Colo walkers, your advice please

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Colo walkers, your advice please

Postby rorywalks » Sun 09 May, 2021 8:38 am

Hi all,

A question for those of you who have spent some time in the Colo.

Can the section of river between Buck's Pass 24 (Clew's shortcut) and Pass 29 (Cascade Pass) be walked on the bank when the water is high? The river levels are up a bit again this week and I'm looking for a two night loop that requires no climbing gear, and can be walked in higher water. Some wading is fine, but we're not looking to swim.

The original plan was to walk the section between Wollemi and Boorai Creeks however I think this may be difficult under current conditions?

If these plans are both unworkable then any recommendations for alternative routes are welcomed. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Colo walkers, your advice please

Postby rcaffin » Sun 09 May, 2021 5:29 pm

Define 'high'.
We (wife & I) have sat on the rock shelf above the Colo on the Canoe Ck track and admired it flowing - when it was up by 10 (ten) metres. 'Interesting'.
ColoFlood1S.jpg
ColoFlood1S.jpg (63.02 KiB) Viewed 3720 times


We have walked from Clews Short Cut to the the tip of the spur going south from Island (un-named creek junction) and come back over Island. We crossed to the true right bank for most of this, although there was a bit of cliff to bypass. Once past the Wollangambee the true left bank looked feasible. Mind you, walking IN the Colo was also reasonable in places.
ColoGorge1S.jpg
ColoGorge1S.jpg (155.15 KiB) Viewed 3720 times


The route for getting up from the Clews Cave creek into the plateau went through several rock strata. Some pack hauling was needed. This is my wife on one of the strata.
Clewscave02S.jpg
Clewscave02S.jpg (157.91 KiB) Viewed 3720 times


This was a fairly solid two-day trip.

Cheers
Roger
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Re: Colo walkers, your advice please

Postby rorywalks » Sun 09 May, 2021 8:15 pm

Thanks Roger, I appreciate the response.

How straightforward is the descent via Clews Short Cut? Any rope needed there?

At current river levels (up to about 0.5m above base level) would you expect that section of the river to be safely fordable and walkable? I attempted to access the upper part of the gorge via Wollemi Creek in January when the river was up 1m, and turned back as the water was swift and very high at Wollemi Creek (over our heads). This has left me a little unsure what to expect at current levels, which are somewhere in between. I can only imagine the scene at Canoe Creek with the river up 10m - wow.

Did your ascent back up to the plateau follow the spur that runs directly to the summit of Island (Bucks pass 28)? If so, that looks a little more difficult than I'd anticipated from reading the notes in Corlis' book, where it's described as "an easy ridge". We had planned to ascend via pass 29a (Dry Ridge Pass) which I hope might be a little easier than your ascent appears from your photo. I do plan to take some rope for pack hauling, however some in our party do not have climbing experience and I would like to plan a route within everyone's capabilities.

Thanks again.
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Re: Colo walkers, your advice please

Postby Tyreless » Mon 10 May, 2021 7:16 am

I have done Clews Short Cut a few times recently. The gate on the Drip Rock Track is open, making access much easier. I have never needed rope on the Short Cut nor had to do anything technical in the ascent or descent.

I have been down 28 and up 29 and, again, no rope and nothing technical, though you have to pick your line and perhaps be prepared to backtrack around a rock line here or there. The trickiest part is on the ascent on the northern side of Island but no rope or technical moves required. It's a good walk with lovely views over the river and can be done in a day.

My climbing skills are average and I tend to not take risks. I haven't walked the river between the Short Cut and 28 so can't comment on that.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Colo walkers, your advice please

Postby rorywalks » Mon 10 May, 2021 10:29 am

Thanks Tyreless, that helps a lot.

Are there any suitable areas to camp at the bases of the passes (Clews Short Cut and 28/29) if we are unable to ford the river at those points?

What's the road condition like on the Drip Rock Track? With the open gate do you reckon we could get down to the end in a 2WD or light duty 4WD?

Cheers.
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Re: Colo walkers, your advice please

Postby Tyreless » Mon 10 May, 2021 12:06 pm

The sand bank at the bottom of Clews Short Cut is on the other side of the river. I don't recall much in the way of camp sites on the eastern side of the river there.

There is a sandbank at the bottom of pass 28 that should be OK for camping.

There is one steep hill on the Drip Rock Track - it's near the start. At the moment the track is in reasonable condition and is fine for an SUV (eg: my Subaru XV) but could be tricky with a 2WD.
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Re: Colo walkers, your advice please

Postby rorywalks » Mon 10 May, 2021 12:37 pm

Thanks again Tyreless, really appreciate it.
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Re: Colo walkers, your advice please

Postby rcaffin » Mon 10 May, 2021 1:02 pm

I remember Clews Short Cut as being a series of rock steps, but we did not need rope. Caution: we are both retired hard climbers, so our opinions may not help.
My notes do say that the descent could be tricky if the rock is wet, like after rain. Figures.

The ascent back up onto the plateau - yeah, there could be easier ways. We just went for it.

Cheers
Roger
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Re: Colo walkers, your advice please

Postby rorywalks » Mon 10 May, 2021 1:07 pm

Thanks Roger.
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Re: Colo walkers, your advice please

Postby davidmorr » Sun 08 Aug, 2021 11:15 am

rorywalks wrote:I can only imagine the scene at Canoe Creek with the river up 10m - wow.

Canoe Creek ledge in March 2012, 12m flood (although it had gone down a bit by the time the picture was taken). Compared to a photo at normal levels a couple of years earlier.
Colobeforeafter.jpg
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