Mini Hike Reports

22 Apr 2018 19:10 #73263 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Mini Hike Reports
Over the weekend I lead a team of 10 on a trip at Giants.

We all headed up to Bannerman Hut

6 of us set off to head up Gypaetus Pass, with Gordon turning back at 2750m as he wasn't up for hiking in the mist. The others stayed with our gear at the hut, allowing us to go up with minimal gear

We ended up taking a funny line through the top in the mist, but managed to do hut to summit in 3h15. Both of the ladies had never been on top of the Drakensberg before, so that was an amazing effort on their part

We came down Bannerman Pass, having to do the last 1km with headlamps - but we were on the trail by that point, so no problem there

We walked out this morning - Ryan and Robert had a long drive, so they ran ahead, and I am behind the camera, hence only 7 people in this shot

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01 May 2018 10:53 #73336 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Mini Hike Reports
Amphitheatre Hike

Over the years, I have hiked through the Amphitheatre region a few times en route to other escarpment destinations, but never spent a great deal of time in the area. I had never been to Mont Aux Sources or walked along the escarpment near the Inner Tower/Ribbon Falls area so over this last weekend we decided to spend three days exploring this area.
The chain ladders are still operational as work has not yet started on replacing them, but we chose to go up Beacon Buttress gully. The weather was cool on top with a brisk wind and at first, it appeared that we were the only people around, apart from two Japanese tourists who had set up tent. However, this soon changed, and by late afternoon, there were no less than 53 tents in the area surrounding the Tugela River. A large school group made up 32 of this amount and although its great to see young people out in the mountains , one wonders about the negative impact this would have had on the immediate environment.We spent an uneventful night although the wind became increasingly strong and we were pleased to escape the crowds , heading south the next day.
We spent a leisurely morning meandering along the escarpment edge, and it was amazing to see the Bilanjil Falls as it plunges over the escarpment into several pools before plunging over the edge. We set up tent near Ribbon Falls and went for a walk in the afternoon to view the cutback at the Inner Tower area, an awe inspiring area of turrets and pinnacles while some of our party climbed Mt Amery.
The following day we headed back towards the Sentinel, some of us opting to hike to Crows Nest Cave whilst the others walked back along the escarpment. I was surprised to find the cave in a clean and tidy state, with fresh grass on the floor. It is very sheltered and has an amazing view of the entire Amphitheatre area. From here you can see all movement below and as far afield as Ribbon Falls and its not hard to see that this would have been an ideal place for previous attacks on hikers to be launched from. We did not see any livestock or shepherds at all and it seems that they have moved inland for the Winter. We decided against walking up to Mont Aux Sources as time was against us and there was mist moving in from the North. As we made our way back down the gully we were immersed in thick mist and were surprised to see day trippers still coming up from the car park at 2.00pm.
Mont Aux Sources still remains on my ‘to do’ list, so we will be back!
Thanks to Richard, Rinaldo, Farouk, Ryan and Roger for a relaxed, enjoyable hike.
Please see Richards blog - richardhuntphotographer.blogspot.co.za/ for more photos from our hike.













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01 May 2018 16:47 #73337 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Mini Hike Reports
I'll probably do a proper write-up at some stage, but the short story of what was supposed to be a DGT is as follows:
10:01AM Mike and I left Sentinel car park. They had told us that the contractors didn't arrive for the chain ladders, so we could still use them
12:06 we bagged checkpoint 1, Mont-Aux-Sources
Around 2PM: Mike was struggling quite a bit with Stimela Ridge
Around 3:30 we stopped for a long break on the river behind Rwanqa Pass
Around 6PM on reaching the Cutback Highway trail, Mike admitted to not feeling well and being unable to keep going. He wasn't able to reach Pins or Ledgers, so we found a spot out of the strong wind on the SA side of the border and bivvied between some rocks for wind protection
9PM Mike was nauseous and had a headache.
Day 2 5:30AM my alarm went off and Mike still had a headache, so I suggested he have something to eat and drink.
7:30AM Mike and I discussed bailing, but his headache was completely gone, so we set off. Our sleeping bags were wet on the outside, but had kept us dry. We used our towels to dry off all excess moisture.
11AM: we set our sleeping bags out to dry on the Senqu and had a long break, Mike confirmed that he was fine.
3:30PM we stopped for a break behind Tseketseke Pass before tackling Cleft. Mike was starting to cough, but said he was feeling fine
Roughly 5PM: Ghaz makes a comical error on line selection up Cleft, but it was only his 7th time bagging it :whistle:
5:30 we bag Cleft, seeing 5 buck on the summit
Just after 6PM: we are still talking about pushing for Didima Cave, but Mike is clearly in bad shape
6:50PM I suggest that we use Lower Ndumeni Cave as it is still on GT route (Smugglers Shortcut line)
9PM Mike is coughing a lot and we agree that we need to bail
Day 3: 6AM I watch a beautiful sunrise from the cave while Mike sleeps
7:00 Mike is still feeling sick, we discuss it and agree that the GT attempt is over. I contact my mother and arrange a lift back home
8:00 I return from a 1km walk to find water on the escarpment, and we head off down Thuthumi Pass, out via Thuthumi Ridge route
1PM my mother has walked part of the way up Mikes Pass and walks the last 1km with us
1:32PM we reach my car. Mike is looking much better and isn't coughing much any more.

Route stats:
Distance: 73km
Time 51h31
Average pace 1.4km/h

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01 May 2018 16:51 #73338 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Mini Hike Reports

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01 May 2018 16:53 #73339 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Mini Hike Reports

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01 May 2018 19:56 #73340 by ruthtbl
Replied by ruthtbl on topic Mini Hike Reports
Thanks for the report, and sorry you didn't make the GT you were after. It sounds like it was the right decision to bail though. With the headache and coughing that improved when you descended, I wonder whether Mike maybe had an altitude related illness...

'Please accept the stimulation'
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02 May 2018 13:36 #73353 by WarrenM
Replied by WarrenM on topic Mini Hike Reports
With much excitement we took our boys 6 and 8 on their first over night trip into the berg, the plan was simple, start from Injisuthi, one night in a tent somewhere on shada ridge and the second night at wonder valley cave. Ruth's parents 60+, also joined us. None of us have hike the route before.

We drove down from JHB on Friday and started hiking as soon as we could, by the time we got to the top of van Heyningen's it was time to start looking for a place to set up tents so we literally set up the tents around the lookout point, which was absolutely fantastic as the view on Saturday morning was brilliant. Saturday was very relax with a walk up shada ridge before heading down to wonder valley. We spent some time at the pool before heading back to the cave for the night. On Sunday we woke up to mist and cloud, and made our way back to Injisuthi in the mist and drizzle.

It was a good trip for the boys they got to experience great weather and rain/drizzle and mist with low visibility, I tried my best to start the process of teaching them to orientate themselves in the berg etc etc, and we all enjoyed the pool and river just past the wonder valley cave,the full moon and stars were really amazing, and the views.

Asking the boys afterwards how they felt and what they wanted to do next, our eldest just wants to go back to wonder valley cave for a couple nights so he can play in the pool and river close to the cave, and our youngest says that he is now ready for that 14 night hike that Ruth and I talk about :)...... the traverse...... I think that we will wait a little longer before doing that one together, but it is great that we can include them in exploring the berg as a family.







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02 May 2018 14:14 #73358 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Mini Hike Reports
Nicely done! It's awesome to see families enjoying a trip to the mountains together :thumbsup:

WarrenM wrote: our youngest says that he is now ready for that 14 night hike that Ruth and I talk about :)...... the traverse......


He'll have to hurry - he only has 8 years left to beat Mike's record :lol:

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09 May 2018 12:25 #73424 by ruthtbl
Replied by ruthtbl on topic Mini Hike Reports
Here is a short video I made of the MCSA KZN hike up Ntonjelana Pass and down Grays Pass over the last April long weekend :)


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09 May 2018 14:50 #73426 by JonWells
Replied by JonWells on topic Mini Hike Reports
Thanks for the video Ruth, it was a tough 70km, but worth every step! :woohoo:

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