Wednesday, July 8, 2020

A man's gotta eat. A man's gotta drink. A man's gotta climb mountains. And a man's gotta laugh.


Date of photograph: 2020-07-04
Location: Around Mt Towinhingy, near Dunns Swamp, NSW, Australia

Anyone knows what tree is this ?
Is the tessellated pattern on the trunk due to bushfires ?
(This place was badly burnt by fires few months ago, around January/February 2020.)


Previous funnies posted here have been migrated to  http://onemanadreaming.blogspot.com/

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Coast Track via Figure 8 Pools


2020 May:  Day-trip
                   Coast Track  via  Figure 8 Pools
                   Royal National Park, NSW, Australia

Pictures only:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1x4gQ45uvVZ4pHkaREgHlSCZK1EywEZbS

(Trip report is under construction.)


Friday, April 24, 2020

Sea Cliff Bridge - Coalcliff Dam, Illawarra Esc


2020 April:  Day-trip
                    Sea Cliff Bridge  to  Coalcliff Dam  via  Stanwell Creek (sourth arm)
                    Illawarra Escarpment SCA, NSW, Australia

Pictures only:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1QemRvNsXVXUln6fMwDx1HQ2ZEYLv82jK

(Trip report is under construction.)

Note: The north arm of Stanwell Creek is even more interesting ... Trip report will be written up real soon now  :-)


Saturday, April 18, 2020

Ahearn Lookout - Emmets Flat, Nattai


2020 April:  Day-trip
                    Ahearn Lookout  to  Emmets Flat at Nattai River
                    Nattai National Park, NSW, Australia

Pictures only:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Rp7jJVuIeGpbWQOi4zM-IFiWB5-zqRtF

(Trip report is under construction.)


Saturday, February 29, 2020

Corang, NSW


2019 February:  Day-trip
                          Corang circuit ...  Corang Peak / Corang Arch / Corang River
                          Morton National Park, NSW, Australia  (Commonly known as The Budawangs)

Corang Peak


Corang Arch



Corang River


Interested ?

Then trip report and more photographs are in this link:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com/2019/02/corang-circuit-corang-archpeakriver.html



Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Mulhacén, highest mountain on mainland Spain


2017 June:  Mulhacén, Spain
                    Climb it from Hoya del Portillo ... day trip


Mulhacén

Mulhacén, 3479 meters, is the highest mountain in mainland Spain.
It is also the highest mountain in western Europe outside the Alps.
Photograph taken from the slope of Alto del Chorrillo


Reward for reaching its summit is the stunning views. This one is towards a crater lake, Laguna de la Caldera.
After sumitting, you can walk down to the lake ... which is what I did  :-)


Trip report & more photographs

Refer to this link:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com/2017/06/mulhacen-spain.html


Sunday, October 27, 2019

Russells Needle, Nattai Nat Pk, NSW, Australia


2019 October:  Russells Needle
                         Nattai National Park, NSW, Australia ... day-trip


Russells Needle

Russells Needle & Nattai River from Ahearn Lookout (courtesy of David's video)


Left pic: North face of Russells Needle
Right pic: South-west face
Well, after seeing the above pictures, don't you just crave to climb up this rock spire !?!?
If not, I don't know what will get you excited !

About Russells Needle ... It is a rocky sandstone ridge rising out of Nattai Valley.

The summit itself is like a needle sticking out dramatically on top of the ridge. And naturally, if you can attain the summit, it offers a fantastic 360-degree panorama of the surrounding countryside.


Prolog

My interest in Russells Needle was piqued when bushwalking with Andreas few months ago to Bonnum Pic, also in Nattai National Park.

Andreas mentioned how he went to Russells Needle, reached the secondary peak, but didn't find a way to the summit as it was getting late.

Back at home, a search through the internet throws up some websites where others also reached the secondary peak but not the summit.

Never shy of a challenge, and so Russells Needle was bubbled to top of my to-do list. And once daylight saving is on, I'm off to climb the Needle with Alan, Yus, Lisa and Lily.


Map

LPI 1:25,000 scaled 8929-2N Hilltop

Map 1)  The relevant part of the 1:25,000 topographic map


GPS tracklog file & route

The GPX tracklog file of our walk can be downloaded from:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1xz4IbTeGpwvJ-EBgzTAqjbuZSuSCbh4p

Map 2)  The same GPS tracklog is drawn in red in the following 1:25,000 topographic map:
- Black oval: We (well, me) took our eyes off our GPS and went the wrong way down Rocky Waterholes Creek Trail  :-)
- Black rectangle: Enlarged in Map 4
- 6 black arrows from left to right: (Geographic names are from OpenStreetMap.)
       1  GR 601 006 ... Needle Lookout
       2  GR 609 009 ... To the left of this arrow is Slott Way Track
       3  GR 618 009 ... Between the 2nd and 3rd arrow is Ahearn Lookout Track
       4  GR 618 011 ... Between the 3rd and 4th arrow is Rocky Waterholes Creek Trail
       5  GR 620 013 ... Between the 4th and 5th arrow is Starlights Trail
       6  GR 633 018 / 633 019 ... Carpark.  Between carpark and 5th arrow is Nattai Road - W11E
In summary, the route for today's trip is:
-  Start at a carpark at the end of Wattle Ridge Road in Hill Top.
-  Get onto Slott Way Track.
-  Down to Nattai River.
-  Walk along Nattai River to GR 600 984 (photo #29).
-  Climb to secondary peak of Russells Needle.
-  To summit of Russells Needle.
-  Return to secondary peak for lunch.
-  Retrace steps back to carpark.


Map 3)  Satellite image of previous map


Map 4)  Zooming into black rectangle of Map 2:
- 5 black arrows from top to bottom:
       1  GR 600 984 ... Leave Nattai River here to climb up the slope of Russells Needle
       2  GR 599 979 ... Lookout at northern tip of Russells Needle escarpments
       3  GR 599 978 (almost at 598 978) ... Secondary peak of Russells Needle
       4  GR 598 978 ... Summit
       5  GR 599 977 ... Low overhang
- Black dot: A junction at a ledge
       •  We scramble up a steep slope to the black dot from the east.
       •  Go north along the ledge is to the secondary peak of Russells Needle.
       •  Go south along the ledge is towards the summit.
From the above map, the way to the summit is:
-  Near the junction, black dot of above map, walk southward along the ledge.

-  Cross a minor gap along the ledge ... photo #55's lower pic, and photos #56, #58.

-  After the minor gap, climb up to an overhang with a low ceiling (bottom-most black arrow) ... photos #55, #57, #58.
   It is so low we need to crawl through it on our hands and knees.

-  After the low overhang, climb up to a higher level ... In photo #58, I'm standing at the higher level.

-  At the higher level, there is a steep ramp heading further upwards ... photo #59.
   One can climb up the ramp, in fact Yus does just that.

-  But Alan finds an easier way. He keeps going south along the ledge.

-  Rounds the southern tip.

-  Lo and behold, it is then easy to head north towards the summit !

-  So, we all follow Alan to the summit ... apart from Yus who has already climbed up via the ramp.


Timeline & Distance

Park Alan's car at a carpark at the end of Wattle Ridge Road in Hill Top.
GR: Between 633 018 and 633 019
Wattle Ridge Road is an unsealed road, but ok for a 2-wheel-drive car.

07:55   0.0  km  Start walking
08:29   2.25km  Go on the wrong track ... Our eyes were off the GPS  :-)
08:35   2.75km  Back at the same spot as 08:29
09:17   4.85km  At Needle Lookout

Morning tea #1

09:33   4.9  km  Start descending down to Nattai River
10:04   5.9  km  At Nattai River, GR 593 002

Morning tea #2

10:16   6.0  km  Start walking upstream along the river
11:13   8.25km  Leave Nattai River at GR 600 984. There is a faint track up the slope of Russells Needle.
11:21   8.4  km  Stop for rest

Rest.  Lily is not as fit as she thinks she is  :-)

11:27   8.4  km  Resume walking
11:38   8.65km  Stop for rest

Rest

11:44   8.65km  Resume walking
11:47   8.75km  At the base of Russells Needle escarpments, at its northern tip, GR 599 980, elevation 430 meters
                         Start walking southward along the base of the escarpment on the east side of Russells Needle
11:55   8.9  km  At a cave/overhang

I turn around to look for Lily. She lost her way, tried to climb up the escarpment instead of keep walking along its base.

12:13   9.0  km  Resume walking
12:18   9.08km  Start scrambling up a steep slope (westward up the escarpment), GR 599 977, almost at 599 978
12:27   9.12km  At the base of the top-tier cliffs
                          It is also a junction.
                          Turn right (north) along the ledge is to secondary peak of Russells Needle
                          Turn left (south) along the ledge is to the summit
12:33   9.17km  At secondary peak

12:48   9.2  km  Leave secondary peak
12:55   9.25km  At junction; same spot as 12:27

Leave our backpacks around here.
Also leave Lily here. She is tired and also afraid of height.

13:00   9.25km  Walk southward along the ledge, aiming for the summit
13:33   9.45km  At the summit

Alan climbs down to fetch Lily and guides her up to the summit. (Lily had stayed back near the junction.)

14:27   9.55km  Leave summit
14:45   9.7  km  At the junction; same spot as at 12:27, 12:55
14:48   9.75km  Back at secondary peak of Russells Needle

Lunch, and more photograph sessions  :-)

15:36   9.8  km  Leave secondary peak
15:40   9.85km  At the junction; same spot as at 12:27, 12:55, 14:45; and start scrambling down the steep slope
                          (When scrambling down, Lisa and I overshoot the spot at 12:18.
                          Yus, who is ahead of us, calls out to us to put us back on the right track.)
15:58  10.0  km  At cave/overhang; same spot as at 11:55
16:02  10.1  km  At a lookout, at base of northern tip of Russells Needle escarpments, GR 599 979, elevation 445 meters
                           This place is close to where we were at 11:47

16:07  10.15km  Leave lookout, head down the slope towards Nattai River
16:43  10.75km  At Nattai River; same spot as at 11:13

16:49  10.75km  Start walking downstream along the river
17:36  13.0  km  At where we'll leave Nattai River to return to carpark; same spot as at 10:04

Rest

17:41  13.0  km  Resume walking
18:15  14.05km  At Needle Lookout, same spot as at 09:17

Rest

18:30  14.15km  Resume walking
19.52  18.5  km  Back at carpark
                           Sunset is at 19:20. By the time we are at the car, it has just turned pitch dark.

==============================================

Total:  11 hrs 57 mins  At leisurely pace
                                    Lily is slow.
                                    We also loiter around for a long time at both the summit and the secondary peak.
                                    Otherwise 10 hours should be sufficient for the trip.
           18.5 km  Distance is from Google Earth


Pictures - Carpark

Carpark is at the end of Wattle Ridge Road in Hill Top.
- GR: Between 633 018 and 633 019
- It is surrounded by a private property.

Wattle Ridge Road is an unsealed road, but ok for a 2-wheel-drive car. 


1)  Group photos of the 5 of us at the carpark ~~~
- Upper pic, left to right: Lily, Lisa, Alan, Yus
- Lower pic, left to right: Lily, Paul (me), Alan, Lisa  (Photographer: Yus)
- Alan's A4 paper: 27 Oct 2019 (Sun) 07:45am
                             Wattle Ridge Road Lock Gate
                             14km / 11hr / Difficulty 3.6
  It should be 18km / 10 hours / Difficulty 5 (hard).  3.6 is Alan's own private rating.
  We actually end up spending 12 hrs.  But 10 hrs should by sufficient.


2)  Looking back at Wattle Ridge carpark ~~~
- Lisa, in pink, taking photographs
- Yellow arrow: Direction of walk


Nattai Road - W11E

3)  The initial walk is on a firetrail labelled as "Nattai Road - W11E".
- Lisa is leading


Starlights Trail

4)  Then onto Starlights Trail ~~~
- Slab of rock on the side of the trail ... Is it natural or a discarded building material ?


After Starlights Trail, it is along Rocky Waterholes Creek Trail.


Ahearn Lookout Track

5)  Then we come to a junction, GR 618 009.
- Cyan arrow: Keep going forward is Rocky Waterholes Creek Trail ... you guessed it ... to Rocky Waterholes Creek  :-)
                       We are not going there.
- Yellow arrow: Turning right is where are going now, to Nattai River ... initially along Ahearn Lookout Track.
- Red oval: AH stands for Ahearn Lookout. We are not going there as later on we'll branch off to Slott Way Track.


6)  Typical Ahearn Lookout Track ... quite nice for walking ~~~
- Looking back at Lily


Slott Way Track

7)  By contrast, Slott Way Track is rough.
- Red circle in both pics below: Occasionally, a blue tag is nailed to a tree to guide you.
- Upper pic, left to right: Yus, Lily, Lisa


8)  Typical Slott Way Track, rough ~~~
- Upper pic: Yus
- Lower pic, left to right: Alan leading, followed by Lisa, Lily, Yus


9)  Passing a cave/overhang ~~~
- Upper pic, left to right, Yus, Lily
- Lower pic: Blue arrow: Direction of walk


10)  Not long afterwards, another cave/overhang ~~~
- Blue arrow: Direction of walk


Needle Lookout on Slott Way Track

GR: 601 006

11)  At Needle Lookout, so named in OpenStreetMap ~~~
- Why is it called Needle Lookout ?  It doesn't have a view towards Russells Needle !  Weird.
- Red arrow in both pics: Mt Jellore, towards south-south-west ... not Russells Needle !
- Lower pic, left to right: Alan, Yus, Lisa, Lily (I take this pic using Alan's phone.)
       • The group poses with an A4 paper with the words "Russells Needle", mistaking Mt Jellore for it  :-)


12)  The 3 pics below plus photo #13 form an almost 360-degree panorama.
They are taken from where the group was standing in the previous pic.
- Upper pic:
       • Red arrow: Mt Jellore, towards south-south-west
- Middle pic: (Continuation to the right of the upper pic)
       • Horizontal valley across middle of the pic: Nattai River
       • Yellow arrows: Our way down to Nattai River; then along Nattai River towards Russells Needle
- Lower pic: (Continuation to the right of the middle pic)
- Continuation to the right of the lower pic is photo #13.


13)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
Facing where I was standing when taking photo #11.
- 4 white arrows, left to right:
       1  Lisa
       2  My backpack
       3  Yus
       4  Yus' backpack
- White rectangle: Photo #14 zooms into this area.


14)  This scene is the white rectangle of previous pic.
- Left to right Alan, Lisa, Lily


15)  Leaving Needle Lookout ... going down towards Nattai River ~~~
- Needle Lookout is just beyond the right edge of this pic.
- Left to right: Lily, Lisa, Yus, Alan (leading)


Along Slott Way Track down to Nattai River

16)  After Needle Lookout, the Slott Way Track down to Nattai River becomes steeper.
- Upper pic, left to right: Lily, Lisa, Yus, Alan (leading)
- Lower pic, left to right: Lisa, Alan, Yus, and Lily at rear gingerly going down


17)  Someone erected these 4 cairns  :-)


18)  Stypandra glauca (Nodding Blue Lily) ... found along the Slott Way Track


19)  At last, through the trees, we have our first glimpse of Russelles Needle, the red arrow.


Nattai River

Reaching Nattai River ... at its junction with Slott Way Track
GR: 593 002

The 3 pics in photos #20, #21, #22 form a more-than-180-degree panorama.

20)  Nattai River, upstream  (To enlarge the image, click on it.)
- We are heading in this direction towards Russells Needle ... just follow the banks of the river.
- You can walk on either side of the river or mix them up ... whichever is easiest for you  :-)
- Large tree near the middle of the pic: Refer to photo #23.


21)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
- Nattai River, downstream, facing backwards
- Very small yellow dot on right edge (testing your eyesight): The cairn in photo #22 is just to the right of the dot.


22)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
- Cairn at junction of Slott Way Track and Nattai River  (facing downstream of the river)
- Yellow arrows: Direction of walk


23)  The tree in both pics below is the one in the middle of photo #20.
- Upper pic: Lily


Walking upstream of Nattai River

24)  Nattai River is not flowing, only puddles here and there ... very sad. There has been no rain in NSW for ages  :-(
- Middle pic, left to right: Lily, Lisa (leading), Alan
- Lower pic, left to right: Lisa, Alan (leading)


25)  Lisa


26)  Mushrooms


27)  Every now and then, there are fireplaces along the river.


28)  Russells Needle, red arrow, seen from Nattai River


Climbing up the slope of Russells Needle

29)  Now at GR 600 984, junction of Nattai River and a faint indistinct foot track up the slope of Russells Needle  ~~~
- Yellow arrow: Direction of walk


30)  It is a steep climb up the slope, just ask Lily  :-)   She is sweating profusely.


Russells Needle escarpment

31)  Reaching the escarpment of Russells Needle, at its northern tip, GR 599 980, elevation 430 meters  ~~~
The way forward is to walk along the base of the escarpment on the east side of Russells Needle.
In the pics below, we are heading towards the left.
- Upper pic: Lisa
       • Yellow arrows: Direction of walk
- Lower pic, left to right: Yus, Lisa, Alan


32)  There are cairns at regular intervals to guide you along the base of the escarpment.
- Yellow arrow: Direction of walk


33)  Keep walking along the base of the escarpment.
- Left to right: Lisa, Yus


34)  Taking a rest at a cave/overhang ~~~
- Left pic, left to right: Paul (me), Yus, Alan Lisa (Photographer: Lily)
- Right pic, left to right: Alan, Yus, Lisa
One reason we are taking a rest is because Lily is missing (right pic).
I turn around to look for her. She had lost her way, tried to climb up the escarpment instead of kept walking along its base  :-)


35)  Cairns at regular intervals along the base of the escarpment ~~~
- Lower pic: At this cairn (GR 599 977, almost at 599 978), turn right (west) to climb up the escarpment.


Climbing up the escarpment

36)  I have climbed up a bit, now watching the others about to climb up.
- 3 white arrows, left to right: Yus, Alan, Lisa


37)  Interesting rock formation, like a honeycomb ... photographed while climbing further up


38)  Climbing straight up ~~~
- It is a steep scramble. The loose soil/stones make the climb dangerous too ... easy to slip and tumble down.


39)  Looking down at Lisa scrambling up ... It is steep.


40)  Now we come to a ledge at the base of a cliff.
- Red arrow: Secondary peak of Russells Needle ... We are heading there now; north-ish.
- 2 cyan arrows: Same as the 2 cyan arrows in photo #42 ... So you can match the 2 photographs.
- Yellow arrow at the bottom edge of the pic: We scrambled up from there.
- Yellow arrows pointing right: Route along the ledge to the secondary peak
  (Heading in the opposite direction to these yellow arrows is along the ledge to the summit of Russells Needle.
  We'll go there later on.)


41)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
- Looking down at Lisa scrambling up ... It is steep.


Along ledge towards secondary peak

42)  Now walking along the ledge towards the secondary peak of Russells Needle ~~~
- Left to right: Yus, Lisa
- 2 cyan arrows: Same as the 2 cyan arrows in photo #40 ... So you can match these 2 photographs.
- Cyan dot: We climbed up to the ledge at this point. It was where photos #40 and #41 were taken.


43)  Lisa
- Red arrow: Secondary peak of Russells Needle


Saddle between secondary peak & summit

Once we climb up the minor cliff where Lisa is facing in the previous pic, we are at the saddle between the secondary peak and the summit of Russells Needle.

44)  Summit of Russells Needle (Photographer: Yus ... photo taken at the saddle) ~~~
- 2 red arrows, left to right: (Same as the 2 red arrows in photo #46)
       1  Same rock as the yellow oval in photos #66 and #72's lower pic
       2  The summit
- Yellow oval: Secondary peak ... Refer to photo #45.
- Left to right: Paul (me), Alan, Lily, Lisa


Secondary peak of Russells Needle

45)  This is it, the secondary peak ... photo taken from the saddle, from where we are in the previous pic.
- Lower pic: Lily (Photographer: Lisa)

Next, I climb to its top.
It is not a difficult climb.  But no one else wants to climb up  :-)

The next picture is taken by me from the top.

46)  The summit of Russells Needle ... photographed from the top of the secondary peak ~~~
- Compare this pic with photo #44 ... They look so different !
- 2 red arrows, left to right: (Same as the 2 red arrows in photo #44)
       1  Same rock as the yellow oval in photos #66 and #72's lower pic
       2  The summit
- Red circle: Photo #47 zooms into this area.


47)  Zooming into the red circle of previous pic ~~~
- Left to right: Alan (in black), Yus (in green), Lisa, Lily


Secondary peak area

48)  We are now at the side of the secondary peak, specifically the right side of photo #45.
- Red arrow: A rock platform ... Refer to photo #49.
- Cliff on the left side of the pic belongs to the secondary peak.


49)  A few more steps forward compared to previous pic ~~~
- Rock platform at centre of pic: It is the one pointed by the red arrow in previous pic.
- Yellow arrows: Our route to here
- Main valley at centre of pic: Where Nattai River flows


50)  Secondary peak ... the opposite side of photo #45 ~~~
(Photographs taken while standing near the rock platform of previous pic)
We are just posing for the camera  :-)
It is not possible to climb to the top from here. For that, you climb up from the other side ... Refer to photo #45.
- Upper left: Alan
- Upper right: Lisa
- Lower left: Paul (me)
- Lower right: Paul (me)  (Photographer: Yus)
       • Continuation to the right of this pic is photo #51.


51)  Panorama from the rock platform in photo #49 ~~~
- Upper pic: (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
- Middle pic: (Continuation to the right of the upper pic)
       • Yellow arrows: Our route to here
       • Main valley at centre of pic: Where Nattai River flows ... Photo #52 is another view of the valley.
- Lower pic: (Continuation to the right of the middle pic)
       • Yus


52)  Another view of photo #51's middle pic (Photograph taken from the rock platform in photo #49) ~~~
- Yellow arrows: Our route to here
- Main valley at centre of pic: Where Nattai River flows


Leave secondary peak

Time to leave the secondary peak and head for the summit.

It is not possible to climb directly up to the summit from the saddle between the two peaks.

The way to the summit :
Backtrack to where we scrambled up the steep slope to the ledge ... ie back to the cyan dot in photo #42. The cyan dot is roughly where photo #40 was taken.


53) Standing at roughly where photo #42 was taken, facing where we are heading now ~~~
- Cyan dot: Where we climbed up the steep slope to the ledge ... same as the cyan dot in photo #42
- Yellow thingie at bottom right corner: Yus' backpack
- Yellow arrows: We are going to walk along the ledge now.
- We'll keep walking southward along the ledge. Climb higher up when we can. Eventually we'll reach the southern tip of the cliffs. There, we'll make a u-turn and head north towards the summit.


54)  I have walked past the cyan dot of the previous pic, now looking back at Yus (left) and Lily (right) coming towards me.
- Cyan dot: Where we scrambled up the steep slope to the ledge ... same as the cyan dot in photos #42, #53
- Yellow arrow: Direction of walk
- 2 cyan arrows: Same as the 2 cyan arrows in photos #40 and #42
- Red circle: Same as the large rock on right half of photo #40


Cross a minor gap & crawl through an overhang

55)  Not long after the previous pic was taken, we come to this scene.
(By this time, we have left our backpacks behind.)
In the 2 pics below:
       • Yellow arrows: Direction of walk
       • Also refer to photo #58 for an overall view of this scene
- Upper pic:
       • Yus climbing up to a low overhang
       • Yellow oval: The low overhang ... We'll crawl through it. It is not high enough even for sitting down.
- Lower pic:
       • Cyan arrow: Roughly where Yus is in the upper pic
       • Yellow oval: Need to cross this minor gap ... not too hard  :-)


56)  Looking back after crossing the gap (yellow oval) of previous pic ~~~
- Yellow arrows: Direction of walk
- Yellow oval: The gap I've just crossed ... same as the yellow oval of previous pic
- Cyan arrow: Where we left our backpacks


57)  After crossing the minor gap of previous pic, it is to pass through this low overhang, GR 599 977.
- It is the yellow oval in photo #55's upper pic.
- Need to crawl through it ... It is not high enough even for sitting down.
- Yellow arrows: Direction of walk


58)  Lily stays back and captures this scene with her phone.
- The scene encompasses features in photos #55, #56, #57.
- 3 yellow circles from top to bottom:
       1 Paul (me, wearing a blue cap) ... Once we crawl through the low overhang of previous pic, we climb higher up.
       2 The low overhang (Refer to previous pic, and also photo #55's upper pic.)
             • In this pic, Lisa is climbing towards the low overhang.
             • In photo #55, Yus was climbing towards it.
       3 The minor gap ... It is featured in photo #56, and photo #55's lower pic.
Lily stays back because she is tired and also scared of height.
But later on, Alan will climb back down to assist her to the summit.


Climb towards Russells Needle summit

59)  At where I'm standing in the previous pic (the upper yellow circle there), I'm watching Yus climbing up a steep ramp.
- It is not an easy climb, in fact a bit scary (even though it doesn't look so in the pic).  And so, Yus is the only person who climbs up this way.
I was going to follow suit.

However, I was worried that if I climb up, I'll have trouble in climbing down. As we had left our backpacks behind (cyan arrow in photo #56), I was going to turn back to retrieve Yus' rope from his pack.

But Alan finds an easier way ... by keep going south along the ledge, ie go to the left of previous pic, instead of up.  So we all follow Alan, except Yus who has already climbed up.


60) Along the way, there is this tunnel.
- I bet one can climb up towards the summit through the tunnel.  We didn't try it.  We keep going forward, ie southward.
- If anyone had climbed up through the tunnel, please let me know ... I'm curious  :-)


We keep walking southward.
Then we reach the southern tip of the cliffs at GR 598 977, almost at 599 977.
There, we make a u-turn and head northward.


61)  Around the u-turn point, there is a fireplace and a cairn.


62)  Now heading north towards the summit ~~~
- Top to bottom: Alan, Lisa
- Yus is already at the summit as he had climbed up the steep ramp in photo #59.


63)  More climbing ~~~
- Upper pic: Lisa climbing up towards Alan
- Lower pic: Alan takes this picture of Lisa and Paul (me, in blue cap) climbing up towards him.


Final ascent to the summit plateau

64)  The final ascent ~~~
- Upper pic:
       • Top to bottom: Yus, Alan, Lisa
- Lower pic:
       • Left to right: Yus, Alan
       • Red dots: Step on the dots to climb up.
       • Yellow oval: One can also climb up the fissure. But easier is to simply climb straight up over the red dots.
On the web, there are pictures of people climbing up the slope with the assistance of a rope.

Well, the slope is not that steep. A rope is not necessary.
We don't have a rope ... It is in Yus' backpack left at the cyan arrow in photo #56  :-)


65) Same slope as the previous pic ~~~
- Photographer: Alan ... looking down at us climbing up.
- Upper pic, left to right: Lisa, Paul (me)
- Lower pic: Paul (me)


Russells Needle summit

66)  Once we climb up the slope of previous pic, we are at the summit plateau.
- Upper pic: (Photographer: Alan)
       • Red arrow: Summit of Russells Needle
       • Red dot: Like the edge of a razor blade ... steep drop on both sides !
       • Yellow oval: One can also climb up there.
                              It is the same rock as the yellow oval in photo #72's lower pic.
                              It is also the left red arrow in photos #44 and #46.
- Lower pic: Approaching closer the summit
       • Cyan oval: Same rock as the cyan oval in photos #67 and #70


67)  Group photo at the summit (Photographer: Yus) ~~~
- Left to right: Lisa, Paul (me), Lily, Alan
- Cyan oval: Same rock as the cyan oval in previous pic and in photo #70
- Unusual cloud pattern ... a nice shot by Yus
Lily had stayed back near the minor gap, and took photo #58. (The minor gap is the bottom yellow circle there.)  She was tired and also afraid of height.

But after we reached the summit, Alan went back down to fetch her up here.


68)  Lily at the summit ... She is glad she is here ... all thanks to Alan !


69)  We take turns to have our photos taken ~~~
- Clockwise from upper-left:
       • Paul (me ... Photographer: Yus)
       • Alan, naked, showing off  :-)   (Photographer: Lisa)
       • Yus
       • Lisa


Scenery from Russells Needle summit

70)  From the summit, looking back at where we just climbed up ~~~
- After we climbed up the slopes of photos #64 and #65, we would be at where Lisa & Yus are.
- Red arrow: According to the maps, a helipad is at its top (at the end of Russells Needle Lookout Trail).
- Cyan oval: Same rock as the cyan oval in photo #66's lower pic and in photo #67
- Large valley to the left of the red arrow: Where Nattai River flows


71)  Yus & Lisa ... Same scene as previous pic, taken at the summit from a slightly different angle ~~~
- For comments, refer to previous pic.
- This pic and the 3 pics in photo #72 form a 360-degree panorama.


72)  Panorama from the summit of Russells Needle ~~~
- Upper pic: (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
- Middle pic: (Continuation to the right of the upper pic)
       • Yellow arrows: Our route to Russells Needle
       • Red arrow: Secondary peak ... Refer to photos #43 and #45.
                            Photos #73 and #74 zoom into this area.
- Lower pic: (Continuation to the right of the middle pic)
       • Yellow oval: One can also climb up there.
                              It is the same rock as the yellow oval in photo #66.
                              It is also the left red arrow in photos #44 and #46.
- Continuation to the right of the lower pic is photo #71, thus completing a 360-degree panorama.


73)  Zooming into the secondary peak area ... which is the right half of photo #72's middle pic.
- Yellow arrows: Our route to Russells Needle
- Red arrow: Secondary peak ... Refer to photos #43 and #45.


74)  Another view of the secondary peak area ... Photograph taken from the rock in the yellow oval of photo #66 and photo #72's lower pic.
- Yellow arrow: Our route to Russells Needle
- Red arrow: Secondary peak ... Refer to photos #43 and #45.


Lunch

After spending a fair amount of time taking photographs at the summit, we return to the secondary peak for lunch ... because we don't have our backpacks with us.

And then spend more time at the secondary peak taking more photographs !!!


Climbing down Russells Needle

Finally, we are on our way down Russells Needle.

75)  This is the same scene as photo #41 ... I am now standing at the cyan dot of photos #42, #53 and #54.
- We scrambled up the steep slope earlier on. Now we are scrambling down.
- Left to right: Yus, Lisa


At base of Russells Needle escarpments, its northern tip

We make a minor detour to a lookout at base of Russells Needle escarpments, its northern tip.

The lookout is close to photo #31. (At the time, we were climbing up and we didn't make it here.)
- GR 599 979
- Elevation 445 meters


76)  Lisa at the lookout ~~~
- Yellow arrows: Our route in the morning to Russells Needle
- Yellow dots & yellow arrow pointing to the right: Where Nattai River flows


77)  At where Lisa was in the previous pic, facing the northern tip of Russells Needle escarpments ~~~
- Russells Needle can't be seen from here.  It is further back.
- Yus is the star !
- This pic and the 3 pics in photo #78 form a 360-degree panorama.


78)  Panorama from where Lisa was standing in photo #76 ~~~
- Upper pic: (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
- Middle pic: (Continuation to the right of the upper pic)
       • Yellow arrows: Our route to Russells Needle
       • Yellow dots & 3 yellow arrows below the dots: Where Nattai River flows
- Lower pic: (Continuation to the right of the middle pic)
- Continuation to the right of the lower pic is photo #77, thus completing a 360-degree panorama.


Along Nattai River

Retracing our steps along Nattai River ... walking downstream now

79)  A number of these trees with a big pile of debris on the upstream side ~~~
- Beside the 2 pics here, another similar tree is photo #23.
- Lower pic: Alan


Needle Lookout on Slott Way Track

80)  Back at Needle Lookout on Slott Way Track ~~~
- Paul (me), taking more pictures (Photographer: Yus)
- Red arrow: Mt Jellore ... One day, I intend to climb it.  Anyone interested to join in ?
(Time now is 6:20pm. Sunset is at 7:20pm, which explains the colour of the photo.)


Back at carpark

Sunset is at 7:20 pm.
We are back at the carpark at 7:52 pm ... just at the moment when everything turns pitch black  :-)
Perfect timing !

And so ends a successful trip.


Acknowledgement

Thanks to Joe Dunne who provided valuable information and Grid Ref points.

And thanks to Alan who led all the way.


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