Bannerman Hut

19 Oct 2020 11:53 #76212 by Mariks
Replied by Mariks on topic Bannerman Hut
Hi Warren,

The roof part you are referring too was "fixed" by my husband with a piece of paracord. So not a permanent fix at all, but did the trick quite well since no more flapping in the wind. This will still need some attention.
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22 Oct 2020 09:07 #76228 by SimLan
Replied by SimLan on topic Bannerman Hut
We staying at Bannerman this weekend. If any changes I will let you know. First time doing Bannermans pass, can someone give me a rough idea on how long it takes to go up the pass and back down to the hut and the the offices? (stop off at spearmans cave for tea etc)
I had initially wanted to stay at bannermans hut and go up banners pass and then down langalibalele back to the offices but decided against it due to lack of experience in the area and fitness (training for Amatola in December), unless it is a lot easier than initially thought?

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22 Oct 2020 10:56 - 22 Oct 2020 11:00 #76230 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic Bannerman Hut
Welcome to VE SimLan,

How long is a piece of string? Fitness levels is very relative, some people can do it in a morning, some will take days to complete the same route. The weather also plays an important part in any berg hike. Super hot, humid days with no water available will definitely be harder than say an overcast day with lots of water in the streams.

Here is what I would suggest you do. If you've never hiked in the Berg, you need to understand that it is more difficult than something like a Fanie Botha, Amatola, Blyderiviers, Tsitsikamma etc. The main reason is that you climb much higher than on a "normal" hutted hike. You are in for roughly 1500m ascent if you want to go to the top of the escarpment in one day. This can be quite taxing on the legs, especially if you carry a heavy pack and it's a hot day. If you are at all unsure, why not split the ascent over 2 days? I normally follow this strategy when I take people who have never hiked in the berg to the escarpment. In this case your first day will be a relaxing 10,5km hike to Bannermans hut, with only about 500m elevation gain. You will also start to acclimatise to the higher altitude, which will probably affect you on day 2.

Bannermans pass itself is relatively easy and quite short. When you start out from the hut and start to walk up to the pass itself, you will need to cross the river as the footpath is on the right (true left) of the river itself. Follow it upwards until it disappears. By now, you would be in the throat of the pass itself. Spare rib cave is a nice spot for a break, if I remember correctly it is at around 2700m, so roughly halfway up the pass. There are 2 caves, the one further away from the pass is the nice one. From here you will have to climb over a couple of large boulders, till you eventually get to the final steep grassy gully that takes you to the top of the escarpment. Note that there is no water available here. You will have to walk first a bit to your right to go around the passhead, then left (South) and still higher to go over Bannermans ridge.

Once over the top, you can either sleep over in Bannermans cave (it can take between 4 (inside) and 6 people (2 outside, maybe 3) or make your way lower down the valley towards Langies. Have you given thought to where you want to sleep at the end of day 2? You could either sleep here, or yes, you could go down Langies and all the way back to camp. Not too difficult but could be a bit long if you're not used to berg hiking. I would say this is an easy 3 day hike for beginners, a lekker 2 day hike for regular hikers and a typical 1 day loop for day hikers carrying light packs and who are used to the berg,

Hope the advise helps.

Enjoy!!!
Last edit: 22 Oct 2020 11:00 by Riaang.
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22 Oct 2020 11:10 #76231 by Beard
Replied by Beard on topic Bannerman Hut
Agreed with Riaang on all accounts. this is a great 2 night hike. 1st night in bannerman hut, short ascent up Bannermans Pass and across to tent near Langies pass. Wake up to insane views (pass is pretty and the cross/memorial is there too) and trek down to the car (generally move faster on the homeward loop)

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22 Oct 2020 15:29 #76234 by SimLan
Replied by SimLan on topic Bannerman Hut
Thanks Riaang,
We've done the odd hike here or there up to Tarn cave, Zulu cave and Rolands cave, accompanied by a couple lower berg hikes so definitely not experienced. But I do understand the wrath the Berg can unleash and always go prepared and a bit more. The soon to be Mrs and I are doing Amatola for our honeymoon so figured the best training would be straight up and down and I've decided to start ticking some of the passes off the to do list...Unfortunately we only have Saturday night available this weekend therefore can only do a one nighter in the berg. I saw many write ups of Banners and Langies split over 2 days but regrettably that isn't possible for me at the moment but still keen to spend a night in bannerman.
So I think we'll take it a bit easier and stretch out our 2 day hike, load the bag with a lot of weight (beers) and get the gear tested again. Thank you very much for your time and in depth reply.

Please let me know of any other hikes you would suggest, 3 day hike and 2 days as well.

Many thanks,
Simon

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22 Oct 2020 15:40 #76235 by swordfish
Replied by swordfish on topic Bannerman Hut

SimLan wrote: Thanks Riaang,
We've done the odd hike here or there up to Tarn cave, Zulu cave and Rolands cave, accompanied by a couple lower berg hikes so definitely not experienced. But I do understand the wrath the Berg can unleash and always go prepared and a bit more. The soon to be Mrs and I are doing Amatola for our honeymoon so figured the best training would be straight up and down and I've decided to start ticking some of the passes off the to do list...Unfortunately we only have Saturday night available this weekend therefore can only do a one nighter in the berg. I saw many write ups of Banners and Langies split over 2 days but regrettably that isn't possible for me at the moment but still keen to spend a night in bannerman.
So I think we'll take it a bit easier and stretch out our 2 day hike, load the bag with a lot of weight (beers) and get the gear tested again. Thank you very much for your time and in depth reply.

Please let me know of any other hikes you would suggest, 3 day hike and 2 days as well.

Many thanks,
Simon


If the weather is good, you can actually do 1 night to the top of Langalibalele pass and back the next day. The route is shorter than going to Bannerman’s and the pass is even easier. This way, you will have an opportunity to sleep on top and will fit into your schedule. I have seen many hikers going to the top of Langalibalele and back as a day hike from Giant’s car park. With day packs obviously.

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22 Oct 2020 18:18 #76237 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Bannerman Hut

WarrenM wrote: So I'm back on the beat with regards to cleaning up Bannerman hut, when we went past it three weeks ago it was a mess inside again. one side of the roof was also not attached property and moving around in the wind.

I have been in contact with a number of people at Giants to try sort it out since, and they let me know last week that it had been cleaned up, so timing was just right as we were going past it again this last weekend, and I can advise that the hut is clean again, the roof part that was loose is now secure, however the rubbish that was all over the placed which had been cleaned up is pilled in a cnr.

I have contacted the people at Giants again and they have said that the rubbish will be collected and disposed of appropriately.

Can I ask that whomever goes past there next can you please check and revert back as to whether all the rubbish has been removed, thanks

Below photo's of a clean hut

Thank you for doing something about it, and persisting, WarrenM! Thank you also to Marik's husband for the temporary fix. Can we get photos of what needs to be fixed, and once we know what it is, we might be able to get someone out there to do the fix. Clubs/organizations might be able to help too. The roof is really critical, if the wind gets hold of loose pieces it can so easily tear it open.

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

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13 Nov 2020 12:29 #76306 by christof
Replied by christof on topic Bannerman Hut
Hey. Any further updates on the condition of the roof, and hut in general? I am taking a bunch of novices up there in December and need to know if we should bring tents or trust the hut... :)

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16 Nov 2020 12:50 #76312 by WarrenM
Replied by WarrenM on topic Bannerman Hut
Hi Christof, I haven't had any further feedback from EKZN, the Hut is still largely in good condition, so as long as you book it you shouldn't need your tents
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17 Nov 2020 10:38 #76315 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic Bannerman Hut
Just a general word on booking shelters - sometimes they are occupied, even if you've booked the shelter. Do you have a plan B for such an eventuality? What I usually do (and this is just a bit of practical advice, use it, lose it, your choice) when booking shelters, is to at least take some form of alternative protection along should the hut or cave be occupied.

I often take a bivvy bag along - my RAB Alpine bivvy weighs under 500g and is fully waterproof and breathable. You can also pack an emergency blanket, anything to keep the cold and/or rain away from your sleeping bag. I hate sleeping in a wet sleeping bag, been there, done it, got the ticket and I didn't like it at all. The lower berg isn't too problematic, but sleeping wet and miserable on the escarpment could lead to problems, which I try to mitigate.

Whichever way you decide to go, enjoy the Berg!!!
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