Mount Solitary Loop in two days?

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Mount Solitary Loop in two days?

Postby Vandelay » Fri 07 May, 2021 5:39 pm

Hi guys,

First time poster, but long time lurker!

We are looking at doing an overnighter in the Blue Mountains sometime in July (brrr, I know). I'm looking for some advice on itinerary.

The track we are looking at is the Mount Solitary Loop.

The current plan is to leave home early in the morning, arrive at Katoomba and start hiking around 8 am. Have lunch at Ruined Castle or on top of Mount Solitary, then descend towards the Kedumba River. According to Wildwalks, there is a reasonable campsite at the Kedumba River (http://www.wildwalks.com/bushwalking-an ... rcuit.html) at around 15 km. Then we would hike back to Katoomba the next day and drive home.

A couple of questions:

  • I know that most websites seem to suggest it be done in three days, but could it be done in two days by a few relatively fit people? The distance seems manageable, although I do note the massive elevation changes...
  • Does camping at Kedumba River seem feasible?
  • What is water like on the way?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Mount Solitary Loop in two days?

Postby Xplora » Sat 08 May, 2021 6:07 am

I have only done it in three days. Day three was shorter though. Kedumba river is a nice spot but the water is suspect. All the streams and flows on this walk would be suspect so no doubt you plan to treat it first. Can't help with current water on Solitary and would leave that to a local. Short days will make it harder but not impossible. Once you get onto the firetrail through the Jamison you will move quickly but it is not a high spot as far as the walk goes. Check local conditions and closures before starting. If you intend camping at Kedumba then you better lunch on Solitary. If you run out of time then camp on Solitary and walk back the same way the next day.
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Re: Mount Solitary Loop in two days?

Postby wildwanderer » Sat 08 May, 2021 7:20 am

There has been a fair bit of rain about so there should be water in the main creeks atop solitary at the moment. But not sure what the situation would be in July, it's highly dependent on rainfall. There are times when water can be non-existent, scarce or tricky to find on solitary.

It would be a big day and need fast walking with secure footing if your trying to reach kedumba river on day 1.

Track is mostly open and clear until korrowall knifeedge and you could walk 5km/h+ but once you start heading up solitary you will slow as it gets a bit scrambly in parts and you need to pick a route up and though the rocks. Once up top you you can move quicker but the track does narrow and twist in places which will reduce your speed.

Keep in mind it takes longer to traverse solitary than you will think by looking at the map.

As Xplora said have a back up plan to camp on solitary should you begin to run out of daylight. Descending solitary in the dark or even fading light is not recommended and could be highly dangerous as the track is very steep.
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Re: Mount Solitary Loop in two days?

Postby GregG » Sat 08 May, 2021 8:33 am

Your proposed walk is entirely feasible provided your party is reasonably fit and experienced. There would be plenty of water around on Solitary at present but you will need to do a "rain check" before you depart, otherwise you will need to take water with you for that part of the walk. There are very many good places to camp on the Kedumba. Another thought - set out from Wenty Falls or leave a turn-around car at Bodington and walk E to W across Solitary and exit via eg Scenuc World.
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Re: Mount Solitary Loop in two days?

Postby kelvinn » Sat 08 May, 2021 10:33 am

Just a few more thoughts on what has been posted above...

I know that most websites seem to suggest it be done in three days, but could it be done in two days by a few relatively fit people? The distance seems manageable, although I do note the massive elevation changes...


Very feasible to do in two days. A few months ago I took a few people out, and even with disaster, we still made it. (Disaster = 38C day, and the soles of one of my colleague's shoes completely fell off 1/2 way up Mt Solitary, and the colleague also didn't get my note about bringing extra water).

Does camping at Kedumba River seem feasible?


Very feasible. There are two campsites: the proper one a bit further south, but I think it is closed, and then the place where the trail intersects Kedumba River. We stayed where the trail intersects the river.

Here are my notes/pictures on AllTrails: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/recording/big-08f0efe

Ignore the pace - again, equipment malfunction. If you start at 8am you shouldn't have any dramas making Kedumba by sunset. At the river it doesn't look like there will be any good camping areas, but up to the right is a place that can easily take 3x tents - flat and quite sheltered.

What is water like on the way?


We planned for no water from Katoomba to Kedumba River. There turned out to be a few very small streams along the way, and apparently there is a water tower right around the fork up to Ruined Castle. However, I think the tower is on the main track, and we missed it.

One of my mates camped up at the top of Mt Solitary end of March and there was water available. Here were the coordinates: -33.78357, 150.33008

However, I wouldn't plan on water being available, and it probably needs to be filtered (same as at Kedumba River). Just for reference I encouraged everyone to bring 5 litres for the Katoomba -> Kedumba stretch, which was just barely enough, but then again it was 38C and we walked excruciatingly slowly. Walking back up from Kedumba River to Katoomba there are several places to fill up, so I don't think we ever carried more than 2L at any one go.

https://www.gaiagps.com/public/2ijpd5T6XaeBO7GPApQ4g6bX/

Ignore the red markers.
Last edited by kelvinn on Sat 08 May, 2021 11:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mount Solitary Loop in two days?

Postby rcaffin » Sat 08 May, 2021 10:52 am

The full Mt Solitary loop has been done in one long day many times. We have done it.
It has also been done many many times from the Golden Stairs to the old hospital on the plateau, but that needs either two cars or a taxi. We have done that too.

There are many water sources along the way.
There is water at the entrance to Rennies Tunnel.
There is water at the campsite before the saddle near Ruined Castle. I think there may even be a tank there now.
There is usually water at the Chinamans Ck campsite on top, but treat it.
There is water at the campsite further on Singajinglewell Ck, but treat it.
There is plenty of water and camping at the bottom of the valley, but treat it.
There is water in little creeks crossing the return route to K, but treat it. You could camp along the way too.

Cheers
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Re: Mount Solitary Loop in two days?

Postby Vandelay » Sat 08 May, 2021 11:25 am

Thank for all the fantastic info, guys. Really, really useful. Sounds like we will be okay for water provided the recent rainfall patterns continue.

What are the thoughts on doing the loop clockwise? Would make for an easy-ish first day with a long downhill down the fire trail, then hit Mount Solitary first thing in the morning while fresh. Have lunch on Solitary after the climb, and relatively easy walk home.
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Re: Mount Solitary Loop in two days?

Postby keithj » Sat 08 May, 2021 11:53 am

To add to the above, consider doing a day walk first to assess how you'd go up Korrowall Knifeedge with an overnight pack, and go as far as you like over Mt Solitary, and return to Golden Staircase.

The Mt Solitary Ultra course record which follows the same route, but with an extra 10+km & (600m of ascent) is a little under 4.5 hours. The whole route is achievable in 2 days by a small fit party.


Rather than consider clockwise, consider an out & back. Start Golden Staircase or Furbers, camp on top at middayish, explore during the arvo, and return the same way - no 15km firetrail slog & better views on Day 2. That's the way most do it.
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Re: Mount Solitary Loop in two days?

Postby kelvinn » Sat 08 May, 2021 5:01 pm

Vandelay wrote:What are the thoughts on doing the loop clockwise?


I was more in summer mind you, but my logic was that we'd start with 5kg extra from water, and then would be partially gone by the time we had to scramble up Mt Solitary. The next day we wouldn't need to cary any more than 2L at a time. If you go clockwise, you end up camping at river, and then having to haul up packs full of water immediately up Mt Solitary.

But to be honest, after a rain fall during winter there's likely water up there.
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Re: Mount Solitary Loop in two days?

Postby Xplora » Sun 09 May, 2021 7:04 am

keithj wrote:Rather than consider clockwise, consider an out & back. Start Golden Staircase or Furbers, camp on top at middayish, explore during the arvo, and return the same way - no 15km firetrail slog & better views on Day 2. That's the way most do it.


Kind of my thoughts also. Day 2 would just be a slog out on a pretty boring bit of road. If you don't mind that then it will be fine. Not including Ruined Castle will save you a bit of time but it is a nice spot and at least you cant continue east from there and not go back down the hill. We came out through Scenic world and missed the Furber stairs. Got on the gondola with all the tourists who pay for a round trip. We had no tickets but offered to pay at the top but the driver told us to wait behind when we got to the top and he let us out the other door. I would not expect this every time. If you leave a car at Scenic world in the carpark overnight then expect Police to be called so maybe tell Katoomba Police what you are doing.
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Re: Mount Solitary Loop in two days?

Postby wildwanderer » Sun 09 May, 2021 7:54 am

Xplora wrote:... Day 2 would just be a slog out on a pretty boring bit of road. If you don't mind that then it will be fine. Not including Ruined Castle will save you a bit of time but it is a nice spot and at least you cant continue east from there and not go back down the hill. We came out through Scenic world and missed the Furber stairs. Got on the gondola with all the tourists who pay for a round trip. We had no tickets but offered to pay at the top but the driver told us to wait behind when we got to the top and he let us out the other door. I would not expect this every time. If you leave a car at Scenic world in the carpark overnight then expect Police to be called so maybe tell Katoomba Police what you are doing.


People like the idea of reaching a destination (and not reversing course) but I agree with Keith and Xplora. Unless you want to check out the historical ruins at kedumba farm (quite interesting) or do some off track walking along the kedumba R (also worthwhile) then it's a much nicer walk to go up solitary, explore the mtn and then go back the way you came. (If you do want to explore kedumba farm and river allow more time (even a extra night)

Ruined castle is worthwhile, nice views. Plenty of places to camp on solitary with most near the major creeks.

Note with COVID, scenic world has reduced hours, so often you will find the tram not operating and need to walk up fubar steps. (Which isn't that hard).

I never got a free trip.. atleast not recently. Though after a day or two in the bush I do tend to look like a vagabond.
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Re: Mount Solitary Loop in two days?

Postby ribuck » Sun 09 May, 2021 4:13 pm

A nice way to do it in 2 days is to catch a taxi from Echo Point to the old hospital at Wentworth Falls. From there it's a great 2-day walk back to Echo Point, camping on top of Mt Solitary at either Singajingawell Creek or Chinamans Gully, both of which currently have water.
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Re: Mount Solitary Loop in two days?

Postby ribuck » Sun 09 May, 2021 4:15 pm

Xplora wrote:If you leave a car at Scenic world in the carpark overnight then expect Police to be called

Indeed. But there are plenty of quiet suburban streets not far from there where you can park safely overnight without attracting attention.
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Re: Mount Solitary Loop in two days?

Postby Xplora » Sun 09 May, 2021 5:15 pm

ribuck wrote:
Xplora wrote:If you leave a car at Scenic world in the carpark overnight then expect Police to be called

Indeed. But there are plenty of quiet suburban streets not far from there where you can park safely overnight without attracting attention.

Indeed, indeed. Maybe Katoomba Police got used to me. My car was at many locations in the area for many days. Found the odd note on the windscreen.
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