Lunch on the Trojan Wall above the Orroral Valley
Tuesday 11 July: Orroral Ridge of Stone Loop – M/R,ptX. From the Orroral Tracking Station car park (sealed road all the way to there), over the Orroral River bridge via the minitrack site and along the Link Track a bit. When it looks right, a steep 470 vertical m climb up through The Cloisters to The Belfry (locations originally named in the ANUMC rock climbing book ACT Granite). Wander along the Ridge of Stone (named by Graeme Barrow) footpad through the cave at Legoland and on to the Trojan Wall. Geocache GCJ163 Lego Land will beckon. Plunge down the side of the ridge to opposite New Fishloch Yards, then down along the true left side of the Orroral River. Visit the indigenous rock shelter near the bridge and so home. Around 12km and 550m climb and descent, very steep. Maps: Corin Dam and Rendezvous Creek. Leader: John Evans 0417 436 877 email@example.com . Transport: ∼$10 per person. Book by Sunday evening.
Last came down through The Cloisters 12 Jul 06 with Max and others, and 15 Sep 09 with Eric and others (have the picture of the same rope). Looked for GCJ163 Lego Land before on 24 May 14, but couldn’t find the ‘safe approach’.
Distance: 12.8km | Climb: 660m | Time: 8.20am – 3.10pm (6hrs 50mins), including 30 mins of breaks | Grading: M/R; H(12)
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A pretty cold and frosty morning as we left the car park. The flanks of the SE end of the Orroral Ridge of Stone were in shadow and even the tops of the trees were frosty! We walked through the bits and pieces of the Tracking Station site to the north, then around and over the bridge.
At the first opportunity (to save Linda’s feet on the fire trail), we turned left into the bush. For several reasons (including my left knee), it was a slow ascent to the crest of the Ridge. Slow going at first due to the close regrowth, then slow because of the steep climb. We reached the track map-marked ‘Tor’ at 10am, having climbed 325 vertical metres and 1.1km across the ground in 1hr 20mins. This was the beginning of an area of fabulous granite tors, including the ‘Tall Cave’ formation. Up from here we came to the bottom of the rope that assists the climb up a granite slab and then left through a crack. Happy to find this – Eric and I had used it coming down on 15 Sep 09 and the photo from then indicates that it’s exactly the same ropes, tied with the same knots. Pity I haven’t remained in the same good nick over the last 8 years. On up through the top of the rope, we followed pads which match up with the schematic for The Cloisters in ACT Granite, the ANUMC’s book on the climbing areas here (and other ACT locations).
Can anyone help me with the location of The Cloisters area? I may have my previous best guess, marked on the track map as ‘The Cloisters?’, wrongly positioned.
We spotted a couple of cairns just below the crest of the ridge. And we were still climbing for the sunlight to hit us. It was a good temperature for the ascent, but we needed the sun for morning tea. Finally found it.
A few metres of tight regrowth near the crest, then onto the crest footpad. We passed the beginning of a cairned and obvious footpad heading down to the SW. I must come back to see where this goes – is it the correct route to The Cloisters?
We were soon at The Belfry and had a poke about.
The Ridge of Stone footpad is now well defined and I don’t think I lost it in the 1.1km in 25mins from The Belfry to the Orroral Ridge car park. 4 or 5 cars there.
With hardly a pause, we continued along the footpad to the NW for 300m to the open granite slab and backing boulders. Now, I’m generally a mild mannered person and quite like white fellas’ ‘rock art’ (tall piles of rocks) in such places as the northern Canberra Centenary Trail. It’s great spontaneous public art. But here were two new rock piles in a location that is a recognised indigenous site. I thought them inappropriate, so another and I pulled them down. Sorry to whoever built them.
Next stop was the Legoland cave. On the track near it we met Graham S and other grandparents with their grandchildren. What a wonderful way to pass on a love of the bush!
We wandered down to the cave, had a poke about (that great chock-stone gives me a thrill each time I see it), exited via the back crawl and ran up the granite slab to the balcony. Huge views over the Orroral Valley and on up the Ridge of Stone. Snow on Bimberi Peak. Through the second crawl and so back to the track.
A further 800m NW along the crest footpad, we came to the back and top of the Trojan Wall complex, according to my reading of the climbing sites named in ACT Granite. Near here was a further goal for the day, geocache GCJ163 Lego Land. So the cache name is a little geographically off – it’s in the climbing book’s Trojan Wall marked cave.
With plenty of warnings on the geocaching site about non-safe ways to the cache and finding the safe-way, I did some looking whilst the others lunched on the granite top of the Trojan Wall. Investigation to the SE (the direction we’d come in from) revealed nothing but granite with plenty of air.
But a way was found, down and around under the munching party and the tall crack/cave as in the spoiler photo came into view via the ‘safe way’. GCJ163 Lego Land duly found and logged. Was I supposed to dress up? It’s pretty hard to take a selfie with a GPSr, especially one that doesn’t reveal my identity. Small children would be very frightened (by the photo, not the safe way)!
Back up the top I grabbed 10mins of lunch, then we were away.
As it turned out, the beginning of the route to the cache also revealed the top of our exit from the crest down to the valley. Quite surprisingly, there was very little rock scrambling and a relatively easy route down through not too bad vegetation and via what seemed like interconnected animal pads. 1.3km descent in 55mins, dropping 400m.
A pleasant stroll back down the grasslands and open woodlands beside the Orroral River. 3km in 50mins to the big boulder.
The apple tree, most out of place, seems to have been poisoned – at least it’s dead. We had a great explore in the cracks, several of the party squeezing through the crack perpendicular to the main one.
And so back to the cars. A short shower as we drove out.
Walkers seemed to appreciate the trip. A decent climb, then flat, then a plunge. The profile pic shows that well. Huge granite tors and views. Must go back to see where that footpad leads.
8 walkers – Cynthia C, Dave D, Eric G, Linda G, John J, Ricky S, Ian W, me.
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