Mini Hike Reports

31 May 2016 19:28 #68611 by Smurfatefrog
Replied by Smurfatefrog on topic Mini Hike Reports
Once out of the main gully it was just a case of getting down the grass slope


The gully we came down is centre left


Heading into the Bollard valley towards Sleeping Beauty Cave

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17 Jun 2016 22:53 - 17 Jun 2016 22:57 #68851 by Sterkhorn
Replied by Sterkhorn on topic Mini Hike Reports
I had initially planned to introduce Kylan and Thomas to the Northern Traverse, but with the recent security issues in the area, decided to rather explore the Upper Injisuthi basin. We set out on Sunday the 22nd May on our 6-day adventure. It turns out that we missed meeting up with Jonathan (Ghaznavid) and Mike (Hobbit) by 2 days. The weather was near perfect for the whole trip, with hardly a breath of wind, except on our first night on the escarpment, where a stiff breeze battered our tent all night. We spent the first night at the base of Leslies Pass (probably our coldest night at about -3ºC) and were again amazed at the abundance of stars visible before the full moon made its appearance.

The next morning we were treated to the beautiful sunrise colours of winter. We ascended Leslies Pass without incident (thanks to the Erica bushes in the lower section of the gulley) and then spent an enjoyable day following the escarpment with its awesome views. We spent the second night tenting alongside the river which flows over the escarpment north of the Buttresses. We experienced a rather windy night with a couple of tent pegs being pulled loose from the gravelly soil.

We were greeted again by an awesome sunrise and explored the iced river alongside our camp spot. That day we spent an enjoyable morning following the escarpment, ascending the Buttresses and passing the Red Wall waterfall and ended up at the Upper Injisuthi Cave, our planned accommodation for the next 2 nights (@ Ghaz – and we enjoyed hot soup at night :) ). We were a little disappointed with the condition of the cave – obviously used recently by Basothos, with ash/dung piles both back and front of the cave). We had an amazing sunset that evening to top off a super day.

We had planned to spend the following day exploring the valley and surrounds, but although we were treated to an awesome sunrise again, the mist soon rose and engulfed us for the rest of the day, curtailing our exploration somewhat. We did however experience about 10 minutes of sleet, the remnants still visible the next morning in the shady sections along the path.

We started the next day exploring the escarpment around the waterfall below the cave, before taking the high route back to Leslies Pass, ascending Injisuthi Dome and Mafadi along the way. We had just stopped to admire the handiwork on the Basotho cairn below Mafadi, when we noticed a group of about 6 or 7 persons without packs starting to descend Mafadi and come in our direction. We kept on walking, but 2 of them quickly caught up with us. As TonyMarshall mentioned in his post http://www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/16-drakensberg-grand-traverse/55816-who-is-doing-or-has-done-the-grand-traverse.html?start=260#68748 , they were clothed in normal clothes and anoraks and I think they said they were from Mokhotlong, searching for diamonds. In our case, they asked for a machine to detect diamonds by illustrating a camera or binocular action (I had a camera round my neck), and they pointed for us to go to a ridge about a kilometre into Lesotho. There were some people on the ridge, but they said hey were not their friends, but shepherds. They also showed us some large quartz crystals. We indicated that we could not help them, and were a little unnerved when they asked us to wait for their friends who were getting nearer. We told them we were in a hurry and moved on at a somewhat faster pace. Whether they were genuine or had ulterior motives, we do not know, but had no further problems from them. We later came across an elderly Mosotho on horseback, who seemed to be checking on the shepherds in the valley (judging by their interactions with one another).
We spent the last night at the base of Leslies Pass again, with a perfectly calm evening.

After another beautiful sunrise on the last morning, we packed up and headed for Marble Baths, where a little fun in the pools was enjoyed before tackling the last section back to Injisuthi camp.

Yet again, a most enjoyable hike in especially pleasant conditions.

Kyaln, Thomas and myself (Neil) ready to roll

A short rest at Marble Baths on a clear morning

An amazing star-filled evening

A beautiful sunrise, highlighting our task for the day

The route up the ridge and into Leslies Pass

Escarpment scenery, looking towards the Buttresses

Day 3 – Sunrise colours

Iced river alongside the Greater Butress

Ice Islands

Red Wall and Triplets

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Last edit: 17 Jun 2016 22:57 by Sterkhorn.
The following user(s) said Thank You: ghaznavid, hikingle, AdrianT, Richard Hunt

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17 Jun 2016 23:11 #68852 by Sterkhorn
Replied by Sterkhorn on topic Mini Hike Reports
Beautiful sunset from outside Upper Injisuthi Cave

Day 4 - Sunrise, before the mist came in

Day 5 - Sunrise from inside the cave

Early morning escarpment views

We were fascinated by these interesting iced shadows

Healthy looking Basotho ponies

The Injisuthi Buttresses and our Day 2 campsite from above

The perfect pose!

This is cold !!!!

So small when viewed in the context of the mountains we love

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20 Jun 2016 21:50 #68880 by Richard Hunt
Replied by Richard Hunt on topic Mini Hike Reports
Hi Guys, for those who want to see my photos from the Sani Adventure Trip, go to ...... http://richardhuntphotography.co.za/?p=1261

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21 Jun 2016 10:09 #68884 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Mini Hike Reports
Hey Rich

Some great shots showing life in Lesotho. The BaSotho seem to deal with the cold a lot better than we do, judging by the amount of winter clothing the hikers have on. Amazing what years of acclimatisation can do,
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04 Jul 2016 12:14 - 04 Jul 2016 12:54 #69049 by Papa Dragon
Replied by Papa Dragon on topic Mini Hike Reports
FlatDoggy and I decided to do a hike this last weekend, but because of the season he couldn't go off-station, or up to the escarpment. We decided to camp 2 nights at BMC, and do Gatberg on Saturday, which neither of us had done for quite a few years, and as he had a meeting on Sunday morning, I planned to do Sterkhorn, as we had heard that the cross is no longer standing.

We left Monk's parking lot just as it was getting dark on Friday evening, it was a lovely evening, the only indication of the forecast weather to come was a few wispy cirrus clouds high in the sky...

We woke up to a partly overcast Saturday morning, and after breakfast decided that despite the forecast we would walk towards Gatberg, and play things by ear. Got jut a bit further than Hlatikhulu Nek and decided it was pointless to continue, as we wouldn't be seeing anything anyway. Took a very leisurely stroll back toward camp, when we got there there were 2 Irish guys just on the path up Sterkhorn. They asked our advice re attempting Sterkhorn and we advised against it, which they followed. There was also a father and his 2 sons, who had started up, but hey soon returned due to the weather. I believe he is also on VE, can't remember his username though.

We settled into the tent for the afternoon, with a couple of Scotch coffees..... a bit later on I had to answer the call of nature, it was snowing at this stage. I got back to the tent, and told Flatdoggy that there were people at BMC.. "What!! are they mad?!!"
Turns out it was 2 Mountain guides, wipplo and his colleague, taking a party to KBC, and ultimately up Gray's..

The group at BMC


Our tent at BMC on Saturday afternoon


The thermometer on Sunday morning.


Sunday dawned a beautiful morning, cold, crisp, and clear.
Flatdoggy went down reluctantly to attend his meeting, and I went up Sterkhorn.



Unfortunately the cross on top is down, doesn't look damaged though.


A piece of chain padlocked around a rock, and a random rugby sock, next to the 1947 cross..

I'll plan a trip up sometime to re-erect the cross...

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Last edit: 04 Jul 2016 12:54 by Smurfatefrog. Reason: Rotated pics
The following user(s) said Thank You: elinda, DeonS, ghaznavid, Smurfatefrog, AdrianT, andrew r

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04 Jul 2016 13:40 - 04 Jul 2016 13:46 #69050 by Stretch
Replied by Stretch on topic Mini Hike Reports
Went on a Mnweni hike this past weekend and were treated to splendid views on Sunday morning. Will try get in a more detailed account in due course, but for now I will leave you with a view of the cathedral range and our morning sunrise





Mponjwane

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Last edit: 04 Jul 2016 13:46 by Stretch.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Serious tribe, elinda, JonWells, DeonS, ghaznavid, Smurfatefrog, AdrianT, Macc, Papa Dragon

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18 Jul 2016 20:59 #69193 by Smurfatefrog
Replied by Smurfatefrog on topic Mini Hike Reports
3½ years ago JonWells, Bos & myself did a Bannerman Pass & Langies Pass loop, which was my first escarpment hike.
This last weekend we repeated that hike and dragged along Papa Dragon and Fitness.
Last time I was completely shattered a day after the hike, this time I feel quite normal.

Set off at 18:30 Friday night to Bannerman Hut
Saturday up Bannerman Pass, summitted Bannerman Face, then headed down to camp next to the river flowing off Sanqebethu
Sunday down Langies

Snack stop at Spare Rib Cave


Final gully up Bannerman Pass


A fair bit of solid unbreakable ice!




Setting up camp as dark clouds arrived, we only had a little sleet though, temp down to -5°C


Heading down Langies

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The following user(s) said Thank You: Serious tribe, elinda, ghaznavid, hikingle, tonymarshall, AdrianT, Papa Dragon

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18 Jul 2016 21:20 #69195 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Mini Hike Reports

Smurfatefrog wrote: A fair bit of solid unbreakable ice!

Challenge accepted :lol:

Nice writeup, thanks for sharing :thumbsup: Meanwhile on Saturday morning, Hobbit and I were throwing massive rocks frozen pools and watching the rocks shatter.

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins

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31 Jul 2016 15:28 #69340 by Smurfatefrog
Replied by Smurfatefrog on topic Mini Hike Reports
Some pics from a little solo mission I did yesterday morning.
Up Tryme Hill, north along contour path & down Mushroom Rock path

Approaching the contour path as the sun hits the peaks




Snack stop at the view point (C8) to the Tseke valley


Looking forward to hearing how supertramp went on Mlambonja Pass


South towards Monks Cowl


My goal: to get back to Didima before breakfast closed at 10am


The clouds rolling in today for a little more snow tonight

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