Kanangra Walls - Kowmung accessibility

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Kanangra Walls - Kowmung accessibility

Postby Brendos » Sat 02 Sep, 2023 3:29 pm

Hello!

I am thinking about a trip down to the Kowmung River from Kanangra Walls, e.g. Gingra Range track and then take a ridge down like Roots Ridge or similar.

Has anyone been down to this part of the world or the Kowmung recently? I have heard it can be very overgrown.

The last trip I took further upstream to Hatchers Hollow 2 years ago (post fires) was pretty overgrown and slow going. I imagine it would be a lot worse now.

Thank you!
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Re: Kanangra Walls - Kowmung accessibility

Postby irrgent » Thu 07 Sep, 2023 3:02 pm

Since the fires I have been down to Orange Bluff on the Kowmung via the Gingra Range and Brumby Ridge twice.

The first was in early 2021 just after the park reopened (we were probably one of the first if not the first group down there assuming no one went down while the park was closed). I have a bit of a report of that trip posted on this forum but conditions have changed since then.

The second was about 10 or 11 months ago in spring 2022. Walking along Kanangra walls and the tops was fine, perhaps even better visibility than before the fires as some of the dense vegetation hasn't grown back. Along the Gingra trail there were a number of sections that were slow going due to vegetation growing around the track but for the most part it wasn't too bad, just a few spots that you had to pay attention to keep on the track to avoid walking through waste high vegetation. There are a few places where it even still somewhat resembled how it did before the fires.

Going down Brumby Ridge was a different story. There was above head height scrub for what felt like 60 - 70% of the time. Around Brumby Mountain there were some very dense Eucalyptus saplings as well. This section was substantially slower going than along the Gingra trail.

The Orange Bluff campsite had changed a lot but still nice. The grassy flats are now sandy and the whole area feels a bit different but it's still a very good campsite.

Overall I think if you go in mentally prepared and expecting a lot of bush bashing it could still be a decent trip but you need to budget some extra time for the overgrown areas. The scrub I encountered was not as bad as other areas of the Blue Mountains such as the wild dogs which at least around a year ago was absolutely impenetrable. Note that I don't know what any of the other ridges down to the Kowmung or the later parts of the Gingra trail are like. I would expect them to be similar but I guess it's also possible that they are worse. We also encountered several other groups heading down to Orange Bluff so if it has kept receiving a bit of traffic there could be a bit of a track through the scrub now but I wouldn't count on it.

This was back during the wetter period before the last relatively dry winter so I'm interested to here any more recent reports from the area.
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Re: Kanangra Walls - Kowmung accessibility

Postby TomPom » Thu 02 Nov, 2023 4:17 pm

irrgent wrote:Since the fires I have been down to Orange Bluff on the Kowmung via the Gingra Range and Brumby Ridge twice.

The first was in early 2021 just after the park reopened (we were probably one of the first if not the first group down there assuming no one went down while the park was closed). I have a bit of a report of that trip posted on this forum but conditions have changed since then.

The second was about 10 or 11 months ago in spring 2022. Walking along Kanangra walls and the tops was fine, perhaps even better visibility than before the fires as some of the dense vegetation hasn't grown back. Along the Gingra trail there were a number of sections that were slow going due to vegetation growing around the track but for the most part it wasn't too bad, just a few spots that you had to pay attention to keep on the track to avoid walking through waste high vegetation. There are a few places where it even still somewhat resembled how it did before the fires.

Going down Brumby Ridge was a different story. There was above head height scrub for what felt like 60 - 70% of the time. Around Brumby Mountain there were some very dense Eucalyptus saplings as well. This section was substantially slower going than along the Gingra trail.

The Orange Bluff campsite had changed a lot but still nice. The grassy flats are now sandy and the whole area feels a bit different but it's still a very good campsite.

Overall I think if you go in mentally prepared and expecting a lot of bush bashing it could still be a decent trip but you need to budget some extra time for the overgrown areas. The scrub I encountered was not as bad as other areas of the Blue Mountains such as the wild dogs which at least around a year ago was absolutely impenetrable. Note that I don't know what any of the other ridges down to the Kowmung or the later parts of the Gingra trail are like. I would expect them to be similar but I guess it's also possible that they are worse. We also encountered several other groups heading down to Orange Bluff so if it has kept receiving a bit of traffic there could be a bit of a track through the scrub now but I wouldn't count on it.

This was back during the wetter period before the last relatively dry winter so I'm interested to here any more recent reports from the area.



This was the track beta I needed to hear. Anything from around the Uni Rover Trail or Roots Ridge?
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Re: Kanangra Walls - Kowmung accessibility

Postby phil6394 » Tue 12 Mar, 2024 7:04 pm

Hi

Anyone been down to Hatchers Hollow from the Yerranderie Road side lately?

Status of vegetation on ridges in and campsite?

Thanks.
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Re: Kanangra Walls - Kowmung accessibility

Postby Boobooky 1 » Fri 22 Mar, 2024 7:12 am

I would love any hive wisdom here also ! Was planning a couple of nights at Orange Bluff but Gingra Ridge sounding like no fun at all - anyone?
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Re: Kanangra Walls - Kowmung accessibility

Postby Phillip » Mon 29 Apr, 2024 9:05 pm

My post from September 2022 walk:
Kanangra Walls – Gingra Range – Kowmung – Ti Willa Plateau – Cloudmaker – Gangerang Range – Kanangra. 22-24 September, 2022.
This trip was at the request of my son Chris who after travelling from Melbourne was set to complete it, rain, hail or shine.

The last time I visited Cloudmaker was 55 years ago as a 15-year-old with three school mates. In May 1967 we climbed up from Thunder Bend to Stormbreaker and then down Ti Willa via Cloudmaker with an epic 42 km last day from the Gingra Ck junction with the Kowmung to Katoomba and then catching the 3am Mudgee Mail to Central.

Day 1.
Unfortunately, the forecast for rain for several days was quite accurate. We set off at 9am in the rain from Kanangra on Thursday 22, September. The aim was to reach the Kowmung that evening. Memories of the Gingra Range from 20 years ago suggested that it would be an easy walk, not so. Just below the coal seam, south of Murrawang Head, we encountered dreadful secondary bushfire re-growth that obscured just about everything, even the sky on occasions. Our map and compass were of limited usefulness given the limited visibility. Chris’s Garmin inReach was a lifesaver with the route appearing along with contours.

The ridge-top route was mostly impossible to follow and frequently impassable by fallen trees and branches covered by an anastomosing network of vines, weedy shrubs and small saplings. The feral pigs had created pseudo-tracks that seemed to criss-cross everywhere. Even though we had limited water, we decided to make camp on the saddle between 4th and 5th at about 5pm. As it continued to rain, we debated whether we were likely to make it back on-time given the slow pace and the dreadful conditions. It was possible to be only a few metres away from the old route and to be completely bushed.

Day 2.
We left at 7am dreading the descent to the Kowmung which did not disappoint. It took about two to three hours fighting our way through seemingly impenetrable jungle. Based on our expertise, gained on the day before, we developed several techniques. The “Breastroke” was good for dense saplings that were mainly vertical and were relatively vine-free. A bow wave could be created by holding one’s two hands in a V and charging ahead. Being shorter than Chris, the “Wombat” was better for me. This technique requires basically crawling on hands and knees. The “Stomper” was best for Chris who could raise his legs and squash the undergrowth. When all else failed, the “Swan-dive”, although a bit risky, could flatten the opposition for at least a couple of steps. Regardless of approach, the vines resulted in being either coat-hangered around the neck, lassoed around the legs and torso or having one’s pack captured.

Gingra Ck saw us desperately taking on water ready for the ascent up Stockyard Spur. We took advantage of the track to the top shed associated with the gauging station; this saved us about 500m of fighting the undergrowth which, however, soon appeared with a vengeance. The intensity of vines had increased from Day 1 as did the rain. The climb to Compagnoni’s Pass must be the worst experience we have endured either bushwalking or bike-packing and that includes carrying fully laden bikes up the Dzhuku Pass in Kyrgyzstan!

Crazy thoughts went through our heads by the time we had only achieved two to three kilometres in about five hours – turn back, no, the thought was unbearable or walk out via Scotts and cadge a lift from Yerranderie? By 4pm we still had not reached Compagnoni’s Pass and we couldn’t even see the cliffs. At 4.15 and getting darker and still raining I caught a glimpse of a cliff base. This spurred us on. By this stage we had given up all hope of making it to the 100 Man Cave. I had a vague memory from 1967 that there is an overhang somewhere. We emerged, completely soaked, through a tunnel in the undergrowth at 4.45 and after a quick reconnaissance we settled in what is probably a dingo’s lair under a nice conglomerate overhang complete with a steady drip of water that filled up our water containers. Given the state of the bush we had no confidence that the next day we would be able to climb from our campsite to Cloudmaker and reach Kanangra.

Day 3
We left at 7.30 in light rain, found the pitons and climbed the Pass. To our great relief the vegetation along the Ti Willa Plateau was manageable and we vowed to do our best and reach Kanangra by night-fall using torches if necessary. Ti Willa Hill, Ti Willa Too and Ti Willa Top were reached without any issues apart from a few hundred metre patches of dense saplings here and there which, given our newly acquired expertise, were brushed off as mere distractions. The plateau west and south-west of Ti Willa Top required some concentration to avoid heading too far south given the visibility. Cloudmaker was welcome though my knees protested along the Gangerang Range. There were only a few patches of regrowth encountered though, due to the increased traffic, these had been flattened. With great relief we arrived back at the car at 5.10 pm.

Afterthoughts
Curiously, I saw only one small cairn during the walk. I remember many more from 1967, these would have been invaluable in the extreme conditions and, possibly, life-savers in areas such as at the top of Compagnoni’s Pass or the base of the Gordon Smith Pass to assist with navigation in inclement conditions. Given the effect of rampaging pigs and their wallows, heavily eroded bushwalkers’ tracks on Kanangra Plateau and the widespread devastation of the area by the bushfires of 2019 it is hard to understand objections to these inconspicuous helpmates.

It would be hard to recommend this walk given the present state of the bush though the constant rain has probably coloured our assessment. I can envisage difficulties in hot weather when water could be a real issue if objectives are not met due to slow progress. I wonder if a sign should be placed at Kanangra that warns about the regrowth.

Phillip Hellman
6 October 2022
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