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Eight Days of Fun in the Gardens of Stone

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jul, 2013 1:22 pm
by bumblefoot
Just back from 8 days in this magical area. We started from the stile on Donkey Mtn, where we parked our hire car and walked a few klms further down the road, then followed a ridge and easy pass onto the tops, lunching at the Mt Dawson caves. Over the next 2 days we walked to McLeans Pass, enjoying some wonderful views. The going was mostly easy apart from some nasty scrub around Woolpack Gap. We didn't find a pass here, but headed north trying each rocky gully but they all seemed to end in huge drop-offs. Must have missed something there. In the end we found a ridge with no cliffs and followed it down to Red Rock Creek, coming in below the prominent Y junction. At this junction we followed the more westerly branch and at another intersection climbed the ridge back onto the tops. After that it was pretty plain sailing all the way to McLeans Gap, marvelling at all the pagodas in the beautiful weather. We exited via the passes off Cape Horn and thankfully got a lift along the road back to our car.

Next was a day and night on Donkey Mtn. Only enough to scratch the surface, but very spectacular. Even some water dripping off the cliffs in the Grand Hall! Returning to the car by lunch, we cautiously drove to the Coxs River Road, wondering how far we would get in the hire Corolla (very low). To our surprise and pleasure we made it to the junction with the Cape Horn road. After a scenic walk down to Baal Bone Gap, we loaded up with water for 2 days and 2 nights at the pressure reducing station, followed our nose onto the tops, and found a nice campsite about half way to Baal Bone Point, near the cliff edge. There were great views of the full moon rising, and the sunrise the following morning.

Then off to Baal Bone Point, and Pantoneys Crown, having lunch on the southern end. The climb up was great, we passed our packs up one short but awkward gully, otherwise quite straightforward. I loved the final chimney, dancing up the ledges on either side. (well, as much as you can dance with a heavy pack). After lunch on the end, (with our water supplemented from a rock pool), we did some exploring and found a nice campsite near the summit. Again we were favoured with great sunset and sunrise views. The northern descent was again quite straightforward, we lowered our packs on the first drop but all good after that.

Our next goal was Pt Cameron, but upon reaching the cliffs we made a boo-boo in that we didn't check out all the breaks for the "correct" route. One route seemed to go, but higher up it was loose and not very nice, so we crawled through a cave about 50cm high, dragging our packs behind us, to get into another gully system. Some more loose scrambling and a nasty chimney and we were on top. About 50m away we found a cairn which we assume indicated the more usual route! We explored the surrounding pagodas for the rest of the day before locating a campsite and water nearby. Being down in a dip and surrounded by vegetation and pagodas, we lost the sun very early, this was the coldest night of the trip, with ice on the tent in the morning. Then some more exploring of the area and some nice canyons, more time at McLeans Pass, and it was back to the car, pleased that we had achieved all of our objectives.

Neither of us had been to this area before (we are from Brisbane) and we enjoyed the challenges and the route finding. We had no track notes as such, but I had pieced together possible routes from photos and captions on various websites. To top it all off, on the last day we took a joy flight with Capertee Helicopters over all the area we had walked through, and more.

We will definitely be back!

Re: Eight Days of Fun in the Gardens of Stone

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jul, 2013 6:01 pm
by michael_p
Excellent report. Thank you. I am jealous as I would love to get up onto Pantoneys one day.

Re: Eight Days of Fun in the Gardens of Stone

PostPosted: Mon 05 Aug, 2013 9:39 am
by tom_brennan
bumblefoot wrote:The going was mostly easy apart from some nasty scrub around Woolpack Gap. We didn't find a pass here, but headed north trying each rocky gully but they all seemed to end in huge drop-offs. Must have missed something there.


You may have missed one, as one of those gullies definitely goes. Though it perhaps looks a little dodgy from above.

Re: Eight Days of Fun in the Gardens of Stone

PostPosted: Mon 05 Aug, 2013 11:38 am
by bumblefoot
thanks Tom, will have to keep a better look out next time.

Re: Eight Days of Fun in the Gardens of Stone

PostPosted: Mon 05 Aug, 2013 10:42 pm
by DaveNoble
Sounds like a great trip. Photos?

Dave

Re: Eight Days of Fun in the Gardens of Stone

PostPosted: Tue 06 Aug, 2013 3:11 pm
by bumblefoot
Will try and put some up. None as good as yours though!

Re: Eight Days of Fun in the Gardens of Stone

PostPosted: Fri 09 Aug, 2013 10:40 am
by bumblefoot
Here is a link to a few photos. I couldn't add them in directly as they were too big and I didn't have enough time to make them smaller.

Hopefully the link will work.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1040213727 ... PJuly2013#

Bumblefoot

Re: Eight Days of Fun in the Gardens of Stone

PostPosted: Fri 09 Aug, 2013 10:48 am
by GPSGuided
Amazing images. Nice!

Re: Eight Days of Fun in the Gardens of Stone

PostPosted: Fri 09 Aug, 2013 9:56 pm
by DaveNoble
Thanks - nice pics and great conditions - BUT - bad dust on your camera's sensor (see pics 8,9 13). Time for a clean.

Dave

Re: Eight Days of Fun in the Gardens of Stone

PostPosted: Tue 14 Jan, 2014 10:58 am
by iandsmith
Loved the pics, thanks for sharing. Interested to know where that cleft in the rock is that you took a few shots of.
Cheers, Ian

Re: Eight Days of Fun in the Gardens of Stone

PostPosted: Tue 14 Jan, 2014 3:54 pm
by ofuros
Great shots bumblefoot....and a great looking area to explore. 8)

Re: Eight Days of Fun in the Gardens of Stone

PostPosted: Wed 15 Jan, 2014 9:22 pm
by bumblefoot
Ian, Not sure which rock cleft you mean, what are the captions for the photos you wree referring to?