I headed up the mountains with Bob. He was keen to visit Orang Utan Pass. This is a pass of historic interest. It goes down into the Grose Valley at Surveyors Creek and near Clarke Head. It was used by Tim Wallace around 1928, when he set up a flying fox into the valley to extract timber. After he found the way down, he then set up a ladder down the waterfall in Surveyors Gully -a more direct route. The pass was also used by early bushwalkers – Wally Roots, Harold Chardon and Tom Herbert in 1932.
We parked at the Hat Hill carpark on the road to Perrys Lookdown (Hat Hill Rd). Instead of walking up the track to Hat Hill, we turned the opposite direction to look for a track that goes out to near Clark Head. This track soon passes a historic site – the ruins of an old hermits hut which is quite interesting. The hermit lived in the stone hut well into his 80’s back in the 1920’s.
Soon after the hut ruins, the track joins a fire road and heads towards the cliffs. Part way out, you take a sharp turn onto another trail, and walk past a large hanging swamp and arrive at a great lookout.
Not far past the lookout – we started descending through steep thick scrub into the head of Surveyors Gully. Eventually we reached open rainforest.
But not for long. We had arrived at the cliff line. Here, we followed a narrow ledge to the left. A short way along, to continue on the ledge, you need to negotiate a narrow, very exposed section for a few metres before the ledge widens again. We set up a rope to safeguard this section, but it was of little help as you had to traverse back along the ledge to pull it down.
Once past this dangerous section, we arrived in a nice cave. Here in a small glass jar we found a logbook placed by Sutherland Bushwalkers back in 1990. It didn’t have many entries in it – perhaps one party per year?
Not far past the cave, following the ledge, we arrived at the head of gully. We were not sure if we should try and climb down it or try and continue along the ledge. The gully looked possible, so down we scrambled. Steep, but easy – with lots of bushes to hold onto to. Lower down, things got steeper. We found a way down by climbing through a hole under a large boulder, and then a short tricky move, with rope assist, down to a lower level. From there it was easy to the bottom.
But at the bottom – it was scrubby – with lawyer vine amongst other delights. We traversed around back to the base of the point (Clarke Head), and then down a vague ridge to reach the track from Junction Rock to Blue Gum Forest.
We then walked to Blue Gum Forest for lunch. After lunch, we left our packs and walked in to the forest, before returning and climbing out via Docker Buttress to Perrys Lookdown. From there, it was a short walk back to the car at Hat Hill.
More photos from the walk are on my website here.
Here is Bob’s GPS trace of the walk (as far as Blue Gum Forest) –
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