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Dessie that's dele.. by simon3   (Show all posts)
I have put a summa.. by Dessie1   (Show all posts)
Co Wicklow walkers.. by aidand   (Show all posts)
2012-05-07 15:40:45
"The infamous Sani Pass in the Drakensburg Mountains" from kernowclimber Expand pics
The infamous Sani Pass in the Drakensburg Mountains (Expand pics)
Climbing to the top of the Kingdom in the Sky
Getting to the tiny landlocked Kingdom of Lesotho from Kwa Zulu Natal in South Africa is no easy matter. It entails a 9 km drive up the infamous unpaved Sani Pass that snakes its rocky, tortuous way up the edge of an escarpment of the Drankensburg Mountains. With features such as Suicide Bend and Haemorrhoid Hill you need a strong anal nerve and a 4X4 to even attempt it.

Buckshot rain drummed on our 4X4 as it lurched forward over deep gullies scoured by floods, through streams and bad potholes, loose rocks churning beneath the wheels. Mud and freezing temperatures made traction tricky on the numerous hairpin bends – at least we couldn’t see the horrendous death trap drop-offs in the mist. Martin did well to coax the 4X4 up this brutal pass where several vehicles were abandoned and another towed up the final 2 hairpins. Our relief was palpable when the border post and a group of wretched rondavels finally loomed through the cloud and billowing coal smoke at the top of the pass (2874m). A few beers in the nearby Highest Pub in Africa was just reward!

We awoke in our hut to a crimson dawn chasing away the stars. The glistening earth steamed as the sun gently released it from night’s icy grasp. Thatched mokhoro (stone huts) emitted clouds of blue smoke as we drove with our Basotho guide to a nearby village to climb Thabane Ntlenyana (3482m), the highest mountain in Southern Africa. At just over 22 kms, it is not a technical climb over treeless Afro-Montane grassland and a few river crossings only tricky in the rainy season, but it is at altitude. The route traverses a valley for over 4 kms before a steep climb up a ridge followed by a descent into another broad valley. A second ridge must be surmounted before the final pull up the shoulder of the mountain with its crown of rocks.

This is big sheep country, unfenced under expansive blue skies, domain of jackal buzzards. Basotho shepherds clad in balaclavas, woollen blankets and gumboots greet you warmly in rapid Sesotho, the silence broken only by the clanking of sheep bells. With winter approaching there was fresh snow on the higher slopes but the sun was warm on our backs. After 4 hrs we attained the summit, buffeted by strong winds. The Zulus call these mountains Quathlamba or ‘The Barrier of Spears’. We understood why as we gazed upon an army of emerald peaks, most over 3,000m, some topped with a pie crust of basaltic rock gleaming with snow. We watched mesmerised as cloud drifted languidly up over the edge of the dramatic Drakensburg Escarpment below, the inky blue ramparts of the mysterious Giant’s Castle floating between earth and sky beyond.

The descent took just under 3 hrs. You could climb this mountain without a guide but at 35 euro this was money well spent in such a poor community and we learnt much about Basotho culture. In all it took us 7.5 hours with around 1.5 hours of stops and we were back in the pub to celebrate before sunset.
It is an excellent.. by march-fixer   (Show all posts)
...the Devil's Lad.. by Conor74   (Show all posts)
Full agreement wit.. by brenno   (Show all posts)
As a contrast to t.. by aidand   (Show all posts)
1. Mullaghanattin.. by Conor74   (Show all posts)
1. Brandon
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RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 14 Next page >>
Summit Comment
Crossderry: Summit No 2 of a fine ridge walk.
hivisibility less than an hour ago.
Here is another view of Crossderry taken from Mothillín. You can see the twin peaks at the summit area. The summit proper is the one on the right. Knocknabreeda in the background.Its pretty rugged...

Summit Comment
Mothaillín: Fabulous views to the west from the summit.
hivisibility 21 hours ago.
Fine view towards Broghnabinnia and Caher from Mothillín summit.

Ott Mountain to Slieve Meelmore
Aidy 22 hours ago.
Started at the Ott/Blue Quarry car park on the Moyad Road, and took a route taking in six summits, going over Ott Mou... walk, Len: 10.9km, Climb: 730m, Area: Ott Mountain, Mourne Mountains (Ireland)

Summit Comment
Mothaillín: Summit area as seen from Crossderry.
hivisibility 21 hours ago.
Mothillín summit from Crossderry.

Summit Comment
Crossderry: Towards Knocknabreeda and Stumoa Dúloigh
hivisibility 21 hours ago.
The view towards Knocknabreeda fro Crossderry summit. Stumpa Dúloigh in the background. Knocknabreeda summit is located over to the far left of the ridge.

Glenbeigh to Galway's Bridge
GSheehy a day ago.
I?m putting this one up because it was a club walk and I was thinking about the other day. There aren?t too many clu walk, Len: 40.5km, Climb: 917m, Area: Glenbeigh Horseshoe (Ireland)

Forum: General
Cable Car to the Hellfire Club - 20/10
cave-dweller 3 days ago.
Hello, There is a meeting being held in the Yellow House Pub in Rathfarnham in Dublin 14 tomorrow night at 8 pm about some proposed "redevelopments" in and around the Hellfire Club/Montpelier Hill...

Summit Comment
Crossderry: Summit looking East.
hivisibility 21 hours ago.
Summit of Crossderry with view back towards Mothillín.There are 2 similar heights at the summit area. The summit is the one nearest the Eastern Reeks.

Peak bagging in The Sperrins in autumn
peter1 2 days ago.
Again, the use of a mountain bike is highly recommended for this route, if you are a solo walker. I left my bike in a... walk, Len: 16.2km, Climb: 1048m, Area: Mullaghclogha, Sperrin Mountains (Irela

Summit Comment
Stumpa Dúloigh SE Top: Fine views to the East...
hivisibility 22 hours ago.
The view to Knocknabreeda, Crossderry and Mothillín as seen from the aooroach to Stúmpa Dúloigh SE Top. Torc in the centre with Mangerton rising over to the right.

Summit Comment
Knocknabreeda: View of Carrauntoohil from the summit.
hivisibility 22 hours ago.
Carrauntoohil from Knocknabreeda summit.

Forum: General
Quad bikers in the Mournes
mcrtchly 2 weeks ago.
Whilst out in the Mournes on Sunday 2nd Oct, at about 8.30am we were shocked to see a group of half a dozen quad bikers powering up the track from the Banns Road towards Lough Shannagh (below Doan...

RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 14 Next page >>