Wet weather hiking

Hiking in rainy weather in the Berg is sometimes such an issue for me that I would consider moving or cancelling the hike.

I would like to change that…

What tips (other than the normal ones) do you have for hiking/setting up/cooking in rain?

@MasterMo Could you mention the normal tips you are referring so that they’re clear for those who don’t know them as well?

In my opinion the only thing that makes rain hiking more comfortable is the right gear.

Hiking
Not too long ago, April, we hiked in Wolkberg Nature reserve and encountered some heavy rains. Just before that hike I got myself some good waterproof pant, jacket and also an extra cover for my backpack (which is already quite water resistant). This made my experience a lot less uncomfortable because I didn’t really have to dry anything out after the storm, except for my rain gear, which helps if conditions stay wet for a few days.

Setting Up
One of my friends has a tent (Vango Halo 2) that sets up from the outside in, so the flysheet goes up over the inner of the tent keeping it dry. You can also separate everything inside your bag into dry bags so that when you take your camping gear out the stuff inside your bag stays dry. Those two things already makes quite a difference in staying dry at a camp site. Something else to consider is when using hiking sticks you could hang your wet jacket/pants and shoes over them in the tent vestibules to keep them out of the dry inside of the tent and also to possibly give them a chance to dry out. I’ve done this and it worked well for me.

Cooking
Simple solution for this is cooking in the tent vestibule with a stove that performs well in windy conditions, but I guess that’s a pretty obvious solution. Something else you could do is to consider doing cold soaking or to just take food that doesn’t need cooking at all (this is a good water saver as well).

In the end if you hit really wet conditions for many consecutive days of rain you’re going to eventually get wet no matter what precautions you take.

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Neil covered the basics well. I love hiking in rainy weather for a day of two max (waterfalls, swollen streams, cloud-covered landscapes…) and always try to overnight in a hut / deep cave when it rains - the ability to cook outside, move around and sit and stare at the falling rain is wonderful. Being stuck in a tent when it rains isn’t great.

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Another setting up tip:

Move your tent inner and flysheet to the separate sleeping bag compartment (most packs). This way you can pitch your tent in the rain without removing anything else from your pack, as you normally would when packing the tent in the main compartment.

Cooking tip:

If you have a Jetboil or Msr Windburner/Reactor, get yourself a hanging kit. I hang my windburner from my tent roof quite frequently. Just remember to open up both vestibules to create some ventilation, as the Carbon Monoxide fumes can cause problems.

Other than that, Niel covered the basics.

I tend to seek out caves in the berg during persistent rain, makes everything alot more pleasant. I have been stuck in a tent for 3 days at the confluence of Xeni and Cockade passes, due to raging flooded rivers. Needless to say it was a VERY long 3 days:joy:

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Thank you Neil!

Ouch, we actually wanted to do that route in the coming week. Should I change it with the rains we had the past week?

Are you planning on doing Cockade Pass or Xeni South/North ?

Cockade up, Mlambonja down.
Hiked it several times in dry weather but I suspect with heavy sustained rains it might become an issue.
My biggest concern with the weather is the spoiled views :unamused:

Agree 100%

The approach in the riverbed up to the cockade turnoff might be a bit slower going with full rivers. But I will not change the route based on the current rain, as the river levels subside quite quickly after downpours. I would however reconsider the route if you find is coming down heavily and persistently on arrival. Also note that the Umlambonja river becomes a raging torrent of whitewater during persist downpours.

We had torrential rain when we got stuck, but in normal rain I will not be to overly concerned.

The views coming up Cockade pass are spectacular for sure.

Its my favorite spot in the Berg for sure!
Thanks for all the advice, I really appreciate it :grinning:

MasterMo,

Why don’t you consider Xeni South, North or Mlambonja Buttress south passes? Seeing that you’ve done Cocade a couple of times already, all the other passes mentioned above are closer to Mlambonja pass and having done all 3, including Cocade, I can recommend any of the three. Recently we took the kids (13 & 14 years old) up Xeni South, which is definitely the easiest of the 3. It’s straight boulder hopping right to the top. Xeni North is more “interesting”, with a worm hole to crawl through near the top. In the wet this one could be a bit dodgy though as some of the rocks in the gully could become loose and move down.
Mlambonja South Buttress pass has the same starting point as Xeni north, must say I preferred it to Xeni North, the bottom section had a couple of steep scrambling sections that was super fun to go over. It ends with a 300m long steep grass gully that was easy but steep. The views looking back towards Cokcade was super awesome though.

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Woah, I think I would stay away from Xeni North during wet weather. :flushed: Its a tough hike as it is and I remember scrambling on some sections for footing.
I will try and find Mlambonja South Buttress tracks/route, its something I was not aware of. Thanks!

As RiaanG mentioned Xeni South/North and Mlambonja South Buttress Pass are all epic passes, and a great variation to Cockade. I would however be hesitant to attempt Xeni North in wet weather as some of the scrambles lower down would be a bit tricky (following the conventional gully route). Even if you use the grass slopes to circumnavigate these scrambles, I would rather not attempt it in wet weather (Especially with hikers with less experience, not saying that’s the case). That being said, Xeni North Fork is my favorite pass between the 3, especially the wormhole at the top.

Mlambonja Buttress South Pass forks out about midway into Xeni North Fork (From the split with Cockade). You will therefore still have to do the lower scrambles and it has some large boulders at its bottom that might prove tricky in very wet weather.

I would highly recommend it though. You will be rewarded with some rarely seen views of Cockade and the Elephant.

See the Vertical Endevours (VE) link for more details on this pass: Mlambonja Buttress South Pass

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MasterMo,

PM me then I’ll send you my tracks of the route we took. As stated by Vivo101, the approach for Xeni North and Mlambonja Butttress South passes are the same till you get to the final split where the gullies go up to the escarpment.

If there is grass to hold onto it should be fine, even in wet weather. It was a bit dodgy when we did part of this route with the kids as all the grass had burnt down, so there was not much to hold onto while ascending the steep side lopes up to the gully.

In fact, I would consider the most difficult/dangerous part to be the bypass of the third and final waterfall. The top of this section was seriously eroded (the steep gully right next to the waterfall. it is on the left of the waterfall) when we went up it, and I doubt that I would take my kids up this section again. The final 5m or so was super dodgy with loose sand and rock and no grass like before to hold onto for support. But agreed with Vivo101, in the wet these two passes would be tricky. Xeni South though is easy rock hopping all the way to the top.

Enjoy!!!

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Forgot to add my email address, it is barendcg@gmail.com

Thanks!