Sunday, March 1, 2015

Mt Mouin & Blackhorse Mtn, NSW, Australia


2015 February: One day climb to Mt Mouin & Blackhorse Mountain in Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Prolog

For reasons even I don't understand, despite living in Sydney, I have climbed more mountains outside NSW than within.  And similarly climbed more mountains outside the greater-Sydney area than within ... perhaps the grass is greener on the other side of the fence syndrome   :-)

Anyway, I'm making amends today ... go on a SBW (Sydney Bush Walkers Club) hike to Mt Mouin & Blackhorse Mountain in the Blue Mts.

Mt Mouin & Blackhorse Mountain

Mt Mouin is located in the Wild Dog Mountains of the Blue Mountains National Park.  It has 2 peaks:
•  Eastern peak is 945 meters
•  Western peak is 930 meters

Nearby is Blackhorse Mountain, 865 meters.

Mt Mouin eastern peak has the best panoramic view over this part of the Blue Mountains.

5 Wild Dog Mountains

By the way, a year later, in 2016-02, I climbed the 5 Wild Dog Mountains (Mt Mouin, Blackhorse Mtn, Mt Warrigal, Mt Merrimerrigal & Mt Dingo) all in a day. Photos and a write up on the trip are in my blog: http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/5-wild-dog-mts-blue-mts-nsw-australia.html

Maps

•  1:100,000  Katoomba 8930
•  1:50,000  Blue Mountains South by Spatial Visions Innovation, 1st edition
•  1:25,000  Jenolan 8930-3N

GPS files & Route

The GPX file of our walk can be download from:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSV3RVY09OMUJaWnc/view?usp=sharing

In summary (refer to Photo #5):
•  Start at Dunphys Camping Area (near Green Gully).
•  Head east to Bellbird Lookout Track junction.
•  Take Bellbird Lookout Track to Bellbird lookout.
•  Bushbash down Bellbird Ridge to Breakfast Creek.
•  Climb up Faithful Hound Ridge to Mt Mouin summit.
•  Travers ridge top to Blackhorse Mountain summit.
•  Climb down to Blackhorse Gap.
•  Traverse to the top of Cattle Dog Ridge.
•  Climb down Cattle Dog Ridge to Breakfast Creek.
•  Climb up a spur on west side of Carlon Creek to Ironpot Ridge.
•  Walk on Ironpot Ridge Track back to Dunphys Camping Area.

The KML file to reach the Dunphys Camping Area from Bleakheath is in:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSd3M4bzIzTVg0dDA/view?usp=sharing

Timeline & Distance

09:20   0.0 km  Start at Dunphys Camping Area
09:49   2.1 km  at Bellbird lookout

09:56   2.1 km  Leave Bellbird lookout
10:29   3.4 km  at Breakfast Creek
10:33   3.5 km  at junction of Breakfast Creek and Nortons Gully
10:53   4.3 km  Stop at junction of Breakfast Creek & Faithful Hound Ridge

Fill waterbottles

11:06   4.4 km  Start climbing up Faithful Hound Ridge
11:54   5.0 km  at a lookout on top of a cliff on Faithful Hound Ridge

Morning Tea

12:23   5.1 km  Leave top of a cliff on Faithful Hound Ridge
13:47   7.9 km  at Mt Mouin eastern peak summit

Lunch

14:35   8.1 km  Leave Mt Mouin eastern peak summit
14:42   8.4 km  at Mt Mouin western peak summit
14:55   8.9 km  at Blackhorse Mountain summit
15:05   9.1 km  at Blackhorse Gap
15:49  11.9 km  at top of Cattle Dog Ridge
16:15  13.4 km  at a lookout on top of a cliff on Cattle Dog Ridge

16:22  13.4 km  Leave top of a cliff on Cattle Dog Ridge
17:08  15.2 km  at Breakfast Creek
17:15  15.6 km  Stop at a spot on Breakfast Creek just pass the junction of Black Horse Creek

Fill waterbottles

17:34  15.7 km  Start walking up stream of Breakfast Creek
17:42  16.0 km  Start climbing up a spur on west side of Carlon Creek
18:54  17.7 km  at Ironpot Ridge Track

Inadvertently go on the wrong direction

19:26  19.0 km  back at same spot where we first reached the Ironpot Ridge Track at 18:54
20:00  21.2 km  Finish at Dunphys Camping Area

==============================================

Total:  10 hr 40 min
            21.2 km  Distance is from Google Earth
            23.8 km  From my Garmin GPS

Ascent/Decent: 1983 meters - from my Garmin GPS

Pictures

1)  We start walking from here at Dunphys Camping Area (near Green Gully) and head east, uphill, towards Bellbird Lookout Track.



2)  13 minutes and 0.75 km later, we are at the start of Bellbird Lookout Track.


3)  Typical trail on the way to Bellbird lookout



4)  Bellbird lookout has a splendid 270 degree panoramic view.  This photo is towards the north-west.  The horizontal ridge in the foreground is Ironpot Ridge.  The red arrow on the right side of the photo points to Dunphys Camping Area where we started walking 30 minutes ago.



5)  Towards the south is the below photo of where we'll be climbing for the rest of the day.
Red arrows, from left to right, point to:
- 945 meters  Mt Mouin eastern peak
- 930 meters  Mt Mouin western peak
- 865 meters  Blackhorse Mountain
- 970 meters  Mt Warrigal - not today.
- 905 meters  Mt Merrimerrigal - not today
- 935 meters  Mt Dingo - not today

Blue lines:
- We'll go down the Bellbird Ridge (blue line on the right), then a steep drop down to Breakfast Creek.
- Then go up Faithful Hound Ridge (blue line on the left) towards Mt Mouin.

Return Trip:
- From Mt Mouin, follow ridge top to Blackhorse Mountain.
- Climb down to the base of Mt Warrigal.
- Traverse along base of Mt Warrigal towards top of Cattle Dog Ridge.

Yellow lines:
- Walk down Cattle Dog Ridge (top yellow line) to Breakfast Creek.
- Then climb up a spur (bottom yellow line) towards Ironpot Ridge.

(In between Faithful Hound Ridge and Cattle Dog Ridge is Black Horse Ridge.)

By the way, I'll climb Mt Warrigal a few weeks later. Photos and a write up of the climb is in my blog http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/warrigal-nsw-australia.html

And a year later, in 2016-02, I'll climb the 5 Wild Dog Mountains (Mt Mouin, Blackhorse Mtn, Mt Warrigal, Mt Merrimerrigal & Mt Dingo) all in a day. Photos and a write up on the trip are in my blog: http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/5-wild-dog-mts-blue-mts-nsw-australia.html


6)  In the previous photo, the blue & yellow lines mask out the ridges. In this un-annotated photo, you can see the ridge lines better.



7)  Pernille climbing down Blellbird lookout ~~~
It is steep ... a foretaste of many more steep cliffs we'll encounter for the rest of the day.


8)  Huw leading the descent down Bellbird Ridge towards Breakfast Creek


It is a long and steep descent.  During the descent, I hurt a big toe nail.

Brings back memories of 4 months ago when a group of us explore roughly the same area ... start at Dunphys Camping Area, along Ironpot Ridge to Ironpot Mtn, Tinpot Mtn, Goolara Peak, Coxs River.  On the way back, halfway up Goolara Gully, a guy ran out of energy and couldn't walk.  We had to spend an unprepared night in the mountain - cold and unpleasant!

Will the toe nail hurt so much that we may need to spend a night in the mountain?

Luckily I had a pair of walking sticks.  I find that the pain can be alleviated by putting more of my weight on the walking sticks and still walk effectively ... phew, what a relief !!!


9)  At a point along Breakfast Creek where Faithful Hound Ridge starts.



10)  A moss-covered fallen tree trunk



11)  The water in Breakfast Creek looks brownish; but it is clean and unpolluted.  We fill up our water bottles here.



12)  Orange mushroom ~~~ If you know its name, please let me know.



After a rest, we leave Breakfast Creak and climb up Faithful Hound Ridge.


13)  These 2 photos are taken on Faithful Hound Ridge, not too far up from Breakfast Creek. You can see we are approaching a cliff.



14)  At the same spot as the previous photo and looking back at where we climbed up Faithful Hound Ridge.



15)  This is the cliff mentioned in Photo #13.  We'll climb up the gap between the 2 peaks ... see next photo.



16)  Climbing up the gap mentioned in the previous photo.


17)  We made it to the top of the cliff which is not too far up from Breakfast Creek.
There is nice a panoramic view:
- The red arrow points to Bellbird lookout.
- The long blue line is Bellbird Ridge where we walked down towards Breakfast Creek earlier on.
- The yellow line is a spur on the west side of Carlon Creek. We'll climb up the spur in the late afternoon to Ironpot Ridge (which is the horizontal ridge line between the yellow arrow and the red arrow.)


The end of Faithful Hound Ridge is the base of Mt Mouin which we proceed to climb.


18)  Here, the Mt Mouin eastern peak summit is in sight.



19)  Arrive at the summit of eastern peak of Mt Mouin, 945 m ~~~
I can't find a cairn at the top. Instead, there is a healthy stand of grass trees.



20)  And there is this fantastic panoramic scene ... well worth all the effort to climb up here.
- The left arrow points to Lake Burragorang.
- The right arrow points to Mt Warrigal.
(Click on photo to enlarge it.)



21)  Group photo at Mt Mouin eastern peak summit:
Left to right: Kelly, Pernille, me, Huw


We have lunch at the summit, then it is time to leave ... walk along the ridge top towards the western peak of Mt Mouin and Blackhorse Mountain.


22)  Now at the summit of western peak of Mt Mouin, 930 m, looking at Mt Warrigal 970 m ~~~
We won't be climbing Mt Warrigal today. I'll climb it a few weeks later. Photos and a write up of that climb is in my blog http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/warrigal-nsw-australia.html



23)  Somewhere between western peak of Mt Mouin and Blackhorse Mountain is this interesting rock formation.



24)  At the summit of Blackhorse Mountain, 865 m, is this scene towards the long flat table top mountain range called Narrow Neck. On the right of the photo, behind a bunch of trees, is Mt Mouin where we just came from.



25)  Also from the summit of Blackhorse Mountain, towards the west and behind the trees, is Mt Warrigal.


As it is getting late and we are still a long way from our car, we didn't dawdle at Blackhorse Mountain. We climb down to the saddle between Blackhorse Mountain and Mt Warrigal, then traverse along the northern base of Mt Warrigal, then climb down Cattle Dog Ridge.


26) Halfway down Cattle Dog Ridge is a cliff top with another splendid panoramic view (Click on photo to enlarge it):
- The long flat table top mountain range on the right is Narrow Neck.
- The long blue line is Cattle Dog Ridge ... we'll walk on it down to Breakfast Creek.
- Of the 2 red arrows, the left red arrow points to the spur where we'll climb up later on towards Ironpot Ridge.
- The right red arrow points to Bellbird lookout. This morning we climbed down the Belllbird Ridge to Breakfast Creek.
- The large valley on the left side of the pic is where the Coxs River flows.
- The imposing mountain range, between the Coxs River and the red arrows, comprises of several peaks: Goolara Peak, Tinpot Mountain, Ironmonger Hill, Ironpot Mountain.



27)  At the same cliff top, towards the south-east ~~~
From left to right, the arrows point to:
- Mt Mouin, eastern peak
- Mt Mouin, western peak
- Blackhorse Mountain
- Mt Warrigal



28)  We just climbed down the cliff from whose top the previous 2 photos were taken (Photo #26 & #27).



29)  We've climbed down Cattle Dog Ridge and is now at Breakfast Creek. We have a rest here and fill up our waterbottles - today is a rather hot day, by now we've drunk most of our water. From here to the Ironpot Ridge will be a tired 400 meters in elevation.

We walk up stream a little bit to the spur west of Carlon Creek.


30)  Here, we leave Breakfast Creek and start the climb ... not looking forward to the vertical 400 meters to climb up to Ironpot Ridge !



31)  What looks like a hill top in front is only half way up towards Ironpot Ridge ... gives you an idea of the steep climb we are facing ... when we all have tired legs already !



32)  Almost at the end of our walk ~~~ we are passing Galong Farm; a horse comes to greet us   :-)   Time now is 7:45pm.  You really have to admire at the perfect timing by our leader Huw, because by the time we reach our car, it will be 8pm ... just at the moment of becoming pitch dark as the sun has already set at 7:32pm.


Despite a hot tired day, a hurt toe nail, it is a rewarding day ... we successfully climbed Mt Mouin & Blackhorse Mountain !

Thanks to Huw for leading.  And thanks to Kelly and Pernille for your company.

Post Script

I climbed Mt Warrigal a few weeks later. Photos and trip report is in my blog http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/warrigal-nsw-australia.html

And a year later, in 2016-02, I climbed the 5 Wild Dog Mountains (Mt Mouin, Blackhorse Mtn, Mt Warrigal, Mt Merrimerrigal & Mt Dingo) all in a day. Photos and trip report are in my blog: http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/5-wild-dog-mts-blue-mts-nsw-australia.html

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