Ship’s Prow Pass

27 Feb 2013 09:12 #56111 by Josh of the Bushveld
Insanity, I agree :)
Thanks for the encouragement. Fortunately I wasn't deterred from the 'berg by the experience, busy planning my next trip there.
I've also started paying a lot more attention to weight and 'luxury' items.
'Serious hiking' sounds great, I'd just need to convince my fiance (soon to be wife) and bank manager!

(I'd done Kilimajaro (Arrow Glacier route), Fish River Canyon, Rhebok, Otter and others before Ship's Prow).

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27 Feb 2013 10:15 #56112 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Ship’s Prow Pass
Lightening your pack is fun - I did an easy 23km day hike on Sunday with a 5kg pack - that weight is with water. If you can get your overnight weight down to 15kg you are doing well... That was fun - the hike was planned at 1pm the day before!

The trick is to find a group that does hikes at your level and routes that you enjoy. E.g. myself, Fitness and some other guys frequently do hikes together, we all enjoy climbing peaks with good views (which most groups don't do), we all can handle roughly 20km per day with heavy packs etc. We all also have a driving route that is similar, so sharing transport cuts costs considerably.

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27 Feb 2013 10:59 #56113 by Josh of the Bushveld
Yeah, I'm struggling with the weight still, but I'm learning :)
I did Ship's Prow with a new group.
I'm now starting to form my own group - we did our first organised trail the weekend before last (Summit trail at Kgaswane).
I'm also planning to work on my strength so I can manage a heavier pack for longer - tackling the problem from both sides.

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27 Feb 2013 12:01 #56114 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Ship’s Prow Pass
Always remember altitude makes life harder. A fair rule is normally that 26kg at sea level is 20kg on the escarpment. No one has ever moaned that they trained too hard before a hike!

Personally I find that I enjoy hikes more the fitter I am, so train hard with a heavy pack. I remember being in Jo'burg visiting my brother a few years back and training by taking a heavy pack filled with water bottles up and down the Westcliff stairs, worked pretty well.

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16 Sep 2013 09:49 #58491 by rockafella
Replied by rockafella on topic Ship’s Prow Pass
Gents if we want to start Ships Prow pass early in the morning having started hike from Monks Cowl, where is the best place to camp before starting up Ships Prow?

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16 Sep 2013 13:32 #58497 by ASL
Replied by ASL on topic Ship’s Prow Pass
I've camped at Cowl Fork stream twice and that's a really good spot. It's about 12km from the car park at Monks Cowl. I don't know how far it is to the start of Ships Prow so you will need to check on the map. You just go left at Blind Man's Corner.

PS. I did my first Berg hike to Cowl Fork carrying a whole roast chicken and a bottle or red wine! Won't do that again in a hurry! My pack weighed 25kg and I really wasn't fit then!
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18 Sep 2013 06:08 - 18 Sep 2013 06:10 #58514 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Ship’s Prow Pass
Cowl Fork is nice and I've used that as a launch spot before. However, if you can make it all the way to the campsite at junction M6 on the Ships Prow Stream it will make the day of your ascent much easier. There are some sandy camp-spots in the river bed - you'll have to look around more or less at the level where the contour path opens up into the bed. There is another campsite 600m upstream too, ie towards the pass, might not be easy to find though but I've seen it twice.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 18 Sep 2013 06:10 by intrepid.
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06 Feb 2014 09:17 #59636 by abdavies
Replied by abdavies on topic Ship’s Prow Pass
I am planning a four day trip for the end of Feb, going up to Keith Bush Camp from Monk's Cowl campsite, then up Gray's, spending the night on the top, then heading down Ships Prow south and sleeping somewhere near Cowl Fork Stream on the way back to Monk's Cowl campsite. I know the distances aren't long for each day, but we want to savour the views, etc. Also, I expect Ships Prow to be pretty nasty so want to take out time down there.

Any advice to give? Especially descending Ships Prow? I have been up Gray's before but never down (or up!) Ships Prow. Is the pass head easy to find? Is it a safe decent?

Cheers!
Andrew

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06 Feb 2014 10:28 #59637 by 5haunporter
Replied by 5haunporter on topic Ship’s Prow Pass
Hi Andrew

I have been up and down Ships Prow before and it is pretty rough. We hiked up Ships Prow and then decended Grays pass and then on another ocasion we did the reverse.

We hiked up Ships in December, slept at the base of the pass between the river and got an early start (7am). It drags out for pretty long beating through bushes and boulders (we found it easier to just walk up in the river) before it gets really rough. If you keep to the right of the prow you will be climbing over boulders for most of the way, pretty exhausting but for us it seemed like the better route as we found water more easily. The left side of the prow is more grassland than boulders, Im sure there is a pass but we couldnt find it. I cant say if there is any place to fill up with water on the left, as we descended down that side in winter and was completely covered in snow, so we used that for water. We found it quite safe to descend down Ships Prow, we took our time and cautiously desended. Last thing you will want on Ships Prow pass is a twisted ankle, so take it easy.

I would suggest that where ever you can fill up with safe drinking water, do so. Once on top, you still have a fair walk until you reach the stream. We each carried our usual 1l bottles and then took turns sharing the weight of the 2l reserve bottle of water we filled up earlier.

Also, its advisable to get an early start as soon as possible. It took us roughly 8 hours to summit, so the sooner you start the better as you can never predict the weather conditions which can slow you down further.

Probably best to take a look at this if you havent already to get familiar of the hike beforehand: Ships Prow Pass

Another than that, it is an awesome route. Great views from the top at 3388m, worth taking a walk over Champagne Castle and getting a close up of Monk's Cowl.

Enjoy! :thumbsup:
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06 Feb 2014 10:47 #59638 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Ship’s Prow Pass
We went from Keith Bush up Grays and down Ships Prow to near the contour path in one day. The day was not rushed and included an hour or two's rest up at Nkosazana cave near the top of Grays. We started descending Prow Pass at about 3pm (In January) and stopped at the contour path on the other side of the bundu bashing closing in on 7pm. The top of Ship's Prow Pass is not that obvious - rather like Mbundini Pass, it tops out really high and it took 20 minutes of cross checking before we were sure we had it. The top part of the descent in summer is easy, steep grass. A vague path comes and goes lower down as the line picks its way across the slope and amongst streams. The slow going happens in the bundu lower down where we kept hunting around for what we hoped to be the correct line through the bush. There isn't really anything that clear, but as 5haunporter has noted, stay with the river. There are a few cleared, flat areas to camp near contour path level. Water won't be an issue in summer but do take some from the stream up the slope from Nkosazana Cave as that will be the last till you are well down the pass. Prow is a pass I would much prefer to descend than ascend.
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