Searching For The Opera House Hut

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Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby Buttons » Thu 14 Mar, 2024 8:41 am

Hi all,

I’ve used this forum many times for all its wisdom, but I figured now would be a good time to quit lurking and begin contributing!

I’m on a mission to get to the Opera House Hut. I’ve searched all the forums, all the info I can get, but I’d like to hear more accounts of any attempts (successful or otherwise).

I made an attempt recently down Stzelecki Creek off the side of Sentinel Ridge, exiting into the creek in the saddle before the trig point. Worst mistake of my bushwalking career thus far. Don’t go there, it’s a proper canyon. We made it down 1km before reaching giant gorge like cliffs and a 15-20m waterfall to negotiate, which we couldn’t find a way around due to the cliffs. There were 5-10 meter waterfalls just about every 50-100 meters. In hindsight I have no idea why I chose this route as I hadn’t found any accounts of anyone doing it. My advice, stay away!

When my body is functioning again I’ll be making another attempt via Lady Northcote Canyon and Siren Song Creek (and if the tunnel is a no go, Crags Creek).

I am aware of all the routes that were used pre 2003 fires, but most now are insane bush bashes as far as I know. If anyone has any info on routes or personal experiences I’d love to know.

Cheers
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Re: Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Thu 14 Mar, 2024 5:16 pm

Have you seen this: https://www.facebook.com/share/p/wXpXf6McyyzeuA46/?mibextid=oFDknk

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Re: Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby snowygreybeard » Thu 14 Mar, 2024 5:32 pm

I went up Lady Northcote creek December '23 from the Geehi, past the opera house, exit via Little Austria. Certainly not an insane scrub bash. Mostly a rock hop. Very slow, on wet rocks for a lot. 2 days! - but dryer conditions it would be much quicker. Only little bit of scrub. The route from Townsend spur (previous post) is reputedly quite scrubby.
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Re: Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby Buttons » Thu 14 Mar, 2024 6:06 pm

snowygreybeard wrote:I went up Lady Northcote creek December '23 from the Geehi, past the opera house, exit via Little Austria. Certainly not an insane scrub bash. Mostly a rock hop. Very slow, on wet rocks for a lot. 2 days! - but dryer conditions it would be much quicker. Only little bit of scrub. The route from Townsend spur (previous post) is reputedly quite scrubby.


I have heard that the spur leading off of Little Austria is surprisingly clear (according to accounts from the old Opera House Hut logbook).

A little rock hopping is no hassle considering some parts of Strzelecki Creek required serious technical rock climbing moves, and if the climbing was not possible you had to down climb the vertical slopes by hanging onto the grass or by traversing through walls of saplings.

I’ll add your account as another positive note towards going in via the LNC.
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Re: Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby Buttons » Thu 14 Mar, 2024 6:08 pm

Walk_fat boy_walk wrote:Have you seen this: https://www.facebook.com/share/p/wXpXf6McyyzeuA46/?mibextid=oFDknk

Sent from my SM-S906E using Tapatalk


I have not, thanks for sharing!
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Re: Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Thu 14 Mar, 2024 6:17 pm

Also see if you can get your hands on a copy of the Geehi Bushwalking Club snowy mountains walks book. I have an old (long superseded) copy that covers much of what you're talking about

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Re: Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby icefest » Fri 15 Mar, 2024 6:41 am

I've been down Strzelecki Creek, but we did it slightly differently.
Image
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Re: Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby Tortoise » Fri 15 Mar, 2024 6:53 am

I only have old info. I'm thinking you must have dropped off the north side of the saddle on the Sentinel. Many moons ago we went to the Opera House by dropping off the south side, via the apparently unnamed tributary of Lady N Creek. That may be a route you've got info on already.

I remember the open first part being very steep indeed in. (I was worried i might not be physically capable of getting back up with my big pack if we had to retreat.) And I have vivid memories of coming eye to eye with a snake on a rock in a very narrow section. But there were no cliffs to negotiate. The hardest part was finding the start of the pad after the hut to traverse Watsons Crags. It was hidden under ferns. Locals had kept on telling us to use the tunnel, but when we got there it was a raging torrent with huge stopper waves. I imagine the pad would have been obliterated by regrowth.
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Re: Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby Buttons » Fri 15 Mar, 2024 7:56 am

icefest wrote:I've been down Strzelecki Creek, but we did it slightly differently.
Image


You went down the way I wished I could have! What did you use as anchors? The guy I went down there with reckons there aren’t any good natural anchors to use.
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Re: Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby Buttons » Fri 15 Mar, 2024 8:01 am

Tortoise wrote:I only have old info. I'm thinking you must have dropped off the north side of the saddle on the Sentinel. Many moons ago we went to the Opera House by dropping off the south side, via the apparently unnamed tributary of Lady N Creek. That may be a route you've got info on already.

I remember the open first part being very steep indeed in. (I was worried i might not be physically capable of getting back up with my big pack if we had to retreat.) And I have vivid memories of coming eye to eye with a snake on a rock in a very narrow section. But there were no cliffs to negotiate. The hardest part was finding the start of the pad after the hut to traverse Watsons Crags. It was hidden under ferns. Locals had kept on telling us to use the tunnel, but when we got there it was a raging torrent with huge stopper waves. I imagine the pad would have been obliterated by regrowth.


The goat track around Watsons Crags would be all but gone now after 2 lots of fires I’d think. The creek you must’ve gone down is James McArthur creek, which I’ve had a few other people suggest is still a good way down. I don’t like the idea of the tunnel very much, and I’m now leaning more towards exiting via climbing Crags Creek to the top of Watsons.
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Re: Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby snowygreybeard » Fri 15 Mar, 2024 8:32 am

Judging by the Opera House logbook, currently the most popular route is down LNC, up Crags Ck. (Or some other route involving the tunnel). And yes, the Goat Track disappeared years ago.
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Re: Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby icefest » Fri 15 Mar, 2024 5:26 pm

Buttons wrote:
You went down the way I wished I could have! What did you use as anchors? The guy I went down there with reckons there aren’t any good natural anchors to use.


The anchors we used seemed fine!
431510026_385470590896296_6098351937305054917_n.jpg
Knot nut
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Cord Nut
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Re: Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby snowygreybeard » Fri 15 Mar, 2024 8:13 pm

Can someone please explain the convoluted rope arrangement in the 'fiddlestick'??
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Re: Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby icefest » Fri 15 Mar, 2024 9:21 pm

snowygreybeard wrote:Can someone please explain the convoluted rope arrangement in the 'fiddlestick'??

I'd love to!

The clear plastic in the knot of ropes is called a fiddlestick. It is a solid piece of polycarbonate with a hole on either end. This allows the party to tie a slipknot (technically a marlinspike hitch) around it to make a solid anchor. The knot is prevented from slipping off the fiddlestick by means of two carabiners, which are in turn attached to each other. This is called a quickdrawer.

There are three ropes in the photo.
Orange, Thick Rope: The main abseiling strand, the one we all used to abseil on.
Yellow Thick Rope: A backup stand, going around the rock to a backup, used for all but the last person, in case the rock we've tied around comes loose.
Pink Thin Cord: the cord attached to and used to pull down the fiddlestick

For all but the last person it is rigged like in the photo.

The last person removes the yellow backup rope, and then also removes the quickdraw which prevents the fiddlestick from sliding out of the knot. They then abseil on the orange rope, making sure not to touch the pink thin cord.
After getting to the bottom, the pink thin cord is pulled and with it the fiddlestick falls down.

The slipknot then falls apart and the rope falls down off the rock (or more commonly, tree).

Or just watch the video.
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Re: Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby snowygreybeard » Sat 16 Mar, 2024 6:49 am

Thanks. What could possibly go wrong?
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Re: Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby Hoojar » Sat 16 Mar, 2024 9:51 am

Buttons wrote:I’m on a mission to get to the Opera House Hut. I’ve searched all the forums, all the info I can get, but I’d like to hear more accounts of any attempts (successful or otherwise).


I went to Opera House Hut over Easter 2017. We followed the fire trail route from Bella Vista on the Geehi Road, and walked through Siren Song Tunnel (an absolutely amazing experience). It was an easy day of walking in a Group of about 10 bushwalkers.

We spent a couple of days exploring Lady Northcotes Canyon, then came out the same way.

Amazing area!
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Re: Searching For The Opera House Hut

Postby rcaffin » Wed 20 Mar, 2024 1:38 pm

Many years ago, pre fires.
Down Windy Creek in the creek - epic. The spur on N side would be much faster and easier!
Road to Siren Song. SMA guy in LR said Hi but could not give us a lift - regs. Did not object to us using the tunnel.
Through SS tunnel with headlights, and with water low.
Up ladder at end, through unlocked gate, then to Opera Hut. Very concrete. May have camped on the grass outside.
Next day up LN Canyon. There were bits of a track in places, on the (N) side bypassing the worst rocks.
Full day though from OH.

Cheers
Roger
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