07/07/2006 - report - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, Michael Keats, Bernard Baylis, Kellie Rees, Stephen Murray, Rogo Owens, Phil Prentice, Berenice Torstensson
I arrived at the car park at Mt Banks at 8.15 to find the rest of the group just about to set off along the fire trail! Luckily my brief stop at the NRB for lunch supplies had not been any longer, otherwise I would have missed them.. We had quick introductions and then headed off. After a few kms we came out from behind Mt Banks and stopped at a great lookout over the Grose. A little further along the trail we stopped at the 818 point for morning tea. I popped over the hill for some good views of Mt Hay, the Mt Hay Walls and the Boorong Crags across the valley.
We then headed down towards Explorers Brook. Quite quickly we came up against an unexpected cliff. We felt like we might have gone a bit too far downstream, so skirted back to the previous spur which got us down a little further until we came to another unexpected cliff! Unexpected as we had some prior information that the ridge would go. With the side creek on one side looking quite precipitous, we traversed into the other side creek and descended until about 15m above the bottom, where the creek went over a waterfall. Traversing one way on a narrow ledge got us back to our previous side creek, which despite Steve checking it out with a length of tape was no more accessible than it was higher up. So back we went along the ledge on the other side. After crossing a couple more little creeks the cliffs finally eased and we were able to descend to Explorers Brook without any more trouble.
Kelly, Phil and Bernice opted to have a break while the rest of us downed packs and wandered downstream a little way in search of any canyon. After a promising start with the creek dropping through boulders, it flattened out and opened up, and we decided to turn back to the remainder of our group.
Heading upstream, it wasn't too far until we reached an exit point. A small gully with a fallen tree in it led us up a scrubby slope to a small cliffline. An easy pass and we were up at the top with great views back down the creek. We had lunch in the sun on top of the cliff.
Then it was up to the top of the hill and we soon picked up the old fire trail that led back to Mt Banks. The views from the ridge were superb, the bare heath providing 360 degree panoramas with the Grose, Mt Banks, Mt Strzelecki etc featuring prominently. Given that it was barely 2 o'clock, Rogo suggested that we head over Mt Banks on the way back to the cars. I was in favour as I hadn't been. While the others headed down the other side, I jogged up to the summit, and descended a little way until I got some decent views. Of course, the views on the way down were better, with plenty of interesting caves in the side of Mt Banks to look at.
I had a look at the GPS reading later on the map and it turned out we didn't come in on the right ridge after all, but the next one downstream.