Ship’s Prow Pass
Sabine, you prob know this already - you can rattle down Gray's to Keith Bush in 3 hours......
Sabine wrote: It is a three day hike as we are planning to go up Ships on day 1, down Greys on day 2 and camping at Keith's Bush camp, and then walking out and travelling back to JHB on the Sunday. If we divide going up Ships into 2 days, then the last day would be a really long day, considering we still need to get back to JHB!
and while I'm logged in, some years back we climbed Monks Cowl several times. To make a 3 day weekend out of two days, we walked into Keith Bush on the Friday night. The path is OK for walking at night. This comment is more a general one on the issue of how best to use a weekend in the berg when a lot of circuits are better done in 3 than 2 days.
(PS. Not an expert on this pass though, only did it once).
Having left Monk's Cowl campsite at 6.50am, we had a 20 minute break at Blindman's Corner before heading along the contour path to Ship's prow stream where we arrived at about 12pm.
There were six of us: Bernard, Brigitte, Anthony, Fernando, Peter and I. We had a 45 minute lunch break to replenish before heading into the bed of boulders and bundu bashing. The stream was flowing quite heavily. At times we found what seemed to look like a path only to lose it again and get stuck in the bushes. Eventually we got closer to where the pass narrows and the steep bit starts and Anthony could see a feint path leading up the left hand side and considered that route better than sticking in the boulder bed. We filled up our water bottles for the last time and headed up the steep path. There we found the first of many cairns. So this must have been the path that "Bigsnake" was talking about.
We followed this path all the way, going on and on and on. We were walking in the mist by now and could not see the top of the pass but luckily we had 3 GPSs amongst us and we could keep progress of how much further it was. We were exhausted and still had 600 vertical meters to go!! We would have to take a rest every now and then. The higher we got the worse we felt. Eventually we would walk five steps and had to stop to catch our breath and rest our legs! Its not that we aren't used to altitude, all of us are strong seasoned berg hikers! Finally the mist lifted and we could see the top...YAY!! Only about 100m. It took us over an hour to get up that last bit. 6.15pm we finally topped out, utterly wasted! I have never felt soo tired before!
It had become extremely cold, so we quickly put on warm gear, got out our headlamps and walked to the right over the ridge and down to the river. by 7pm we dropped our packs for the last time that day and pitched tents immediately. 22km in total.
So, ok this pass is doable in a day....I have ticked it off and won't be doing it again in a hurry!
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Strange thing about the berg, we were up the Chain ladders the weekend before in the rain and storms and hail and snot and zero vis and broken poles and stuff, and can you believe it!!! We were planning more hikes on our way home. There truly is no hope for us.