[SUBW-A] Trip Report, Colo wilderness, 12-14 Jun 2004

Ashley Burke aburke at ozemail.com.au
Tue Jun 15 22:40:55 AEST 2004


Trip: Colo wilderness from Culoul Range, 12-14 Jun 2004
Party: Jarrod Amoore, Jo Boyd, Don Cameron, Rob Hynes, Mal McLeod, Martin
Pfeil, Kendy Burke, Ashley Burke

With Don travelling separately from Faulconbridge and the remainder from
Epping, all found ourselves in the same patch of scrub off the Culoul Fire
Trail by about 10:30pm on Friday evening.

We set of early the next morning, parking our cars near the Six Brothers
trig on the Culoul Range. Then we could do what we came here to do - walk.
After a sprightly walk along a fire trail we arrived at Crawfords Lookout
and enjoyed the tremendous views into the depths of Wollemi Creek. All
around were the Colo trademarks, steep bluffs strewn with sandstone outcrops
and  layers of cliffs dissected by deep gorges. And indeed it was through
such country that we would spend the remainder of the weekend.

We descended from Crawfords Lookout to Wollemi Creek, picking our own route
down despite a ridiculous number of false leads and useless cairns marking
different routes to the same place - the bottom. We did our duty by thinning
out the number of cairns appropriately. The main role of the cairns was to
provide the raw materials for the old club ritual known as gibberology.

Once down in Wollemi Creek the untracked wilderness began. A nearby gully
looked like a promising route up and we climbed directly out of the gorge on
the opposite site from where we had come down. Recent bushfires had made the
country very unstable and we had to climb very carefully, picking the most
solid ground available. Once on top we enjoyed lunch and then proceeded
along the Wollemi range. We camped among the trees in a wide an open section
of ridge with Girribung Creek below us.

By 8am the next morning we headed off, following a very interesting looking
spur down to Girribung Creek. There were fine views on the way down, which
involved some rock scrambling. And once in Girribung Creek we made good
progress down to the Colo River. Here the sun had not yet reached and it was
a cold and dewey place. The rays of the winter sun made it here for only a
few hours per day. So the place to be was ridges. We filled our canteens
with water and headed up a gully onto the high ridge to the south for
another pleasant lunch. Up here it was unseasonally warm, dry and sunny. Our
objective for the night's camp was a narrow prow of a ridge overlooking the
Colo with deep gorges either side. We made our way southwards towards this
ridge, crossing two dry creek beds on the way. By 4:30pm we had reached rock
platforms offering tremendous views over the Colo valley and we looked on as
the afternoon light caught the crests of ridges and bathed the broken
sandstone cliffs in orange.

The only known pass down to the Colo from here was on an adjacent ridge
further south but that didn't stop Martin from using the remaining light of
the afternoon to probe the ridge we were on for ways down. He returned to
our camp just on dark optimistic that the way ahead would yield. So with the
stage set for a possible pass discovery the next day we relaxed and enjoyed
the mild starry evening.

Again we were packed and gone by 8am the next morning and like Martin
predicted, the end of the ridge we were on was steep but negotiable, and we
carefully worked our way down to successively lower levels. Finally we were
tantalizingly close to the bottom when real cliffs barred the way. But after
some further scouting a way down was found and before we knew it we were
down and replenishing our water supplies at a rapid on the Colo River.

There was one pass left to go. And not wishing to break with habit we
decided to give the slope directly opposite a go rather than heading
downstream to the known numbered pass on Bob Buck's sketch map. Like most of
the other passes we had done, this was steep and very loose and it was hard
to prevent gravity from wresting control of the boulders from under our
feet. The catch cry "Rock below!" was uttered several times but eventually
all were safely up and met a faint track on top of the ridge. Several rock
platforms along the ridge offered more tremendous views of the gorge and we
could survey the pass we had come down earlier that morning. It looked
steep!

The discovery of this more direct route meant that we were well ahead of
time and after an early lunch, were back at the cars not long after. So we
adjourned to the Windsor Pub except for Don who made his way back to
Faulconbridge because his car engine was acting up and had to be nursed home
carefully. The rest of us found the Windsor pub in full swing, with a fairly
awful band blaring loudly but we enjoyed our drinks in the outdoor beer
garden happy in the knowldege that out there, somewhere, the mighty Colo
ridges stood there still, until another day.

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





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