Kanangra Head.

Mt Storm Breaker and Mt Cloudmaker.

Heath on Seymour Top.

Heath on Maxwell Top after recent rain.

Kanangra Gorge.

Looking down Gordon Smith Pass.

Looking up Gordon Smith Pass.

Brennan Top cliffs with Gordon Smith Pass.

Crafts Wall.

Mt Berry.

Mt High And Mighty.

Gabes Gap.

Kanangra Walls from Mt High And Mighty

Mt High And Mighty ridge stone.

Dry sclerophyll forest on Mt High And Mighty.


Track Notes - Kanangra to Katoomba - Day 1

Date:  4/5/2007

Maps:  LPI Kanangra 89303S and Dunphy's Gangerang

Route:  Kanangra Walls, Brennan Top, Gordon Smith Pass, Crafts Wall, Mt Berry, Gabes Gap, Mt High And Mighty and Mt Stormbreaker.  Distance: 9 kilometres, Ascent: about 200m.

Gear:  Full Pack, Gaiters, Camera, EPIRB, Maps, Compass, GPS (set to WGS84), 5 litres water

Party:  Peter Medbury


Kanangra Walls to Katoomba is one of the most spectacular walks in the Blue Mountains.  The walk crosses 2 National Parks (Kanangra-Boyd and Blue Mountains) and with clear weather I expected fabulous views most of the way.

It is a walk I had wanted to do for a very long time.

Doing this walk solo introduced a complication to the usual car shuffle.  My wife Kathy had agreed to meet me at the Locked Gate on Narrowneck Plateau on Monday afternoon.  We'd drive back to Kanangra Walls to pick up my car and then go on back to Orange.

Many people do this walk in 3 days or less.  I had allowed myself an extra half day to explore the Wild Dog Mountains along the way.  While I intended to camp at Konangaroo Clearing on the 2nd night and at Mt Dingo on the 3rd night, I hadn't chosen a campsite for the 1st night.  I was going as far as I could but I wasn't in a hurry.  I had sufficent water and I planned to take lots of photographs.

After a leisurely 9:30am start from Orange I left the Kanangra Walls Car Park at midday.  It was a clear, sunny day with a strong breeze blowing from the west and excellent weather for walking.  Recent rains had settled all the dust allowing the best of views.

I made good time across Murdering Gulley, up onto Seymour Top and over Brennan Top. Here and there the track showed signs of maintenance, particularly near the turn off to Maxwell Top.

The heath on the tops was a mixture of muted greens, greys, reds and browns.  Even though it was May there were still wild flowers about.  The heath plants (isopogons, banksias, epacris, etc) form an almost inpenetrable barrier that keeps bush walkers on the track.  At different places the heath gave way to large sandstone clearings, a hint perhaps of just how shallow the soil on these tops really is and how precarious the plants growing there.

The views along the tops are spectacular and many:  Kanangra Falls and Thurat Walls, Thurat Spires, along Kanangra Gorge to the Coxs River, Mt Cloudmaker, south to Mt Colong and the Blue Breaks.  The list just goes on.  The air today was so clear that nothing was obscured.

The eastern end of Brennan Top has lots of pathways made by people looking for the best views so the location of Gordon Smith Pass isn't immediately obvious.  There are no signs and I've been asked for directions by other walkers a number of times.  After crossing a large split rock I worked down and around to the south till I was above the pass.  It is quite a steep climb down but not really all that difficult.

At the bottom of the pass, the track resumes, heading north to the Kilpatrick Causeway and then north-east to Crafts Wall.  More wildflowers, more views...  On previous trips I'd seen a beautiful little melaleuca flowering here.  There wasn't a sign of it flowering today.

There is a short climb up to Crafts Wall.  There is an overhang at the western end of Crafts Wall that houses a log book.  I read the last few entries after adding mine.  I hadn't seen anyone but the log book showed I wasn't the only person out in the bush. 

Crafts Wall is a large remnant and well worth a visit on its own.  There are a number of large overhangs that could be used for shelter.  At a couple of places it is possible to climb up on top and get views of Danae Brook and Seriphos Pit.  There is a rough broken path along the north-west beside Crafts Wall, easy enough to follow for about 500 metres to the northern end of Crafts Wall.

From Crafts Wall the path continues north-westerly across a gap towards Mt Berry.  Up until now the path had been quite clear.  Now it was more a pad, often obscured by the lyrebirds digging through the leaf litter.  Mt Berry is a stone remnant.

The slopes of Mt Berry were dotted with little Blue Lily flowers, not a massive display but always noticeable.

After Mt Berry there is a steep 170 metre descent to Gabes Gap followed by a steep 220 metre climb up to Mt High And Mighty.  Gabes Gap is quite pretty and I thought about camping there for the night.  Very tempting but at 15:30 it was just too early to stop.

It was a very hard slog up to Mt High And Mighty but the views at the top were worth it, with Kanangra Walls glowing in the afternoon sunlight.

When I got to Mt High And Mighty my 'Windows Mobile Next-G' phone pinged me to say I'd received an SMS.  While reading the mesage I noticed the battery charge on the phone was low.  That was strange.  The phone was fully charged when I left the car park and a full charge usually lasted for 4 or 5 days.  When  I descended into the valleys out of phone coverage, the phone increased its power consumption to stay in touch and used more power than I had expected.  I decided to keep power consumption to a minimum by turning off the phone component and only using it at set times when I expected contact.  That worked effectively and I didn't run out of battery.  I have since confirmed that my phone does use more power whenever the signal is weak.  Does yours?  If so, turn it off when you aren't using it.

In some places the higher ridges of Mt High And Mighty were just shattered and broken rock.  It was as though larger rocks had been piled up and smashed.  In other places there was a thick covering of forest.  Very stark contrasts.

After Mt High And Mighty it was more hard work to get up to the slopes of Mt Storm Breaker.  As I was climbing I noticed a Mountain Heath Dragon sunning itself in the afternoon light.  My camera emits little beeping sounds as it focuses.  Every time the camera beeped the lizard came closer.  I've noticed this behaviour before.  Something about the beeping sound really gets their attention.

The wind had grown stronger and was whistling through the trees.  At around 17:00 it started to get dark very suddenly.  All I could do to avoid walking in the dark was to set up my camp in a little saddle across the path. I didn't chance trying to reach the camping spots I knew further up on Mt Storm Breaker.

The spot I selected looked quite exposed but it was actually fairly sheltered.  My camp was fully set up by dark, I was able to cook dinner without any problems...

I'd started the walk with 5 litres of water.  After dinner I was down to 3 litres.

And then all I could do was get ready for bed.  I'm a light sleeper and I usually only sleep for about 5 hours.  Something I wasn't really prepared for was the long nights of enforced rest.


Times, Locations and Grid References
Time Location Grid Reference
12:00 Leave Kanangra Car Park GR 329 353
12:45 Brennan Top GR 348 359
12:55 Gordon Smith Pass GR 350 360
13:55 Crafts Wall GR 361 365
15:05 Mt Berry GR 367 376
15:30 Gabes Gap GR 371 381
16:20 Mt High And Mighty GR 373 390
17:00 Camp on Mt Storm Breaker   GR 376 395


Related Walks

Kanangra to Katoomba - Day 2
Kanangra to Katoomba - Day 3
Kanangra to Katoomba - Day 4


Campsite on the track to Mt Storm Breaker.

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