The Mt Aux Sources - Amphitheatre - Tugela thread

29 Sep 2010 16:39 #1814 by Sterkhorn
The picture as promised.


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29 Sep 2010 21:41 #1817 by SeriousTribe2
Thanks Intrepid

Must have had blinkers on.

I was initially wondering if Temp1e was into that kind of challenge.

Good to hear it is still going.
The following user(s) said Thank You: TeaAndOumaRusks

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30 Sep 2010 08:55 - 30 Sep 2010 10:00 #1818 by temp1e
OOOOOO, this picture is fantastic!!!! This is the view I'm after.

One thing I can't understand. When I'm walking in the gorge amphiteater is on the north with right topmost peak Sentinel and the falls in the middle. When I'm coming from Sentinel car park I'm ascending from the right and the falls must be on the left.
I can't understand how this picture is taken as for me it seems that it's taken from the left?

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Last edit: 30 Sep 2010 10:00 by temp1e.

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01 Oct 2010 10:53 #1837 by SeriousTribe2
@ Temp1e

You are right, or is it left ;)

Sticking with N S E W: when you ascend the path from the car park you will head initially in a southerly direction, bearing west below the North face of the Sentinel, and again south to Buttress Gully, west again to the base of the Chain ladder.
Once you have ascended the ladder, you will walk in a SE direction towards the Hut [or east towards the falls]
The picture Sterkhorn has posted is taken from a point SOUTH EAST of the hut.
Standing at the Hut looking south you will see a ridge running down from a high point west called Crows Nest. If you climb onto the ridge and follow it east towards the escarpment edge you should be able to get the same view, if it is the spot that I am thinking of.

Not sure when you are planning your trip, but bear in mind that at the moment there will very likely be little to no water falling over the edge, so if you are after a picture such as Sterkhorn's you should best go in summer.

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01 Oct 2010 11:34 - 01 Oct 2010 11:41 #1839 by intrepid
Thats a great shot Sterkhorn! Been on that ridge, but haven't quite gotten that perspective. Probably need to walk out the ridge more.

There is a massive cleft in that ridge - see map below - is it East of that cleft?

{mosmap width='400'|height='400'|lat='-28.75606'|lon='28.89765'|zoom='15'|zoomType='Large'|zoomNew='0'|mapType='Satellite'|showMaptype='1'|overview='0'|text='photo spot'|tooltip='DWO'|marker='1'|align='center'}

PS: for those that are wondering how to get a Google Map into a forum post, it works similar to the tag you use to link gallery pictures. The above tag was created as follows (just remove the space after the first curly bracket).

{ mosmap width='400'|height='400'|lat='-28.75606'|lon='28.89765'|zoom='15'|zoomType='Large'|zoomNew='0'|mapType='Satellite'|showMaptype='1'|overview='0'|text='photo spot'|tooltip='DWO'|marker='1'|align='center'}

It can do a lot more than this, but thats another topic.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 01 Oct 2010 11:41 by intrepid.

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01 Oct 2010 13:21 #1842 by Sterkhorn
I'm pretty sure it is east of the massive cleft - I just remember going as far along the ridge as we could. That was in the mid-1970's, so details are sketchy as to exact positions. Yea, the cleft is massive (as are a number of other ones along the amphitheatre wall). My brother and I were caught out on our first hike up there in the mist - totally confused us, even the compass seemed to be lying (no GPS in those days).

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11 Nov 2010 12:20 #2021 by vk_here
Hi guys,
I'm planning to hike Mont-Aux sources with another 3-4 guys around the 3-5th of December 2010. The plan goes like this-

1. Get to Sentinel Car Park around evening on Friday, 03 Dec and camp there for the night.

2. Start out on the trail from there on Saturday, 04 Dec. We want to camp out for that night around tugela falls. We were hoping to do this in one of the caves so that we can avoid carrying the tents to the top.

3. Start back for Sentinel car park on sunday, 05 dec.

With all of the reading i've done on the forums here, it seems like camping at the Sentinel Car Park is fine. I do however need help with plans of camping in one of the caves around tugela falls, especially in terms of the safety and security situation in the Berg. It would be greatly appreciated if anyone can help me out here. Any other inputs to do with the hike are also welcome.


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11 Nov 2010 14:58 #2022 by SeriousTribe2
Welcome vk

There is one cave on the summit of the Amphitheatre. It is called Crows Nest, and is situated away from the falls above 3000m. Co-ordinates are S28 45.588 E28 53.070 Alt. 3136 m.

The other cave - Sentinel, situated below the summit just off the path and shortly after you pass Buttress Gully is nice, but removed by altitude from your destination. Check it out though on the way in as it may come in handy.

I am not sure of your experience or level of commitment, but December is the time of year when thunderstorms, rain and mist prevail. My suggestion would be to take a tent for shelter, and use the cave only for the experience, if you wish to gain that sort of altitude.

When I last visited Crows Nest a long while ago, it appeared to be well used by livestock, based on the mess.

There also appears to be a slightly higher security risk in this area, possibly due to it's popularity, so make sure you sleep on your kit.

As mentioned, Buttress Gully is a good variation to either descend (better) or ascend as part of your route. It would be difficult to attempt to find it from the top if the weather closes in. Whereas the top of the ladder is well marked with a large cairn and the old steel gantry gear used to place the ladders.

The Berg is no place to take lightly when it comes to the weather. The easy access to the escarpment of the Amphitheatre, and an underestimation of the weather and personal ability has cost some lives, even recently.

The hut on the summit is for the use of EKZN staff and MCSA and is generally locked.

Enjoy. And let us know how it goes.

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11 Nov 2010 23:20 #2023 by domsmooth
Hey vk. Welcome to the site.

As ST2 mentioned, Sentinel cave is well below the chain ladder, and thus not a far walk from the car park in fair weather. However, even recently, some have fallen foul of the inclement weather around this area. Do not take it lightly, and rather pack at least one tent in case, even if you do not plan to use it. I have not as yet been to Crows nest, but the security issues around Tugela Falls are of concern. The access is really easy for would be thieves, and they are accustomed to the area, far more so than any of us. However, on the flip side, many others have tented around the area without issue, but I would advise against tenting there without at least being aware of the issues. If you are aware of the issues and have taken consideration (such as pepper spray/mace, a bright torch that can blind would be thieves, and sleep on your kit in your tent) of the issues and taken precautions, it is my experience that this planning is generally unnecessary. Call it Murphy's law if you will, but to date I have yet to have run ins with thieves, because Intrepid and I have been cautious and known about the security issues and prepared for them.

It is a really stunning piece of the landscape of this country that I plan to go to very soon again, but with the correct mindset and preparation, it will be better for the all-round experience.

Let us know how it is up there, for those who are not as fortunate to get out there as often as we may want to!

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11 Nov 2010 23:47 - 11 Nov 2010 23:49 #2024 by vk_here
Thanx for the really valuable inputs dom & ST2! I highly appreciate the help and will surely post the details of how it goes!
Last edit: 11 Nov 2010 23:49 by vk_here.

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