Copyright: MCSA-KZN 1998 ©
Opening Party: Tony Dick and Rob Stewart.
Date: 1 January 1966.
Time: 3 hours of climbing.
The climb follows the crest of a ridge that reaches to the top of the escarpment. The approach from Bannerman's Hut to the start of the climb takes about 1½ hours. Proceed straight up the ridge behind the hut through the first basalt band. Then traverse to the right into the rocky gully that runs up to the left from Bannerman's Pass. Follow the gully up towards a prominent fang. Alternatively, the fang may be reached in 1hour by walking diagonally uphill southwards from Spare Rib Cave. Either way, continue up the gully that runs up to the left of the fang, passing a big chimney on your right, until another gully branches off to the right. This gully(*) runs straight up to the top of the escarpment and lies immediately adjacent to the south side of the Bannerman's Rib Ridge. Turn into this gully which branches off to the right.
Descent: Descending Bannerman's Pass is the easiest, but the gully to the left can also be used.
(*) This gully provides an easy line to the top of the escarpment and is a good snow route when conditions are suitable. (There is a small chimney visible high up in this gully, so it may not be so easy)
Ref: MCSA Journal 1966, pg 98.
Opening Party: Gavin Peckham and Richard Knott.
Date: 29 March 1997.
Time: 3 hours climbing.
The north east ridge abuts onto Erskine about 100m north of the highest point on the peak. The ridge rises as a series of four steps that are clearly visible from almost anywhere in the vicinity of Langalibalele Pass. Walk up the pass until the path crosses the Bushman's River about half way up the pass. Continue up the pass for about another 300m to a point where the path crosses a side stream coming in from the left (south). Up this side stream is a black face, over which the stream falls (in summer). Leave the path and walk up towards the black face. Scramble up through the rock bands on the left of the face. Continue for some way, heading up and left towards the base of the ridge. The final part of the scramble goes straight up a steep grassy gully, through a rocky outcrop near the start of the ridge.
Comments. The route can be reached in about 4 hours from the NCS offices at Giant's Castle or in 30 minutes from a camp site half way up Langalibalele Pass. To facilitate rope management it may be a good idea to split the first pitch into two. This is a good route which is easily accessible. Descend via Langalibalele Pass.
Ref: MCSA Journal 1997, pg 233.
Opening Party: Gavin Peckham and Anthony van Tonder.
Date: 5 April 1997.
From the contour path near Langalibalele Pass the main east ridge of Bond is prominent and is broken about half way up by a single, major rock band which may be negotiated by one of several possible routes. Once above the rock band, head for a prominent rock turret further up the ridge. If approaching from the north side of the ridge, then walk left around the base of the turret to the south side and scramble up to gain the nek between the turret and the upper part of the ridge. From here easy scrambling on mixed rock and grass continues for some distance until the gradient of the ridge suddenly steepens.
An unpleasant first pitch spoils this route. However, the top two pitches are excellent. Descend via Langalibalele Pass.
Ref: MCSA Journal 1997, pg 234.
Opening Party: Gavin Peckham and Eugene Parsons.
Date: 14 December 1997.
Start where the prominent east ridge of Potterill cuts the contour path. Walk straight up the crest of the broad grass ridge for several hundred metres until the first rock band is reached.
Descend via Jarateng Pass (closest) or Langalibalele Pass. The gully between Potterill and Mt Durnford looks very quick and easy, but we have not actually tried it.
Ref: MCSA Journal 1998, pg 136.
Opening Party: Gavin Peckham, Anthony van Tonder and Bruce Sobey.
Date: 17 June 2000.
The main east ridge leading up to Kambule is broken by several rock bands. The highest of these is a large, continuous band of black rock that stretches right across the base of the peak. A prominent frontal arete starts above the centre of the black rock band and leads straight up to the top of the peak. Low down on the arete there is a small gendarme that is separated from the upper part of the arete by a nek. The route starts in this nek and then follows the frontal arete to the summit. To reach the nek, walk up the easy grass gully that leads to the top of the escarpment between Kambule and Carbineer Point. - i.e. the gully on the left (south) of Kambule. Continue up the gully until it is possible to walk out to the right along the broad grass ledge above the prominent band of black rock. A short gully of mixed rock and grass leads from the grass ledge up to the nek.
Once across the slab, continue easily, moving diagonally up to the right on mixed rock and grass to reach the base of a short (3m) open-book/recess. The crack up the back of the recess is blocked by a dense growth of tiny, grey plants. Because of this it is easiest to climb the clean rock on the right hand side of the recess, using excellent, but tiny holds - tricky.
From the top of the recess, continue up for about 5m, tending slightly to the right, to reach a small, exposed belay ledge. There is a good peg in place a metre above the left hand end of the ledge and another, less secure peg placing may be found towards the right hand end of the ledge. This pitch potentially dangerous, hence the detail given above.
Descend by walking off the back of the peak and then down the easy grass gully that leads up between Kambule and Carbineer Point - i.e. the same gully used to approach the route.
Note: The severity of the first pitch is out of character with the rest of the climb.
Ref: MCSA Journal 2000, pg - yet to be published.
There are a number of good routes on this peak and there are several good camp sites at about contour path level. Giant's Hut, directly below the Giant provides a more luxurious base if required.
The easiest route to the top is via Giant's Pass. However, as a descent after climbing, this may be a somewhat lengthy detour depending on the location of the chosen base camp. A direct descent is down the Eastern Gully. This gully has some very dangerous loose sections near the top, and helmets are advised. At least one abseil is necessary down this route. To attempt it without a rope would be very dangerous (if not impossible). It can be climbed, avoiding the waterfall by keeping to the left (South). This gully makes an excellent snow route in the right conditions.
A better descent is down the top part of the Sherman's Frontal route. Scramble down the east ridge until following it becomes impossible, then traverse left to an abseil point. One further abseil reaches the grass ledge from which Scholes' route starts.
To get a good idea of the 'lie of the land' and the locations of the numerous routes on the Giant, look at the aerial photo, with marked routes, facing page 38 of the 1955 MCSA Journal, and at the sketch on page 86 of the 1993 Journal.
A large gully splits the eastern extremity of the Giant into two ridges. The smaller ridge to the north of the Eastern Gully is generally referred to as the east ridge. The huge ridge to the south of the Eastern Gully terminates in The Gable and The Needle. Although this large ridge runs east-west it is known, for some inexplicable reason, as the South Ridge.
Opening Party: Started by Andrew Russel-Boulton and Gerald Camp. Completed by Peter Janschek and Volker Schweinbenz.
Date: 21 - 29 June 1997.
This long and very hard line climbs the massive north face of the Giant. The only route description available is a detailed sketch in the reference given below. Anyone attempting this route should preferably not do so without first consulting this sketch and the accompanying article.
Ref: MCSA Journal 1997, pg 49.
Opening Party : Ted Scholes, Joan Knox, G Burrow and Robin Forsyth.
Date: April 1950.
Time: About 5 hours of climbing.
This is one of the more popular Berg routes due to its length, variety of climbing and generally good rock. During winter, ice could be a problem and obviously in wet weather climbing could become more interesting.
If approaching from near Giants hut, walk up the amphitheatre below the summit, heading for a nek on the right. From this nek, traverse right to an obvious rocky gully that leads to the upper grass ledge. This gully can also be reached from directly below. The route follows the huge, prominent, left-tending crack/chimney that runs up the north face to the summit. Scramble up the crack as far as possible.
Variations abound but few are well documented. Most, if not all, of the ridge to the left of the gully has been climbed. This ridge can be gained via the wormhole mentioned in pitch 2 above and can be used to bypass the chimney if it is too wet or icy. The overhanging chimney above the start of pitch 5, was climbed by Gordon Bulter, Gary Glass and Trevor Marsh in 1966, but is not recommended: MCSA Journal 1968, pg 87. Copyright: MCSA-KZN 1998 ©
Ref: MCSA Journal 1950, pg 45.
Opening Party: Sherman Ripley, Lorna Peirson and Margery Bromhead.
Time: 5 hours to top from hut.
From Giant's Hut follow the east ridge on the north side of the Eastern Gully. At the first major rock band traverse left for about 100m to an obvious break. Climb this recess involving a couple of D/E pitches. Scramble up to the large basalt band over some distance of C ground. This band is negotiated just on the Eastern Gully side of the ridge by two full rope D/E pitches. The next rock step on the ridge is large and difficult. It is avoided by making a detour to the right, then up through a rock band and finally back left to regain the original line. The details of this detour are as follows:
Walk to the right for several hundred metres along a grass ledge and ascend the rock band just to the left of an obvious gully/chimney(*). This pitch involves 20m of D climbing. Immediately above this and almost centrally below the main face is a chimney of loose D standard rock (20 metres) which brings one via a short dangerously loose E traverse to the wide traverse below the main face. The chimney and loose traverse can be avoided by climbing a 20m scooped face (E) slightly to the left. This alternative pitch is recommended and involves an interesting layback move near the top.
Finally, walk back to the left along a grass ledge to regain the east ridge. This leads straight up to the summit via easy scrambling and a few D grade rock bands.
(*) If your base camp is further to the north of the Giant, then the lower pitches may be avoided altogether by approaching as for Scholes' Route. From the start of Scholes' Route walk to the left along the grass ledge and around a corner to reach the gully/chimney and then continue up the upper part of the route described above.
Ref: MCSA Journal 1955, pg 38 and photo facing pg 38; 1961, photo facing pg 51.
Opening Party: Colin Inglis and party.
Date: July 1961.
A more direct and satisfying climb may be achieved by cutting out the large detour in Sherman's Frontal Route and by climbing straight up the east ridge. At the point where Sherman's Route traverses off to the right carry straight on up the ridge as follows:
The arete (which Sherman's party avoided) forms a smooth nose with a sheer drop into the Eastern Gully on the left. Start slightly to the right in a shallow open book recess and then move left on to the crest. Exposed climbing leads to a small ledge (F1).
Continue up a steep narrow slit directly above the ledge and then work across to the right to a shallow recess which leads to the top of the pitch (F1).
Easier climbing leads to the foot of the next rock band. This consists of a steep nose with a breakaway slightly to the right of centre. This breakaway is actively eroding and contains a large, hollow sounding basalt flake. In order to avoid using this flake, a piton is used in the rock to the left, With the aid of the piton it is possible to cover a metre or two of bad rock to reach a tiny ledge diagonally up to the right. This pitch is F and could be climbed free, but not very safely.
From a stance at the foot of the next rock step, where the arete narrows, a rather awkward take-off is followed by a pleasant pitch leads straight up to the point where the original route rejoins the arete. Scramble to the summit.
Except for a few feet of crumbling rock, the arete route provides a very satisfactory and direct line to the top of the Giant.
Ref: MCSA Journal 1961, pg 52 and photo facing page 51.
Opening Party: Mervyn Prior and Bernie Schumacher.
Date: July 1982.
Time: Approximately 7 hours including the walk-in.
Ref: MCSA Journal 1983, pg 118.
Opening Party: Tony Dick and Roger Fuggle.
Date: October 1971.
The route follows the thin, obvious line to the right of Scholes's Route on the Giant. Begin by scrambling over the first slab at the bottom of Scholes's Route and move out to the right to the nose between the two lines.
Ref: MCSA Journal 1971, pg 102.
Opening Party: Martin Winter, Gillian Bettle and Neil Fairall.
Date: 29 August 1954.
Time: A very long day.
Start on the south side of the Gable. Scramble over the low rock band and then traverse back to the east end. Scramble up to the crest of the ridge leading up to the Gable. Climb a 4m C chimney and then down on the other side to a grass shelf on the south side. Continue along the shelf, round a rock corner and up an open recess to regain the crest of the ridge, which is followed, with C grade scrambling to the summit of the Gable.
Descend down the west side until progress is prevented when the narrow ridge is blocked by a large block perched on the ridge. Bypass this by working down, mainly on very steep grass on the south side, aiming for a grass ledge that leads to the nek between the Gable and the rest of the ridge. To reach the grass ledge, a 10m F pitch is down-climbed. This starts with 3m down a face, a balancy traverse and a further climb down the face. At the nek, cross over to the north side and walk along a narrow grass ledge below the first spikes of rock in the nek. Climb through a 2m diameter hole in the wall and continue traversing on the south side past the remaining large spike of rock in the nek. Scramble up out of the nek, first on the left corner, then on the crest of the ridge.
Continue up to the first grass ledge that traverses out along the north side and follow this until the crest is again regained. Scramble over a 3m high rock band on the crest and then continue the traverse on the south side of the ridge. The traverse passes and below a large flat-topped turret and a sharp pointed gendarme and reaches a small rock ridge that connects the grass ledge to the crest of the main ridge.
Scramble (C) 15m up this ridge, climb a 10m E chimney, traverses a few paces to the right and then scramble 5m up the ridge to a grass stance. Climb 3m up the face and traverse left (tricky - E) to a large recess. Climb through the chimney above (D). Scramble to the crest of the ridge just beyond the gendarme. Long and pleasant C scrambling now leads via the blocky crest to the summit. An overhang near the top is avoided on the left.
Ref: MCSA Journal 1954, pg 32 and 1955, photo facing page 38.
Opening Party: Des Watkins, Margery Bromhead, Barry Anderson and Sherman Ripley.
This route includes a short cut that avoids the Gable, and a variation to the crux.
Boulder hop up Eastern Gully as far as the foot of a subsidiary spur buttressing the SE ridge. This spur is the only break and yields C-D scrambling to the crest of the ridge where a nick continues the route to the grass traverse on the southern face. Winter's route is now followed to the buttress connecting the traverse to the crest of the ridge. 15m of C and 10m of E are climbed as per Winter's route, but then continue straight up the nose for 35m of delicate F on good rock. Only the scramble up the knife-edge remains.
Ref: MCSA Journal 1955, pg 38 and photo facing page 38.
First known ascent: Gordon Bulter, Gary Glass and Trevor Marsh.
Time: 3 hours
Two enjoyable climbs that can be done from Giant's Hut are the Needle and a small but prominent pinnacle just to the east of it. Looking south from the hut, the Needle is immediately to the left of the South Ridge. An hour's walk up the left hand ridge takes one to the start of a knife-edge that leads to the top of the Needle. There are two pitches; 20m easy E on lousy rock and 10m F on better rock to a tiny summit. Abseil with care to the nek between the Needle and the pinnacle. With careful route finding, one pitch of easy E grade leads to the top of the pinnacle.
Ref: MCSA Journal 1968, pg 88.
Opening Party: Des Watkins and party.
This is a route up the south wall of the Giant from the Elandshoek valley in the Loteni catchment. It joins up with Winter's South Ridge route where it climbs back to the crest beyond the gendarme. Graded E in places, it is best followed by referring to the photo in the 1960 Journal.
Ref: MCSA Journal 1960, pg 127 and photo facing page 128.
Opening Party: Ringo Harding-Goodman and Carl Fatti.
Date: November 1977.
Time: 13 hours round trip.
Ngaqamadolo is a dome shaped peak on the edge of the escarpment to the north of Mkhomazi Pass. A deep cleft cuts into the north east side of the peak. The route goes up inside this cleft which is an impressive, sheer-walled gully. Camp near the base of Ngaqamadolo Pass and walk over a spectacular rock arch en route to the base of the climb. A smooth waterfall at the foot of the cleft is avoided by an F pitch on the right, then walk up past an imposing gendarme into the cleft proper. The route involves B/C scrambling most of the way, except for five or six massive chockstones which are by-passed by short pitches of E to F2 climbing. At one chock, a shoulder and nut for aid were used. The final chock is by-passed on the right by climbing a short wall to a big grass ledge. This is followed to the left again and a short, tricky traverse leads back into the gully (E) which is then followed to the top. Descend via Ngaqamadolo Pass.
Ref: MCSA Journal 1981, pg 58.
Opening Party: Ian van der Lingen, Lionel Ashley, Archie Cockburn and Len Holland.
Date: 1 January 1954.
This free-standing pinnacle lies off the end of a buttress running out from the escarpment to the south of Mohlesi Pass. The simian profile of the pinnacle gave rise to its name. Scramble to the nek between King Kong and the escarpment.
Descend in three abseils, back down the route. The rock is reputedly excellent.
Ref: MCSA Journal 1953, pg 71.
Opening Party: Des Watkins, Lionel Ashley and Lenny Mantle.
Date: December 1952.
Start on the loose and scrubby north side. After three D pitches, traverse to the southern face (better rock) and climb an E pitch. Then, traverse back to the north face and climb a 10m E pitch to a stance below the summit. The last pitch is on "the most perfect rubbish I have found anywhere in the Berg." Abseil down the south face.
Ref: MCSA Journal 1953, pg 65.
Opening Party: Brian Shuttleworth and Carl Fatti.
Date: 17 December 1979.
This is a small pinnacle a few hundred metres south of Sandleni Pass. Sandleni Cave makes an ideal base. The route can be clearly seen on the north side of the pinnacle both from the escarpment edge and from the cave. Scramble to the nek between the pinnacle and the escarpment. Scramble up and diagonally left then traverse further left on a narrow grass ledge which leads around to the north side of the peak.
Start up a 1m wide recess in excellent, clean rock except for the first couple of metres at the bottom which is grassy. Do not stop at the small rock platform on the right, but continue straight up to a stance on the left. This pitch involves about 25m of F1 climbing. Traverse left on a good rock ledge and around a corner, then scramble up to the summit.
Ref: MCSA Journal 1981, pg 58.