Mini Hike Reports

15 Aug 2020 11:23 #75932 by Smurfatefrog
Replied by Smurfatefrog on topic Mini Hike Reports
On the August long weekend we headed back to the Northern Berg. This time starting from Mahai at Royal Natal, and coming down at Mnweni.

We set off at 6:30am, getting to the road at Basotho gate and then heading up the Chain Ladders.
The wind was rather unpleasant, so we had lunch in the hut on top.
We then headed to Ifidi cave for the night. The wind really picked up in the last hour making it difficult to walk, but luckily the cave was east facing and well sheltered
Morning sun, moon and eland (in the trees in the middle)


The original plan for day 2 was Ledges cave, but due to the gale force winds we cut the day short and headed to Fangs cave, after having lunch in Rat Hole Cave

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15 Aug 2020 11:26 #75933 by Smurfatefrog
Replied by Smurfatefrog on topic Mini Hike Reports
We were joined by another group at Fangs cave, who had changed their route to avoid the Ledges/Mponjwane area due to the number of groups that had headed there!
Luckily there was space for 8 of us to fit into the cave comfortably.



The next morning we headed down Fangs Pass and hiked out for a great weekend in the berg!

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16 Aug 2020 20:36 #75944 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Mini Hike Reports
Some photos from when I did Crack and Mudslide at RNNP. Basic summary - not nearly as scary as I had been warned, and a fairly decent route. But if you only have time for one route at RNNP and have never done the Tugela Gorge Walk, rather do that. The Tugela Gorge Walk has to be one of the best Small Berg hikes.

Full story at this link.

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16 Aug 2020 20:38 #75945 by ghaznavid
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18 Aug 2020 10:52 #75951 by Smithers_23
Replied by Smithers_23 on topic Mini Hike Reports
Thank you for this report - great to hear that the trail has been well maintained during these times! I'm a big fan of this hike. I've only ever done it 'up the mudslide and down the crack' as I much prefer going up the steeper mudslide and it's associated ladders as apposed to down them, and swimming in the pools at the top is great reward.

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18 Aug 2020 11:05 #75952 by Riaang
Replied by Riaang on topic Mini Hike Reports
Interesting that for you guys Easter cave was warm. Every single time I've been in it, the wind was pumping (regardless of season) and it was cold. Last time (2019) the wall at the cave entrance was raised substantially and it was more bearable than before, but still cold. Glad to hear you had a warm cave, which is always nice.
Awesome pics, can't wait to get back to the Berg!

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21 Aug 2020 17:58 #75968 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Mini Hike Reports
Great to see that people are managing to get back to the Berg again. Sounds like its been a decently cold winter this year. I've always found Fangs Cave to be a spacious and comfortable shelter from the cold and wind. Easter Cave tends to be cold in my experience too, though it can offer fair wind protection depending on where its blowing from.

Some of my own recent adventures with some very different scenery:

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

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28 Aug 2020 13:03 #76001 by vivo101
Replied by vivo101 on topic Mini Hike Reports
After procrastinating for a year I have eventually gathered the motivation to finish this writeup, I wish I could blame it on being too busy in the mountains :whistle:

Hanging Valleys Pass has peaked my interest ever since I saw the write-up from AndrewP. I have struggled to find someone crazy enough to try something sketchy with me for however. After being dropped by my regular hiking partners AGAIN, I opted for VE as a last-ditch effort and Gudstff was keen to join. So September 2019 we headed to the Mnweni area to do Hanging Valleys Pass.

I knew in which gully it was ascending and that it GOES. We made our way up the scorching and dry Mnweni valley and stayed over at Chi Chi bush camp the first night. The next morning we contemplated either doing Pins Pass or committing to Hanging Valleys, we pulled the trigger on the latter. We made our way up the Mnweni Valley past the turn-off to Manxome pass, boulder hopping in the river bed. The river valley into the Mnweni Cutback is strewn with waterfalls and large pools.




We eventually reached the large choke stone in the river valley and found a way around the left of it.



After some more boulder hopping we had out first look at Hanging Valleys, surely does not look if it goes from afar. The views back onto Mnweni Butress Pass were amazing.




We reached the large choked waterfall that blocks the gully and made our way onto the very exposed grass slopes on the right, dealing with some dirty chimney climbs, that I would not like to decend. The gully started to narrow and the grass slopes forced you into the gully once again, this would have been a very different experience if I was not aware that it goes. Just as you are about to be cliffed out, a narrow ledge and a small rock bridge across the gully appears. Then it was just getting up the last dirty exposed scramble and we were through the worst of it.




"To those who are enthralled by mountains, their wonder is beyond all dispute. To those who are not, their allure is a kind of madness." - Mountain

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28 Aug 2020 13:18 #76002 by vivo101
Replied by vivo101 on topic Mini Hike Reports
We reached the top and made our way to the Black and Tan wall, in the opposite direction from Nguza we were going to descend, just to see the sunrise over the Mnweni Pinnacles. I spent a windy night in my bivy with the wind slapping the material into my face and awoke to the most spectacular white out conditions of the Pinnacles :thumbs-down:. We made our way to Nguza Pass and stopped to admire the views of Northen Saddle Peak.



On the way down Nguza we got enveloped by the mist, lost the "path" on the way down and ended up bush wacking in wet undergrowth, a whole "Type 2 Fun" scenario :whistle:. We were planning on staying at the campsite just below Rockeries, but being drenched, deciding against it. We opted for the long slog back to the cultural village arriving at the cars at 9Pm.

Hanging Valleys was definitely worth the hype. Well done to AndrewP and Stjin on opening it up, I would surely have been a different experience not knowing that it goes.

"To those who are enthralled by mountains, their wonder is beyond all dispute. To those who are not, their allure is a kind of madness." - Mountain

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28 Aug 2020 16:57 #76004 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Mini Hike Reports
Great write up and what spectacular photos! Well done!!
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