Saturday, September 3, 2016

Pantoneys Crown, Gardens of Stone NP, NSW, Australia


2016 September: Pantoneys Crown, Gardens of Stone National Park, NSW, Australia

Pantoneys Crown

Google Earth's tilted view of Pantoneys Crown's western flank, in Gardens of Stone National Park
As you can see, Pantoneys Crown is a mesa, a free-standing mountain with a long flat-top plateau.

When you see it from a distance like this, you just want to climb to its top and to walk along its entire length. And so when I heard that CS from Upper Blue Mountains Bushwalking Club is organizing a trip to there, I put my hand up straight away and join in.

For peak baggers, the summit is about 1030 meters in elevation.


Our group

12 of us:
- CS, leader
- AOB
- Geoff Fox
- GH
- GL
- HT
- JD
- JL
- JM
- RS
- Sonya
- and me


Maps

- 1:100,000 scaled 8931 Wallerawang
- 1:25,000 scaled 8931-4S Ben Bullen

Below is the relevant part of the 1:25,000 scaled map.


Starting point of our walk

The starting point of our walk is at Dominic Della Libera's property. His house is at the boundary of GR 310 274 and GR 310 275.

As it is Dominic property, CS has sought and obtained his permission to cross his land into Gardens of Stone National Park.

To reach Dominic property from the Blue Mountains:
- Through Lithgow
- Take Castlereagh Highway
- Pass Lisdale, Cullen Bullen, Ben Bullen
- At Capertee, turn east into Glen Davis Road
- Immediately after crossing Coco Creek, turn south into Crown Station Road.
- Then to Dominic's property
- Park car at GR 310 274


GPS tracklog file & Route

The GPX tracklog file of our walk can be downloaded from:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSOGVmSEtMQ2h5dUk/view?usp=sharing

Here is our tracklog, red colour, superimposed on the 1:25,000 map.
Starting point of the walk is near upper-right-hand corner.


Satellite view of our route
Starting point of the walk is near upper-right-hand corner. 


A summary of our route is:
1.  Start at Dominic's private property
2.  At a cave for morning tea
3.  On top of plateau at north-eastern tip of Pantoneys Crown
4.  Detour to a lookout (photos #35, #36)
5.  At summit
6.  Pass a campsite
7.  At south-western tip of the plateau
8.  Return to campsite for lunch
9.  Retrace steps back to the car

The numbers 2 to 7 of the above correspond to the numbers in the satellite view below:


Timeline & Distance

08:43   0.0 km  Start at Dominic's private property
10:29   4.1 km  Stop at a cave for morning tea

Morning tea

10:45   4.1 km  Resume walking
11:19   4.3 km  At top of plateau of the north-eastern tip of Pantoneys Crown

11:24   4.3 km  Resume walking
11:26   4.4 km  At a lookout (photos #35, #36)

11:29   4.4 km  Resume walking
11:48   4.9 km  At summit of Pantoneys Crown

Take photos.  CS logs our entry into the log book.

11:53   4.8 km  Resume walking
12:16   5.7 km  At a camping area
12:22   5.9 km  At south-eastern tip of Pantoneys Crown

Enjoy the view

12:25   6.0 km  Turn around and retrace steps
12:30   6.2 km  Stop for lunch at a camping area as at 12:16

Lunch

12:52   6.2 km  Resume walking
13:25   7.5 km  At north-eastern tip of Pantoneys Crown, same spot as at 11:19

13:28   7.5 km  Start to climb down
14:05   7.6 km  At the same cave where we had morning tea

Afternoon tea

14:10   7.7 km  Resume walking
15:37  11.8 km  End at Dominic's private property

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

Total:  6 hrs 54 mins
           11.8 km  Distance is from Google Earth
           13.4 km  Distance is from Garmin GPS


Weather

Today's weather can be described in one word: cloudy. And so all my pictures don't have any blue sky in them  :-(

On the plus side, the forecast of a shower or two did not eventuate. So we all have a great day.


Pictures - Start at Dominic's property

1)  I am standing at where we park our cars at GR 310 274, by the side of Dominic Della Libera's property. Dominic's house is at the boundary of GR 310 274 and GR 310 275.


2)  Upper pic: North-eastern tip of Pantoneys Crown from Dominic's property ... we are looking at the narrow side of the mountain.
Lower pic: Zooming in ...
- Red oval: A line of kangaroos watching us ... so cute !
- Yellow dots: Our route in the earlier part of the morning
- We'll have our morning tea in a cave just above the the highest yellow dot.
- After morning tea, it is climbing more or less straight up to the top ... be warned !


3)  A pair of donkeys near Dominic's property ~~~
They are probably a male/female pair because they are always together.


To north-eastern tip of Pantoneys Crown

4)  There is a semblance of a track to Pantoneys Crown.
- CS leading; followed by GL; then Geoff Fox, JD, HT, AOB, Sonya.


5)  Does anyone know the name of these mushrooms?


6)  Flowers found on the way (photographs courtesy of HT)


7)  We come to an area full of grass trees.


8)  Typical trail to Pantoneys Crown ~~~
- CS leading, followed by Geoff Fox, then HT, JD


9)  We come to an area with a nice view of Pantoneys Crown ~~~
- Upper pic, group photo:
     • Left to right: 1 HT, 2 GL, 3 Sonya, 4 JL, 5 CS, 6 RS, 7 me, 8 AOB, 9 JD, 10 GH
     • There are 12 of us. JM is missing in the group photo, and Geoff Fox is the photographer.
- Lower pic:
     • Yellow arrows outline our route up the slope.
     • The tip of the upper most arrow is a cave where we'll rest for morning tea.
     • After morning tea, it is more or less straight up to the top !


10)  At the same area as where the previous pic was taken ~~~
Scenery towards north-west ... The red arrow points to Mt Genowlan, please correct me if I'm wrong.


11)  This section is like on the edge of a razor blade.  (Photograph courtesy of Geoff Fox)
- Upper pic, left to right: CS, JD, JL, GL, GH, HT, RS , AOB
- Lower pic, left to right: GH, RS, AOB, JM, me. (Behind me is Sonya, blocked by a tree trunk.)


Going up the north-eastern tip of Pantoneys Crown

12)  After the ridge of the previous pic, the climb up the slope of Pantoneys Crown becomes steeper.
- In both of the 2 pics below, GL is leading, followed by JL.


13)  View from north to north-east ~~~
- Red arrow: Mt Canobla
- The mountain range on the left half of the pic is in Mugii Murum-Ban State Conservation Area.


14)  We are not far now from where we'll have our morning tea.
- Upper pic: AOB and an interesting rock formation
- Lower pic: AOB and a small cave
Both locations are quite close to each other.


Cave where we have morning tea

15)  Now approaching a cave (red oval) for morning tea.
After morning tea, it will be a steep climb (yellow arrow) ... hugging the side of the wall of the cave.


16)  This is the cave. Of the 3 pics below:
- Upper pic:
     • The yellow arrow is where we'll continue our climb up the slope of Pantoneys Crown ... it will be steep  :-)
     • Left to right: GH, Geoff Fox, AOB
- Middle pic: Geoff is at the right edge of pic.  Behind him is AOB.
- Lower pic:
     • 3 people at the back, left to right: Sonya, AOB, Geoff Fox
     • In the foreground, left to right; RS, JL, GL, JM
     • The sand on the floor should be whitish, but in the pic it shows up as brownish, strange!


17)  Wonder what animal made these droppings on the cave floor ?


18)  Still at the cave ...
View towards north-east ... the right side of photo #13.
- The 2 red arrows point to, from left to right: Mt Canobla & Point Anderson
- Between Mt Canobla & Point Anderson is Canobla Gap.


Climbing up north-eastern tip of Pantoneys Crown

19)  Morning tea is over, the serious climbing starts now  :-)
- Left pic: CS is leading. This place is the yellow arrow of photo #15, ie just to the left of the cave where we had our morning tea.
- Right pic: I am at where CS was in the left pic, and looking down at our group.
     • Left to right: HT, AOB, JD, GH, RS, Geoff Fox


20)  The next steep climb is here. Both pics are of the same cliff, CS is leading, followed by AOB and HT.
- Yellow arrow is the way up
- Once CS reaches the top, he'll let down a climbing tape to help some of us.
- In the afternoon when we are on the way down, I'll take more photographs of this same area ... they are in photo #76.


21)  At the same spot as where the previous pic was taken and looking down the mountain


22)  I've climbed up to the top of the cliff of photo #20 and now watching CS setting up a climbing tape.
- 2 red arrows from left to right: Mt Canobla & Point Anderson, towards east-north-east-ish
- Canobla Gap is between Mt Canobla & Point Anderson.


23)  Looking down at RS (upper pic) and JL (lower pic) climbing up.
(Photographs courtesy of HT and Geoff Fox)


24)  Onward we climb ~~~
HT is at the right edge.  In front of him is JL; and in front of her is CS.


25)  Now comes the 2nd tape.
Geoff Fox (left) and me (right) climbing up (Photographs courtesy of HT)

On the return trip, I'll take some more pictures of this area ... see photo #74.


26)  I have climbed up the cliff of the previous pic. Here, CS is watching HT coming up.


27)  After the climb of the previous pic, for a short while we traverse the slope of Pantoneys Crown.
JL is the lady in turquoise jacket.


28)  Nice scenery along the way ~~~
- This one is from north-west to north-east.
- Left arrow: Mt Genowlan
- Right arrow: Mt Canobla


29)  Caves ~~~
- Upper pics: High up on the cliff ... the same cave in both pics.
- Lower pic: We pass by a large-ish cave.  Left to right: JM, CS, HT


30)  Climbing up towards a short tunnel, the red oval ~~~
- Left pic: JD leading; followed by GH; then Sonya, GL, JL
- Right pic: Geoff Fox leading, followed by GH
(On the return trip, I'll take some more pictures of this area ... see photo #73.)


31)  Through the short tunnel of the previous pic ~~~
- Left pic: JL inside the tunnel
- Right pic: Me ... emerging out of the tunnel (photograph courtesy of Geoff Fox)


32)  Immediately after emerging out of the tunnel, turn left and climb up this steep narrow slot, as JM is doing right now.
(On the return leg, a climbing tape will be let down to help us ... see photo #71.)


On the plateau of Pantoneys Crown - north-eastern tip

33)  Finally, we are on top of the plateau at the north-eastern tip of Pantoneys Crown ... end of the steep climbs !!!
- Both this pic and the previous one are taken at the same place. In fact, the previous pic is continuation to the right of this one.
- Left to right: GL, JD (just his head), RS, AOB, JL


34)  From where we are standing in the previous pic is this view, towards east.
Two red arrows from left to right: Canobla Gap, Point Anderson

From now on, we'll walk along the plateau all the way to its south-western tip, a distance of about 1.5 kilometers.


Short detour to a lookout

35)  After climbing up to the plateau, we make a short detour to this lookout ... still very close to the north-eastern end of the plateau.
- Left to right: JL, HT (far side), AOB, JD, GH, Sonya, RS, GL, Geoff Fox


36)  At the lookout is a 180-degree panorama, from west to north to east.
- Upper pic, centred towards north-west:
     • Red arrow: Mt Genowlan.
- Lower pic (continuation to the right of the upper pic), centred towards north-east
     • 2 red arrows, from left to right: Mt Canobla & Point Anderson
     • Canobla Gap is between Mt Canobla & Point Anderson.
     • Continuation to the right of this pic is photo #34.


To the summit of Pantoneys Crown

Now we walk towards the summit of Pantoneys Crown. As we are on a plateau, the summit isn't much higher than any where else on the plateau.

37)  We pass by this view towards the west.


38)  Does anyone know the name of this flower?


39)  Walking along the plateau on top of Pantoneys Crown ~~~
The entire plateau is full of pagoda-like rock formations.


40)  Some of the interesting rock formations


41)  By now, we are quite close to the summit.
- This 180-degree panorama is from north to east to south. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
- 2 red arrows, from left to right: Mt Canobla & Point Anderson
- Between Mt Canobla & Point Anderson is Canobla Gap.


Summit of Pantoneys Crown

42)  At the summit of Pantoneys Crown, about 1030 meters in elevation ~~~
As mentioned already, the top of Pantoneys Crown is a plateau. Hence this place is not much higher than the surrounding areas.
Of the 3 pics below:
- Upper pic, right side of the cairn: Geoff Fox is leading; followed by HT; then GH, JM.
- Middle pic: Sonya
- Lower pic: me


43)  CS and the tin box, with a log book inside.
(From the log book, no one has been up here for more than a month ... no entry for the entire 2016 August. But I am aware that a group from Sydney University Bushwalking Club had been up here on 2016-08-06. Maybe they didn't notice the tin box in the rock recess.)


To south-western tip of Pantoneys Crown

44)  After the summit, we keep going towards the south-western tip of the plateau.
This view is towards south-west:
- The 2 red arrows point to the same 2 pagodas as in photo #47.
- The yellow arrow is where we'll be walking ... see photo #47.
- The 4 people nearest to the camera are, from left to right: HT, GL, GH, AOB.


45)  Scenery along the way ~~~
- HT is leading; followed by JL; then Sonya


46)  The 3 pics below are of the same rock formation.


47)  Walking further along ~~~
The 2 red arrows point to the same 2 pagodas as in photo #44.


48)  The following 3 pics form a 360-degree panorama. It is taken at the same spot as the previous pic.
- Upper pic:
     • The scene in the red square is identical to the previous pic ... photo #47.
     • The left half of this pic is repeated in photo #69.
- Middle pic: Continuation to the right of the upper pic ~~~
     • This pic is looking back at where we came from.
     • The left half of this pic has the same scene as photo #68.
- Lower pic:
     • Continuation to the right of the middle pic
     • The continuation to the right of this pic is the upper pic, thus completing a 360-degree panorama.


49)  Sonya and scenery along the way


50)  More pagoda-like rock formations that we pass by.


51)  Going down this gap ~~~
- Upper pic, left to right: RS, JM, GH, HT, GL, Geoff Fox, JL
- Lower pic: Looking back at the gap we just walked down


52)  More pagodas ~~~
Left to right: Sonya, JL, HT, Geoff Fox


53)  We come to what looks like a nice camping area, sheltered from the winds.  On the way back, we'll have lunch here.
- Both pics below are looking back in the direction where we came from.
- The red oval is a sort of a waterfall. A picture of which is on the left side of photo #54.
- The blue oval is the same cliff as the one in photo #54.


54)  Still at the same place as the previous pic ~~~
- Left pic: A sort of a waterfall ... same as in the red oval of the previous pic.
- Right pic: This cliff is just beyond the right edge of the previous pic. The blue oval here matches up with the blue oval in the upper pic of photo #53.

55)  Still on our way to the south-western tip of Pantoneys Crown ~~~
- 6 people in the front, from left to right: GL, Sonya, JL, RS, JM, HT
- 3 people further away, left to right: AOB, CS, JD


South-western tip of Pantoneys Crown

56)  We are there ! ... The south-western tip of Pantoneys Crown plateau is just in front ... the final destination of this trip.
Left to right: GH, JL, RS, JD, AOB (block by a tree trunk), CS, Geoff Fox, Sonya, HT, JM, GL ... well that accounts for everyone in our group, except me taking this picture  :-)


57)  At the south-western tip of the plateau on top of Pantoneys Crown ~~~
- Upper pic, clockwise from the left: Sonya, JL, AOB, GL, HT, JM, CS, HB, JD, RS
- Lower pic, left to right: JD, Sonya, HT, AOB. GL, GH, JM


58)  At the tip ... view from south-west to north-west ~~~
It is very windy here, hence HT is kneeling down and away from the edge of the cliff.
The 3 red arrows point to, from left to right:
- Baal Bone Point, towards south-west
- Moffitts Pagodas
- The small village of Ben Bullen is at roughly the tip of the arrow.


59)  Still at the tip ... view from south-east to south-west, ie continuation to the left of the previous pic.
As it is very wind, I too am at distance from the edge of the cliff.
The 3 red arrows point to, from left to right:
- Baal Bone Gap, towards south
- Baal Bone Point, toward, south-west
- Moffitts Pagodas


Return to camping area (photo #53) for lunch

Well, the south-western tip of the plateau is far as we intend to go in this trip ... time to return to the north-eastern tip, then climb down the plateau and back to our cars.  But first, we'll return to the camping area in photo #53 for lunch.

60)  On our way to the camping area ~~~
This place is not far from the south-western tip where the previous few pics were taken.
- CS leading; followed by Sonya; then JM, RS


61)  For a short while, we walk along the cliff edge on the eastern side of the plateau.
The view here, from south-east to south-west, is similar to photo #59.
The 3 red arrows point to, from left to right:
- Baal Bone Gap, towards, south
- Baal Bone Point, towards south-west
- Moffitts Pagodas


62)  Back at the camping area of photo #53 ~~~
We have lunch here.
Left to right: RS, GL, Geoff Fox, Sonya, HT


63)  Lunch is over, time to leave.
Left to right: Sonya, JM, GH


Return to north-eastern tip of Pantoneys Crown

64)  At a cliff edge on the eastern side of the plateau ~~~
- Upper pic, left to right: JM, GH, AOB, JL, GL, HT
- Lower pic: JD ... looking towards east


65)  Passing these pagoda-like rock formations ~~~
Of the 3 pics below:
- Upper pic:
     • The red square is enlarged in the middle pic.
     • The rock in the red oval is of the same rock as in the lower pic.
- Middle pic: It is the red square of the upper pic. And the rock in the red circle looks like a face.
- Lower pic: The rock in the red oval here and the red oval in the upper pic are of the same rock.


66)  Still in the same area as the previous pic ~~~
- Upper pic: This is the left side of the previous pic.
- Lower pic: Zooming in on the rock formation of the upper pic.


67)  More interesting pagoda-like rock formations


68)  Passing through these pagodas ~~~
The 3 pics below are of the same scene ... and also the same as the left half of the middle pic of photo #48.


69)  At roughly the same place as where the previous pic was taken, and looking back at where we just came from: (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
- This pic, from south-east to south to west, is the same as the left half of the upper pic of photo #48.
- Red square: It is the same scene as photo #47.
- Yellow dashes: The route we took to and from south-western tip of Pantoneys Crown.
- The 3 red arrows from left to right:
     • Baal Bone Gap, towards south
     • Baal Bone Point, towards south-west
     • Moffitts Pagodas


70)  Still retracing our steps back to north-eastern tip of Pantoneys Crown


At north-eastern tip of Pantoneys Crown

71)  We are back at the north-eastern tip of Pantoneys Crown plateau.
- JL (left) and JM (right) climbing down a steep narrow slot
- This place is identical to that in photo #32.


Climbing down Pantoneys Crown

72)  Halfway down the narrow slot of the previous pic, turn right into a short tunnel.
- Left pic: JM is turn right into the tunnel. Behind him is JL. You can still see the white climbing tape trailing behind JL.
- Right pic: The short tunnel.  Another photograph of this tunnel is also in photo #31.


73)  Emerging out of the tunnel ~~~
- Upper pic: I'm at the tunnel exit, looking down at JL descending.  Geoff Fox is in front of her. JM is further back.
- Lower pics: I've climb down and looking back up at the tunnel (red oval). These pics are similar to photo #30.


74)  This is the 2nd tape.
- Left pic: I'm watching GH going down. (Same scene as in photo #26)
- Right pic: I've climbed down and watching GL climbing down. (Same scene as in photo #25)


75)  HT sliding down ... behind him is Sonya.
This place is just slightly higher than that in photo #24.


76)  Now back at the 1st tape ~~~
- Upper pic: HT climbing down from the top of the cliff ... same scene as in photo #23.
- Lower pics: I am down at the bottom of the cliff watching the others climbing down ... same scene as the right side of photo #20.


Walking back to our cars

Not long after the climb down the cliff of the previous pic, we are back at the cave (photo #16) and have a rest there for afternoon tea. Then it is walking back to our cars at Dominic's property.

77)  Plenty of these yellow flowers along the way ... I think they are wattles(?)


78)  HT (left) and Geoff Fox (right) photographing Hovea


79)  Back at Dominic's property where our cars are parked


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