Mini Hike Reports

02 Oct 2020 18:48 #76154 by hikingle
Replied by hikingle on topic Mini Hike Reports





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04 Oct 2020 14:36 #76158 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Mini Hike Reports
I'll write up the passes on their respective threads (well, aside from Mnweni Pass).

For the Heritage Day long weekend, I teamed up with Dave to have a crack at some Mnweni Passes. The plan was "simple":
day 1 - up North Black and Tan Pass, overnighting in Manxome Cave (the lower one without the 5m climb)
day 2 - down Manxome Pass, up Mnweni Buttress Pass to Ledgers Cave
day 3 - up North Saddle Peak, down North Ntonjelana Pass and up Christmas Pass to Easter Cave
day 4 - down Twins Pass back to the Centre

I usually try to avoid going more than 6 weeks without a Drakensberg trip - in part due to it being tough to keep mountain fit if you don't do it frequently enough. Moving to Gauteng, and then lockdown happening has not helped this! So I was worried about my fitness for what is a fairly ambitious plan.

We camped at the Centre for Wednesday night, and left before sunrise. The story about picking up markers left from Mnweni Marathon is well documented elsewhere and doesn't need to be rehashed here.


We proceeded up North Black and Tan Pass - which absolutely killed me - and hit the escarpment just before sunset.


After I made a stuff up of navigating to the top of Manxome Pass in the dark (much harder than I anticipated), we ended up bivvying above the cliffs just north of Pins Pass. It was a breezy night with an amazing view. Also Dave's first bivvy. It got windy, but luckily no dew - so overall a great bivvy. The view from my sleeping bag the next morning was well worth it!




After deciding not to go down Manxome Pass, we went down Manxome Pass :lol:

I will write up Manxome Pass on its own thread - but I have to say that it is one of the best passes I've ever done.

We went back up via Mnweni Pass as I wasn't coping very well. Mnweni Pass was packed with other hikers, 100 people must have done it that day.


We realised that our odds of getting Ledgers was 0%, and decided to head to Nguza Cave instead. As always, the cave is spectacular, well sheltered and not very flat.

On Saturday morning we went up North Saddle Peak. I had brought a 20m static rope (well, access chord) with me - I had bailed the last time as I was unhappy downclimbing it without a rope. Dave went up free solo, trailing a rope, set up a belay for me, and I followed him up. Static ropes are not great for falls as they have no stretch, so the belay had to be kept fairly firm.


We tagged the summit (great view) in very windy conditions - so we didn't stay on top for very long.


For descent, I rigged an abseil, using a munter hitch, and ended up down climbing with that as a support. I rate my anchor would have held, but I wasn't 100% sure and was thus reluctant to lean back on the rope. That downclimb is super sketchy, not a chance I would do it off a rope. But for anyone thinking about leading it, there seems to be 1 cam placement, but it is above the hard part. The climb is also notably 15m, not much excess rope was available below the climb on my 20m rope.

Dave free-soloed the downclimb.


We decided to call it a day on Saturday - the wind was really bad, weather forecasts showed it would likely rain the next day - and I was struggling with my fitness. We went down North Ntonjelana Pass, and got back to the camp around 4PM. I have done the walk out from Ntonjelana Pass 3 times now (never done it the other way around) - and I still don't really know the route. I just kind of make it up as I go along. All the trails go to the road, so just a case of staying close to the river for long enough.


Overall a great hike!

With this hike, Dave moves up to 11th on the list of people I have done the most Drakensberg distance with, passing a few people who were on my first DGT. If DGTs are excluded, he is up to 5th overall (behind, in order, Mike, Andrew, Tony and Ross).

Full story at this linkthis link .

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05 Oct 2020 09:01 #76160 by Andreas
Replied by Andreas on topic Mini Hike Reports
We were part of that "100 people" on the Mnweni pass on Friday and saw this gazelle that you call Dave whizzing past us.

Well done you guys and it was nice to have a quick chat with Dave at the top of Mnweni pass.

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05 Oct 2020 09:41 #76163 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Mini Hike Reports
Hi Ghaz

Thanks for the writeup. B&TNV (Black &Tan North Variation) is indeed an interesting pass. As you would have read on VE, I came down it in the beginning of September on a long but enjoyable 6 day trip. Those bushy sections are indeed a trial, as is the unstable earth ramp above them. Coming down was quite sketchy. Though I did enjoy the exposure on the grass ramps.

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05 Oct 2020 10:13 #76164 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Mini Hike Reports

Andreas wrote: We were part of that "100 people" on the Mnweni pass on Friday and saw this gazelle that you call Dave whizzing past us.


Nice! Aside from the wind and smoke, it was a beautiful day to be in the mountains.

Serious tribe wrote: As you would have read on VE, I came down it in the beginning of September on a long but enjoyable 6 day trip.


I actually missed that post, just read it now - really cool! That shot of the Pins with the mist is one of the most amazing shots of the Berg I have ever seen.
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07 Oct 2020 11:25 - 07 Oct 2020 11:27 #76187 by WarrenM
Replied by WarrenM on topic Mini Hike Reports
Over the weekend we did a one night trip to Giants, up Bannerman pass to SpareRib Cave for the night, mostly overcast and in mist the whole way up, but we got amazing views the next morning, from the cave, see below, it was truly spectacular, even if only captured off my basic phone.



Later on Sunday as we ascended above the cloud again we got some spectacular views towards the top of Bannerman pass and then some way across the escarpment before we were engulfed in cloud again before descending langalibalele

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Last edit: 07 Oct 2020 11:27 by WarrenM. Reason: Photo edit

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07 Oct 2020 18:25 #76192 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Mini Hike Reports
Wow - beautiful photo Warren!

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23 Oct 2020 18:04 #76245 by Richard Hunt
Replied by Richard Hunt on topic Mini Hike Reports
Hello Guys. I did a hike to discover the source of the Mooi River. The Mooi River begins in the Highmoor Area. I also walked the smugglers short cut over The gable if anyone need to know more about this route.

This is the winter source of the Mooi River. I was able to fill my water bottle from the trickle that emerged from behind these rocks.

The summer source would begin above this small waterfall, but is dry in winter.

Here is the source of the Mooi River.

And this is the valley where it begins.

I tented the evening next to a small tarn to a chorus of frogs.

Views from my tent site.

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Yesterday 11:10 #76249 by Smurfatefrog
Replied by Smurfatefrog on topic Mini Hike Reports
What do people think of Mnweni now being a place to take dogs and 8 month old babies hiking?

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Yesterday 16:35 #76256 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Mini Hike Reports
Is this a trick question?

Those dogs might prove to be a good snack for any passing Basotho dogs. Doubt even the Basothos would take an 8 month on any escarpment jaunts. An 8 month year old could easily succumb to dehydration if it gets stomach issues, gets too hot, and well, gets dehydrated. So no I don't think it is a good idea.

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