2015 Budawangs - Monolith Valley

summary: Test out the old legs with a full pack up to Monolith Valley
date: 20-22 March 2015
distance: 17kms
views: 3170


In preparation for a trip later in the year, I have been adding lots of additional training to my normal activities. This was the first of my real hiking activities for some time.


I was also carrying a lot more gear on this trip than usual, as I was testing some new equipment, so my pack was heavy - 20kg or there abouts.

I set off nice and early from home, and got to the trail head around 9:30am and Long Gully car park. After some quick preparation work I was on my way. The weather at the moment looked really good, mostly clear skies and cool temperatures. Of course I forgot about the river crossing that was required just a few minutes down the trail, so it was off with the shoes pretty quickly!

Once over the river, I set off through the lower rain forest section. I was making good time through this section, until the track started to turn up Kalianna Ridge. The breath was taken out of me really quickly! It wasnt so much the steepness, but the lack of flatness that kills you on this climb. The track never lets you rest.

Anyway, things got worse about half way up the track when there were several large claps of thunder around the valley. I stopped here for a packs off and survey the area. There was certainly rain on its way, and within the next five minutes it hit pretty hard. I had pulled out the wet weather gear, but even that didnt really help, especially when I started walking again. Because you are constantly brushing up against the undergrowth, the water penertrates pretty much everything.

I did keep going though, despite getting cold, and getting the leg shakes. I eventually made it to the saddle of Meakins Pass by around 2:00pm for a very late lunch - yes its a very long walk!

I did some soul searching here and decided I would continue on and try and find the track I was after to get me up onto Mount Cole. I got as far as the entrance to Nibelung Pass before I decided enough was enough. I turned around and headed back to a nice camping cave a few hundred meters from the saddle.

I pitched my tent on a nice flat section, changed out of my wet clothes and settled in for an afternoon watching the rain and listening to cricket on the radio (world cup) :)


I woke the next day to a clearing sky, which meant I should be able to get out and see a few sites around the valley. I left most of my gear at the campsite and pushed on with just a day pack load on towards the Monolith Valley. As always when walking through the Budawangs, I took a wrong track getting down into the valley, keeping left and down into the bog rather than right and on higher dry ground. I did eventually find the bridge at the bottom of the valley though, and then continue on past the arch and on to the Green Room.

It was at the top of the Green Room that I looked back towards where I had come and notice the big black clouds once again building behind me. So I made another big decision to turn back to camp for a dry afternoon again. On my way, I did stop to check out the track up Mount Cole which starts just down river from the bridge, it is signposted - but I'm sure it gets harder to find once you pass the initial climb.


So on my final day, I woke again to grey skies and misty rain. Fortunately most of my day was going to be a down hill walk, which will be much easier than the first day. However, with everything wet, and the rain settling in, I was once again expecting a cold and wet day of hiking. At least the views were spectacular - when the clouds broke - of the valley bellow with clouds milling around.

I reached the bottom of the valley and walk straight through the river without bothering with the boots - they were soaked through anyway! And eventually reached the car park and security of my car with its towels, blankets and dry clothes :)

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