by Geoff Ford
Walks report from SUBW Logbook 2.
Friday 21 (night) — Sun 23 April, 1961
“A MANIACAL ATTEMPT ON THE BLUIES’ MOST IMPRESSIVE PEAK” (Quote from Walks Programme)
(To save me a certain amout of brain fag, and as I consider it worth repeating, I quote liberally from the account, in the Uni. Rover Crew Log, by Rick Higgins.) I quote Rick’s first paragraph without comment…
Perhaps the best way to account for this foolish deed in the first place would be to pass the buck onto the obviously depraved mind of the leader of this scramble. And who would that be? … why, of course, etc.
The aim of the walk was to leave Katoomba on the Friday night and camp at the Dogs Terrace. Leaving packs at Warrigal Gap (above Mobb’s Soak) on Saturday, to stroll down Yellow Dog to the Cox’s, up Queahgong, then Guouogang, back to the Cox’s, up Yellow Pup and back to the packs and Mob’s Soak for tea that night — and then to try something tough on the Sunday. Rick suggested joining the other party (Peter Scott’s party were visiting Galong Ck) at the foot of Galong Ck. before breakfast!
The selected participants were Karl Robertson, Don Westaway, Rick Jamieson (Big Rick), Rick Higgins (Middle Rick), Dave Dash and Geoff Ford.
They …. had … a reasonable idea of what they had been talked into, so as soon as Big Rick suggested that he take his spacious limosine (1931 A model Ford) along the fire roads to Medlow gap, he was No. 2 pin up immediately. The long and short of this being that we spent several enjoyable hours on Friday night sliding sideways through soaks, making new tracks through the bush (the shortest way back to the road if one runs off) etc. Finally, in the very early hours of Saturday, we bedded down, at Medlow Gap Helicopter Landing Clearing, proposing to get up about 4.45 am.
4.45 am. The birds were singing and six Uni. bods lay peacefully sleeping.
6.45 am. Don stirred, and rolled over …….
Soon after, in a scattered and bedraggled manner six half awake bods strolled at a mere 5 m.p.h. around under Mouin to stop at the Dogs’ Terrace for a 10 min breakfast which lasted 1/2 an hour.
(Here I must virtually leave Rick, for “I’m” taking up too much space.)
We pushed along Wombat Parade, to Warrigal Gap where our packs were left as scheduled. Carrying only two frameless packs with lunch, water bottles, and sweaters, we moved across Merrimerrigal, around Dingo, and across the saddles to Yellow Dog Knob. We left our programme in the tin at the cairn there.
Then away down Yellow Dog at a fast pace until the fall into the Cox’s, opposite Guouogang Brook.
(I must include this eye-witness account of Rick’s as a warning. I myself was not in a position to witness the effects!)
As our position necessitated a crossing, we stripped, crossed over, had a swim, and sunbaked till dry. At this stage an interesting experiment (?!) took place. We had left all drinking vessels behind, but as we wanted a seltzer we had to think of something. Geoff filled up his mouth with water, lay flat on his back, opened his mouth, and I shook the saline powder into the depths. The result was not quite as expected, for, as everyone crowded around, the fiz powder effervesced rather rapidly, surged up Geoff’s nose, and he coughed, sneezed, and generally sprayed water and saline all over us. Consequently we had to have another swim. We were, of course, in quite a hurry.
With most shirts off we started up East Queahgong Buttress towards Mt. Thomas Jones. The ridge rises very steeply, and falls away sharply on both sides.
Frequent 2 minute stops were had, but the slave-driver did not have his watch, and these usually lasted 10 minutes or more!
We had only just passed “Mt.” Thomas Jones when we stopped for lunch. One member was feeling chunderous, and threatening to desert in the interests of the party. But an all or none attitude was adopted, and with the undertaking that we would not go past Kanangaroo that night (on the Cox), he agreed to continue. But an hour after being dosed with salt, he was out in front setting the pace!
Near the top of the ridge, extensive views, from Kanangra to Katoomba are obtained. And when we topped the Krungle-Bungle Range at Mt. Queahgong we could see Mt. Jenolan around to Mt. Guouogang (on which is Jenolan Trig.). Observing Mumbedah Deep we considered the climb Dick Donaghy intended to make in a months time and decided that he was welcome!
We descended along the narrow rocky ridge, across Hawkfell, to the bottom of the final spur. (N.B. the heights on Dunphy’s 1953 Gangerang Map are not correct.)
With the driving factor of “fiz” powder .. we staggered up onto the top of the Blue Mountains (4,300 ft), where we variously collapsed on the Trig. station, or sucked dregs of refreshing water from rusty old tins in the vicinity.
About 4.30 pm. Halfway.
When we turned around half an hour later, the mist had come out of the valley and obscured the beginning of the ridge (East Guougang Butress) over the edge of the mountain. It took some finding as it runs from the SE corner, and not E of the trig as on the 1953 map.
As we finished the steep slide off the mountain, and came on North Bullagower on the ridge, the mist rose above us, but darkness rapidly began closing in. The next 4 hours were spent stumbling onward, resting flat on our backs, stumbling, resting, ….
Actually, this ridge is an excellent, fairly gradual, route.
We reached Kanangaroo (clearing) about 10 pm, and after filling up in the Kanangra R. retired to Bert Carlon’s hut for supper. We borrowed vast quantities of rice, porridge, and … fruit saline, from him, (for which we later left 10/- with Duncan). Pressure lantern, stretchers, mattress, dirty old curtains and other coverings were made full use of that night!
For Sunday suffice to say that we slept well, left late, climbed Yellow Pup sedately, spent much time at Splendour Rock, including the rock climb, stopped at Glen Alan for an extensive meal, and got home late.