Mount Solitary (via the back door)

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Mount Solitary (via the back door)

Postby FatCanyoner » Wed 25 Jul, 2012 12:54 pm

G'day folks,

I've just written up a trip report on an exciting day trip I did a couple weeks back, exploring two rarely visited passes on Mt Solitary. Pretty much every NSW bushwalker has done a traverse of this impressive island of rock, via the usual east / west route, but not many seem to know about the north / south route that is possible.

Our trip took us up Korrowall Ridge, past Point Repulse, then down the Miners Pass.

Korrowall Ridge is one of the most impressive traverses I've ever done. For more than a kilometre it is a thin ribbon of rock, never more than a few metres wide, with cliffs plunging on both sides into the tree-tops below. In front of you are a seemingly unending chain of rocky outcrops to climb over / around / under. Best of all, there are regular spots to pause and admire some of the most incredible 360 degree views in the upper Blue Mountains.

Full trip report with pics here: http://fatcanyoners.org/2012/07/08/mt-solitary-passes/
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Re: Mount Solitary (via the back door)

Postby kanangra » Wed 25 Jul, 2012 2:54 pm

Mate, a great article. I really enjoyed it.

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Re: Mount Solitary (via the back door)

Postby tom_brennan » Thu 26 Jul, 2012 1:21 am

FatCanyoner wrote:Best of all, there are regular spots to pause and admire some of the most incredible 360 degree views in the upper Blue Mountains.


Only if it's not white out conditions...
http://ozultimate.com/tom/bushwalking/2 ... photos.htm

:)
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Re: Mount Solitary (via the back door)

Postby FatCanyoner » Thu 26 Jul, 2012 1:49 am

Wow. We definitely picked better weather to do it in! Although we'd have shaved an hour off easily if we hadn't been pausing so often to look at the views!
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Re: Mount Solitary (via the back door)

Postby Phil S » Sun 29 Jul, 2012 8:03 pm

Hey-Ya FC (or Tom Brennan).

That's a great sounding trip, I'm inspired. I've looked across at Koorowall Ridge quite a few times and wondered how it goes - I love a good ridge traverse. Regarding the Miners Pass you descended, could you help with a map ref or a more in-depth description of the top and/or some other references. I've read Tom Brennans' report but can't find much more info.

Cheers and thanks for writing-up your trip.
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Re: Mount Solitary (via the back door)

Postby FatCanyoner » Sun 29 Jul, 2012 9:14 pm

The Miners Pass is surprisingly easy to find. It heads north down a small gully about 800m west of the Col, which is about 200 east of the camp site on Singajingawell Ck. Grid reference is approx Jamison 529 585. It is the first time after the Singajingawell camp that the track returns to the cliff edge. A steep gully runs down through the upper cliffs, with obvious wear.
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Re: Mount Solitary (via the back door)

Postby Phil S » Mon 30 Jul, 2012 6:08 pm

Thanks for that. I'm pretty sure I know where you mean.
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Re: Mount Solitary (via the back door)

Postby Phil S » Mon 03 Sep, 2012 2:22 pm

Hey-ya All

It's taken me a while but I finally got out and did this trip.

I wondered down to Kedumba Crossing on Saturday evening. By 10.00pm the first of the frost was spreading across the paddocks, a huge moon was lighting the cliffs and all was well in the world. To bed - it was probably the first time I've slept fully dressed, jumper, neck muff, hat and all in a winter bag, only my down jacket for a pillow (and several times I woke wondering what I could put under my head instead). It was also the first time I've slept under a tarp in sub-freezing temps. It was interesting to find that frost forms on the inside as well as the outside of the fabric and every time you brush it or the air moves you get showered in tiny ice crystals. I need to read up on some more elaborate pitching method that reduce air flow.

In the end the morning came, the sun was delicious and my gas canister ran out. Porridge was cooked over a little fire, a short wash in the river was had and eventually it was off up the road toward the tail of Korrowall Ridge. After a gorgeous little terrace I was chuffed to find scuff marks on the bank suggesting that I was not the first to think this a good place to head into the bush. I found open forest, little of the cutting grass and none of the shale cliff that FC mentioned and by the time I reached the ridge I was beginning to congratulate myself.

The ridge itself is really cool - Compact rock, impressive architecture and lots of concentrating on foot placement and the way ahead. Along the way I climbed the block Bjorn is photographed on, ignored the cave-tunnel thing and looked for some way of capturing in a photograph the impressiveness of the ridge - none was forthcoming.

Then to Point Repulse and I was chuffed to find that the shale ledge traverse is nowhere near as frightening as it looked in the photo. Up top I made my way back to the point proper for lunch but was disappointed to find no comfortable rock platform from which I could soak up the sun - just scrub and a few little platforms.

Scrub. This was the first significant off-track excursion in many years and I have to concede that some of the delights are just the same as ever. I think that Macrodermabrasion is a term more used in climbing route names than in walking circles but by the time I got to Mt Solitary (passing and photographing Mr Nobles very cool rock-flower feature along the way) I felt as if sliding down a granite slab might in some ways be more fun - at least it would be over quite quickly.

The joy of running into the track must have produced a euphoria that clouded my judgement because 10 minutes later, when I came across the top of the Miners Pass I found myself descending again into unknown territory. The original, typically over-ambitious plan was to make my way down the ridge system to (hopefully) meet the maintenance trail near to where it crosses the Kedumba River but there was nowhere near enough time (or energy, not to mention food) for that so, encouraged by FC's photo and of a nice open terrace and descriptions of fascinating little creeks that appear as if by magic and not so much Lawyer Vine I started traversing.

Thus began my education by Lawyer Vine. I learnt that there are three different types. There is Good Lawyer Vine which lays on the ground and through which you can see the ground and it only trips you over if you are very lazy. There is Bad Lawyer Vine which hangs from shrubbery and catches on your arms and shoulders and pack and pulls you over backwards. And there is Very Bad Lawyer Vine which is tangled in deadfall and chest high Bracken Fern and through which you can't see the ground and it supports timber so rotten it would otherwise not be in your way and when it makes you fall it makes you cartwheel forward, crashing onto whatever it might be that is under the ferns.

And finally again the track was fallen onto. Some anti-inflam gel on my knees and down to the river we go (beginning to feel a bit disembodied by this stage). At the river another 2 litres of water is treated (the 4th and 5th liters for the day), the last Carmans Bar is devoured and a strategy devised for the slog back to the carpark - put one foot in front of the other, listen to the sound of my breath and forget about any form of enjoyment (and don't think about Bjorn running up to the carpark just to run back down to join FC's group again so he doesn't get cold - seriously, who could be tough enough to run up that hill and yet still be susceptible to cold).

All up it was a highly memorable trip. Its amazing how fast the frustration and suffering melt away to leave simple memories of a satisfying and healthy little adventure in the great Australian outdoors. I won't be rushing back to the Miners Pass anytime soon but I'd certainly repeat Corrowall Ridge - maybe combining it with Cedar Creek and Walls Pass for a through trip would be fun.
Last edited by Phil S on Mon 03 Sep, 2012 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mount Solitary (via the back door)

Postby juxtaposer » Mon 03 Sep, 2012 4:21 pm

Can anybody tell me why The Miners Pass is called The Miners Pass. What evidence is there to connect it to the miners having used it? Just curious.
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Re: Mount Solitary (via the back door)

Postby north-north-west » Mon 03 Sep, 2012 6:34 pm

Great report, Phil. :)
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Re: Mount Solitary (via the back door)

Postby DaveNoble » Mon 03 Sep, 2012 7:06 pm

juxtaposer wrote:Can anybody tell me why The Miners Pass is called The Miners Pass. What evidence is there to connect it to the miners having used it? Just curious.


I have no idea. I was told about the pass many years ago (1980's) - by Peter Treseder - he called the pass "Trespass" - short for "Treseder's Pass". Now it seems other bushwalkers had used the pass well before Peter found (or re-found) it. Whether there were ever any miners that used the pass I am not sure - but it would be interesting to find out. As far as I know - the mining only extended as far as the Ruined Castle.

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Re: Mount Solitary (via the back door)

Postby juxtaposer » Tue 04 Sep, 2012 6:15 pm

Yes, it would be very unlikely that it would ever have been used for mining purposes. So who in fact first coined the name? Seems to be quite a recent name, as far as I can tell.
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Re: Mount Solitary (via the back door)

Postby FatCanyoner » Sun 09 Sep, 2012 12:21 pm

Phil, great report. I'm glad I'm not the only one who found that southern ridge incredible.
As for the three kinds of lawyer vine, that is a perfect description of it. You can live the the occasional strands, or the thickets through bushes that you then avoid, but the killer stuff is where it winds through the bracken. I'm forever telling people that, but thankfully most don't get to experience it first hand. We were obviously a little luckier than you on that southern side, but we could see the lawyer vine was really bad in places, and it was pretty much the primary driver of our route-finding!
I'm also keen to hear more on the Miners Pass name. It does seem a really simple, obvious route, so I'd be very surprised if it had indeed remained undiscovered until the 80's. As for the miners, while the actual mines never made it that far there were definitely surveys that went there. It could be something like Walls Pass -- a route made by someone exploring for coal / oil shale rather than actually working miners. Even that seems a little strange though, given the obvious pass on the western end and the fact that the shale bands run out at the cliff line, so what they'd have been looking for up on top is beyond me.
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Re: Mount Solitary (via the back door)

Postby Chatty » Thu 21 Jul, 2016 4:08 pm

FatCanyoner, your trip report inspired me to explore Korrowall ridge for myself. The views were absolutely stunning.


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