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Mon 04 Mar, 2013 9:10 am
After all the rain of late I thought a day in the mountains would be the thing on Saturday. So I headed up to Wentworth Falls early in steady rain. It was still falling as I set off for the Conservation Hut on the Shortcut Track. From there it was down to the Empress Falls and the turn off to Wentworth Pass. Here I stayed right despite the warning signs and followed the old Roberts Pass which was quite clear and easy to follow. At Inspiration Point it afforded great views out over the Jamieson valley to Mt Solitary and to Sublime Pt. It continued hugging the base of the cliffs till a sign marked Roberts Pass pointed the way out to the tops. I continued around below two waterfalls. I didn't see where the Gladstone Pass Track came in or the old colliery. In fact my eye sight must be failing because these were just two of several landmarks i would miss completely. Dash's Cave, Lindeman's Rock and Walford's Rock were others. From here the track deteriorated badly. In fact it was largely obliterated by landslides, windfall and regrowth. The going was particularly slow up and over fallen logs and twisted vines. The occasional silver marker reassuringly appeared from time to time but there was little that resembled a track. There must have been heavy winds up in these parts recently because many of the fallen trees were very new. Later I would find that some had not even been cleared from the tourist tracks yet.
Anyway I battled on and after about 2 hours of sweat and toil I reached the base of Sublime Point where the bush is drier and miraculously the track reappeared and remained very clear. Two cairns marked where the route up Copeland Pass left the track. But I continued on past a couple more falls. The track actually past behind the second which meant you looked out to the valley through a veil of water. This is actually the 2nd drop of Gordon Falls one of the prettiest falls in the mountains. From here it wasn't long to Leura Falls which I crossed near the old sewerage infrastructure and before long picked up the tourist track to Leura Forest where I stopped for lunch and rid my legs of the numerous leeches that had affixed themselves.
After lunch I took the Federal Pass then Dardanelles Pass to the foot of the Giant Stairway and up to Echo Pt. At the top I took the Cliff Top Track right back around to the Gordon Falls Picnic area which is very pretty even in the rain which was falling again. Then down to the Pool of Siloam and up to Golf Links Lkt. From there it was across to Sublime Pt Rd and then past the resort which appeared to have a big crowd in and onto the golf course. Here I walked up and down the fairways in the pouring rain looking for the track. I didn't find it but I did find several golf balls. At length i decided to strike out across country which led down to the Empress Ck which I crossed and then up the other side to West St where I picked up the Nature Track which led back to the Conservation Hut and the car, where I arrived thoroughly drenched but pleased to have been out, not long after.
Mon 04 Mar, 2013 4:08 pm
The intersection of the Gladstone and Lindememan passes is very easy to miss. There is a cairn, and a few tape markings, if you know exactly where to look. But, if you knew where to look, you wouldn't need the markers
. It's all so wet and muddy there, and Gladstone gets very few visitor. If you do want see the Gladstone track either start from the top, or if you are coming from below just start scrambling up any old way on the right hand side (when looking up) of Gladstone gorge. Eventually you will converge with a rough track.
The coal mine tunnel is 30m down the creek from the track, on the right hand side when you are looking down. It is tucked away near a waterfall, it may in fact get submerged in heavy rain.
Dash's Cave is a few hundred metres past Gladstone Gorge, its just a big overhang about 5m back from the track. Nothing particularly special other than there aren't many other places to shelter on the track. There is a billy tin with a log book in the cave.
I don't know about Walford's or Lindeman's rocks either.
Mon 04 Mar, 2013 5:04 pm
Thanks for that. I don't feel quite so unobservant now.
Tue 05 Mar, 2013 8:32 am
Pity it's deteriorated so much-must be nearly 10 years since I did that walk,it was quite easy back then,even better when you made a day of it by continuing on as you did.
Tue 05 Mar, 2013 12:17 pm
Yes unfortunately on the Eastern side of Sublime Pt it is a real mess. I couldn't recommend it at all. I would even exit at Gladstone Pass (now i know where it is
) and descend Copeland Pass off Sublime Pt to miss the skungy bit.
Sun 10 Mar, 2013 1:11 pm
On friday, being my last day for a while without parental or employment obligations, I got inspired to try and tidy up the Lindeman track between Gladstone and Copeland pass. I had done that section a year ago (going down Copeland and up Gladstone) and remembered losing the way amongst ferns and fallen trees, so thought a bit of a trim may improve things. I parked my car at Sublime Point about noon, then walked around to the Fairmont (with a brief excursion down Orchard Ln to see if there was a short cut, but it seemed to turn into a private driveway before hitting the bush). I reached the ominous warning sign at the top of Gladstone Pass about 12:45, and meandered down through the gorge for a short break at Dash's Cave, then continued on, stopping to drag off or saw through any fallen branches on the track.
Apart from occasionally being blocked by branches, the track was very distinct, and over the course of a couple of hours I made my way around the slope towards the nose of Sublime Point.
Then I hit the landslide area(s), and I pretty much gave up trying to make any sort of improvement to the track. Well there were a couple of trees I removed where I was certain the original track was underneath (due to stonework or old markers), and a few other places where I hacked a hole through the vines, but in many places there was nothing left at all of the original track, and a couple of different foot pads emerging as people chose different lines of attack over trees, those spots I just left as is.
It was quite late in the afternoon by the time I hit the really ferny section. At one point, getting sick of making slow progress through the ferns, vines and fallen trees, I went down the slope into wide open rainforest and made pretty good progress there, until looking up the hill through the ferns, I saw a big fern tree with a bright orange fleece tied around it, which I recalled from my previous visit. I climbed up at this point, and followed a faint footpad till it ran out. Not knowing whether I was above or below the main track (or whether it existed at all in this section) I decided to keep ascending. I scrambled up a steep gully, and saw evidence of previous walkers. I knew I was just South of the nose of Sublime Point, and I remembered the map in Jim Smith's book "The Blue Mountains Mystery Track : Lindeman Pass" he shows Copeland Pass with routes going East and South off Sublime point, as well as the Western route that is most defined. So I thought I may have been on the Southern route, and kept climbing till I hit the base of the cliff. It was after 7:00 now, and I was starting to get worried about running out of light, but figured I would sidle around and either find an obvious way through the cliff or (eventually) I'd hit the 'main' route. It was reasonably easy to traverse, and I found a few promising slots that could be scrambled up, but I was worried that I might only be able to get part of the way up, and didn't fancy being stuck half way up in the dark. So I kept traversing around the nose.
Now last week, Web Guy mentioned he had loaded his GPS trace of the Copeland pass into OpenStreetMaps. At the time I had been a bit disparaging on the basis that it might lead people to follow the track without realising what they are getting themselves into. But in the rapidly darkening evening gloom I was very pleased to be able to pull out my phone and reassure myself that I was only a few hundred metres away from a way out. While I did have a torch, without the OSM trail I would probably have overshoot the track in the dark, and no doubt would have had to spend the night in an overhang or such.
So yeah, having the track in OSM was good. I hit the track about 8:00, I think just near the spot about half way between the bottom (Lindeman track) and the climbing wall, where it stops descending and makes a big bend to the right. The sun was fully gone by now, but there was enough glow to be able to pick my way up, I finally stopped and got the torch out though when I reached the hole in the rock with the rope hanging through it, and reached the car about 8:30. Phew!
So yeah, as kanangra says, the section of track on the Eastern side of Sublime Point is pretty poor. Also, Gladstone pass is gorgeous (hey! a pun!) and Copeland pass lots of fun as well, so might be worth doing it the way he suggests, i.e. come up Gladstone, then walk on the roads to Sublime Point. The only pity is there doesnt seem to be a way of linking up the tops of these passes through the bush. The eastern houses on the northern part of Sublime Point Road go all the way to the escarpment, which prevents access that way. Alternatively, maybe descending into the valley would be a good way to bypass the landslide.
Sun 10 Mar, 2013 3:54 pm
Yes I saw the high visibility jersey wrapped around the tree fern as well. It was the last thing I was expecting and it gave me quite a shock.
Mon 11 Mar, 2013 10:50 am
Apparently there were negotiations for the Lands Dept to upgrade the Lindemans Pass. These ceased when the National Parks took over the area, they having no interest in the track west of the Roberts Pass junction. While bushwalkers have been prepared to use, and often complain about the condition of, the track, next to none of these bushwalkers have been prepared to do anything about it since Jim Smith's and Wilf Hider's amazing efforts in the early 1980s.
Fri 12 Apr, 2013 9:46 am
Hi All, I have it on very good authority that new sign-age is going in down at where roberts pass meets the lindeman track and at the top of Gladstone Pass in June.
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