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Sunrise at Splendour Rock.

Mt Cloudmaker.

Spotted Dog Ridge.

Splendour Rock at Sunrise.

Forest on Mt Dingo.

Mt Jenolan, Mt Gueahgong and Mt Guouogang from Mt Merrimerrigal.

Exposed rocks on Mt Merrimerrigal.

Heath on Mt Merrimerrigal.

Looking down through the rocks on the pass off Mt Merrimerrigal.

Breakfast Creek water supply.

Clear Hill from Mt Debert.

A leafy path through mossy rocks near Little Cedar Gap. 

Looking up Tarro's Ladder.

Wild Dog Mountains.

Steel ladder up to Clear Hill.

Mt Solitary from Narrow Neck Plateau.

 

Track Notes - Kanangra to Katoomba - Day 4

Date:  7/5/2007

Maps:  LPI Jenolan 89303N and Dunphy's Gangerang

Route:  Mt Dingo, Splendour Rock, Dingo Gap, Mt Merrimerrigal, Warrigal Gap, Mobbs Soak, Medlow Gap, Breakfast Creek, Mt Debert, Little Cedar Gap, Tarro's Ladder, Clear Hill, Bushwalkers Hill, Narrow Neck Plateau, Locked Gate on Narrow Neck.  Distance: 26.4 kilometres.  Ascent: about 500m.

Gear:  Full Pack, Gaiters, Camera, EPIRB, Maps, Compass, GPS (set to WGS84), 2 litres water

Party:  Peter Medbury

Notes:

I woke early.  I wanted to be at Splendour Rock for Sunrise.  It had been a comfortable night with only a slight breeze disturbing the silence.  It had been very quiet.

I was really disappointed when I stepped out of my tent.  Through the trees I could see sky was covered with clouds.

As dawn approached I walked down the path to visit Splendour Rock again anyway and I was in for a surprise.

By the time I got down to Splendour Rock the clouds had gone and the views were fantastic.  The sun came up while I watched, painting the entire landscape pink and then giving it a golden glow as the day began.  Absolutely fabulous.

For one special moment the Memorial Plaque on Splendour Rock was illuminated by sunlight.

Each letter was silhouetted in gold, the centre of attention for anyone there at that moment.

And then the moment was gone.

I sat and watched the day come to life.  Ridges and gorges usually difficult to make out were clearly visible, allowing a much better understanding of the complex landscape.

After daybreak I went back to my campsite, had breakfast and packed up.

It was going to be a tough day.  I planned to walk 20 kilomtres to the Locked Gate on Narrow Neck Plateau.

Unfortunately I'd used more water than I'd planned coming up Yellow Pup Ridge.

With just under 2 litres left I would have to refill along the way.  Depending on how I felt  and much water I'd used by the time I got to Mobbs Soak I'd fill up there or I'd make a detour to Breakfast Creek before making the climb up to Mt Debert.

I discounted the option of finishing the walk at Dunphy's Camping Area.  I wanted this walk to be a true 'K2K'

I was going to do the high traverse across the Wild Dog Mountains rather than go back down the pass to the Mt Yellow Dog track.  By the time I set off to the north towards Dingo Gap and Mt Merrimerrigal the day was bright and fresh.

Mt Dingo is covered with an open forest.  The trees are large and cover most of the mountain.  The total quiet walking through the trees on a surface of damp leaves was so quiet it was almost eerie.

I reached Dingo Gap in just a few minutes.  Dingo Gap is the break between Mt Dingo and Mt Merrimerrigal.  There are gret views to the east & shaded ledges on the western side.  In a strange light effect everything seemed to glow. as I walked through.

Mt Merrimerrigal is a totally different proposition to Mt Dingo.  It has very little soil and few trees.  It is mostly heath or exposed rocks.

I was surprised at how damp it was on Mt Merrimerrigal because Mt Dingo had been completely dry.  Athough there weren't the rock pools of water that you find on the tops at Kanangra it was very muddy and sometimes water would pool in your footprints.

Very narrow at the southern end, Mt Merrirmerrigal  broadens out to a larger plateau to the north.  Eloquently named the 'Playground of the Dingos' by Dunphy, I could see no evidence that dingos had been here recently, not even tracks in the mud.  I have heard dingoes howling along the Coxs River on two previous occasions while I was camping.  Last night was very quiet.

At various places along Mt Merrimerrigal there are fabulous views.  Across the Coxs River you can see Mt Jenolan and the Krungle Bungles and across Ironpot Mountain to the Mini Mini Range.  To the east you can see Lake Burragorang.

The pass off Mt Merrimerrigal is located on the western side near the northern tip (GR 427 519).  It involves a steep climb down through the cliffs and under some fallen rocks.  Once down through the pass you continue along under the western cliffs until you reach Warrigal Gap.

From Warrigal Gap there are two routes to select from.  One goes down the western slope to Mobbs Soak where it meets the Mt Yellow Dog track.  The other goes north below the eastern cliff line of Mt Warrigal and meets the track to Medlow Gap.  I'd used a bit more water than I'd expected so I went down the western slope towards Mobbs Soak and water.

The contour lines on the map don't really give a clue to just how steep this slope is.  It was all I could do to remain on my feet and not slip. It is amazing what fits between the detail on the map.  It took me about 5 minutes to dsecend almost 70 metres.

A pad at the bottom headed towards Mobbs Soak so I followed it.  It quickly broke up into a series of animal paths that led through some very thick scrub.  Another 15 minutes and I had found my way through to the Yellow Dog track a bit north of Mobbs Soak.  I'd not used any more water so I decided to push on rather than go back and look for the water.

From here to Medlow Gap it is very easy walking along a very well defined track.  After about a kilometre I reached the junction with the Blue Dog Ridge track.  The Blue Dog track heads west to Knights Deck and then down to the junction of Breakfast Creek and the Coxs River.

I turned east towards Medlow Gap & after another kilometre I passed the turnoff to Black Horse Ridge.  The Black Horse Ridge track takes you straight down to Breakfast Creek almost opposite the track up Carlon Creek to Dunphy's Camping Area.  Don't be fooled by the short distance - it is very steep and it takes a while to get down to Breakfast Creek.  Although the distance is longer it is quicker and easier to go via Medlow Gap and follow the fire trail back, particularly if you are very tired.

At various places along the track to Medlow Gap there were a variety of small plants flowering.  There seemed to be more than along the section of track from Mobbs Soak to the Blue Dog Ridge track turnoff.  The forest was more open where the plants were flowering and in winter that would certainly affect available light.

By the time I reached the firetrail near Medlow Gap my water supply was getting low.  I wanted to restock before climbing up to Clear Hill and walking along Narrow Neck.  I knew that with the recent rain Breakfast Creek would be running below Glen Raphael Falls so I turned north along the fire trail to do the 2 kilometres down to the creek.

As expected Breakfast Creek was running well.  It didn't take long to filter 3 litres of water.  Breakfast Creek has some very pretty spots and the place I chose to get water was no exception. 

Away from the creek, the ground was very moist and there were lots of Sundews growing and flowering.  These little plants have evolved to live in acidic, boggy soil deficient in nutrients, usually nitrogen.  They are able to make good the deficiency by catching insects and absorbing the nitrogen through digestion.

By going down to Breakfast Creek I'd added another 4 kilometres to the trip and I had an additional 100 metres to climb.  It would be much easier with the water than without.

So... loaded up with water I started the final leg of my journey - the long slog up to the Locked Gate on Narrow Neck.  I retraced my route back up to Medlow Gap and climbed up Mt Debert and headed across to Little Cedar Gap.

In hindsight I could have cut 3 kilometres off by going straight up the slope from Breakfast Creek to Little Cedar Gap.  It would have been no steeper than the southern end of Mt Debert.

The track up Mt Debert from Medlow Gap is very steep and heavily worn.  There were lots of hand hold and it didn't take long to reach the top but it was very hard going.  Mt Debert is covered with open forest and grassy clearings and very enjoyable to walk through.  There are some good views of Clear Hill at the northern end of Mt Debert where the track drops down sharply to Little Cedar Gap.

From Little Cedar Gap the track heads up to Clear Hill and the Narrow Neck Plateau through open forest and at times wending its way through mossy rocks and boulders.  I was surprised to see some small greenhood orchids flowering right beside the track..  Taking some photos of these interesting flowers gave me an excellent excuse to take a break.

The track emerges into a clearing just before reaching Tarro's Ladder. Head left along the western wall to use Tarro's Ladder.

If you wish to avoid Tarro's ladder you can head right and go along the southern wall to use an old overgrown pass that works its way up around the cliffs, emerging at the top of Tarro's ladder.  This route is known as Duncan's Pass and could be very useful if you were concerned about exposure or climbing with the weight of a full pack.

There seems to be some difference of opinion about the location of Duncan's Pass.  Some articles I've read suggest that the real Duncan's Pass is where Tarro's Ladder has been built.

Regardless of the history, on this trip I used Tarro's Ladder to climb through the cliff line.  I took special care to put everything loose into my backpack first and to tighten all the straps so my pack sat as close to my body as possible during the climb.

The current Tarro's Ladder was well thought out.  Someone went to an awful lot of trouble to put the steel pegs in at just the right spacing and angle to be really useful as steps or handgrips.  It made the climb pretty easy.

At the top of Tarro's Ladder there is a rock platform which offers terrifc views on three sides.  There was a convenient tree to dry a damp shirt and a gentle breeze.  It was a great place for lunch.

I found some large insect larvae on the small tree above Tarro's Ladder.

After some research when I got home I think these were Snowball Mealy bugs.  They were quite different to the Bird of Paradise Mealy Bugs I saw on the Gangerang Plateau a couple of days ago.

These insects were orange with dark blue stripes and covered with whispy white hair that looked a bit like a translucent cocoon.

The mealy bugs were being attended by ants, presumably after the honeydew they produce.

After taking more photos it was time to get up to the top of Clear Hill.

The track works its way round the western side of Clear Hill under some rock overhangs  and across some wide rock shelves.

There are some scrambles at a couple of places.  There is a memorial plaque to Walter Tarr at the top of one scramble up through a crevice.

Our modern maps and technology make bushwalking and navigation much easier than when Tarro and his mates were exploring these areas.  It is well worth a moment to stop and reflect what bushwalking must have been like without the things we take for granted.

A quick climb up a steel ladder through the final cliff line and I had made it to the top of Clear Hill.

Whenever I got to somewhere high I turned on my phone to check messages and let people know I was still OK.  This time there was a message from my friend Geoff Fox to tell me he would meet me at the Lock Gate on Narrow Neck instead of my wife.  Geoff was kindly saving Kathy from the long drive down from Orange, out to Kanangra Walls and then back to Orange.

It took me another 2 hours 35 minutes to reach the Locked Gate where I expected to be met by Geoff.

Geoff had some surprises for me.  He had walked out to meet me - we met up near the Fire Tower.  Geoff was bearing gifts in the form of a large chocolate chip muffin and a cold bottle of drink for me.  Very, very welcome.

When we had reached the car it was a welcome relief to have a quick wash, change into fresh clothes and have a cup of coffee.

Geoff drove me out to Kanangra Walls to pick up my car and during the drive I was able to regale him with my adventures while I rested after my long walk.

We arrived back in Orange about 10:00pm.  I really appreciated your assistance Geoff.

I thoroughly enjoyed the three and half days it took to complete the walk from Kanangra Walls to Katoomba.  It was fabulous.  The weather was perfect for walking, water was available and luckily everythings worked out the way I'd hoped.

 

Times, Locations and Grid References
Time Location Grid Reference
06:20 Sunrise at Splendour Rock GR 422 501
07:45 Break Camp on Mt Dingo GR 424 505
07:55 Dingo Gap GR 423 509
08:20 Mt Merrimerrigal GR 426 517
08:40 Warrigal Gap GR 428 520
08:55 Track near Mobbs Soak GR 426 533
10:05 Track Junction with Fire trail GR 451 531
10:15 Medlow Gap Track Juntion GR 457 535
10:40 Breakfast Creek Water Stop GR 456 550
11:35 Medlow Gap Track Junction GR 457 535
12:30 Mt Debert GR 463 541
12:50 Little Cedar Gap GR 465 548
13:20 Tarros Ladder GR 467 552
14:40 Clear Hill GR 468 554
15:35 Bushwalkers Hill GR 463 579
16:40 Narrow Neck GR 467 613
17:25 Locked Gate on Narrowneck   GR 480 633

 

Related Walks

Kanangra to Katoomba - Day 1
Kanangra to Katoomba - Day 2
Kanangra to Katoomba - Day 3

 

 

Mt Debert, the Wild Dog Mountains, Mt Cloudmaker and Kanangra Walls viewed from Clear Hill.

 


Recent Changes
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Banks Wall 07-06-2017 Add
Pulpit Hill Creek 04-06-2017 Add
Lions Head Pass 22-05-2017 Mod
Lions Head 21-05-2017 Mod
The Goat Track 20-05-2017 Mod
Wombat Parade 15-05-2017 Mod
Dingo Gap 13-05-2017 Mod
Green Cape 12-05-2017 Add
Toothed Helmet Orchid 09-05-2017 Add
Valley Of The Dinosaurs 04-05-2017 Add
Splendour Rock 27-04-2017 Mod
The Pondage Canyon 16-04-2017 Mod
Donkey Mountain 16-04-2017 Mod
Coachwood Glen 15-04-2017 Add
Genowlan Pinch 20-03-2017 Add
Valley Of The Kings 14-03-2017 Add
City In The Sky 13-03-2017 Add
Torbane Balcony 02-01-2017 Add
The Great Wall 29-12-2016 Add
The Towers 11-12-2016 Add
Flat Top 14-11-2016 Add
Zorro Canyon 11-11-2016 Mod
Dalpura Canyon 10-11-2016 Mod
Waratah 10-11-2016 Mod
Twins Canyon 11-10-2016 Add
Tall Leek Orchid 06-10-2016 Add
Vertigo Slot 22-09-2016 Add
Grand Canyon 16-08-2016 Add


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