Party: Martin, Trang, Christian
Leader: Christian
Date: 13/10/2012

Although I ran this walk as “Explore Mt Jellore” I was tempted to rename this trip report “Jellore, The Hard Way”!

It was a lovely blue morning after a cold snap had dumped 15cms of snow in the Blue Mountains the day before , which would have certainly affected our walking location in the Southern Highlands. So with sunny skies, our group of 3 (Martin , Trang and myself) set off in the Jellore State Forest for the goal of climbing Mt Jellore.

Jellore is an unusual dome shaped mountain of volcanic microsyenite. It is 845m high, and easily seen when looking towards the Southern Highlands from Sydney. I’ve  looked forward to getting to the top for a while, but information on access is hard to find. An earlier exploratory walk found the start of the track, but then it became vague, so I planned to return using a different route. After some research, I planned a route involving some forest tracks and then some bush bashing. Lucky for us the forest was fairly open, and being spring, there were plenty of wildflowers, including ground and rock orchids.

Although the way looks quite straightforward on Google Earth, at ground level the way was guarded by some large cliffs. We found a break in them to descend, then past a beautiful wind eroded cave, and some more descent using weaknesses in the cliff lines.

This led us to some remote farmland, a crossing of a creek, then up the other side. Soon we left the cleared farmland to tackle the actual summit dome. This proved to be quite hard, but Martin and Trang seemed to enjoy the challenge. Everything seemed to be either loose, slippery or a stinging nettle! The sides of the mountain are steep with small cliffs in many spots, so it took some careful route finding to claw our way up.

By 2pm the summit trig was attained and on top we found a very well used walking track!  Lunchtime views from the northern side of the summit were terrific. The views covered the whole Nattai Valley, over the hinterland of Lake Burragorang and out to the Blue Mountains. You could even see the Sydney CBD 100kms away! All framed with flowering wattle and westringia bushes. Very nice.

Taking the track back down saved a heap of time, with a few ropes to help on the really steep sections. Trang and Martin both agreed that the way up, although quite steep and hard, was much more fun than just going up the track!

We then left the track where it met the base of the dome, to return back to the way we had come. Easier said than done! Rock scree slopes covered in ferns and nettles proved to be very tricky going, and Trang had a spectacular 360 degree tumble into a pile of nettles! Luckily she did not get hurt, apart from an arm covered in nettle stings.

We found a simpler way back up the opposite mountain to rejoin our forest track, although it was still pretty rough with rocks falling at times in the steep places! I was quite surprised that at two times of our trackless scrub bashing, we arrived at exactly the same places on returning, as the locations on our original route! In my photo links I have included some GPS screen grabs of the route taken.

We made it back to the car at 5.30pm , our 3.5 km (each way) walk had taken about 7 hours! Just in time for beer and dinner at the Mittagong Hotel, where Martin (an international student from Europe) learnt that “Lambs Fry”, does not mean Fried Lamb! Lucky he ended up ordering the Schnitzel!

Thanks to Trang and Martin who, with their cheerfulness and “press on regardless “ attitude (stinging nettles and all),  made this a most enjoyable walk, climb,scramble and tumble!

And although Mt Jellore is no longer a mystery to me, I still want to find the “official” route!

Christian Wilson