Southern Blue Mountains Traverse

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Easterly panorama from Yerranderie Peak.


Contents

Brief notes

Brutal and Brilliant

This is a long, challenging event on a course with significant elevation change through remote and sometimes trackless country. Spectacular scenery awaits those who make the effort.

It combines elements of three iconic bushwalks in the southern part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, just to the west of Sydney: Katoomba to Mittagong, the Three Peaks, and the Six Foot Track.

A source of inspiration for this event are the legendary Tiger Walkers of the 1930s who would often go on marathon walks through then untracked and unmapped remote parts of the Blue Mountains.


Date/Time of next run

Check the thread on CoolRunning for updates.

There is no "best" start time. Entrants should choose a start time that they think will fit their pace and preferences in relation to the course. Previous experience suggests that the off-track sections in the Three Peaks region (km 105-121) are best tackled during daylight hours.


Start Location

Mittagong railway station.


Finish Location

Katoomba railway station.


Start Facilities

The traditional pre-event dinner is held at the Lion Rampant Hotel. Accommodation is available at the Hotel or at Mittagong Caravan Park.

There are toilets at Mittagong station; nearby is a petrol station.


Distance

Distance:~188 km
Total Climb:~8400 m
Total Descent:~8000 m
Highest Point:~1291 m
Lowest Point:~120 m


Entry Details


Time Limit

  • Well, it's FatAss, so take as long as you like. However...
  • You will acquire Tiger Walker status if you successfully complete the Traverse in one continuous push.
  • You will acquire increasing levels of Tiger Legend status if you successfully complete the Traverse within 72|60|48|36|24 hours.
  • You will acquire additional Yak status if you successfully complete the Traverse self-supported.
  • You will acquire additional Yeti status if you successfully complete the Traverse in Winter (June to August).


Entry Fee

Free!

(If you would rather pay an entry fee, consider giving some money to those in need of our help. Here is a suggestion.)


Course Description

In broad strokes - the course initially follows the Katoomba-to-Mittagong route (in reverse, of course) via Hill Top and Wattle Ridge into the Nattai River Gorge, and then via Beloon Pass, the Wollondilly River (the lowest point on the course), and along Sheepwalk Drive to Yerranderie and on to Mount Feld. Here, it leaves the M2K course to follow Denis Ridge down to the Kowmung River. Once across, it climbs Roots Ridge to Gingra Range which it follows to Kanangra Walls. Now it joins the Kanangra-to-Katoomba course to Mt. Cloudmaker, the first of the Three Peaks. It then yo-yos along the conventional (clock-wise) Three Peaks route first to Mt. Paralyser and then to Mt. Guouogang, at 1291 m the highest point on the course. From Mt. Guouogang, it follows the Krungle Bungle Range past Whalania Heights to the Kanangra Walls Road on which it runs northeast to Mt Whiteley. Here, the course leaves the road, following the Hellgate Gorge route on the firetrail to Oaky Camp, down the ridge to Jenolan River, and on to Jenolan Caves House. From there, it traces the return leg of the Twelve Foot Track along the Six Foot Track all the way to the Explorers Tree near Katoomba. Finally, the course follows suburban streets to Katoomba station.


There are many options to adapt the course to people's abilities and ambitions - shorter and longer, less and more challenging.


Course Profile

Course profile for the Standard Option of the Southern Blue Mountains Traverse from Mittagong to Katoomba.


Maps & Instructions

It is absolutely essential to take maps and a compass with you. If you have a GPS device, it is a good idea to bring it along, but remember that it might fail, so don't exclusively rely on it. The course is covered by the following NSW 1:25 000 topographic maps: Mittagong, Avon River (only a very short section of ~2 km), Hilltop, Nattai, Bindook (only a very short section of ~3 km), Yerranderie, Kanangra, Jenolan, Hampton, Katoomba.

Navigation skills are advisable, familiarity with the area is a definite plus.


Links/downloads:

(A number of free online utilities are available to convert between common geographical data formats such as KML, KMZ, and GPX and to generate maps in a variety of output formats, including Google Maps and Google Earth. GPS Visualizer is a good example.)


Aid Summary

This event is self-supported and requires a high degree of self-reliance. Large parts of the course are in remote areas where help may be many hours away. Carrying a registered Personal Locator Beacon is recommended. Navigation can be tricky in places; maps and compass are a must-have. Most of the Three Peaks section and the drop from Oaky Camp to Jenolan River are extremely steep and trackless - poles may prove useful there. Reliable safe water sources are Yerranderie (~69 km), the Kowmung River (~87 km), Kanangra Creek (~109 km), Whalania Creek (~114 km), and the tap outside Caves House at Jenolan Caves (~139 km). Water can usually be found at Coal Seam Cave just past Cottage Rock (~94 km) and in the tanks at Black Range Campground (~149 km) and Coxs River Camping Area (~168 km). The Nattai, Wollondilly, Jenolan, Little and Coxs Rivers are polluted.

It is essential to carry adequate clothing for adverse weather conditions and some basic survival gear, including a first aid kit.

Public vehicular access to the course is possible up to the locked National Parks gate on Nattai Road (past Wattle Ridge, ~31 km), from the locked Waterboard gate on Sheepwalk Drive (~61 km) to Yerranderie (~69 km), from the Whalans Firetrail/Kanangra Road intersection (~126 km) to Jenolan Caves (~139 km), from there on and off up to the locked gate before Little River (~161 km), from near Pinnacle Hill (~175 km) to Megalong Valley Road (~176 km), at the Explorers Tree (~184 km), and from Stuarts Road/Narrow Neck Road in Katoomba (~186 km) to the finish at Katoomba station (~188 km). Kanangra Walls car park is a ~1.7 km (~3.5 km round-trip) detour from the T-junction on Kanangra Tops.


Route Marking Summary

The course is unmarked up to Jenolan Caves apart from the occasional National Park sign and a few track markings between Vineyard Flat and Beloon Pass. The Six Foot Track section is superbly marked.


Honour Roll

Party Date Time Status Details
Clare Holland
Karl Miller
22-25 Apr 2011 86:52 h Tiger Walker
Yak
The total time included 22 h spent sheltering near Mt Cloudmaker to sit out the worst of the adverse weather. Clare Holland and Karl Miller, first finishers of the Traverse, at Katoomba station, 25 April 2011.


Useful Resources