On 12 April the troops gathered at Malherbe House. Tummies full, bodies decorated with henna, we enjoyed our first evening in serenity. The next day we were to ascend Camel Pass.
Starting from Cathedral Peak Hotel we followed the Mushroom Rock trail to reach the top of the little berg. Then the climbing began. Camel Pass guarantees a 1000m altitude gain over 5km. The route itself is beautiful! You follow Camel Ridge which allows views to the north and south. The pass joins Organ Pipes Pass at Windy Gap.
At 4pm we reached upper escarpment and trudged to Rolands Cave. Some of our party stayed in the Ndumeni Dome Caves with Grae Holliday. Three Basuthos joined Mix for some banter outside the cave. Amelia and Luke Pallet were out spotting mounds for Luke to climb and Amelia to capture. Back in Rolands Cave, the party were preparing dinner. Soon the stars came out and Theo York began our astronomy lesson. Hot chocolate was passed around and sooner than soon we were snuggled in bed.
14 April promised to be a day of descent. But before that were to begin, we had to summit Cleft Peak. At 7am we set off, bee-lining for the summit at 3281m above see level. The view from the top: priceless.
There is a path that follows the escarpment edge all the way to Tseketseke Pass. We were blessed with clear skies.
At the top of Tseketseke Pass, Max injured her ankle. After strapping it, we descended the pass in three groups. The machine group led by Grae, the incredibly strong novice group by Mix and Max, Scotty and Brendon followed.
The descent was long but if you looked up and took in your surroundings, it did not matter. We walked below the Pyramid and Column, alongside waterfalls and down towards one of my favourite spots in the berg: Tseketseke Hut. It took the group between 9 and 11hours to cover the 21km.
This route in out of this world. That's all I can say. Beautiful. Tough. Worth it.