Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered questions

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Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered questions

Postby kanangra » Sun 01 Jun, 2014 8:28 am

Yesterday I decided to solve two of my unanswered questions about this area.

1) Was it possible to safely descend from the lookout at the end of Long Nose Pt. to the Nattai?

2) Was it possible to follow Martins Ck. back upstream through the cliff line or was the way barred by waterfalls?

If the answer to both was yes it would provide a good round trip through rarely visited country. If the answer to just the first was yes it would open up the possibility of a day trip through the Nattai Valley. Going in at Wattle Ridge and down the Nattai Rd to the Martins ck junction and then up to Long Nose Lkt and out via the long Nose Rd. back to Wattle Ridge.

The short answer to both questions is yes! Although it was a long 11.5 hour day with the last couple of hours completed in the dark. More details to follow.

K.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby michael_p » Sun 01 Jun, 2014 2:00 pm

Looking forward to hearing more. :D
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby puredingo » Sun 01 Jun, 2014 4:26 pm

Well the sneak preview worked on me!....

Waiting for the main feature to start in anticipation.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 01 Jun, 2014 6:03 pm

Getting my popcorn and ice cream ready...
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby clarence » Sun 01 Jun, 2014 9:36 pm

When you say the lookout at the end of Long Nose Point, do you mean the ramp about 1km south of the Nattai Trig on East Nattai Walls?

I descended Martins Creek once, at the start of an 8 day trip to Katoomba (big packs). Very slow going, and huge boulders.

Another good loop could be via Grants Head, which is a most spectacular pass, with amazing rock formations on the plateau above.

I look forward to another one of you epic stories.

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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby kanangra » Mon 02 Jun, 2014 8:42 am

Clarence, yes that is precisely what I mean by the lookout at the end of Long Nose Ridge. It is at the end of the W11D Fire Trail. Great views out over the Wanganderry Tableland to Yerranderie Peak, Byrnes Gap and beyond. (I will post some pics shortly.)
Fascinated to hear that you had been down Martins Ck. Seriously it felt like I was the first person ever to go through there? As you say huge boulders and lots of vines and fallen timber. Made for very slow and arduous going. And I only had a day pack. It almost had ne thinking my days of exploratory trips were behind me? :(

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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby kanangra » Mon 02 Jun, 2014 9:45 am

I set out from the big white gate at the start of the track out along Long Nose Ridge at 7:30. You could easily ride this first section but I opted to jog out. After 7.5k you come to a second gate. This is right at the top of the Hilltop sheet. If you were riding you would stash your bike here because at the end of the trip I came up and rejoined this road just up from this gate not far from where the road disappears around the corner.

P5310191 (Medium).JPG
The 2nd. gate 7.5km in.


From there it is another 4k to the turn off onto the W11D that takes you out to the lookout. On the way you pass a small dam on the left of the road that looks OK to drink?

P5310192 (Medium).JPG
Start of the W11D on the left.


This track is narrower and starting to regenerate. It leads past this automatic rain gauge on the top of a rock platform. (Strange place for it?)

P5310194 (Medium).JPG
Rain gauge.


It ends at a lookout with really excellent views out over the Nattai Valley and across to the Wanganderry Tableland. This point is about 15km from the start. A few names are engraved in the rock at the end but otherwise the spot is pristine.

P5310195 (Medium).JPG
View out across the valley. Note Belloon Pass in the middle of the photo.


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Another view from the look out. This time of Grant head opposite.


TBC.
Last edited by kanangra on Mon 02 Jun, 2014 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby kanangra » Mon 02 Jun, 2014 9:48 am

Clarence, looking at that last photo of Grant Head I can only imagine how tricky it would be to descend? It is also at the end of a very long ridge with no track? How did you make your way out there?

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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby michael_p » Mon 02 Jun, 2014 5:56 pm

K,

Have you seen this web page: http://www.ozhiker.com/sydney/grantshead/index.html. Looks like the descent of the north side of Grants Head isn't too bad.

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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby kanangra » Mon 02 Jun, 2014 6:27 pm

Michael, no I haven't and they are very interesting. They clearly show it is possible to descend off Grant Head as Clarence says. So now we have another circuit. From the CP at Wattle ridge out along the ridge to Grant Head down to the Nattai and up to Long Nose Lkt. Then back to Wattle Ridge CP via the long nose point FT?

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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby jackhinde » Mon 02 Jun, 2014 11:04 pm

might want to wait till after el nino summer, nattai is due for a fire and the going looks easier when its burnt clean!
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby kanangra » Tue 03 Jun, 2014 10:29 am

From the lookout I saw a bush ramp that looked as if it would at least get me down around and under the top cliffs. Before setting off I snapped this shot of the Nattai Valley showing the ramp in the foreground.

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View of the Nattai from the lookout.


This did lead under the top cliffs but the way was soon barred by lower cliffs.

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View from lower down.


I made my way up and around this obstacle but then struck more bluffs.

P5310201 (Medium).JPG
View from lower cliffs.


So again I made my way around to the left (when facing outwards). This led around and down to another layer of bluffs.

P5310202 (Medium).JPG
More cliffs.


At this point I was about to give up when I thought I detected a possible descent route further around to the left. A length of rope would have come in handy but with the aid of a tree I was able to make my way down the face. On the way I did get this view up the Martins Ck Valley. It did look as if the creek made its way through the cliff line but without checking it out I couldn't be certain.

P5310203 (Medium).JPG
View up Martins Ck to cliff line. The creek looks as if it goes?


By now I was well around to the left and could see a route leading down which commenced right up under the top cliffs. All I had to do was follow the last cliff line around to where it intersected this ramp and I should be over the worst of it. Well that was the theory and for once it actually worked and soon I was on the lower apron. Here the soil was of good quality and supported lush ferns and even nettles in the gullies. The cliff faces don't have the honeycomb colour of the Grose and perhaps the soil is not as sandy as a result? At least not up here under the cliffs. As I descended it became sandier again. Then at last I came upon the road at the bottom. Well it was a thickly overgrown track but an old rubber inner tube meant that yes I was down. It was 11:00AM. The first part was done. Now all I had to do was make my way up Martins Ck.

TBC

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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby michael_p » Tue 03 Jun, 2014 11:53 am

Nice K. So looking forward to the next installment. Your reports have piqued my interest in this area again.

I am sure that site I linked above was around in a different version before. I just get this feeling that I have seen those photos somewhere else (the hat in the first photo jumps out at me). And there was an accompanying walk report on the original site as well but I can't find it now. It was this older site that originally got me interested in what was out on the Wild Goat Plateau.

jackhinde wrote:might want to wait till after el nino summer, nattai is due for a fire and the going looks easier when its burnt clean!

Yeah. It looks pretty easy going back in 2003 with all the scrub burnt out. Imagine what it would be like now.

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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby kanangra » Tue 03 Jun, 2014 12:29 pm

Michael, I've also wondered if it is possible to descend off Nattai Bluff at the end of the Wild Goat Plateau? The map would appear to suggest that you might be able to?

The main creek on the plateau is Golden Moon Ck. I crossed it high up near its source once and have crossed it at the road down in the valley.

I also know it is possible to descend to the Little River off both Centre Ridge and the end of the W11A Fire Trail.

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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby michael_p » Tue 03 Jun, 2014 7:28 pm

kanangra wrote:Michael, I've also wondered if it is possible to descend off Nattai Bluff at the end of the Wild Goat Plateau?

I've wondered about this as well. Always thought down Golden Moon Ck would be doable. Unfortunately both are in the "forbidden zone" which mere mortals are not allowed to enter.

I have been told that both Nattai and Golden Moon bluffs when observed from Little River are very scenic.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby kanangra » Wed 04 Jun, 2014 11:59 am

Having made it down I had to make my way up valley. Here's a photo of the "road" where I cut it at the bottom.

P5310204 (Medium).JPG
"Road" up Martin's Ck. It's been a while since it saw a lot of traffic.


Very occasionally it would open out a bit.

P5310206 (Medium).JPG
Old Martins Ck. Road.


Here's how the creek looked near where I first hit the road. NB the dense vegetation on the banks. This is what would soon greatly impede my progress.

P5310205 (Medium).JPG
Martins Ck.


Before long any sign of the road disappeared all together and I was forced by the steepness of the banks and the dense undergrowth to make my way in the creek bed. The water was clear but the rocks were very slippery.

P5310207 (Medium).JPG
Martins Ck.


Further up there were a couple of small falls. Here is a photo of one. I apologise for the poor quality. It was taken late in the day and I didn't realise how dark it was getting.

P5310208 (Medium).JPG
Small canyon in Martins Ck.


After several hours of clambering over large rocks and wading through pools and over slippery logs I made it safely through the cliff line into the upper creek. At least I knew it went. But my progress had been very slow. I would estimate only about 500m an hour and it was getting late. I needed to exit on the left but the creek was flanked by cliffs on that side. So I persevered past a small side creek on the left. I thought I might be able to make good my escape here but no such luck so I pressed on up the creek that was now choked with vines, ferns, rotting logs and cutting grass. So I now accumulated multiple lacerations to go with my array of abrasions and scratches.

Eventually just on dusk I reached the second side creek on the left. My pre trip scan of the map suggested this as the most likely exit and so it proved to be. I was glad to be out of that creek at last even though I was walking steeply uphill. I hit the top of the ridge just on dark and from there it was only about 10 minutes across country till I hit the Long Nose Rd. It was 5:15. It then took me an hour and a half in the dark to walk back to the car.

The trip had taken just on 11.5 hours. Probably better done when the days are longer. I was a little weary by the time I got home. I don't find these exploratory trips as easy as I used to? :?

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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby puredingo » Wed 04 Jun, 2014 3:27 pm

WOW!!! Great bit of adventuring there K, I'm impressed. But what I want to know is was there a plan "B" if that last creek didn't allow you up on top?
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 04 Jun, 2014 3:42 pm

Very "exciting"! I hate chasing the sun on walks. But you just made it. Good job!
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby kanangra » Wed 04 Jun, 2014 4:14 pm

Ah yes plan B. Well I did carry a lighter and rain jacket? :shock:

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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby kanangra » Wed 04 Jun, 2014 5:28 pm

Oh I almost forgot. I also carried a headlamp. Only problem was the beam only lasted about a minute. Flat battery. :oops: :cry:

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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby michael_p » Wed 04 Jun, 2014 6:27 pm

Thank you for sharing this adventure with us.

The last part of your report has confirmed my suspicions that Martins Creek turns into a canyon and is difficult to ascend. I'd say this explains why the old road never went all the way up Martins Creek.

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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby kanangra » Thu 05 Jun, 2014 10:21 am

Yes definitely Michael, no way to get a road through there. There were a couple of very short canyon sections and the creek was cliff bound on both sides but at different times. the water was clear and there were yabbies, large ones, in most of the pools.

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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby Grabeach » Thu 05 Jun, 2014 11:14 pm

Kanangra,

You mentioned earlier of potentially cycling Long Nose Ridge. Is this allowed? I can't quite read the sign on the gate in your photo. I'd heard the SCA banned cycling just about everywhere in that part of the world. Most interested as post knee operation the specialist has said long walks are bad but cycling is okay.

Don't know about Nattai Bluff or Golden Moon Ck, but a mate of mine now in his 70s reckons ascending Golden Moon Bluff was one of the best walks in that area. They went in from Hoddles Track and returned the same way, so probably chopped across 3 km zone.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby Allchin09 » Fri 06 Jun, 2014 12:39 am

Grabeach - Here is a link an SCA documents on the No Access zones (http://www.sca.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets ... r-2013.pdf).

Anything in yellow is walkers only, so no cycling is permitted. From a quick look, Wattle Ridge Rd, and a good 5km or so North of it is outside of the Yellow, meaning that cycling should be allowed (unless a separate NPWS regulation prevents this but I doubt it as it is on firetrail). Looking at SIX maps, I'd say that cycling is permitted until a km or so before the junction with Centre Ridge.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby Grabeach » Fri 06 Jun, 2014 7:26 am

Thanks Alex. Your link is to as higher quality map than the one I'd seen. The "Restrictions do not apply to privately
owned land and public roads within the Special Areas" note is interesting. One could take the view that any formed road within a national park or conservation area, being on public land, is a public road irrespective of whether it has a gate on it or not. In which case I could ride lots of places. Your map could prove quite uesful.

Still like to know what the sign said, as I've heard tales of signs saying 'no' when it's actually legal. I've also come across a sign saying 'yes' to walking into what is clearly the 3 km No Entry zone.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby kanangra » Fri 06 Jun, 2014 8:41 am

The sign at the second gate says walkers only. You could cycle the 7.5km from the first gate to the 2nd.

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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby Mark F » Fri 06 Jun, 2014 8:44 am

Here is a useful bit of info on what constitutes a public road. http://rgdirections.lpi.nsw.gov.au/deposited_plans/roads/general_principles.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby clarence » Sat 07 Jun, 2014 11:41 am

Great report on another epic trip.

I remember it was a full on day just descending Martins Creek. You even manage a full loop right out to the north and back up the creek in one day - great stuff. The valley of Martins Creek is indeed a tough and wild bit of country.

As far as Grants Head goes, I did it back in 1997, with my then most regular walking mate "Porky". I don't have any photos or notes to describe it precisely, but it is reminiscent of the Koorowal Knife edge onto Mount Solitary. A bit airy in places, but nothing outrageously difficult. We had noted the rock formations at the top of Grants Head from the West Nattai Walls. They are big bare dome shaped rocks with no vegetation, and are quite unique for the area. We called them "Pancake Rocks". If you get there you will see why.

On that same trip Porky and I found another pass due west of Allum Flat up on to the Wanganderry Tableland, which he referred to as Orthogonal Pass. The name is due to the lines of intersecting ramps through the cliffs at about 30 degrees. It is one of those passes that goes backs and forth across the cliff on gradually ascending ramps to reach the plateau. I have not heard of it being done before us, but has been repeated at least twice. From there we headed west to a place that I won't describe to one-and-all on the internet (PM me if you want details).

There is a friend of mine (John M a.k.a. "Gandalf") who has walked more than all of us here combined, who I am engouraging to contribute to bushwalk.com. He's in his 70s and still going strong. His stories from 60 plus years of bushwalking make all of us look like complete amateurs. He ascended orthogonal pass a few weeks ago, and may have some photos to share.

As with so much of this cliff-bound country, knowing good passes makes it possible to link together the valleys and plateaux in ways that would otherwise not be possible.

Clarence
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby kanangra » Sat 07 Jun, 2014 12:26 pm

Thanks Clarence. That pass sounds very interesting. I must get the details from you. As for Grant Head I think up and down from the valley floor might be the go?

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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby jackhinde » Sun 08 Jun, 2014 7:34 pm

where did my post go?
Here it is again then.
I didn't find orthogonal pass a while back (from the top), perhaps I should have got more definitive info. However we did find an another easy pass off the same head which could be called 'the water slide'. It was the day after finding that pass that my brother and I met you Kanangra on the Nattai road.
Does Gandalf wear volleys? I was up on the wanganderry plateau again very recently and found volley prints in a certain cave. It is a special spot...
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