Drakensberg hike - up Ships down Grays pass


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4 of us did a lekker 3 day hike this past week in the berg.

Friday we hiked from Moncs Cowl office up via the Sphinxs, turned left at Blind Mans corner, up Shada ridge, over Cowl fork, through the nightmareish jungle section and eventually arrived in the Ships Prow river valley.

Sanet and myself bivvied while the other 2 guys tented. The stars were amazing but the fresh wind meant we got into our sleeping bags shortly after dark.

Saturday morning treated us with a spectacular sunrise

Nice view from our bivvy spot. A bit low to the ground, obviously :grin:

Going up Ships is a real mission. I just realised again that this route contains the worst bundu bashing in the entire Drakensberg. The torture eventually ended and we got up onto the pass. This one is one of the highest passes in the berg, meaning that you are in for abour 300m ASL more climbing than the average berg pass. The bottom of the pass is covered in long grasses which makes forward progress hard work, but onve you cross the scree section the going gets easier. However, it’s still another 200m ASL to the bottom of the 400m high prow itself, so pase yourself as it is still far to go

We found no water on the pass do the two guys were out of water halfway up the pass. We found some snow on top so could melt it for water and coffee, which helped. From here we went over to Ships Prow North, then Champagne Castle, then to Moncs Cowl, and finally back over the ridges to Nkosazana cave. It was freeeeeeee eeee eeeezing cold on Sat night. The cave was qet but all the water inside froze during the night. Most of the Nkosazana river also froze over. The water in the grooves of my water bottle cap froze in the minute it takes to walk from the river back up to the cave

The next morning we walked down Grays pass, back down to KBC, past VMC and down via Kearlands pass to descend the lower berg. It was a really hot day, the complete contrast from the day before.

Below a couple more pics taken on route