps tracks, but your response indicated that you are, and now Riaan has explained why you had those issues navigating with the track. I just wonder if Riaang told you about the issues with the tracks when he shared them with you.....

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15 Oct 2021 12:45 #77221 by Riaang

Of course not :-)

Why spoil an adventure....

On a serious note though, track users should familiarise themselves with a track before venturing into the wilds. Especially when the track goes off the beaten path. In my opinion (you may differ) it is unrealistic to expect track creators to explain the finer details of their tracks to users. Everyone has their own opinions about what constitutes a perfect track, what is too risky, what is too long, what is too short etc. It is impossible to cater for all these variances. However, if you pay me money I can build you a track perfect for your requirements ;-)

To all track users (myself included), if you get lost, see it as part of a Berg adventure, and please familiarise yourselves with it as I described in my earlier email.

The following user(s) said Thank You: tonymarshall, ASL

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15 Oct 2021 13:59 #77222 by ASL
Replied by ASL on topic Up Fangs down Mnweni September
More than happy to have been part of those awesome adventures Riaan!!

I think it wasYvon Chouinard that said: 'the adventure begins when something goes wrong'

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15 Oct 2021 15:17 - 15 Oct 2021 15:22 #77223 by supertramp
Thanks, what an interesting read!

For some odd reason, I can recall that a 2017 ascend of Fangs was one of the only times that I really struggled to follow the GPS track. At one point I just gave up and "eye-balled" the rest of the way up. It was probably due to the fact that I was expecting some resemblance of a path where none was to be found 

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 Lesson learned and applied to all future hikes!  And all this way before the recent heavy rains!!!

I'm a big fan of using GPS tracks in the mountains and will hardly ever leave home without properly scouting the route on Google Earth and Basecamp. I have however also learned not to become too overly reliant on them (it takes away some of the enjoyment). But over time I've also learned to listen attentively to that "sixth sense" which tells you to just verify on the GPS - it has saved me from a lot of "red face" situations 

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Last edit: 15 Oct 2021 15:22 by supertramp.
The following user(s) said Thank You: tonymarshall

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18 Oct 2021 14:28 - 18 Oct 2021 14:29 #77230 by Serious tribe
Interesting that Sifiso was packing, wonder if he was just doing target practise at the time?  Seemed apologetic enough about causing a scare.

I have met two guys that were at 5 Star Cave a few years ago and had a good chat with them, they seemed quite permanent at the cave.  Can't recall if one of them was Sifiso.

Last edit: 18 Oct 2021 14:29 by Serious tribe.

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