Three Peaks

19-20 Oct 2002


All content copyright © Ashley Burke 2008. Not to be used for any purpose without permission.


Trip Report

TRIP: Three Peaks, 19-20 Oct 2002


Andrew Mitchell
Luke Binsted
Ashley Burke


We managed an early departure from Sydney on Friday evening and despite heavy traffic were in Katoomba soon after 6pm. After bolting down a quick meal on Katoomba Street we struck out along the Narrow Neck for our Three Peaks attempt. A long 5 and a half hours of nighttime walking through the Wild Dogs lay ahead. A hot dry wind blew out of the north west and it was thirsty walking. But we made good time and enjoyed the company of hundreds of black and gold cicadas that fluttered around us between the Narrow Neck and Medlow Gap. It was 12:45am when we finally stretched out our sleeping bags on the bank of the Coxs river for a few hours welcome sleep.

We rose before first light and headed straight up Strongleg ridge. The day ahead presented very adverse conditions for 3 peaks walking with very low humidity and the continuing hot, dry wind, which sapped all moisture from our bodies. The need to carry lots of water had to be weighed up against the need to have light packs. Being 3 peaks trip, the need for light packs won out. So water became a much prized commodity even though Luke decided to tip out his remaining supply on the top of Cloudmaker. After a short rest on top of Cloudmaker to sign the book we headed down to Kanangra Creek to the welcome sight of clear flowing pools of precious water. Luke arrived at Kanangra Creek a little after Andrew and I, and a few hundred metres upstream.

So Andrew and I headed up Paralyser after a short rehydration stop, assuming correctly that Luke would do the same. Andrew powered ahead and by the time I got to the summit, Andrew was already about to head off for Guouogang after only a 15 minute breather. I had a 40 minute rest on Paralyser while I had lunch and waited for Luke. Leaving a note in the logbook for Luke who had not yet arrived I headed down into the yawning 1000m trench of Whalania gorge. It was midday and Andrew was half an hour ahead and Luke half an hour behind.

Nooroo Ridge was as spectacular as ever, a true highlight of the 3 peaks, complete with its rocky outcrops, precipitous flanks and superb views back to Paralyser and into Davies Canyon. At the top I met Andrew who was unsure of the way through the scrub to the cairn, so we pushed through the last patch of scrub together and signed the Guouogang logbook at 4pm.

Meanwhile, Luke had arrived at Paralyser half an hour after I left. He then took a route into Whalania creek via the dense thickets of Lawyer vine surrounding Paralyser Pit. According to his account he spent some hours thrashing through this terrible vegetation before finally arriving in Whalania Creek at Paralyser pit, his arms and legs in shreds and his 3 peaks attempt in tatters. It was now too late to attempt Guouogang so he camped near the junction of Whalania and Kanangra Creeks, and walked back to Katoomba via Yellow Pup Ridge the next day.

Andrew and I continued while light held on Saturday, climbing down off Guouogang over Mt Bullagowar and down the ridge towards the Coxs River. On a flat section of ridge we gladly and wearily made our frugal camp. We were up again at first light on Sunday and completed the descent to the Coxs, and onwards up Yellow Dog Ridge to Katoomba. At 12:30pm on Sunday we arrived at the Water Board Ladders car park to claim a successful 3 peaks attempt, recording a time of 41 hours 15 minutes. Luke arrived at the same place about 2 hours after us with 2 out of the 3 peaks in the bag.

A great 3 peaks challenge through the fantastic country of the southern blue mountains.

Ashley Burke


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All content copyright © Ashley Burke 2008. Not to be used for any purpose without permission.