Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

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Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby ribuck » Wed 12 Apr, 2017 10:06 pm

Yesterday I walked from Leura to Kedumba Crossing and up the East Col of Mt Solitary. It was a strenuous but rewarding day. The lyrebirds were out performing their courtship rituals. And a snake blocked the track near Leura Forest, refusing to budge for ten minutes as a large contingent of walkers and trail runners built up on both sides, with no easy route around the snake (which no-one could identify - it was like a cross between a black snake and a carpet python).

I camped at Singajingawell Creek. This morning I continued my circuit, and as I reached Chinamans Gully I saw three prominent recently-placed National Parks signs. I think these are the first government signs atop this magnificent mountain, and it's such a shame for it to be despoiled like this.

Anyway, the main sign says "No Camping below this point". It mentions the caves, but a frequently-used campsite near the junction of the two watercourses is also below the sign (as, I suppose, is the whole of the Kedumba Valley).

Additional signs at each cave announce that they are aboriginal sites that have been used for thousands of years. There's no acknowledgement that they have been used by bushwalkers for over a hundred years and are in current use by them.

Coir bundles have been placed across the cave floors. These are normally used to reduce water erosion, but can't possibly serve that purpose here, in a sheltered area that does not receive rainfall. The fire pits have been removed.

Normally bushwalking makes me relaxed and unstressed. But today I have been angry and upset. Over the decades I have visited Mt Solitary many times, and have spent some great nights in those caves. I have never seen an aboriginal person visiting Mt Solitary, but I guess they would identify more closely with a cave in active use, than an unloved cave full of coir bundles and surrounded by ugly signs.
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby jonnosan » Thu 13 Apr, 2017 12:28 pm

I agree it's a shame that such action was necessary, and I am disappointed I won't be able to camp in the caves with my son for his 10th birthday (I took my daughter there for her 10th last year). But I can't argue that some action wasn't required - the area really has been badly degraded by overuse.
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby DaveNoble » Thu 13 Apr, 2017 1:09 pm

My understanding was that rock art experts had looked very extensively at the whole plateau of Mt Solitary and found nothing. I heard this from a friend who was involved in the search. Perhaps some floor excavation has taken place and that showed that these caves have been used? I must admit I have camped in those caves many times over the years - but not looked carefully in them for art (although I have done this for other caves on the mountain. Or perhaps its some oral history? I would be surprised if aboriginal people did not visit the mountain.

There are other caves on Mt Solitary quite suitable for camping - e.g. those in Singa Jingawell Ck, and also a hermits cave near Greenfields Lookout. Its full of rubbish.

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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby ribuck » Thu 13 Apr, 2017 5:46 pm

DaveNoble wrote:There are other caves on Mt Solitary quite suitable for camping - e.g. those in Singa Jingawell Ck

Purely by chance, I investigated Singa-jingawell before I discovered the situation at Chinamans Gully.

There is a small cave about 100m downstream, on the left at about creek level. It's a bit hard to spot now because a tree has fallen in front of it, but it has obviously seen use in the past. Having fallen out of use, it has accumulated a lot of detritus that would need to be swept out before it becomes appealing for use again. It would sleep six or so.
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby juxtaposer » Sun 16 Apr, 2017 5:45 pm

This is a crock and a defacement of a beautiful camping site used for generations. Bushwalkers have rights to the amenities of the bush too.
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby juxtaposer » Sun 16 Apr, 2017 6:04 pm

This is the same mob trying to sell off hundreds of acres of bushland on the Georges River for housing estates.
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby trickychris » Thu 16 Nov, 2017 9:12 am

It looks like Camping prohibition may have been lifted, I found a recent video on Mt Solitary here [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=f6Rd28RAiBk[/youtube]
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby ribuck » Thu 16 Nov, 2017 7:21 pm

trickychris wrote:It looks like Camping prohibition may have been lifted, I found a recent video on Mt Solitary here [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=f6Rd28RAiBk[/youtube]

Is that the correct link? It plays a Rocky Mountains video for me.
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby Allchin09 » Thu 16 Nov, 2017 7:33 pm

trickychris wrote:It looks like Camping prohibition may have been lifted


Despite any changes to signage, I would be surprised if the actual restrictions have been lifted. My understanding is that they were requested by the Gundungurra Traditional Owners (as the signs indicated) and not specifically NPWS, despite being in the National Park. I believe there is an ILUA (Indigenous Land Use Agreement) in place for the area so it may have come out of that.

I'll make some enquiries and provide an update as to what I find.
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby DaveNoble » Thu 16 Nov, 2017 9:24 pm

I recently had the chance to talk again to the person who had been involved with a survey looking for Aboriginal sites on Mt Solitary. He repeated that no sites were found on the mountain. I know he is very experienced at looking for Aboriginal rock art sites, and had been involved in projects in Wollemi National Park where a lot of art was found. I mentioned that a friend had photographed an Aboriginal picture in one of the caves at Chinamans Gully and he was most surprised. I must admit that I was surprised when I first saw that photo, as it was in a cave that I had camped in many times over a long period, and during that time never noticed it. So, I can only conclude that if the art is old, then the cave wall must have been cleaned somehow to reveal the picture, or it was done very recently (the last few years?).

It is also possible as I mentioned above that some excavation has been done that shows a long period of occupation?

Also, I have never seen any sharpening grooves on any of the rock platforms on top of the Solitary Plateau, despite there being quite good sites (pools of water and good views). Has anyone else seen any?

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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby Allchin09 » Fri 17 Nov, 2017 9:50 am

I think you might be correct regarding the cleaning of the caves (unless I am getting mixed up in my mind with another site)
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby ribuck » Sat 25 Nov, 2017 8:20 pm

trickychris wrote:It looks like Camping prohibition may have been lifted, I found a recent video on Mt Solitary here...

I passed through Chinamans Gully this morning (on my way from Singa-jinga-long Creek to Ruined Castle), and I can assure everybody that the prohibition signs and the cylinders of coir matting are still in place, exactly as in the photos at the beginning of this thread.

I also observed two instances of unintended consequences. Unintended consequences are what happens when regulators do something, but get a result at odds with the stated purpose of what they are doing.

Earlier this year, presumably as part of the prohibition, the authorities dismantled the longstanding fire rings at the edge of each cave. Since then, some people have built fires right at the cave wall, blackening part of the cave, whereas previously they would have been likely to use the existing fire rings. I know they're not "true bushwalkers" because they left a lot of heavyweight litter (e.g. beer cans and longlife milk cartons).

This leads to the second unintended consequence. Normally I remove litter that I find in camping caves. Now that the caves are off limits to me, where is the motivation for me to look after them? In this case I did remove the litter, but the joy and satisfaction is gone, and I can't see myself cleaning this cave every time I go past, since I am denied use of the cave myself.
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby Xplora » Sun 26 Nov, 2017 4:09 am

I am not entirely sure if this prohibition is enforceable. The signs may be advisory only. It is a small legal point to do with the wording and without investigating further I could also be entirely wrong. No Camping may be advisory whereas Camping Prohibited has enforcement provisions. I know this is the case in Victoria. Personally I never camped in that cave. Dragged a tent up there so I used it and the cave was not very appealing. If there was any rock art in that cave they would have put a fence around it years ago. Pretty poor excuse for a cave anyway. Just a big overhang.
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby ribuck » Sun 26 Nov, 2017 7:08 am

Xplora wrote:Pretty poor excuse for a cave anyway. Just a big overhang.

In a gully that's sheltered from the wind, what more do you want than a rain-proof roof so that you don't need to carry a tent?
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby puredingo » Sun 26 Nov, 2017 5:36 pm

ribuck wrote:
Xplora wrote:Pretty poor excuse for a cave anyway. Just a big overhang.

In a gully that's sheltered from the wind, what more do you want than a rain-proof roof so that you don't need to carry a tent?

A TV and WI-FI would be nice....
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby ribuck » Sun 26 Nov, 2017 6:26 pm

puredingo wrote:A TV and WI-FI would be nice....

There's reliable cellular data available nearby, at the north edge of the escarpment.
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby Xplora » Mon 27 Nov, 2017 6:03 am

ribuck wrote:
Xplora wrote:Pretty poor excuse for a cave anyway. Just a big overhang.

In a gully that's sheltered from the wind, what more do you want than a rain-proof roof so that you don't need to carry a tent?


Carry no tent? What about when all the rooms are fully booked? That would be like walking in the High Country and expecting a bed every night at a hut. Mt. Solitary is a very popular place these days. Perhaps you are more social than I am but I don't think I would interlope on another party using this site simply because I did not carry my own shelter in the expectation I would be the first to arrive.
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby ribuck » Mon 27 Nov, 2017 8:24 am

Xplora wrote:Carry no tent? What about when all the rooms are fully booked?

I wouldn't want to share a camping cave with a bunch of 30 scouts, but the great thing about a place like Mt Solitary is that there is not a finite number of rooms. One can always find some type of rock ledge to shelter under, it's just that the floor will be more lumpy and more sloping if all the best spots are taken.

I have identified a usable camping cave near singa-jinga-well creek, so now I have an alternative to the closed caves in Chinamans Gully. Some time I hope to spend a few days up there exploring, to find a few more "out of the way" cave options.
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby Xplora » Mon 27 Nov, 2017 8:40 am

ribuck wrote:
Xplora wrote:Carry no tent? What about when all the rooms are fully booked?

I wouldn't want to share a camping cave with a bunch of 30 scouts, but the great thing about a place like Mt Solitary is that there is not a finite number of rooms. One can always find some type of rock ledge to shelter under, it's just that the floor will be more lumpy and more sloping if all the best spots are taken.

I have identified a usable camping cave near singa-jinga-well creek, so now I have an alternative to the closed caves in Chinamans Gully. Some time I hope to spend a few days up there exploring, to find a few more "out of the way" cave options.


I like that idea but suggest you don't post it on any forum otherwise you may have to find more spots. It is still a great place to go and better still when you get away from the usual spots. Hopefully the authorities don't follow you around and post more signs. I don't visit there now since moving south but it was a favourite. From what I can see (as per Dave Noble's post) the local tribe does not seem to have a legitimate claim but if there were significance or some art work then I would respect that. It seems also that many are not adhering to the signs. I certainly don't like the amount of rubbish that is being left behind and appreciate your efforts over the years keeping it clean, regardless of whether your heart is not in it as much, still a very good thing. Perhaps the local tribe could get up there now and then to do a clean up.
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 27 Nov, 2017 9:44 am

A month ago I sent a report to PWS suggesting that the flat top summit about 20 minutes from the above saddle towards Golden Steps (cannot think of the summit name, map not with me now) be made into a formal camping area. With water tanks and toilets it would take the pressure off Chinamans Gully. The unintended consequence is interesting.
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby DaveNoble » Tue 28 Nov, 2017 9:12 pm

I found a reference today that said that Aboriginal stone implements or flakes had been recovered from the cave in Chinamans Gully ("Caves, People and Land: Sandstone Caves of the Blue Mountains and Sydney Region" by John R Dunkley. ASF 2013)
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby Neo » Wed 13 Dec, 2017 4:43 pm

Was going to add a 360 view from Ruined Castle but the file was too big.

Checked one of the tanks on the way there/west of My Solitary, almost full.
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View from the landslide to My Solitary & Ruined Castle (centre)
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby Summitview » Thu 10 May, 2018 8:21 am

Hi everyone

We are planning to camp on Mt Solitary, and to do so in the area of Chinamans Gully. While I did a day walk to Mt Solitary many years ago, I am not familiar with Chinamans Gully.

I have just noticed this string of posts about camping prohibitions in some parts of the area.

Can anyone tell me
1. Whether there are decent campsites in the immediate Chinamans Gully area which are not prohibited by this new rule?
2. Is water reliable at the top of Chinamans Gully this time of year (any reports from recent visits would be particularly appreciated).

thanks
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Thu 10 May, 2018 10:49 am

Summitview wrote:Hi everyone
Can anyone tell me
1. Whether there are decent campsites in the immediate Chinamans Gully area which are not prohibited by this new rule?
2. Is water reliable at the top of Chinamans Gully this time of year (any reports from recent visits would be particularly appreciated).

1. Yes - the track goes right past some obvious ones, and there are others.
2. No recent beta, but I'd say so especially after this weekends rain (you'll have to go north along the gully), depending on when you're going obviously.

Do you like charcoal?
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby LachlanB » Thu 10 May, 2018 12:48 pm

As WFBW noted, Mount Solitary has been burnt this week. Currently closed, so if you're planning to go up there in the next few weeks keep an eye on the NPWS website for when they reopen the area.

The photos make it look like the top of Solitary has been pretty well burnt, so it might be nicest to leave it for 6 months or so for the vegetation to grow back. Maybe go to Acacia Flat in the Grose valley as an alternative?
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby wildwanderer » Thu 10 May, 2018 12:59 pm

Definetly be a changed enviroment up on Solitary for the next few months. Carry a change of clothes as you will come back covered in charcoal.

on the plus side... the signs are likely no longer there/legible... :mrgreen: :lol:
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby Warin » Fri 11 May, 2018 8:23 am

On the plus side, the views will be clearer without the vegetation obstruction. If you go, take your camera.
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Re: Mt Solitary camping prohibition signs

Postby Summitview » Sat 12 May, 2018 2:52 pm

Thank you everyone for your replies. I guess I had been hoping that the fuel reduction burns would be down in the valley, but the shots on the web suggest the ridgeline will be pretty much charcoal.

Yes, will look for something else relatively easy near Katoomba, possibly in the Grose valley.
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