[SUBW-A] Trip Report, Colo (again), 3-4 Jul 2004

Ashley Burke aburke at ozemail.com.au
Mon Jul 5 22:16:54 AEST 2004

Trip: 2 day Colo trip, 3-4 Jul 2004
Party: Rob Hynes, Kendy Burke, Ashley Burke

Some of us could not resist a return trip to the Colo, despite having
already been to the area twice this year. As enthusiasm for the advertised
ski trip waned, the prospect of another big ridge trip in this fine clear
weather, in an area where water is still guaranteed, seemd more attractive.

And we were not disappointed.

Leaving Sydney on Friday evening the three of us camped on the Grassy Hill
Fire trail amid burnt woodland in the sterile, ghostly light of a full moon.
On Saturday morning we found the ridge out to Pass 9 and made rapid progress
through the light scrub and soon all trails, tracks and signs of humanity
were behind us. After a couple of hours the ridge ended abruptly, and the
enormity of the Colo gorge lay directly below. We scouted around for the
pass and eventually found a treacherously steep but navigable route through
the cliff lines to the junction of the Colo and Boorai Creek. There we
enjoyed our lunch on a sandy reach and made good use of the abundant water
supply to indulge ourselves in a second cup of tea. This was fitting
preparation for the dry ridges ahead.

Not far upstream we began our ascent of Barakee Pass, and pretty soon our
packs were off and the hand line was out in order to negotiate a 4m rock
slab that barred our way. From then on we sidled our way upwards and picked
a relatively easy route through the upper cliff line to gain the ridge top
to the west of the Colo gorge. Here the country leveled out somewhat, and
some distance further on we found a high flat-topped knoll on which to camp.

It turned out that we had three bottles of wine between the three of us so
we were set for a very relaxing and enjoyable evening. The moon rose,
bloated, livid and orange in the East, tinted no doubt by the polluted air
of Sydney that lay between us and it. But by the time the moon was high
above us the wine was gone and we were out.

On Sunday morning we followed another ridge system that took us back to the
Colo a fair way downstream from where we had crossed the day before.
Tremendous views greeted us at the end of the ridge, the gorge here was so
steep the river seemed almost to undercut the bluffs on which we stood. We
had to find a pass down from here, and this proved easier than expected as a
nearby gentle gully led almost all the way to the bottom. A thicket of dense
lawyer vine and raspberry at the bottom was the only major obstacle.

The pass on the other side, however, proved more of a challenge. We were in
the vicinity of Pass 11 which leads up to Alidade Hill from the North. We
followed a side creek East out of the Colo but tried to climb too high too
early and soon were confronted with loose narrow ledges and obstructive
bands of cliff. Some time was spent trying to negotiate these obstacles
without success. We humbly retreated, headed further upstream, and then had
another crack at the pass when it looked gentler. This time the cliffs gave
way to loose but relatively gentle slopes. By now a strong nor-westerly was
whipping through the trees and we had a late lunch on a knoll with the Colo
gorge below us once more. From there it was a relatively short but pleasant
walk back to the Grassy Hill fire trail and the waiting vehicle.

A great trip on yet another bone dry weekend.

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

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