The Mt Aux Sources - Amphitheatre - Tugela thread

24 May 2011 09:25 #2961 by thomas
Thank you kindly for the useful advice. If appreciations were money you just earned your salary for the day. I will go up alone but wont need rescuing! I presumed on a weekend there would be people up there as well, especially during July break. Hope for snow.

The Inner Tower sounds more daunting than I imagined so will give it a miss. One could leave a fixed rope and abseil down (dont know the length of the downclimb)?

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10 Jun 2011 06:44 - 10 Jun 2011 06:46 #3110 by intrepid

thomas wrote: The Inner Tower sounds more daunting than I imagined so will give it a miss. One could leave a fixed rope and abseil down (dont know the length of the downclimb)?

My approach would be standard, 2x50m trad ropes. I'd do the grassy ledge between the grassy block and the SE Arete as a pitch (the grassy block being the first, short pitch), placing maybe 3 pieces of protection, even though it is a scramble/walk and not technical climbing - just that it is pretty narrow with considerable exposure. The same would have to be done around the corner, where there is another ledge of sorts leading to the base of the gully forming the standard route. You would have to abseil back down this gully, and do the same kind of traverse back along the ledges to the block. I have down-climbed the block, but there is actually an abseil station on it, which is easier and safer.

It is difficult getting the perspective on this climb, since most of it is not easily visible. You get an idea from the Singati Wall, but from far away.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 10 Jun 2011 06:46 by intrepid.

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22 Aug 2011 08:45 #3757 by ghaznavid
In the interest of putting so much emphasis on my exams (which start in 5 weeks time today :woohoo: ), I am planning on doing 3 million hikes immediately after my exams, nothing makes you want to go to the Berg more than spending over 6 hours in a day at a cramped desk with a huge pile of books, writing a load of rubish about an impossible scenario, and having to do this 4 times in a 9 day period...

One of my planned hikes (and the most likely of them to actually happen, since I am not a fan of solo hiking) is driving to Witsieshoek, doing the "walk in the park" (as David Bristow describes it) and then traversing to somewhere around the top of Ifidi Pass, sleeping in that area over night and then getting up in the morning, reversing our route and descending Beacon Buttress Gully.

My questions are as follows (being the only person on earth to have never done the chainladders):
- Where is the mountain register for this hike?
- Where do you pay the hiking permit fee?
- How safe is it to camp on the escarpment in Mnweni, where is the best place to sleep in a tent, is a night patrol necessary? Are there better caves for me to use in the area?
- How hard is the traverse?
- Being a khulu bagger I will probably try to bag as many khulus as possible on the trip, but as always, time and energy are limited, so I can't do them all, which ones are really worth doing?
- How far would be a realistic goal, the person who I am probably hiking with managed to do Langalibalele Pass as a day hike with an overnight pack (due to the rock throwing incident it was a day hike), he didn't find it easy, but he did manage it (even with a small container of custard, who takes that on a hike...)
- How do you actually drive to Witsieshoek, I would be going from Pietermaritzburg

Thanks, info on this matter would be a great help!

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22 Aug 2011 10:45 - 22 Aug 2011 10:48 #3761 by Smurfatefrog
I'll answer some Qs for you:
- Where is the mountain register for this hike?
At the Sentinel car park

- Where do you pay the hiking permit fee?
At the entrance gate before you head to the car park - R60 p/p

- How do you actually drive to Witsieshoek, I would be going from Pietermaritzburg
At the moment with the R74 a mess, so its best to head to Harrismith, go thru Harrismith towards Bethlehem, about 1KM after leaving the centre of Harrismith take the turnoff left towards Phuthaditjhaba/Clarens/Golden Gate. After about 35km you will get the left turn to Phuthaditjhaba. Travel all the way through, the road leads directly to the Sentinel
Last edit: 22 Aug 2011 10:48 by Smurfatefrog.
The following user(s) said Thank You: ghaznavid

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22 Aug 2011 11:05 #3762 by ghaznavid
Thanks for the info. Is the R60 per day or per night? Thats a fairly far drive!

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22 Aug 2011 11:08 - 22 Aug 2011 11:08 #3763 by Smurfatefrog

ghaznavid wrote: Thanks for the info. Is the R60 per day or per night? Thats a fairly far drive!

I think its just a flat rate. They didn't ask when we paid, and I saw day trippers & overnight hikes in the register at the same rate
Last edit: 22 Aug 2011 11:08 by Smurfatefrog.

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22 Aug 2011 11:14 - 23 Aug 2011 07:11 #3764 by Smurfatefrog
Hope you don't mind but I'm going to weigh in with a Q of my own which would probably help you

Where exactly is Beacon Buttress Gully, I've read where it says "Just after the saddle between the Sentinel and the escarpment is passed" but would it be that gap on the right of the Sentinel here?

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Last edit: 23 Aug 2011 07:11 by intrepid. Reason: Embedded attached image

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23 Aug 2011 06:27 #3770 by Trev
Here is the link to the review of the gully, www.vertical-endeavour.com/blog/38-drakensberg/passes/201-beacon-buttress-gully.html
The gully is not in the gap as per your photo, its a bit further on towards the chain ladders and tops out on the escarpment facing the Sentinel. It's steep but not exposed and well worth the effort, the view from the top is amazing.

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24 Aug 2011 10:02 - 24 Aug 2011 10:09 #3787 by intrepid
Hiking fees are somewhere around R35-40 a night pp. In addition you pay an entrance fee, and per car. You can pay at the boom, at Witsieshoek Resort or at the car park. Just hold onto your receipt.

- How safe is it to camp on the escarpment in Mnweni, where is the best place to sleep in a tent, is a night patrol necessary? Are there better caves for me to use in the area?

The Mnweni is OK. The problem is the guys living in the Khubedu (same people raiding hikers at the falls). There was an incident about 3 years ago that I know of where hikers were camping somewhere in the valley connecting Ifidi Pass with the Khubedu. One of the tents was slashed and a pack stolen during the night. Ifidi Cave is a good option. Lovely cave and out of the way. Shepherd activity right at Ifidi Pass is less than further down the valleys.

- How hard is the traverse?

Easy as far as Berg traverses go.

- Being a khulu bagger I will probably try to bag as many khulus as possible on the trip, but as always, time and energy are limited, so I can't do them all, which ones are really worth doing?

Mount Amery (both the buttress and the pointy peak commonly referred to) and Thaba Endanyazana are great. If using the gully then Beacon Buttress summit is very close by. If you have time at Ifidi Pass, Ifidi Peak is really great too. Mt Aux Sources is a must do at some point, because of its historical significance and prominence, but would add a longer detour.

- How far would be a realistic goal

Chain Ladders to Ifidi Pass following the edge via Amery is a very manageable day, and even quicker if you follow the back valleys. It depends on what time you start walking though, if you are driving in the morning, and how much Khulu-chasing you do.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 24 Aug 2011 10:09 by intrepid.

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24 Aug 2011 10:06 #3788 by intrepid

Smurfatefrog wrote: Hope you don't mind but I'm going to weigh in with a Q of my own which would probably help you

Where exactly is Beacon Buttress Gully, I've read where it says "Just after the saddle between the Sentinel and the escarpment is passed" but would it be that gap on the right of the Sentinel here?

It's a little further than the gap you refer to. The path changes from a southerly course to south-westerly one at this point.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
The following user(s) said Thank You: mike_crom

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