Pantoneys Crown Walk 3-4 August 2013

There was a significant birthday to celebrate. Pantoneys Crown is hard to beat for a venue.

PCW 6

A group of us (Chantal, Mitch, Peter, Myles and Jane) set off from the hill above Baal Bone Gap on Saturday morning. Down a very steep hill – watching some 4WD antics on the way – then out to the Gap and the pressure reducing station. Our latish start mean it was better to walk the fast route to the Crown on the Saturday, and return via the longer but more scenic Baal Bone Point route on the Sunday.

PCW 17

From Baal Bone Gap it is a steep descent along the road that follows the water pipeline. We found a nice sunny and grassy spot for lunch at the bottom of the hill, then a little bit more road walking before we could turn off – at first for a few hundred metres up a small side creek then up an open ridge that led to the Crown.

PCW 1 PCW 3 PCW 2

Close to the Crown, the ridge became a lot steeper. But it was still easy going right up to the cliffs that flank Pantoneys Crown. Not far around on the western side lies our pass. It is a steep scramble up through the cliffs to the top of the Crown.

PCW 4 PCW 5

Then, we found ourselves in a wonderland. The top of Pantoneys Crown is an amazing place. It is a long thin plateau – more like a mesa. From anywhere on the top – there are great views in all directions. There are many possible campsites. We chose one near the south end.

PCW 7 PCW 9 PCW 8

After setting up camp – we wandered around taking in the views and taking photos. For me there were a lot of photos to take. It was sunny, but a quite cold day with a brisk breeze coming from the south. It was right on the golden hour – where the sun is low providing a soft light on the delicate and intricate rock formations.

PCW 10 PCW 12 PCW 11

Competing with the photo opportunities, was the offer of crackers, cheese and wine while watching the sun set. A difficult choice….. but there was a birthday to celebrate.

When the sun did set, we all retired to a cosy seat by the fire and continued with our birthday celebrations. Not long after dark – Albert and Penny joined us.

PCW 13

It was an clear and starry night, helped by a new moon.

PCW 14

I was hoping that the clear conditions would continue in the morning – as there was an alignment of three planets and the moon to try and photograph just before dawn. But when my alarm went off – it was quite cloudy. I dozed off for a little more sleep – easy to do when it is cold outside. But I did eventually get up before the sun did and walk the short distance to see what dawn would bring.

PCW 15 PCW 16

The actual sunrise was pretty ordinary – not surprising give the cloud cover. But a few rays of sunlight did emerge in the east. I was about to pack up my photographic gear when a good light show started. It was another golden hour – with golden rays of the sun merged from the clouds and penetrated to the bottom of the Capertee Valley.

PCW 18 PCW 21 PCW 20 PCW 19

When the sun rose high and the light show faded, I headed back to camp – to find most of the party still in their tents. They had missed the spectacle.

But once a roaring fire was going, only an hour or so later, the others got up and we enjoyed our breakfasts.

PCW 22 PCW 23

Then is was back to the pass, and down through the cliffs, across the saddle and then up to Baal Bone Point. Then is was fast, easy walking back to Baal Bone Gap with a lunch stop and a few photos stops on the way. The last part of the walk was back up the steep hill to the cars.

PCW 24 PCW 25

This is magnificent country to spend a few days in. Thanks to Chantal for organising the walk.

PCW 26 PCW 27

More photos are on my website here.

PCW 28 PCW 29

 

This entry was posted in Blue Mountains, Bushwalking, Gardens of Stone, Wilderness Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Pantoneys Crown Walk 3-4 August 2013

  1. Edward says:

    Awesome pictures. Love the Capertee Valley.

  2. Ruth Maltby says:

    Your photos are glorious. I idly googled Pantoney’s Crown this am when I meant to be looking up the weather in Lithgow where we are heading this afternoon and I found your blog. My 68 yr old husband is walking up PC tomorrow with his walking mates – and I was enchanted. I will come back to your blog again and look at your other wonderful photos. Have you published any?, or any books? Happy walking.
    Ruth Maltby

    • Dave Noble says:

      Thank you Ruth for your comments. From time to time I have had photos published – mainly in magazines.

      Dave

  3. Nicole says:

    Hi David, just wondering if a map is needed at all to climb Pantoneys Crown? My understanding is that you can drive to Baal Bone Gap in a 4WD and then it is a self-guided walk to the Crown? I’m a bit worried!

    Kindly,
    Nicole

    • Dave Noble says:

      Well it is self guided – but you do need to navigate and there are no tracks for most of the way. So you definitely need to take a map and compass, and know how to use them or a GPS with topographic maps. Also – there is some scrambling involved – climbing up and down the passes. You need to be confident in climbing on steep rock.

  4. Toby ford says:

    Hi Dave,
    Love the photos mate. Was just wondering. Can you drive all the way to the pressure reducing station or is the road a bit challenging. How far down moffits trail can you get before the road gets a bit sketchy?

    • Dave Noble says:

      Depends on which way you go. If going from the Newnes Road – it is 2WD just until the last steep downhill section – about 3 km before Baal Bone Gap. This bit is very steep – 4WD, not Subaru. It is easier to drive from Ben Bullen – but still needs a 4WD – perhaps OK in a Subaru.

      • Toby Ford says:

        Thanks for the speedy reply. Am heading out to pantoneys over the weekend. Am planning on going down the crown creek trail and coming back via Baal bone point. Will give it a go in the 4wd. Are there spots to camp along moffits trail if I can’t make it all the way to the gap?

        • Dave Noble says:

          There are lots of campsites close to where the fire trails meet up – but they are often popular with 4WD’s and trail bike riders. But there should be plenty of places where you can pull over and camp.

  5. chriskoz says:

    There appears to be a road from Cullen Bullen through Ball Bone Mine, sealed for first 2km, then a 5km of wheel track straight into the Gap, looking even quite flat. On the map, this seems the shortest & easiest access to the start of the walk. Why no one is talking about it? Is it because the road to the mine might be private and not publicly available, even by the arrangement with the mine owner?
    Maybe, alternatively it’s possible to cycle there on a mountain bike and “walk around” the mine? The track, looking so flat on the map should be a viable alternative access with under 10k of cycling. I guess about as easy if not easier than 3km of rough walk from the top of the hill. And no car is required! You can take a bus to Cullen Bullen.

  6. Freeman says:

    Hi Dave,

    My friends and I would like to spend one day in Gardens of Stone national park and explore a bit. We will park at Baal Bone Gap, but I’m not sure which side has better views – Point Cameron, or Baal Bone Point? We probably have 6-7 hours for the walk. Do you have any recommendation?

    Regards,
    Freeman

    • Dave Noble says:

      Note – that to drive to Baal Bone Gap is 4WD only. Both sides have very good views. But in only a short time – I would favour walking out to McLeans Gap and beyond that to the East – along a faint track – that leaves the road to Cape Horn.

  7. David McKinley says:

    Hi David
    I heading up the Crown for the first time on the Mothers day weekend with a few hikers including Mums, We were wondering if you had any co ordinates for that rock formation known as “The Boot”? We believe it’s not far up the ridge from Baal Bone Gap? Any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Regards
    David “Macca” McKinley

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *