[SUBW-A] Trip Report, Three Peaks, 1-2 Nov 2003

Ashley Burke aburke at ozemail.com.au
Mon Nov 3 21:40:04 AEDT 2003

Trip : Three Peaks, 1-2 Nov 2003
Party : Ashley Burke

There was some interest in the above walk during the week but in the end
there were no takers and it was a solo Three Peaks trip.

I started out along the Narrow Neck at 9pm Friday evening, the way ahead lit
dimly by a half moon. A cold westerly wind was blowing. Being about my 80th
neck bash, the familiar landmarks on the way along this long fire trail
passed by like an old song. And my footfalls were the metronome, the only
constant rhythm amid the chaos of the wind tearing at the trees. With only
my footsteps for company my mind wandered. Somewhere out near the fire
tower, I walked straight into a fallen log and with an 'oof' and a thud fell
sprawling to the ground. The log lay across the road and in the moonlight
looked just like another shadow among the millions on the road.

The steel ladders at the end of the neck were cold, but in the forest below
a few cicadas chirped feebly as I passed. Hughie couldn't work out what
season it was. The wind seemed to get even stronger as I descended Yellow
Pup ridge, strong enough to get me worried about falling trees, and there
were enough freshly fallen limbs across the track to make it clear that this
was no joke. But at 2am I was down at the Coxs river where it was more
sheltered and I settled down among some casurinas for 2 or 3 hours in the
sleeping bag.

I got up at 5am, not feeling all that well, but the best way to cure that is
to get going up Strongleg. As the sun rose, an orange tinge crept down the
east facing ridges of Guouogang, the third of the Three Peaks. But my goal
for now was Cloudmaker, and from where I was it lay dormant in cold shadows.
I reached Cloudmaker at 8:20am but didn't stay there long, it was too damn
cold and windy. So staying just long enough to have a snack and sign the
logbook I began the long descent to Kanangra Creek. Down in the creek I
found shelter from the wind at last and I rested there in the dappled
sunlight beside the stream. In fact I had not been there 10 minutes before I
began to fall asleep. But there was no time for that, so rather than risk
drifting off to sleep I headed up Paralyser, reaching the top at 11:50am.

By now the wind had eased and it was not quite as cold so I enjoyed a longer
rest here. I looked through the many Three Peaks entries in the logbook
including the 24 hour trip by Alex, Richard, William Landers and Andrew
Mitchell and more recently, the "Three Chicks on Three Peaks" trip.

Then it was down, down, down to Whalania Creek and by now my legs were stiff
after my rest and my knees were getting a little sore. It is a steep descent
to Whalania Creek and when I got there, for about 10 seconds it actually
almost felt warm. You could almost believe that it was the month of
September, but surely not November.

Then the highlight of the Three Peaks - Nooroo Ridge. This is a steep and
spectacular ridge with outcrops of quartsite and tremendous views. I ground
my way slowly up, now quite weary, and reached the summit of Guouogang at
4:30pm. There was still plenty of daylight left so this provided the
opportunity to descend and find a nice sheltered campsite out of the wind.
So it was another long descent over Bullagowar and down towards the Coxs
river. By now my knees were complaining hard and it was with great relief
that I finally stopped for the night, in the same spot that I did with
Andrew Mitchell a year earlier.

It was sheltered from the wind and I enjoyed my first hot food of the trip
and the bliss of a full night's sleep. I was up before dawn and by 5am I was
heading off on the final leg of the trip back to Katoomba. Again the sunrise
bathed the ridges of the Krungle Bungles in orange. Breakfast at the top of
Mt Yellow Dog and then a brisk walk around the Wild Dog mountains before
climbing up onto the Narrow Neck for the final slog along the fire trail.

I reached the finishing line just after midday to record a Three Peaks time
of 39 hours and 5 minutes.

Until next year ...

Ashley Burke
Phone: +61 2 9476 3531
Mobile : 0414 633 315
E-Mail: aburke at ozemail.com.au

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