Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

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Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby ferozious » Thu 03 Jan, 2013 1:14 pm

I have noticed on my CORANG 1:25,000 map that there is a marked walking track named "Mount Owen Route" which appears to head directly up to the southern cliffs of Mount Owen from the Yadboro River 2km upstream from Long Gully Camping Ground.

The track is marked but appears to end at CORANG 423 898.'

Has anyone walked this route? Does it allow access onto Mount Owen? I've never been to Mount Owen but I've seen the cliffs surrounding it and they look quite high... :?
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby WarrenH » Fri 04 Jan, 2013 1:34 pm

From my time with the Canberra Bushwalking Club, guys who went over the point, only ever talked about descending Owen.

This might be helpful ... http://www.peterhenderson.com.au/budawa ... se_of_owen ... until someone who has done it, turns up and fine tunes the route.

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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby Tony » Fri 04 Jan, 2013 3:45 pm

Hi ferozious,

While doing some research on the Monolith Valley area a few years ago, I do remember reading a trip report by a group from the Shoalhaven Bushwalkers where they went up the southern end of Mt Owen or up Owen's Nose as it is sometimes called, but I am unable to find the trip report.

If you contact The Shoalhaven Bushwalkers, they will put you into contact with someone who knows something about the Owen's Nose route.

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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby clarence » Wed 23 Jan, 2013 4:26 am

Yes, there is a route up there. I have done it twice, once down and once up (in pouring rain).

We used a 40m static handline (7mm or so) and this was fine. It is highly advisable to take few slings/tape harnesses/carabiners. As always with rope related work, familiarise yourself with the gear and how to use it competently in a range of wilderness applications before you attempt to use it on such a walk.

The route is, on average, no more exposed than the ascent of the Castle. It is pretty sustained and ideally all members of the party should have at least a basic level of rope skills, be comfortable with exposure and not have overly large packs. Don't even think of doing the route with more than three people, as there is simply not the space on the ledges in the slot to allow for packs/people/safety lines to be set up and transferred safely.

The whole route from the Yadboro River, right to the top, is one of the classic walks of NSW. It also allows an alternative loop via Monolith Valley (as opposed to up and back Kaliana Ridge).

I do not think it is reasonable to publish a full route descrption, as parties who are sufficienlty capable/experienced to complete the route safely will be able to find the way without too much effort. Of the two cracks on the south point of Mt Owen, it is the one which descends to the WEST (ie high point to east, low point to west).

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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby jackhinde » Wed 23 Jan, 2013 8:24 am

Thanks clarence, I 'll go check that out
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby Grabeach » Sun 27 Jan, 2013 9:20 am

Haven't got the latest Corang, but 25 years ago there were two roads heading up toward the base of Owen as shown on 2nd Ed. map. The first left the river at MGA 436,882 and finished at 424,895. It wasn’t easy to find from both the top and bottom then, and probably very overgrown now. The second, the one you mention, was in better condition and left the river at MGA 422,876 and finished at 422,898. The first made for a shorter round trip if going through Monolith Valley etc, but the second was more straightforward.

As for the lower cliffline itself, there are only problems if you tried to go straight up (or down) the nose. From the bottom, the correct route heads off round to the east at the base. When coming down, even many in the know would stick to the nose for too long, then have to backtrack up to where you deviate to the east, making the wrong route twice as worn as the correct one. Unless something has changed, no rope is required. I even remember carrying two overnight packs (one on back, one on front) down here without any problems when a member of our party was injured.

The upper cliffline of Mt Owen also did not require rope. Alternatively it was fairly easy going following the base of the western upper cliffline to come up the gap between Owen and Cole. We also once followed the base of the Owen western lower cliffline (hard going - not recommended) to come up to the same position. And I won't even mention following the base of the Owen southeast side cliffs. Due acknowledgement to the late Don Rice for leading all these epic Sutherland Bushwalking Club trips.

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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby clarence » Wed 30 Jan, 2013 2:34 am

Thanks for the technical info on the old roads Grabeach.

Yes, it is technically possible to climb the upper cliffline without rope. However, the two times I did it, each with relatively experienced people in the party, we all decided it was prudent to get the rope out and use it.

I believe it is more responsible to take the extra gear on any exploratory walk in places like the Budawangs. The few times I have left the rope at home, I have always wished I'd packed it.

The lower cliffline is relatively straightforward, and does not need ropes at all if you find the correct route.

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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby Grabeach » Thu 31 Jan, 2013 10:34 pm

Assuming no abseiling, which I reckoned was cheating anyway, standard procedure for us back then was for everyone in the party to carry one 3m length (small parties two lengths) of 50mm tape. These had a number of uses as required by the individual and could be joined together if necessary. We found that tape was far easier to grip than rope (even the 11mm common in those days) and nobody got lumbered with carrying a long length.

These days it appears to be left to the trip leader to shoulder the burden. In addition, a lot of time is wasted in pulling out, and repacking 20 plus metres of rope or tape when in most instances one or two lengths of tape would suffice.
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby dyad » Sat 09 Feb, 2013 3:20 pm

I can't offer much advice about climbing Mt. Owen itself, but last weekend I attempted a circuit from Wog Wog to The Castle via Monolith Valley, returning to Wog Wog on the track up the Yadboro. The track up the Yadboro was very overgrown and difficult to find in many places and I eventually had to turn back. I did, however, reach the Mt. Owen Route and walk about 2/3 of the way up it and found it to be in very good condition. To reach the Mt. Owen Route I suggest you follow the abandoned road from the Yadboro River crossing; from this, the intersection with the Mount Owen Route should be very obvious. Note that the abandoned road crosses the river a few more times than is indicated on the map.

EDIT: After looking at an old version of the Corang map it seems that the fire trail at the river crossing may be the first one that Grabeach mentioned. In that case, it would be best for you to try to pick up the footpad that follows the river. Don't expect to go fast on that section though.
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby clarence » Wed 31 Jul, 2013 12:41 am

I found some pics of our ascent in of Mt Owen in the rain a few years ago. Rope is good.
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby Huntsman247 » Tue 04 Jun, 2019 10:14 am

Where is the start of this trail? Would it be at a or b?Image
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby Grabeach » Tue 04 Jun, 2019 10:31 pm

'a' is about right for one track, but 'b' isn't for the other. Refer my post of 27/1/13 which gives gives the GRs for the river crossings of both trails as well as the end points according to 2nd Ed. Corang. I think they were pretty much correct on the ground, but it's now 31 years since I was there.

BTW, the hump in Kalianna Ridge could be accessed from 'a', which made it the perfect parking spot for a Castle - MV - Mt Owen loop walk, assuming you can still drive down the track from Long Gully Rd. And while I'm here, anyone know what facilities the Camping Gound marked at 'a' has?
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby Huntsman247 » Thu 06 Jun, 2019 9:38 pm

Grabeach wrote:'a' is about right for one track, but 'b' isn't for the other. Refer my post of 27/1/13 which gives gives the GRs for the river crossings of both trails as well as the end points according to 2nd Ed. Corang. I think they were pretty much correct on the ground, but it's now 31 years since I was there.

BTW, the hump in Kalianna Ridge could be accessed from 'a', which made it the perfect parking spot for a Castle - MV - Mt Owen loop walk, assuming you can still drive down the track from Long Gully Rd. And while I'm here, anyone know what facilities the Camping Gound marked at 'a' has?


So for both tracks I'm assuming one would follow the Yadboro river along on the wog wog track from 'a' to find them deviating from the respective GR's?

I've always started at the castle carpark, will need to suss the long gully track out.
Will be trying to make time to have a go at this route in the next few weeks. Hopefully one can drive on it still.
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby Grabeach » Sun 09 Jun, 2019 2:49 am

Stop the presses. I could be wrong on 'b'. My old Corang has Belowra FT going down an extremely steep spur to the river about a km NW of where the latest Corang shows it, then following the river down stream to a dead end. I don't recall anything that steep. My old Corang shows the track from Mt Owen crossing the river at the GR I gave and heading SE to Long Gully Rd. In the absence of any other tracks I assumed this was the route. It was however dark, and as I wasn't leading I probably wasn't paying a lot of attention. On the Mt Owen side of the river the track is shown heading NW for a few hundred metres before climbing NE up onto the spur. At the point it changes direction it is not far from the 'new' Belowra track. Google maps also shows the 'new' Belowra position. SIX maps shows both the new and old Belowra tracks forming a loop as well as a branch heading west across the river to intersect the early Corang track where it changes direction. The Budawang Sketch Map shows only the Yadboro trail following the river. Neither the SIX or Google Maps air photos are much help. Anyone for a field trip?
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby Huntsman247 » Sun 12 Jul, 2020 6:00 pm

So.... I'm after a bit of clarification...
I tried to take a shortcut yesterday off mount Owen. From what I could understand from logbook entries and this thread is that both sets of cliffs are navigable without rope.
The idea was to decend both clifflines, follow the spur close to long gully and bash our way back to the castle carpark.
To be honest it was raining and it was a bit hard to really check every spot properly but we couldn't find a way down the lower cliffline and ended up having to bush bash across the front of owen and nebelung to join up with the castle track. We were not keen on staying the night. Haha. Hard yakka after doing a big circuit that day and not advisable in the dark.
So my question is, have I understood this properly? Is there a way through the lower cliffs?
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby Grabeach » Sun 12 Jul, 2020 8:44 pm

Unless there has been a recent landslide, there is definitely a way through the lower cliffline. Go down to the tip (MGA56 425.6, 903.6). There used to be a cairn at the point you drop down, but if it's gone it shouldn't be too hard to find as the cliff fairly quickly increases in height in both directions. I think the spot was fairly obvious. A bit harder to remember, but once through the first sub-section of cliff, head hard left till a way down is visible. Could even be a bit of a track. Once down, head right to get back to the top of the spur. From here the western of the two roads was easy to pick up. The tricky part pre-GPS was picking up the eastern road that started lower down.
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby Huntsman247 » Sun 12 Jul, 2020 9:30 pm

Grabeach wrote:Unless there has been a recent landslide, there is definitely a way through the lower cliffline. Go down to the tip (MGA56 425.6, 903.6). There used to be a cairn at the point you drop down, but if it's gone it shouldn't be too hard to find as the cliff fairly quickly increases in height in both directions. I think the spot was fairly obvious. A bit harder to remember, but once through the first sub-section of cliff, head hard left till a way down is visible. Could even be a bit of a track. Once down, head right to get back to the top of the spur. From here the western of the two roads was easy to pick up. The tricky part pre-GPS was picking up the eastern road that started lower down.
OK thanks. I think this warrants a trip to suss this out. I headed down to the tip and followed the cliffline east but it was so misty at that point in the day that we couldn't see very far... Defs didn't see any cairns nor any track.
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby ribuck » Mon 13 Jul, 2020 6:59 am

It's many years since I've been down that way (I'd love to do it again when travel opens up again between the UK and Australia), but I did this route many times in the 1980s and it definitely "goes". I'm encouraged that my distant memory more or less matches Grabeach's recollection.

The descent of the upper cliffline will have taken you down a crack to the west of the southern point. Next you need to re-gain the point, above the lower cliffline. Then go a little further to the east. I can't remember how far, but it's somewhere between 5 and 100 metres. As Grabeach says, it's fairly obvious because the top of the cliffline drops down near the pass. Also as Grabeach says, don't expect to keep descending directly down, you need to turn hard left and continue for a while. Keep looking up, and when you see a rock formation high above that looks like a giant finger, it's pointing out the spot where you turn right and continue downwards. We called that rock the Finger Of God, and I hope it's still there.

After that the route finding is straightforward. There is one exposed spot where you sort-of slither down a metre or two of conglomerate, with a small but viable landing zone at the bottom, surrounded by lots of fresh air. In my youth I never used a handline here, but now in my cautious old age I definitely would.

Try to arrange good weather for your next attempt. It makes such a difference!
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby Huntsman247 » Mon 13 Jul, 2020 8:39 am

ribuck wrote:
Try to arrange good weather for your next attempt. It makes such a difference!


For sure. Well it was great during the morning. Hahahaha
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby clarence » Wed 15 Jul, 2020 12:23 pm

The lower cliffline is a lot easier to negotiate than the upper cliffline.

A bit of weaving back and forth through a few layers maybe, but fairly straightforward.

There is a sheltered cave part way through.

GR424903 off OLD map. My notes say "base of pass up scree W side". It is just west of the south-pointing promontory.

easier to find from the bottom coming up I'd think.

Did that part cop the fires? Any photos?

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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby Huntsman247 » Sun 02 Aug, 2020 11:28 pm

Thanks for the input everyone. Found the pass coming up from long gully. I think this will be my go to entry from now on. So much easier then the castle track.
It is easier to find going up but lots of fallen trees that make it a bit awkward to spot and a little awkward to get past certain spots. It's a bit overgrown at the top of the lower cliffs. Dead and burnt but makes it a little hard to spot especially in bad weather when not knowing where it is.
The rock finger is still there and cave on the way to the top is fantastic.
Both above and below the cliffs are fire impacted. Plenty regrowth below the lower cliffs but mostly dead between the 2 cliff lines.
I'll post some pics once I get around to going through my photos.
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby ribuck » Mon 03 Aug, 2020 7:37 pm

Fantastic, Huntsman247, and thanks for the update. I look forward to seeing your pics.

This reminds me that there is also a pass to return to Long Gully from somewhere to the eastsoutheast of Bibbenluke. It's a long time since I did it, and someone else was navigating, and unfortunately I don't remember the precise route, but it was no more difficult than the route off Mt Owen.

We were returning from Sunset Cave (near Mt Donjon) in atrocious weather, and the leader chose it as the quickest way back to Long Gully. We were skeptical, but surprisingly it was fast! No need to go up and over Mts Cole and Owen, just follow the track past the camping caves on the side of Mt Cole, then across the saddle towards Bibbenluke and down a rocky pass somewhere.
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby Grabeach » Mon 03 Aug, 2020 9:50 pm

This would be the reverse of the route in along the bottom of the lower Mt Owen cliff line that I mentioned previously. While we did come up between Owen and Cole, my mind had blanked out that we first headed N up to the Bibbenluke - Cole saddle, then SE up to the base of the Cole top cliff line and finally back 300m S along the base of those cliffs to the gap. Don't recall much in the way of scrambling at all. I wouldn't argue that coming back from the Donjon this way may be quicker, but reckon going across the top of Owen would be easier, having far less vegetation.
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby Huntsman247 » Mon 03 Aug, 2020 10:58 pm

ribuck wrote:Fantastic, Huntsman247, and thanks for the update. I look forward to seeing your pics.

This reminds me that there is also a pass to return to Long Gully from somewhere to the eastsoutheast of Bibbenluke. It's a long time since I did it, and someone else was navigating, and unfortunately I don't remember the precise route, but it was no more difficult than the route off Mt Owen.

We were returning from Sunset Cave (near Mt Donjon) in atrocious weather, and the leader chose it as the quickest way back to Long Gully. We were skeptical, but surprisingly it was fast! No need to go up and over Mts Cole and Owen, just follow the track past the camping caves on the side of Mt Cole, then across the saddle towards Bibbenluke and down a rocky pass somewhere.
Somewhere north of trawalla falls? Did you guys then follow the bottom of the lower cliffs back south or the ridge west of viney ck?
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Re: Climbing Mt. Owen from Long Gully

Postby ribuck » Tue 04 Aug, 2020 4:20 am

Sorry, Huntsman247, I was paying attention to avoiding hypothermia and not to where the leader was taking us. We probably dropped off the mountain somewhere in the circled area. After that, I don't know. We definitely weren't following a creek, and I don't think we were hugging the base of any cliffs, so it's possible it was the ridge to the west of Viney Creek. I do remember being pleased with how quickly we got back to the cars.
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Dropping off Bibbenluke
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