The Mt Aux Sources - Amphitheatre - Tugela thread

28 Apr 2016 20:12 #68086 by AdrianT

supertramp wrote: Personally I feel that if I give in and cancel my hike plans I will just allow the situation to become personal and to interfere with my love of the mountains. I refuse to become a prisoner of outside circumstances.


Agreed 100 % :thumbsup:
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28 Apr 2016 21:15 #68087 by kloot piloot
I am a brand spanking new member, but an old lurker. VE is an excellent and mature forum :)

We (6 in group) plan to do the Amphitheatre via Sentinel car park this Saturday, 30 April. One night sleep over and down on Sunday.

I agree with Supertramp and AdrianT, don't give in. Instead, let us go up this weekend in numbers. Stick together and show our "own" force. We are doing the walking sticks, tear gas, PIR alarm system thing, but other than that I cannot picture myself handing yet another part of our freedom in SA over to hooligans.

Hooliganism has been fought, and won, worldwide by countering these cowards with numbers.

That mountain and this country belongs to all of us. If need be, we will hire a guide/guard at Witsieshoek, but snow and cold will be our enemy... not hooligans.
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28 Apr 2016 21:43 #68089 by intrepid
I do understand that sentiment, and it has its merits. I really hope none of you guys heading out there this weekend have any issues though. Enjoy and come back safe and sound.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
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28 Apr 2016 22:16 #68091 by Dillon
Looks like there's going to be a big group of us sharing the top of Amphitheatre this weekend. Safety in numbers!

"Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous."
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29 Apr 2016 08:25 #68099 by LouisvV
When in numbers, where is do you guys camp on the Amphitheatre? Or do you head out as far as possible from the Tugela, meaning towards Ribbon Falls area? I have seen YouTube videos of big groups camping basically next to the Tugela / close to the edge of the escarpment. When solo or only 2-3 people I know the Tugela basin is basically a no-go if you don't want unwanted trouble.

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29 Apr 2016 09:24 #68101 by Ranger
@Intrepid et al...

Thank you for your thoughtful postings. Closing the Amphitheatre would be a last resort but honestly I think we reached that point some time back. The ideal situation would be to have staff permanently deployed there but its a question of resources as it costs a great deal to do so. Bearing in mind too the human and other solid waste removal challenge as human waste does not degrade in those temperatures which is why the pit toilets failed. We are currently consulting user groups about the closure and the response has been positive. We try our best to deploy staff over peak periods but given our recent budget cuts (in the news) this is becoming increasingly difficult to do. I think the user-pays principal is now coming to the fore and that some form of semi-permanent presence is going to be needed. Important to remember that that area is also a biodiversity hotspot, with many endemic plant and animal species being terribly degraded by the heavy illegal grazing in that area. A permanent presence would also help deal with that.
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29 Apr 2016 09:30 #68102 by Ranger
@Intrepid

Thank you this is exactly how we are thinking at the moment.

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29 Apr 2016 09:34 #68103 by AdrianT
I would glady pay a steep entry fee to keep it open, clean, and safe. R125 to get into Cape Point, and really, apart from windsurfing at Platboom there isn't much to do. I'd easily pay R300 to gain access to what I consider one of SA's most beautiful areas. Cheaper than a night at a BNB or dinner for two at Cattle Baron and worth every penny. People will moan, sure - but they will pay.

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01 May 2016 13:19 #68121 by Dillon
After all the negative publicity surrounding the Amphitheatre lately, there were roughly 18 tents set up around Tugela Falls area alone last night. And what a fantastic night on top of the Berg! There were also a number of tents set up across towards Ribbon Falls.




"Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous."

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03 May 2016 10:05 #68143 by supertramp
I am happy to announce that we had an awesome weekend on top of the Amphitheater with no incident. We were a large group that ascended on Saturday morning and pitched 9 tents at Ribbon Falls. Given a freezing cold day with lots of rain we were fortunate to witness the most beautiful sunset over Sentinel Peak and Beacon Buttress. Always amazes me how frequently the Berg rewards one for hard effort and suffering with a breathtaking view out of nowhere :thumbsup:






Dillon, we spotted the lights from your campsite at Tugela Falls and tried to communicate with Morse code :) Glad to hear that you guys also had a great time.

I did not spot a single Basotho for the entire weekend, it might have had something to do with the cold or the size of our group. Given everything that has been said over the last couple of days I believe that there is definite safety in numbers and that if you set up a proper early warning system around camp that your risk can be mitigated to a large extent.

The mountains have replenished my soul over the weekend and now I'm ready to take on society again (even if only for a little while until the Mnweni Marathon in 2 week's time :P )

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