06/08/2011 - report - photos

Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay, Andrew (Smiffy) Smith, Vivien de Remy de Courcelles, Emmanuelle Convert, Jason Lorch, Rebecca Lorch, Jeff Boyd

Despite a fairly gloomy weather forecast, it was a cold but beautiful clear morning when we set off from Newnes up Little Capertee Creek. The creek was flowing well, which boded well for finding water higher up. We made our way up a gully and along the ridge to Point Nicholson, though it took a little while for me to find the slot that leads into the Room.

After morning tea on the cliff edge, we spent the next four hours wandering along the cliffs to the south, climbing the Pagoda of Death (and the Fake Pagoda of Death, since I had forgotten where the real one was!), walking along the Great Wall of China, and standing atop the Balancing Boulder. Great views all the way.

There was a bit of a hiccup as we dropped down to find water, only to find the pool in the little canyon damp and muddy. I scrambled up through the canyon, but was unable to find anything better. Luckily, once we got to our campsite at the camp caves below Mt Dawson, we found a number of drips seeping through the massive cliffs, and even better, a tiny drip fed pool perched above the creek. Thus replenished, we were able to sit down to an excellent happy hour at the lookout with views out over Pantoneys Crown and the Airly-Genowlan Mesa, though with way too much discussion of Masterchef.

The crash of thunder startled us over dinner, and the rain finally arrived, solving any water problems once and for all. There's no better place than a great camp cave when the rain is coming down. After dinner, Jason pulled out the UNO and we played several rounds around the (actually next too!) the fire.

The rain had stopped by the next morning, though the bush was nice and wet as we made our way up to Mt Dawson. The views were slightly better than the last time I was there, in whiteout conditions, though the clouds were low and ominous. For the next couple of hours we made our way out the long ridge to the south east, before wiggling around and into the headwaters of our creek. We quickly came to a decent drop, which I did not remember, and certainly didn't have rope for. After a fair bit of scouting in the rain, Smiffy found a way around, and we stopped for lunch in a small overhang.

Not far ahead, the creek narrowed into an impressive canyon. All the drops were small and could be climbed down with ease. Then it was some easy creek walking, a traverse along a narrow ledge, and then the final steep descent down to the Wolgan Road. An stroll back along the road to the cars completed an excellent weekend of walking. We all headed to the Royal Hotel in Richmond for a drink and a feed, despite the obvious attraction of heading straight home for the gripping finale of Masterchef!