South Wolgan cliff lines

30-09-17

Tagging along with members of the Bush Club and Upper Blue Mountains Bushwalking Club, lead by Yuri.

On a recent trip to Windows Canyon I pointed out some features to Yuri that I’d visited with my usual crew after taking a wrong turn looking for a pass up through the cliffline. Knowing Yuri had extensively explored many of the cliff lines in the upper Wolgan I was surprised he had not venured along this particular section.

With his curiousity pipped he began to plan an walk to explore the area futher.

On our infated scrub bash to nowhere we had explored the cliff line from the north but a look on sixmaps suggested there maybe some other interesting features in the upper cliff line to the south and after some discussion we decided it would be good to see if we could traverse the ledge from the usual pass up used for Windows or exiting Crooked Crevice.

We’d then take my pass up to the tops and see if we could find a way down from further along that did not involve absieling.

While I’ve been telling Geoff I would sign up to the UBMBW club, and even printing out the membership form a couple of times, I’d yet to sign up and had never been on a club walk before so signed on as a guest as Yuri gave the breifing and outlined our goals.

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We take the usual pass up to the base of the upper cliffline. There was some debate over which ledge we needed to be on but the higher up we went the more obvious it was

Not 50m around from the slots normally taken to access the tops was this stunning cave. We had a quick morning tea break while checking it out and snapping photos.

This already has made the walk worthwhile, says Yuri

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Yuri in the cave
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The small slot above the cave hinted a nice abseil would be posible as a side trip to other things in the area
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Looking out of the cave

Making our way around the base of the upper cliff we pass many potential passes and slots that begged further exploration, however we were mindful of time as we still had no idea if we would find a way off the tops or would have to retrace our steps.

click images to enlarge
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Yuri leading us along the base of the cliff
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Another narrow slot. It looked like it would be possible to chimney up  and explore deeper
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It was slow going at times as we pushed through scrub and worked our way up, down and around the sometimes broken cliffline
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And then we came to the mirco canyon I had called Kenobi on our first visit there looking for something else (ie This is not the pass you are looking for…) 
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It’s a pretty spectactular, if somewhat short canyon in an unexpected location

We spend some time soaking in the ambience and snapping photos before Yuri reminds us we have a ways to go yet.

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Right next to Kenobi is the pass up I’d pioneered with Ed, Gaz, Jodie and Ethan and this is the pass up we took today. It’s involves a short but easy climb/scramble which I slipped up and dropped a rope down to assist the others. From there its a scramble up rocks with the views behind improving with each meter of altitude

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And once on top we are greeted with magic views from a rarely visited vanatage point

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Yuri on a pagoda high above the Wolgan with Donkey Mountain in the center distance
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Cameras at the ready. Geoff considers Donkey Mountain his spiriual home and a new prespective on it was welcomed
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Yuri pointing out the Halfway ledge on the oposite side of the valley he had pushed through yesterday
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Another shot of Donkey Mountain

Our next goal was to  see if it it would be possible to bypass the first abseil in another canyon known to members of the group and then follow the base of the upper cliff further around to hopefully walk off the plateau further north.

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Ok it felt a bit wierd to be here without ropes, we usually absiel down through that hole in the cliff up there

We suggested this would be a nice spot for lunch as there is normally a small pool at the base of the cliff but with the extended dry conditions not only was the water fall dry but the pool at the base was completely dry as well.

It was later in the day than we had planned and over lunch we decide to split the group in two and send a party of quicker members forward, the idea being if the descent was not possible and we had to backtrack the others could do so with out descending all the way to where the path might be blocked.

As I was the only other member carrying a map Yuri nominated me to lead the forward group and we consulted maps to agree on how far around we would traverse before trying a descent.

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This projection in the cliff put me in mind of a downhill helmet. I haven’t riden my DH bike for 2 years, I think the cliff is telling me something.

We had agreed to to hug the base of the cliff but at a junction we had a choice of following a ledge along or drop down to the next level. Not knowing if the ledge would go and knowing we would evenually need to go down I decided to drop down. It turns out it was double overhang and Yuri assures us the upper level was a highlight of the trip….

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Looking back along the upper ledge we had bypassed
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This slot is extremely narrow at the top, too narrow for me but a sling up there suggests someone has gone through it.  Anyhoo the base marked the spot we had agree to attempt a descent

Following a dry water course we were able to scramble down through the lower clifflines though there was the constant possibility we’d encounter the one last cliff whcih had no way off and we’d have to back track all the way back up.

At one stage is looked like we were on half a trail that seemed more than an walaby track. I mentioned my suspicion that we weren’t the first to come this way just as John calls out. Did you see the tape? says he. holding up a faded pink tape that had once marked someones way up.

Confident now we were down we left the creek as it become wet and very thick with vegetation. The nose always goes, sometimes. is the catch call of serious bushwalkers in these part so we got out of the scrub and followed a serries of spurs all the way back to the river.

A toot on the whistle signalled to those behind that we were down. 30min later they were to.

All in all a good day out just having a look.

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Descending from the top of those cliffs without ropes was steep and scrubby but easier than expected.

Thanks to Yuri for organising and leading the trip

 

The wilderness is healing, a therapy for the soul.:- Nicholas Kristof

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2 thoughts on “South Wolgan cliff lines

  1. Hi! What awesome photos! Looks like a fun but tough adventure.
    I recently found out that a lot of those tape or ribbon markers are actually left over markers for fire control lines when the area is back burnt.

    Like

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