Cowl Pass

19 Apr 2016 10:44 #67886 by AndrewP
Replied by AndrewP on topic Cowl Pass
The standard route for climbers up Cathkin is via a huge gully on the southern side of Cathkin. In the climbing guide, they specifically recommend going up Cowl Gully from Keith Bush. It refers to a very long and tedious traverse if you try to approach this gully from the ridge line leading down towards Shada Ridge.

I would thus think it is possible, but also think that it will be much quicker and easier to use the contour path. How adventurous are you?
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19 Apr 2016 23:34 #67916 by petroengel
Replied by petroengel on topic Cowl Pass
I plan to hike to KBC via Cowl Pass next week - just because we can!I'll take some pics and put it up here if I live to tell the story! :laugh:
I cannot wait to smell the breath of the Dragon again!
Plan is to go up Grays the day after, spend the night on the escarpment, and then down Ships Prow the next day. Seems as if putting Cowl Pass and Ships Prow in one trip will guarantee one epic hike! Looking forward :thumbsup:
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20 Apr 2016 10:23 #67920 by Biomech
Replied by Biomech on topic Cowl Pass
A report and some pics on that epic will be well received! Sounds brilliant!

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04 May 2016 08:24 #68189 by petroengel
Replied by petroengel on topic Cowl Pass
So, the Dragon won over the long weekend... The wind broke many hikers' tent poles (not from my group, but others we met in the Berg)and the Dragon played hide and seek in the rain and mist. At the bottom of Cowl Pass the wind almost took out one of my hikers, though. If someone else did not grab her (everybody was standing on boulders), she would have had serious injuries. That was the deciding factor to rather play it safe and walk the contour path to KBC instead of the initial plans via Cowl Pass. On the final stretch to KBC we saw a helicopter over Champagne Castle and later met the rest of that group. One of their party was rescued after a rock came loose on Grays Pass. She could not get away fast enough and her leg broke. The next day we waited to see whether the Dragon will tire of playing hide and seek, but once it started raining, we again decided to rather play it safe (especially after the heli-evac the previous day!) and we hiked out.
So, I guess I will be back!! :hike:
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04 May 2016 08:46 #68191 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Cowl Pass
Always wise to play it safe - Cowl Pass has been there for ages, it will still be there next time :thumbsup:

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04 May 2016 10:45 #68195 by Biomech
Replied by Biomech on topic Cowl Pass
Totally agree with ghaz. I have had a number of hikes that I have had to return to because of weather and other factors. I have never regretted the decision once!

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06 May 2019 22:33 #74997 by TheRealDave
Replied by TheRealDave on topic Cowl Pass
Some notes on the northern side of Cowl Pass, approached from Keith Bush Camp. As per Macc's tip in the Cowl Cave thread, you head up the terrace above KBC to the large boulder below. The head of a path up the terrace runs out of KBC, but the path is overgrown.



Continue passed the boulder till you come to the cairn pictured below. From here, you can head straight across two boulder beds to the pass, or head about 45 degrees to the right and cross only one: the bush isn't bad at this time of year. There is a path across the terrace on the other side, which is easier to spot from the pass above.





The path continues up the initial slope of the pass:



I picked up further path-like bits through the bushy middle section of the pass and also little gouges from rock-falls and summer runnels. It helps to navigate using these indents, as the grass is thick and the shrubbery fairly dense in places. This section really frustrated my hiking partner and is no doubt worse in high summer, but overall this is an easy pass. Once clear of the thick grass and shrubs, it is pretty much a grassy slope to the top via a bit of boulder hopping.



Above the rock field, one gains an awesome view of Gray's Pass and the Dragon's Back as well as an extensive view all the way to the Bell Traverse and beyond. I found this pass more scenic, and its gradient gentler, than Gray's.





There is also an extensive view to Giant's Castle on the south side, though I didn't capture this. The view down the south side of the pass is spectacular.



Since my hiking partner wasn't feeling well, we headed back down the northern side to KBC.

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23 Aug 2020 17:54 #75977 by Richardwrm1
Replied by Richardwrm1 on topic Cowl Pass
Thank you so much for your post Dave, along with the photos which bring back memories can you believe it from 1972 when I was 17 years old! This route up the north side of Monks Cowl Pass from Keith Bush Campsite was my first attempt to reach the escarpment. Problem was that having arrived at KBC mid afternoon via blind mans corner along the contour path from Champagne Castle car park, the mist had come down - so we headed (wrongly) up to the top of Monks Cowl Pass only do arrive at the sun was setting with the pass going down the other side! So we slept that night at the top of the pass. Next morning with crystal clear sky and views, we scrambled back down to KBH and up Grey's Pass. So began my Berg love affair, which incidentally included around 50/60 hikes throughout the escarpment and lower berg from Giants through to Cathedral. What adventures. Thank you again for these pics and your description which reminds my vividly of my first Berg joy, now 48 years ago!
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22 Feb 2021 11:19 #76544 by ThomLO
Replied by ThomLO on topic Cowl Pass
This past weekend I was in Monk's Cowl and on Saturday I decided to attempt the traverse from Cowl Fork to KBC via Cowl Pass as well as summit a few other peaks.

I set off from MC before 4am and just summited Sterkhorn before sunrise.


From there it was an easy trot to Cowl Fork, where I had a snack before climbing Cowl Pass

The pass was no harder than some of the other ones I have done, such as Cockade Pass, but there were a few waterfalls required a scramble up a steep grass bank to get around.

The lower part of the pass was a mixture of bush and loose boulder fields

Most of the bush and rock can be avoided by walking along the steep bank on the Eastern side of the pass. But eventually you are forced back into the main gully where there are a couple of waterfalls to climb(nothing difficult, although you might have to take your pack off for the last one).
After the waterfall there is a lot of loose scree until the pass splits in to the two forks. From there it is the usual slog up a grassy slope to the saddle.

View looking down the pass towards Injisuthi.


Scree before the fork.


Shortly after the split you can walk next to the scree on the grass.


The final slope before the saddle


The northern side is much easier and the loose rock can be mostly dodged by sticking to the western side of the valley.

Looking down towards KBC


It was perfectly clear and one of the most stunning days I have had in the berg in a while, although it was very hot.
I arrived back at MC just after 13:00, tired and a bit dehydrated.

.

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