Hi guys. What is the best and safest route and overnight spots to Mafadi? Going up Corner’s Pass and down Leslie’s seems quite a popular way to go. The group of 8 will be looking at sleeping in tents and or caves. TIA
The 3 main passes to get to the escarpment on the Corner Pass side are:
- Corner Pass – The gully has 2 scrambles, the first of which could pose a problem to some. It’s fairly simple when it’s dry and it does not have extensive exposure. You could either do the pass from where it meets the contour path, or use the Northen High Approuch (NHA). The NHA starts just above Centenary Hut and joins Corner Pass just below the start of the gully. It is a great alternative approach that saves time. Note that there is also a scramble on this route and water can be scarce. It’s a epic pass though and I would definitely recommend it.
First Scramble in Corner Pass
Judges pass – (approx 2km south of corner pass) is a easy alternative if someone is not feeling up to the “scrambles” on Corner Pass, it’s as easy as berg passes get (accept for Langalibalele). Also tops out in the same area as Corner , so no mayor distance to Mafadi added.
Around The Corner Pass – The path to “around the corner” leads out of Corner pass (to the south) at the start of the gully. It is also a easier alternative to Corner, with a couple of smaller scrambles.
Towards Leslie’s side (north of Mafadi) the only viable option is Leslie’s itself. There are other passes such as Injasuthi Pass, but I would highly advise not to even think about decending this pass.
Night 1 – Use the area around Centenary hut as camp. The hut itself is very run down and dirty lately but there is alot of flat spots to pitch tents for the entire group. There is also a faint path leading of to the left from the hut (while looking towards the escarpment) , follow this path to find a small stream to fill up water.
Night 2 – Use Njesuthi Summit Cave. It has a epic view of the Triplets and could comfortably sleep 8 people and is sheltered from weather. It’s a bit dusty though so take ground sheets to keep the dust at bay. There is a reliable river running down towards the escarpment in the valley below the cave to fill up. Follow this river to the escarpment edge and you will find possibly the best escarpment pool in the entire berg, overlooking the triplets.
Night 3 – Use the bushcamp at the base of Leslie’s Pass to pitch tents. The path will lead through a campsite large enough for 3 tents. While looking down the valley, towards your right, almost inline with this campsite is a larger campsite that will fit 4 tents. I would suggest the later is it’s not directly on the path.
You can find some more information on the Corner-Mafadi-Leslies loop on Vertical Endeavour here: Corner-Mafadi-Leslies
Vivo 101 covered all the points thoroughly. Just a correction on Corner pass - there are 3 scrambles in the gully, not 2.
If you descend via leslies and your time is ok, I’d suggest pushing on towards marble Baths caves. There are two caves adjacent to one another and you can easily fit 8 hikers into both. We fitted 4 adults and 4 kids comfortably into the highest of the two easily, with room to spare.
Neither Leslies or Corner pass has much in terms of water in their upper reaches, but in summer and below 2400m ASL you should get water. There is a reliable stream close to Centenary hut. The easiest way to get to it is as follows: Stand in front of the hut and face the escarpment. About 10m or so on the path going towards the escarpment there is a path peeling off to the left. Follow this path for about 300m till you get to a vegetated stream, and top up here.
I like going up the NHA, definitely shorter and faster than boulder hopping up the rocks in Corner pass itself (till you get to the gully), but you have to scramble over about a 15m section of sloping rock, and if wet this could be seriously dodgy. If there are people in your group with a fear of heights, I’d say rather avoid this route.
My preferred route is up Leslies and down Judges. Leslies down is steep, no matter what I do I always end up on my bum a couple of times on the descent. Corner down is steep and the scrambles is not to everyones liking. Judges is easy and straightforward - just make sure you don’t miss the turnoff towards the NW as there isn’t a clear path here. Around 2200m ASL you should turn left.
Upper Injasuthi cave is really nice, especially now that that stone wall has been built higher. Alternatively, there are a number of flat spots about 50m below the cave where you can tent.