The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Trip reports, stories, track notes. Multiple/large photos are OK in this forum.
Forum rules
Posting large/multiple images in this forum is OK. Please start topic titles with the name of the location or track.

For topics focussed on photos rather than the trip, please consider posting in the 'Gallery' forum instead.

This forum is for posting information about trips you have done, not for requesting information about a track or area.

The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby Lizzy » Mon 31 Mar, 2014 12:07 pm

On the weekend my hubby, cousin and I took advantage of a break in all the rain we've been copping of late and headed down to the Budawangs to make our first attempt of climbing The Castle and having a little look around Monolith Valley. We arrived at Long Gully parking area at about 10am and prettysoon met our first leeches on the crossing of the Yadboro river which was only about knee deep but pretty quick flowing.
FBDSCN0644_050.JPG
FBDSCN0644_050.JPG (58.46 KiB) Viewed 23856 times

After this the very well graded climb began up Kalianna Ridge and soon enough glimpses of The Castle's imposing face came into view. Along the base of The Castle the track was a bit of an obstacle course up and down over roots, between rocks, under showers
FBDSCN0753_066.JPG
FBDSCN0753_066.JPG (54.55 KiB) Viewed 23856 times
FBDSCN0657_052.JPG
FBDSCN0657_052.JPG (59.11 KiB) Viewed 23856 times

Having all our gear for camping we bypassed the Tunnel track which goes through the tail of the Castle and continued up to Castle Gap. We decided to nip down to Cooyoyo Creek and set up camp and then make a bid for the summit. The campsite at Cooyoyo is a great little spot with lots of little seperate areas to put up tents- a bit like a rabbit warren. There is a cave on the way down to the creek. The creek was flowing well after all the rain so I topped up all our water and while the boys made our house :)
FBDSCN0690_056.JPG
FBDSCN0690_056.JPG (51.29 KiB) Viewed 23856 times

So dumping packs back up the track we went and began our ascent of The Castle. On the way up there are some ropes other groups have left to help- thanks!
FBDSCN0666_053.JPG
FBDSCN0666_053.JPG (56.91 KiB) Viewed 23856 times
User avatar
Lizzy
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1056
Joined: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 1:13 pm
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Female

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby Lizzy » Mon 31 Mar, 2014 12:22 pm

After ascending a few of theses climbs aided by ropes we finally got to the crux of the climb for me and unfortunately I decided that was enough for me. A fall from here would be not good at all- so I figured the boys could continue on and take photos for me :(
FBDSCN0689_055.JPG
the end of the climb for me...
FBDSCN0689_055.JPG (45.53 KiB) Viewed 23854 times

So I got a nice little break and also got to watch a 2 other group tentatively make their way back down- some sighs of relief once on the ground! The boys did make the top and here's a happy camper looking over Byangee Mountain
FBDSCN0679_054.JPG
The Castle
FBDSCN0679_054.JPG (31.69 KiB) Viewed 23854 times

We returned back to camp losing the track only once (making the same mistake I heard the other groups making!). After dinner the rain began- what good timing! So we retired early worn out after a long day. At about 10.30pm we heard an almighty crash- it sounded like some more of the cliffs edges were shearing off across the valley :shock:
In the morning we awoke early and headed out to the lookout near the campgroung. Was absolutley magic and quickly wiped out yesterdays dissapointment for me :D
FBDSCN0704_057.JPG
Dawn magic at Cooyoyo
FBDSCN0704_057.JPG (31.23 KiB) Viewed 23854 times

We hung about watching the sun rise and enjoying the splendour
FBDSCN0720_058.JPG
FBDSCN0720_058.JPG (29.67 KiB) Viewed 23854 times

After breakfast and packing up we heaed back to Castle gap, dumped our packs and headed toward Monolith Valley. We didn't have too much time as we needed to be back at the car by 3pm but it was certainly a tantalising look.
FBDSCN0744_062.JPG
FBDSCN0744_062.JPG (61.55 KiB) Viewed 23854 times
User avatar
Lizzy
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1056
Joined: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 1:13 pm
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Female

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby Lizzy » Mon 31 Mar, 2014 12:32 pm

What an interesting and amazing area... we'll certainly be back to explore some more!
FBDSCN0737_061.JPG
FBDSCN0737_061.JPG (32.36 KiB) Viewed 23851 times
FBDSCN0735_060.JPG
FBDSCN0735_060.JPG (75.72 KiB) Viewed 23851 times
FBDSCN0752_065.JPG
FBDSCN0752_065.JPG (52.15 KiB) Viewed 23851 times

We returned via the same route and relished the natural showers along the side of The Castle as it was pretty steamy and hot work
FBDSCN0752_065.JPG
FBDSCN0752_065.JPG (52.15 KiB) Viewed 23851 times
.
Finally got back to the car making our 3pm deadline. What a magnificent bushwalk and boy do I have sore legs!]
Attachments
FBDSCN0730_059.JPG
FBDSCN0730_059.JPG (35.95 KiB) Viewed 23851 times
User avatar
Lizzy
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1056
Joined: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 1:13 pm
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Female

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby kanangra » Mon 31 Mar, 2014 1:44 pm

Great report. I haven't been down that way for ages.

k.
kanangra
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1322
Joined: Sun 25 May, 2008 3:52 pm

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby Nuts » Mon 31 Mar, 2014 1:45 pm

Nice!, we skipped the climb, as I recall the weather was hotter and drIer than an egyptian's sandals. My best memories were of a great swimming hole : ) Great view up there!
Last edited by Nuts on Tue 01 Apr, 2014 8:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
Nuts
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 8325
Joined: Sat 05 Apr, 2008 12:22 pm
ASSOCIATED ORGANISATIONS: Wilderness Lovers of Tasmania
Region: Tasmania

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby tom_brennan » Mon 31 Mar, 2014 2:45 pm

I have heard from a few parties that there are now ropes on an alternate route (or possibly routes) leading up to the tadpole's tail. The "new" routes sound harder than the "old" one. Just something for people to be aware of. The old route up to the tail only had one awkward move and didn't need ropes.

Once on the tadpole's tail, there is a bit of wandering and scrambling, until just before the summit plateau. There are usually ropes on two or three pitches just prior to the summit plateau.

I don't recognise the rope attached to the tree in the photo above, so this may be on one of the "new" routes below the tadpole's tail.
Bushwalking NSW - http://bushwalkingnsw.com
User avatar
tom_brennan
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1170
Joined: Wed 29 Sep, 2010 9:21 am
Location: Sydney
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby jonnosan » Mon 31 Mar, 2014 5:42 pm

I was one of the people who reported to Tom the "new" ropes after a visit in late December '13, and I am pretty sure the rope attached to the tree is just below the rope that I initially gave up on, and this is NOT the easiest way up. I.e. after getting to the next rope past that tree, I descended back down past the gully with the tree at the the top, then found a much easier angle just to the left of that gully.
User avatar
jonnosan
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 736
Joined: Fri 27 Jan, 2012 4:06 pm
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby Lizzy » Mon 31 Mar, 2014 5:47 pm

Interesting.... I was wondering how some people get up there. This way up definitely needs ropes at at least 1 spot. I needed ropes at multiple spots :)
User avatar
Lizzy
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1056
Joined: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 1:13 pm
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Female

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby jonnosan » Mon 31 Mar, 2014 6:29 pm

Out of interest, I just dug up the email I sent to Tom after my visit, which may be useful for following visitors to this site. Although no doubt the specific info here will go out of date pretty quickly.

during the ascent of the 'tadpole tail', well below the 3 pitches with ropes you describe, but after using a small fixed rope that was not described in your notes, I came to a rock wall where there was an arrow pointing up and slightly left, which I misread as simply pointing up, and followed a very distinct footpad up the steep gully to the right (north) of the arrow. At the top of that gully there was a steep scramble, with fixed ropes in place, that seemed to match your description of the first pitch, i.e. "The first pitch is up a groove, either straight ahead (harder but less exposed) or out to the right (easier but more exposed)". There were two ropes hanging down, both 9mm dynamic, a green one and a red one. I tried both lines of attack but they were too tricky for me so I gave up. While having a consolation snack, another walker came down, and used the red rope to lower his pack, and with much difficulty came down the green rope. While he was untying his pack at the bottom, the red rope fell down having been cut right through where it had rubbed on the rock above - in this case no harm was done but it was a fairly sobering moment for both of us!

Anyway I then started heading back down, then when I got to the wall with the arrow pointing up, saw another heading up and left (south). Obviously this was where I should have been on the first place. I eventually found my way up to the plateau via the pitches you describe, and the fixed ropes there were all much sounder (11mm I think, and static, dont remember the colours but I think they were all dirty white).
User avatar
jonnosan
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 736
Joined: Fri 27 Jan, 2012 4:06 pm
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby puredingo » Mon 31 Mar, 2014 7:02 pm

Top report...I bet it was steamy in there when the sun showed it's face.
puredingo
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 953
Joined: Mon 13 Feb, 2012 6:54 am
Region: New South Wales

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby odnuas » Mon 31 Mar, 2014 7:55 pm

Interesting info on the castle ascent. I'm hoping to head back there in the next couple of months. I remember there was only one section that was slightly awkward (I'm not a very good scrambler let alone a climber) and that was the exposed section reasonably early on where you swing around a large boulder. Other than that I remember it being ok with a lot of slots in the rock where you could get good foot holds.
odnuas
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun 20 Jun, 2010 9:34 am
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby Grabeach » Tue 01 Apr, 2014 6:03 pm

This rope thing worries me.

I went up The Castle a number of times in the 80s. I don’t ever remember coming across any ropes left hanging down. If I remember correctly, leaving ropes out in the bush was a no-no. The theory being that if someone in the party needed a rope, a better scrambler would go up and set one. If the party didn’t have someone in the party capable of doing this, then the party probably shouldn’t be there in the first place.

These days it seems to be the thing to leave ropes all over the place. The quality of the ropes, and in particular the rigging, can leave a lot to be desired. I always wonder about who left the rope there. I’d think knowledgeable people would take their ropes home with them. I also wonder how long they’ve been there. I’ve yet to see one with a ‘Placed on’ date.

I suspect The Castle these days would get quite a lot of visitors who wouldn’t know the first thing about setting ropes. I doubt some would know kernmantle from polypropylene. Let’s hope we never hear of someone with a broken limb or worse halfway up The Castle clutching a now unattached piece of rope.
Grabeach
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 300
Joined: Wed 12 Oct, 2011 2:09 pm
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby jackhinde » Tue 01 Apr, 2014 7:17 pm

That rope is on a dodgy mistake path, where so many people miss the true track a path is created up, and now to compound the error some one has put ropes there where once you would just smack you forehead and wander back... accident waiting to happen.

Silliest I have seen lately was the ropes on Mt Jellore, on a path that you can walk up no bother.
jackhinde
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 324
Joined: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 5:01 pm
Location: Kangaroo Valley
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby hairyfoots » Fri 11 Apr, 2014 12:22 pm

during the ascent of the 'tadpole tail', well below the 3 pitches with ropes you describe, but after using a small fixed rope that was not described in your notes, I came to a rock wall where there was an arrow pointing up and slightly left, which I misread as simply pointing up, and followed a very distinct footpad up the steep gully to the right (north) of the arrow. At the top of that gully there was a steep scramble, with fixed ropes in place, that seemed to match your description of the first pitch, i.e. "The first pitch is up a groove, either straight ahead (harder but less exposed) or out to the right (easier but more exposed)". There were two ropes hanging down, both 9mm dynamic, a green one and a red one. I tried both lines of attack but they were too tricky for me so I gave up. While having a consolation snack, another walker came down, and used the red rope to lower his pack, and with much difficulty came down the green rope. While he was untying his pack at the bottom, the red rope fell down having been cut right through where it had rubbed on the rock above - in this case no harm was done but it was a fairly sobering moment for both of us!

Anyway I then started heading back down, then when I got to the wall with the arrow pointing up, saw another heading up and left (south). Obviously this was where I should have been on the first place. I eventually found my way up to the plateau via the pitches you describe, and the fixed ropes there were all much sounder (11mm I think, and static, dont remember the colours but I think they were all dirty white).


Exactly the same thing happened to me on an ascent to the Castle in December. My partner and I couldn't manage the upper section you mention - I think there was only 1 rope at the time though. We sat around rather forlorn and upset for a while, until another group came up the path below us, correctly spotted the left arrow, and led us the right way. My partner was quite shaken by the experience as he is newer to bushwalking and upset that he couldn't manage what we thought was the required route - even after realising it wasn't required. He didn't actually end up making the summit, I think he was just too mentally exhausted by the time we were on the tadpole's tail, so I did it by myself. We both seem to be rather bad at spotting arrows, but have tried to improve on it since that trip.
hairyfoots
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu 27 Mar, 2014 4:10 pm
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Female

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Fri 25 Apr, 2014 10:30 am

hairyfoots wrote:
during the ascent of the 'tadpole tail', well below the 3 pitches with ropes you describe, but after using a small fixed rope that was not described in your notes, I came to a rock wall where there was an arrow pointing up and slightly left, which I misread as simply pointing up, and followed a very distinct footpad up the steep gully to the right (north) of the arrow. At the top of that gully there was a steep scramble, with fixed ropes in place, that seemed to match your description of the first pitch, i.e. "The first pitch is up a groove, either straight ahead (harder but less exposed) or out to the right (easier but more exposed)". There were two ropes hanging down, both 9mm dynamic, a green one and a red one. I tried both lines of attack but they were too tricky for me so I gave up. While having a consolation snack, another walker came down, and used the red rope to lower his pack, and with much difficulty came down the green rope. While he was untying his pack at the bottom, the red rope fell down having been cut right through where it had rubbed on the rock above - in this case no harm was done but it was a fairly sobering moment for both of us!

Anyway I then started heading back down, then when I got to the wall with the arrow pointing up, saw another heading up and left (south). Obviously this was where I should have been on the first place. I eventually found my way up to the plateau via the pitches you describe, and the fixed ropes there were all much sounder (11mm I think, and static, dont remember the colours but I think they were all dirty white).


Exactly the same thing happened to me on an ascent to the Castle in December. My partner and I couldn't manage the upper section you mention - I think there was only 1 rope at the time though. We sat around rather forlorn and upset for a while, until another group came up the path below us, correctly spotted the left arrow, and led us the right way. My partner was quite shaken by the experience as he is newer to bushwalking and upset that he couldn't manage what we thought was the required route - even after realising it wasn't required. He didn't actually end up making the summit, I think he was just too mentally exhausted by the time we were on the tadpole's tail, so I did it by myself. We both seem to be rather bad at spotting arrows, but have tried to improve on it since that trip.


I'm surprised no one has blocked off that gully because the proper route isn't intuitive (need to scramble around some boulders above a small cliff) if you don't see the arrow.

Agree with others re the ropes... on the "proper" route they're generally not really needed, even at the steep bits near the top where some basic scrambling and chimneying are all that's needed. I was up there recently and was wondering about the quality of the ropes. Thought I was probably being overly cautious by avoiding them but when I got to at the top of the very last climb (the chimney up the tree-choked crack in the upper cliff... basically the crux of the walk) I saw that the rope is worn through quite a way where it rubs at the edge of the cliff. Dodgy because you don't see it until you're at the top - so I definitely wouldn't rely on it! Best avoid them in my opinion.
Walk_fat boy_walk
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1086
Joined: Sat 21 Nov, 2009 6:59 am
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby Grabeach » Fri 25 Apr, 2014 9:26 pm

the rope is worn through quite a way where it rubs at the edge of the cliff


And you left it there ???
Grabeach
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 300
Joined: Wed 12 Oct, 2011 2:09 pm
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Sat 26 Apr, 2014 3:11 am

Grabeach wrote:
the rope is worn through quite a way where it rubs at the edge of the cliff


And you left it there ???


Well, yeh I did. I'm not a rope expert, hence not using them out of general distrust, regardless of what appeared to be a fault on the last one to my "untrained" eye. I have to admit I did briefly think about it, but there were plenty of others going up and down there (including some that might've got the sh1ts with me taking it upon myself to do so?), many of whom no doubt know more than me about that sort of thing. It wasn't worn all the way through and like I said I don't use them so I'm not an expert... But as my post said I wouldn't use them (any rope that has been left in place, anywhere) as a general rule. Scrambling is easier IMO and if you need to rely on them you shouldn't be. It's a matter of personal responsibility. I also don't erect or destroy cairns and the like, rather make my own decisions on how to approach things. As I understand it those particular sections have had ropes on them for many years and I guess the quality of the ropes varies continuously? Not sure why people put them there to be honest but the reality is that they are there, their quality is probably dubious at any given time and I'd avoid them personally.
Walk_fat boy_walk
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1086
Joined: Sat 21 Nov, 2009 6:59 am
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby Grabeach » Sat 26 Apr, 2014 7:29 am

One wonders what the NPWS legal beagles would think of all this re duty of care etc. I would assume that if someone does injure themselves using dodgy rope that ''Track Closed' signs would then appear, a la Mansons Ladders on Carlon Head.
Grabeach
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 300
Joined: Wed 12 Oct, 2011 2:09 pm
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby citationx » Wed 14 May, 2014 10:07 pm

Walk_fat boy_walk wrote:
I'm surprised no one has blocked off that gully because the proper route isn't intuitive (need to scramble around some boulders above a small cliff) if you don't see the arrow.

Agree with others re the ropes... on the "proper" route they're generally not really needed, even at the steep bits near the top where some basic scrambling and chimneying are all that's needed. I was up there recently and was wondering about the quality of the ropes. Thought I was probably being overly cautious by avoiding them but when I got to at the top of the very last climb (the chimney up the tree-choked crack in the upper cliff... basically the crux of the walk) I saw that the rope is worn through quite a way where it rubs at the edge of the cliff. Dodgy because you don't see it until you're at the top - so I definitely wouldn't rely on it! Best avoid them in my opinion.


The first time I went up the castle in 2012 I ended up doing some dodgy scrambling above a big 30m drop. It wasn't too bad on the way up but when I reversed it it was quite difficult and dangerous - a non-climber would've had trouble - and eventually discovered I missed a turn. I tried blocking the way with large sticks. The second time I went up (easter 13) with friends and didn't make that mistake however we did also get lost at another point and remember something about ropes to nowhere. We reversed it for a bit until we found the correct path. Again, I/we tried blocking off the "incorrect" path with big sticks.
The way up, yes, is overall relatively easy for anyone without climbing skillz, however given the two different mistakes to somewhere you probably should be a climber, perhaps a balance between "We've marked a highway to the top" and "We've left it as it was a thousand years ago" needs to be had for some decent safe passage.
citationx
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon 03 Jun, 2013 9:45 pm
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby citationx » Thu 15 May, 2014 7:48 am

grr! how to delete posts.
citationx
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon 03 Jun, 2013 9:45 pm
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby Lophophaps » Fri 16 May, 2014 7:25 am

The excellent report and pictures bought back memories of cliffs, rain and magic sunrises. Thanks.

Leaving ropes is tres dangerous: they break or come loose. Whilst exposed, the scrambling is not hard. If there is no-one good enough to get up safely without fixed ropes they should not be there.

I have not been up The Castle for ages, and probably could not describe the route. Once started it was fairly easy to follow, past a nice ledge (same as in the pic I think) that faces Owen, then up an easy if exposed scramble. This one.


6487 Geoff descent  S.png
Towards the top
6487 Geoff descent S.png (718.75 KiB) Viewed 23212 times


Is this still the way up?
User avatar
Lophophaps
Auctorita modica
Auctorita modica
 
Posts: 2844
Joined: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 9:45 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Fri 16 May, 2014 12:19 pm

Lophophaps wrote:Is this still the way up?


Yes I believe so... The route in your picture looks like where one of the ropes is now (or was last time I was there):
Attachments
route.jpg
Walk_fat boy_walk
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1086
Joined: Sat 21 Nov, 2009 6:59 am
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Fri 16 May, 2014 1:54 pm

citationx wrote:
Walk_fat boy_walk wrote:
I'm surprised no one has blocked off that gully because the proper route isn't intuitive (need to scramble around some boulders above a small cliff) if you don't see the arrow.

Agree with others re the ropes... on the "proper" route they're generally not really needed, even at the steep bits near the top where some basic scrambling and chimneying are all that's needed. I was up there recently and was wondering about the quality of the ropes. Thought I was probably being overly cautious by avoiding them but when I got to at the top of the very last climb (the chimney up the tree-choked crack in the upper cliff... basically the crux of the walk) I saw that the rope is worn through quite a way where it rubs at the edge of the cliff. Dodgy because you don't see it until you're at the top - so I definitely wouldn't rely on it! Best avoid them in my opinion.


The first time I went up the castle in 2012 I ended up doing some dodgy scrambling above a big 30m drop. It wasn't too bad on the way up but when I reversed it it was quite difficult and dangerous - a non-climber would've had trouble - and eventually discovered I missed a turn. I tried blocking the way with large sticks. The second time I went up (easter 13) with friends and didn't make that mistake however we did also get lost at another point and remember something about ropes to nowhere. We reversed it for a bit until we found the correct path. Again, I/we tried blocking off the "incorrect" path with big sticks.
The way up, yes, is overall relatively easy for anyone without climbing skillz, however given the two different mistakes to somewhere you probably should be a climber, perhaps a balance between "We've marked a highway to the top" and "We've left it as it was a thousand years ago" needs to be had for some decent safe passage.


Some good points there re marking the route... maybe a few metal tags that indicate the way up where it isn't obvious? Still maintain that ropes shouldn't be left there though.
Walk_fat boy_walk
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1086
Joined: Sat 21 Nov, 2009 6:59 am
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby Lophophaps » Fri 16 May, 2014 4:58 pm

Walk_fat boy_walk wrote:
Lophophaps wrote:Is this still the way up?
Yes I believe so... The route in your picture looks like where one of the ropes is now (or was last time I was there):


Thanks for the picture. I'm fairly sure our two pics are in the same place. This is a grade 2 scramble, easy, but the plunge factor and potential for falling meant that I took a rope up and then belayed nearly everyone up and down.

Making the route more obvious seems to me to be a good preventative measure. If it is felt by the local community to be warranted, there could be chains on that section instead of a rope. My party climbed the chimney, with the rope as a fallback. Using the rope means that if the rope breaks or if grip fails all is lost.

Chains are a two-edged action. At present notes can say that there is a potentially dangerous scramble towards the top, hopefully keeping away bumblies. This warning may make some want to go; I hope not. If there are chains then the bumblies may come, knowing that the chains make the route possible.

The saddle is a few hours away from the cars, with a river crossing and 600 metre of climbing, enough to deter the wannabe bushie. It's a magic place, but 1000 kilometre from Melbourne. Alas!
User avatar
Lophophaps
Auctorita modica
Auctorita modica
 
Posts: 2844
Joined: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 9:45 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby dicky » Mon 19 Jan, 2015 7:04 pm

We were there in nov last year (2014) and 2 of the fixed ropes were just bunnings special ie not rated to hold anything let alone body weight. A lot better as others have suggested to bin all the fixed ropes and if you need one bring your own, at least you can vouch for its suitability, condition and the anchor/ belayer.
Had a scout group behind us which were told by the leaders to just grab the rope and haul themselves up, this was after one of them asked about the scramble and i said the rope was no good.
People have blind faith in fixed gear just because its there does not mean it is in good condition, correctly anchored and suitable for taking body weight.
Saw the climbing rope with the worn sheath - looked bad but until the core gets worn or done by uv (ie soon now there is no sheath) it is still way stronger than the 2 better looking bunnings jobs.
if you are not sure don't trust any fixed ropes.
dicky
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon 12 Jan, 2015 7:46 pm
Region: Victoria

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 20 Jan, 2015 10:27 am

Dicky, strongly agree. The problem is that at some stage the rope will break, most likely under load, and somebody could die. In my view there should be no ropes, as they provide a false sense of security. The Castle can be free climbed solo, and I've done this, up and down, but in dry conditions. If the weather gets nasty a 20 metre 9 mm kernmantle climbing rope, maybe a bit lighter, can be used for descending. I always took a few light slings, to be left if abseiling. Four krabs is enough for abseiling, or include an abseiling device.
User avatar
Lophophaps
Auctorita modica
Auctorita modica
 
Posts: 2844
Joined: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 9:45 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby bumblefoot » Sun 16 Aug, 2015 9:35 am

I'm somewhat daunted by all this talk of ropes and exposure on The Castle. Have only done it once quite some years ago and I wasn't great on exposure in those days, but we carried our overnight packs all the way up including overnight water in case there was none on top, and I don't recall anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps this route is no longer used, eg slips, overgrown, etc. see photos attached.

I'm heading back in a few months and would hate to have to whimp
image.jpg
Heading to the chimneys
out.
Attachments
image.jpg
bumblefoot
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed 04 May, 2011 12:52 pm
Region: Queensland
Gender: Female

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby Lizzy » Mon 17 Aug, 2015 6:58 am

I think we just went the "wrong" way. Will have to head back & take another look...
User avatar
Lizzy
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1056
Joined: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 1:13 pm
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Female

Re: The Castle (almost...) & Monolith Valley

Postby puredingo » Tue 16 Feb, 2016 2:19 pm

Speaking of such matters, I was up the castle a couple of weeks ago and there is one rope ( maybe the second last?) that is perilously worn.

Like another poster said, definitely not my place to go cutting lines away but I did tell anyoneon my way down who would listen to be aware....maybe the last one down that arvo removed it.

I found the navigation up pretty well straight forward but being a solo walker you haven't the distractions of a group I suppose and being alone you become fairly attuned the smallest of clue.
puredingo
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 953
Joined: Mon 13 Feb, 2012 6:54 am
Region: New South Wales


Return to NSW & ACT Trip Reports & Track Notes

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests