An account of the THREE PEAKS walk in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia.
This walk was done by Michael Smith and Michael Dillon in September 1967. The account which follows appeared shortly after in KAMERUKA, the magazine of the bushwalking club. I have left the imperial measurements in place.
2007 UPDATE ... I did this walk again 37 years later with the same bloke. An account appeared in OUTDOORS magazine.
With unusually light packs on our backs and a cool breeze icing our cheeks we threaded ourselves through the quiet streets of Katoomba - two Michaels heading for the "Three Peaks"......Mts. Cloudmaker, Paralyser and Guouogang.
It was late and there was a lot of walking to do that Friday night. The Narrow Neck road was soon behind us and with torches we searched out Tarro's ladders. The rusty relics were not easy to find. Slowly backing down the warm dry spikes we noticed the rock face to be covered with hairy grubs. Our feet touched the ground and snapped us from their fascination.
The moon by now had vanished leaving us in that huge, dark wilderness: but Medlow Gap and White Dog hold no fears for the loaded boys who have trodden them so often. From here both of us ran all the way to Kelpie Point, packs bouncing, throats dry. With the grey mist of the Cox just visible hovering above the water, sleeping bags were out and before two shooting stars were counted, sleep engulfed us and our world.
The morning saw us nursing our first problem. The Cox was in flood and we had to cross it. Packs were wrapped up and our naked bodies swam the muddy torrent in an uncanny version of the sidestroke. Walking upstream we counted the four rivers to Marcotts Pass and the big climb began. Only a sandshoe on a stick saw us slave up that spur to Gentles Pass. The crisp cleanness of the early morning had now led to the sunny exposure of a mountain slope. The chunky rope in the slimy Pass was used with great joy with only a matter of miles to our first peak. With Ti Willa on our left we tried to follow the track only to get misplaced for all our pains. Mt. Cloudmaker was on the skyline, however there were a few river valleys and swamps en route that should not have been there. It was afternoon when we signed the Cloudmaker visitors book indicating that progress was too slow.
The sun was merciless and we pushed our way to Marooba Karoo. The incredibly scungy route down Thunder Butress left us floundering on the banks of Kanangra Creek all done in. We could not get up and down the next Peak before dark so we made camp. The situation was that we had three peaks to climb and we had only climbed one, and half our time was already up. It may have been something in the water from the creek or the oats for breakfast that made us glide up Mt. Paralyser and down the other side effortlessly. Our morale was boosted to an all time high as the possibility of actually finishing the walk seemed possible.
The Kanangra River area was a fascinating place. The mighty river roared down the narrow gorge over waterfall and cascade. To the west lay the enormous Nooroo Buttress reaching up over 3,000' with every foot of it seeming as jagged as a shark's jaw. The track on the Buttress was reasonable and as we gazed upon the green-blue mountainside torn with waterfalls and scree slopes we managed to kill the heat with saturated moss doused on the facials.
Mt. Guouogang (4,232') was conquered, the last of the three peaks. Perched on top of the cairn we drank the rainwater from the plastic bucket and admired the view. We did not have a watch but calculated the time to be midday. Before leaving we made our entry in the soggy visitors book. Guouogang Buttress led us to Kanangaroo Clearing where we again swam the watery Cox and climbed the Yellow Pup. It was pitch dark by the time we reached Mt. Dingo. Being somewhat short of batteries we used a candle with a screw-top-lid-reflector until the moon heard our thoughts for succour. Going astray a few times, Tarro's ladders was reached and the long walk to Katoomba began. Stops became more frequent as the pains of fatigue, thirst and hunger demanded relief.
Walking through the backstreets of Katoomba we calculated that it must be about 10.00pm but to our surprise it was 2 am Monday morning.
Lying prostrate on the station that cold quiet morning we pondered over the walk. Were we true victors, or merely survivors? Certainly the sixty mile walk was spiced with 12,000' of climbing through some of the most beautiful country in the world.
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