A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, The N.S.W. Nurses' Association Rooms, “Northcote Building”, Reiby Place, Sydney. Box No. 4476 G.P.O. Sydney. Phone JW1462.
|Editor||Stuart Brooks, 5 Ingalara Rd, Wahroonga. 484343.|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Sales & Subs.||Lola Wedlock|
|Typed by||Shirley Dean|
|June Meeting||Alex Colley||3|
|The Hero in the Literature of Climbing and Exploration||Thornigah||5|
|Barrington & Gloucester Tops||Ern French||7|
|Map - Illustrating the Route to Carstensz||14|
|Report an 1961 Expedition to the Carstensz Mountains (Part III)||C.Putt||15|
|Letter to the Editor||Robert Duncan||18|
|Roy's Friendly Service Ad||13|
Winter is really with us now and amidst the chorus of groans, moans, coughs and sniffles the only happy voices are those of bushwalkers and skiers for this is their time.
However a glance at our programme for this month shows a lack of that diversity in walks which would be expected in a club of our size. There are even some blank spaces.
Bill Rodgers remarks at the May meeting were timely in drawing attention to the lack of entries on the walks programme and correctly, he took the attitude that in future, the committee could not be expected to pad up a half-full programme. Wilf is at present waving the next programme, still with plenty of holes in it, so now's your big chance.
By the way, if you want to go skiing and haven't booked in anywhere, you will be interested to know that there is a group of bushies who go up each year and camp below the snow line at Saw Pit Creek, and go up to the snow each day. A very cheap and pleasant way to get a week on the boards. See Bill Burke for more information if you're interested.
We present an article this month from Thornigah, “The Hero in the Literature of climbing and Exploration”, which puts forward a provocative point of view - the gradual sublimation of the individual to the highly organised large expedition. It is particularly appropriate as this month Col Putt gives his talk on his visit to the Carstenz Pyramid in West New Guinea (July 25). While the members of this expedition may not qualify with Thornigah as legendary heroes, (I would like to see Putto with a black beard) here at least was a highly individualistic effort. (My wife, who has been reading this over my shoulder, has just commented that she would like to see a little more highly individualistic effort round the house).
If you have read the instalments of Col's report in the last few mags, you'll get more out of Col's talk than pins and needles you know where. We even have a map this month. I know, I know, we should have had it with the first instalment, but what do you think this is, the “National Geographic”?
We also have this month an article from Ern French on the Easter trip to Gloucester Tops which you will find interesting reading. If you are planning a trip in this area, you will also get some useful information from it.
My heart's in the mountains
And my kidneys as well.
But remember my stomach
Wants a lining to dwell.
So pack Fats and Proteins
And things which will swell
That I may be happy
And that all will go well.
The steady erosion of club equipment was once again brought to our attention, on this occasion by a letter from the Business Manager, requesting £12.l0.0 for the repair of the typewriter, which, as he put it, was like some of the members, somewhat decrepit. As new typewriters cost over £100 and the sum requested would stave off the day of final disintegration, it was decided the expenditure was worthwhile.
A letter to the Department of Railways asking permission for a party to use the return portion of tickets to Heathcote for travel on the Campbelltown line was granted. As an earlier request of the same nature had been refused many believed that the practice of permitting return journeys on another line, after payment of any difference due to extra mileage, had been discontinued. However the Commercial Manager, Box 349 Haymarket, will now oblige, as before.
In a verbal report the Treasurer gave us a summary of our finances and ended with the observation that if the 120 members who had not yet paid came good, we could add the interest on another £200 to our funds.
The Social Secretary told us that the night at the Moscow State Variety Theatre had been very successful, 69 walkers and friends attending.
The Walks Secretary, reporting on walks in May, told us that Mick Elfick's Barallier trip had been attended by 6 members. The party had successfully negotiated Bindook Creek after climbing round several small falls and deep pools. The scenery round Bindook was first rate. Three members and 6 prospectives attended Lyn White's St. Helena walk. Flood damage in Western Creek was extensive. Bob Godfrey's field week-end on 12 and 13th was well attended (7 members and 10 prospectives) but the weather was very bad. Fortunately a local resident let them use an old shed, thus enabling lectures to be given. There were eight starters on Alan Round's Megalong Valley walk. The hardest part of the walk was finding the way through the grounds of the Medlow Bath Hotel to the start of the track. On Dot Butler's walk on 18th-20th four starters had descended Whalania Chasm. Ken Lewis had a swim in the bracing June waters, but didn't enjoy it. On the same week-end another attempt was made on the three Peaks trip. Toni Quietzch retired hurt with a sprained ankle, but Wilf completed the assignment “with minor injuries.” Four members went on Bill Ketas' Korrowall Buttress trip and David Ingram's day walk to Uloola Falls attracted his usual large following (14 members, 8 prospectives and 1 visitor). David reports the track from Engadine to be overgrown.
Both walks on the next week-end were cancelled, one due to lack of starters, and the other due to illness of the leader. On the last week end of the month Bob Godfrey's Lake Eckersley walk attracted 15 starters and Dick Child's walk in the Heathcote Reserve 19 starters.
The Walks Secretary told us that there were vacancies for 5 day walks on the next programme and reminded the meeting of Committee's decision to publish the programme on time, full or not. He also told us that maps of 1 in 25,000 scale would soon be available and that it was rumoured that all military maps would rise in price, perhaps to 10/- each.
In General Business Frank Barlow raised the question of a nameplate for the street entrance to the Club. He said that the small one we had didn't do justice to our premises, and suggested a brass plate which he would be prepared to supply and put up. Reference was made to a very decorative sign prepared by Taro but not used because of space limitations. Jack Gentle said he had in his care a brass plate some three feet long used at the Ingersoll Hall, but too large for Reiby Place. Geof Wagg declared that we were not a brass plate Club. A sign carved in redgum (dead of course) would be more appropriate. It was decided that we acquire a suitable nameplate, but details were left to the Committee.
Frank Ashdown suggested that it be made a rule that any day walk of 10 miles be accepted as a test walk, but as this would require constitutional revision, decided to defer the motion to the half-yearly meeting. He also drew attention to some who used the club facilities and went on walks without paying a penny into Club funds. The President undertook to speak to the offenders. The President also told us that Committee had decided that the 6 months period allowed for prospective membership would not be extended in future unless there was good reason for doing so.
It was announced the time had come for the posting of a list of the unfinancial on the Club Notice Board.
After the election of Jack Gentle, Grace Rigg, Bill Ketas and Bill Rodgers as room stewards, the meeting close at 9.17 p.m.
July 18. Alex Burton's colour slides of Norfolk Island.
July 25. Colin Putt's long-awaited slides of “West New Guinea.”
There is a very extensive literature on the subject of what is now known as “high adventure” and yet there are probably only a handful of books on the subject which I can remember reading, on a first reading, with breathless interest. Recently while reading a long evaluation on the work of the late Ernest Hemingway I met the phrase “grace under pressure” used to describe the stand taken by the Hemingway hero. Grace of course is one of those words with no precise meaning whether applied to ecclesiastics or explorers and yet in the literature there are certain heroes one recognises immediately as possessing this quality. In retrospect I feel it was this quality either in the prose or the hero which made the books memorable.
“The Memoirs of a Mountaineer” introduced me to the literature, possibly even to bushwalking. Spencer Chapman, Hugh Ruttledge, Smythe and Shipton mark an interval in the progress from Edward Whymper to Hilary and are the high tide in the heroic age of climbing. They mark the end of amateur climbing and the rapid ascent of “committee” climbing which removes some of the grace from the subsequent literature. The intervals are very converging containing less time but more, far more progress in the mechanics of exploration, sports, medicine and that usurper of literature, the colour film. Hugh Ruttledge carried the glow of the Hemingway canon although obviously affected by the first of the organised assaults. The fire was fanned by the exploits of Shipton and Tillman in which a reasonable amount of grace was needed to survive. Smythe wisely and successfully went over to the usurpers of heroism in literature by writing and illustrating some wonderful books in which there is an echo of climbing but no breath of pressure. A poor fate but graceful enough.
Possibly due to translation the German school with its unhealthy anthropomorphism of the mountains seemed to me to be neither heroic nor graceful. The cry of north faces, more and more difficult routes, the accounts of holding by frozen fingers speak eloquently of technique on the mountain. Translated to paper they invite mere comparison with other north faces, routes differing fractionally and other climbers with immense finger strength. A comparison of finger strength occupied one chapter in one forgettable book I read. One could possibly feed these books into a computer and receive an answer in terms of finger agony per height gained, subscripted for north or south faces.
Perhaps it was the black and white photography that was essential to the spirit of the early books. Snow and black rocks look so cruel, treacherous and alien, the sky is uniformly black from the brief exposure, the explorers beard's a piratical black, their eyes sunken and hollow. The decline in the literature started with colour photography. Blue skies, bright jackets, ginger beards are not the stuff of heroes under pressure. Colour photos of climbers appear to be just up the mountain from a fashionable ski resort; bare rocks take my interest from heroism to the less noble pursuit of geology. Even the horrors of Annapurna and the technical glory of Everest are muted by the propriety blue of the sky. The sight of a frost bitten, authenticated hero being carried in a large box by a Sherpa has something of the illustrations of a certain saint. Didn't Peter Freuchen cut off his on foot when frostbite and gangrene had shredded the tissue from his ankle.
Great tragedy, in the heroic sense, doesn't lead to or stem from disaster. Thus there is a distinction in the loss of Mallory and Irvine almost at the height of a climbers ambition and the death of Scneider, an excellent climber, in a sleeping bag. Mallory and Irvine are unalloyed tragedy, Hilary and Tensing the final committee stage swept from the mountain to the brilliant, hysterical colour film of a coronation; an accident in time to mar the greatness.
The distinction between tragedy and disaster is less subtly shown in the literature of Polar exploration and the descent from heroic stature more evident. The utter disaster of Franklin and the peculiarly patriotic disaster of Scott seem at this distance to be pointless and unnecessary. In each case their expeditions suffer by comparison, by the canon of tragedy mentioned and by similar expeditions; Franklin with Nansen and Scott with the arch villain Amundsen, the foreigner who by definition should not have won so easily.
For the comfort of English speaking people there are three journeys in the literature which are the apotheosis of all the heroes of climbing and exploration. They are “The Winter Journey” from “The Worst Journey in the World”, any account of Mawson walking, stumbling, falling and walking again as his two companions died, his main concern to die in a spot sufficiently visible for his diaries and results to be found; and for heart stopping thrills any account of Shackleton and the Endurance. There are no photographs of the Winter Journey and I can only recall photos of Mawson when he had become a kindly professor (professors in my experience being men and not heroes). Shackleton has been immortalised by Frank Hurley in the only medium fit for heroes, the early cumbersome black and white technique. From the moment he left his ship crushed in the ice until he walked into the whaling station on South Georgia nearly three years later he was literally under pressure every moment of every day. Hurley has caught the tremendous grace of the fellow in one tumbled tableau on the beach of Elephant Island.
The men lie, lounging exhausted on the black rocks, the mockery of a beach. They are dilapidated, dispirited, wondering if they are still alive.
Shackleton stands in the posture of a football coach I remember from schooldays. Telling them they have done well, they aren't beaten yet but in truth the worst is to come. He is going to sail to South Georgia in that boat that is not much more robust than a surf boat. Icebergs. We'll keep a sharp lookout. Waves. There's some dunnage to deck the thing aver. Winds. There are stones here on the beach for movable ballast. He will make the right, but dreadful landfall, walk over an unexplored mountain range, toboggan down the other side in fog, preferring uncertain risks to certain freezing. He will do all that and come back with help. He is standing bareheaded, he is smoking a cigarette!
I had no hesitation in joining a Barrington party, as I knew from past trips, that the area is one of great climatic variation, and that each trip is different from the last. A previous visit had given us a glorious sunset on Careys Peak, this time the view was dull and flat.
Barrington Trig last time had its head in clouds; this time a fine view of row and row of high hills away to a great distance. On former trips the going on the tops had been hard and dry, this time after 12“ of rain, every runnel was flush, the swamps were full, Rocky Crossing, Barrington and Gloucester Falls all splendid sights, whilst the Allyn, Williams and Chichester, were a delight.
Yes, Barrington's a place to go, and go again!
Leaving on Thursday night after an excellent tea from Molly, we journeyed via Putty and Singleton to stop for the night at Glendon Brook. Quite a fair spot at the north end of the bridge for two or three tents, poles and wood in short supply as the country is well cleared. A wash in the wide, but badly silted brook, breakfast in sunlight and we were away thru picturesque country over winding and in parts rough and rutted roads. Soon we were following up the Allyn River and so engrossed were we that only when we drove between the huts of the saw mill village at the head of the valley were we jolted into a more alert state of mind!
A glance at the military map showed that we had passed the turnoff which runs over the divide and into the village of Salisbury on the Williams River. And so to Barrington House. Bob and Audrey already there, had conversed with the owner and had permission to leave the cars in the grounds. Having heard a horrible tale about people driving cars from the House to Carey's Peaks I was very pleased to find the narrow and muddy track unchanged. After about half a mile, the party decided upon lunch, a time consuming operation in rain forest. However eventually on our way, with the sunlight splashing down thru the thick foliage. At a fork in the track, Bill and I investigated the steeply falling right hand - almost to the bottom before I recognised it as Rocky Crossing, a good lunch spot for parties descending from the tops. It was in great spate, a really fine sight. The day was fast running away as we reached a campsite, now called Lagoon Pinch at the foot of the steep rise. The fire trail from the Allyn side cuts into the old track here and continues to the tops. Several fine trees, formerly standing in this spot were down and cut up ready for the mill! Fire trails are of course for the prevention of fire.
A light shower fell during breakfast and overcast and more showers was the order as we climbed steadily, being passed by an old jeep which slugged its way to the top over a badly eroded and obstructed track. Lunch was taken on the site of O'Grady's Hut, now totally demolished, and some time spent in locating a hut called Selby Allyn of the Sydney Technical College walkers. This is a well kept hut which would be a haven in really bad weather. A small charge is requested of those using it. The log contains numerous references to snow conditions. The trail runs on past O'Grady's and around the higher ground, S and W of the swamp areas, and then, I believe, down Stewarts Ck, probably, via the old track. Offshoots run to Carey's, Barrington Trig and I suppose other points.
Having six days available gave rise to an easy day attitude, and Saturday night found us camped just off the trail to Gloucester Tops. Sunday was spent in a round trip to Carey's, Barrington Trig and Falls and then back thru Edwards Plains on the N end of which is another hut with well marked jeep track to it. A trout stocking scheme is I believe in operation here and we saw three fellows apparently fishing in the main watercourse. A herd of twenty or more cattle were grazing nearby. The late afternoon sun brought out some striking colour effects on the swamp herbage, and with the general greeness and abundance of water, the whole was very pleasing and enjoyable.
Monday saw us following the trail we hoped would lead us to Gloucester Tops and it did! Only at one place, early, did it give rise to doubt when it dipped sharply and appeared as if it might be going down to a tanker filling point. However it sidles around an elevation and then continues on course. Bill checked on the top of the rise and discovered what was probably the overgrown jeep track Allen Fox had told me about. On its level sections this trail is in fair condition, but the steep parts are badly eroded. Much of it is thru fairly thick stuff with patches of dense rain forest, but some parts are fairly open, and we had lunch on one of these during some heavy showers.
After winding about a bit the trail makes its debouch into the Gloucester Tops area, N. of the swamps, thru which the river wends its way. The trail cuts the road coming up from the East, and turning South we walked a short distance to the old timber loading stage from which point a new trail took us down to the river which was carrying much more water than I had seen on previous visits.
On Tuesday morning we walked among the wonderful snow guns which abound in this area. They were past their best, I thought, with the highly coloured bark peeling off. I think early April is the time. As I have said, the Falls were a great sight, as were the cascades just above them.
Below the falls the river makes an acute bend and it should be possible by approach from the north side to get into the bend and thus view the falls to their full extent. One of our extra days could have been well spent here. Maybe the next party will give it a go. After lunch we set off along the trail which follows the old track over the edge and down to Mt. Nelson and the Chichester River. This is a splendid spur to walk in the afternoon, with the slanting rays of the sun thru the trees, and extensive views opening up as you descend. It was late afternoon as we turned off towards the river to make camp alongside a creek which issues from a patch of rain forest. Conversation stilled as a dingo howled from the forest. Although camped close to habitation it was nice to sit after another good meal and watch the first really clear sky we had seen on the trip. After seeing Orion home, we turned in to a cool and dewy night.
Just after starting next morn, we met a local man and his wife coming towards our camp their intention being to shoot our dingo and his mates. A calf had been killed by them the previous night! Our enquiry as to the possibility of sighting them brought the reply that his wife was expert in calling them up to as close as 50 yards and even 20 yards!! It takes a good woman to heel a bad dog.
Going up stream we pass a flying fox and then come to a low level bridge; a rising road took us to a house at the foot of the spur which leads up and over the divide between the Chichester and the Williams. A talk with the householder and we were off, with Grace streaking away in front. This proved a veritable Rack, Roar and Rumble - the immediate peak concealed another behind which lurked another. However wide views all around, and easy walking. Over the top and Salisbury lies below. A tentative plan was to try and reach Chichester Dam for lunch, but time had beaten us.
And so its head for home. On reaching Gresford, someone suggested a drink and led the way into the general store, next door to the pub. A universal store this, groceries, iron ware, drinks, bird cages, oatmeal, candlesticks, kneeboots, butter and eggs, barbwire, hairnets, bolts and bolt holes, horse medicine, over and underwear, cement, dusting powder, birds nest soup, parts for grandfather-clocks, last week's Herald and tomorrow's Argus. If I appear to rave, it is merely my enthusiasm for this kind of shop. They have something others have not.
Then to Singleton for tea, a stop near Windsor to drink a thermos of coffee and so back to town after another refreshing sojourn with nature of which the fool sees himself as something set apart, but the wise are happy knowing they are part.
As slowly fades the Wren.
In robust youth he roamed the hills,
Untouched by life's more fancy frills\ And spurned the maidens fair.
Till from Blighty came a Sassenach -
She didn't know that carefree Jack
Spurned all maidens fair.
But this bonny lass from the British Isles
Was well equipped with all those wiles
That learns a maiden fair.
In vain, did all Jack's friends relate
Of the funnel web, whose hapless mate
Turns into maiden's fare.
Eileen and Jack, from S.B.W,
Good luck! May all that trouble you be maidens fair.
Cold Spots In Your Sleeping Bag?
The Hotham bag has no cold spots. Thanks to a special method of construction there is a continuous layer of down all round the Hotham bag. This method plus the addition of a small quantity of down makes it a super light bag for really cold weather trips. Weight under 4 lbs.
6' length costs £14/8/6
6'6” length costs £15/7/6
It's a good bag for a cold night.
There are no cold spots when you sleep in a Hotham bag.
Paddy Pallin Pty. Ltd. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St., Sydney. BM2685.
Glenbrook - Euroka Clearing - Fireworks Ridge - Campfire Creek - Glenbrook - 12 miles. Recommended for new members. A good walk in pleasant bush surroundings where some map reading is involved if the party is to return on time from the famous Blue Labyrinth.
8.20 a.m. interurban (“Silver Fish”) Lithgow train from Central Steam Station to Glenbrook. Tickets: Glenbrook return @ 13/9. Map: Liverpool Military.
Leader: Jack Gentle.
Waterfall - Kangaroo Crk - Karloo Pool - Audley. 10 miles. This walk may be slightly more than 10 miles. Follows Kangaroo Crk from its source to entry into the Hacking River. Will involve some rock hopping. A very attractive part of National Park.
8.20 a.m. Cronulla train from Central Electric Station to Sutherland. Change at Sutherland for rail motor to Waterfall. Tickets: Waterfall return @ 5/9. Map: Port Hacking Tourist.
Leader: Dick Child.
Waterfall - bus to Bola Crk. - Hacking River - Waterfall. 9 miles. A visit to yet another part of National Park. Rain forest in the creek beds is usually good, but gaiters or slacks are recommended, owing to the heavy growth of scrub following the recent wet Summer. Clem doesn't often get into the Club but ring him on LB6459 - most evenings.
Transport and tickets are exactly the same as for July 29. Add 2/- bus fare Waterfall - Bola Creek. Map: Port Hacking Tourist.
Leader: Clem Hallstrom.
Berowra - Cowan Creek - Bobbin Head - St. Ives (Warrimoo Rd). 12 miles. Very picturesque along the banks of Cowan Creek. Could be some early wild flowers about. Traverses Kuringai Chase.
8.15 am Gosford train from Central Steam Station to Berowra. Tickets: Berowra return @ 7/6 approx plus 1/1 bus fare from St. Ives - Pymble. Map: Broken Bay Military or Hawkesbury River Tourist. Leader: Gladys Roberts.
Parramatta - bus to Rouse Hill - Glue Gum Creek - Cattai Creek - Mason Trig - Rouse Hill. The area is famous for the display of certain species of wattle which flower at this time of the year.
8.9 a.m. train from Central Electric Station to Parramatta. 8.0 a.m. bus Parramatta to Rouse Hill. Tickets: Parramatta return @ 4/3 plus 3/8 return bus fare. Map: Windsor Military.
Leader: David Ingram.
For all your transport from Blackheath contact Hatswell's Taxi & Transport Service. Ring, write, wire or call any hour - day or night.
'Phone: Blackheath W459 of W151.
Booking office: 4 doors from the Gardners Inn Hotel (look for the neon sign).
Speedy 5 or 8 passenger cars available. Large or small parties catered for.
We will be pleased to quote trips or special parties on application.
Do you need new roof, guttering and downpipes??
Or does the roof and guttering need re-painting??
Or perhaps a new water service or hot-water installation??
No job is too small - for any plumbing installations or alterations
You need Roy's friendly plumbing service.
Contact Roy Craggs in the S.B.W. Clubrooms or contact Joe Crags, Carpenter and Painter, 41 Rosamond Street, Hornsby, Telephone JU2203.
Remember - you need Roy's friendly service!!!
Leader C. Putt.
[ Maps: West New Guinea and The Route to Castenz. ]
There had been some hope when we left Tiome, that it would be possible to do the airdrops on the 17th, but when we made contact with the M.A.F. on the mission radio it was found that because of a medical emergency, flying time would not be available on that day. The 17th was a Saturday, the M.A.F. do not normally fly on Sundays, and on the Monday a series of shuttle flights, carrying C.A.M.A staff to a conference at Pyramid, was due to start and continue for a week. It thus became certain that we would not be able to pre-drop our supplies, and that we would probably get no airdrop at all. However, Mr. Steiger offered to try to arrange a drop from one of De Kronduif's heavy planes, and the bank in Hollandia was instructed to reserve a bond of £Aust.375 to cover the possible cost of this.
We arrived at Ilaga with enough rations for the party for three days, to conserve this we changed over to native food as soon as we arrived. If a heavy aircraft did attempt to drop our supplies, we would have to be at the dropping point to make smoke signals; it was decided that we would try to penetrate to the Carstensz range using native food, wait there for the airdrop, and keep the European food for the return journey if the drop failed. On the 17th and 18th June we bought enough native food (sweet potato, taro, maize, white potato) to feed us and eighteen carriers for a week. Mr. Larson made available to us 15 kilos of rice, thus doubling the amount of lightweight food with which we could travel without the help of carriers. It was this rice which later enabled us to carry out a full reconnaissance of the North wall, in spite of the failure of the airdrop. Mr. Larson also helped us to recruit ten carriers to go with us to “Doogoondoogoo”, the North Wall, and eight more to help for the first two days. Thus equipped, we would be able to reach the North Wall, make reconnaissances for 4 or 5 days, and if no airdrop were received, still have just enough food to get back to Ilaga. We told Mr. Steiger that if we got no airdrop, we would leave for Ilaga on the morning of June 29.
We left the Ilaga Mission at 10 a m. on June 19, and within two hours were beyond the upper limit of the population in the valley. On the way through the villages we bought pandanus-leaf coats and string carrying bags for our carriers.
The route taken by our carriers, some of whom had been to Doogoondoogoo before on hunting expeditions, followed a prominent shelf of sandstone up the true left side of the Ilaga river, some 500-1000 feet above the water, to the saddle at its head, then down to and across the headwaters of the Zengilorong. This section of the journey, which took three days, was all in moss forest; about half of the track was deeply muddy, steep, and encumbered with matted slippery tree roots and fallen timber, the other half, although muddy, was fairly easy going in open forest on nearly level benches of white sandstone. The Zengilorong, a large, rapid and dangerous river, was crossed by a single-log bridge. On the morning of June 22, we climbed from the Zengilorong to a pass (“Solstice Pass”) giving access to the high plateau of the main divide in the region of the Kemaboe headwaters. The route from this pass across the plateau on a steady bearing of 240 degrees, across broad flat swampy valleys separated by low ridges of Karst limestone. The country is open grassy and boggy underfoot, with some scrub and tree ferns on the ridges. After crossing the very broad, open Kemaboe valley the route passes between the two lakes and goes up a steep narrow valley to drop down to the single lake shown.
As we had only three days' full rations reserved for the walk out, it was not advisable to take our base camp any further in than this lake, which was reached at the end of the fifth day from Ilaga. From here it appeared that we might gain easy access to the Tsinga headwaters, the North wall, and the Bakopa valley and good airdropping sites were available within a mile of the lake. Dow and Putt climbed to the top of the ridge West of the lake, and bivauaced there to get an early morning view of the country before the clouds formed for the day.
The view was in the event somewhat obscured by rain and hail, but they were able to see possible routes to the North Wall which looked encouraging. On Saturday morning, June 24, the carriers were paid off, and Crawford and Temple took six man-days of food and set off to find a way to the eastern end of the North wall. The other four members packed the equipment and food one mile down the valley North of the lake and set up camp on a low, well drained terrace on the west side of a broad, shallow swampy valley suitable for airdropping. On June 25, Barfoot and Cooper left with six man-days of food to go down the Kemaboe and investigate possible routes up the Western end of the North wall. Putt and Dow remained at base camp, on half rations, to prepare signal fires and await the airdrop.
From the East side of the lake, Temple and Crawford made their way along the North side of the Main dividing range, which here forms a ridge of steep-walled rock peaks, 14,000 to 15,000 feet high, running up to the North-East corner of the Carstensz icefields.
They crossed two of the ridges which run North from the main range, by the curious notches which occur in these ridges where they join the range; the going was steep and slow but not technically difficult. They made an uncomfortable bivouac in bad weather in the head of the valley which lies below the most westerly of the outlying rock peaks. On Sunday, June 25, they climbed from their bivouac up the slopes of the main range, to try to get a view into the Tsinga headwaters, and found that the 14,000 ft. limestone peak (Flying Butress“) which they had climbed was in fact an outlier to the North of the divide, and separated from it by a gap 500 ft. deep. They crossed this gap and climbed a steep, square-topped main divide peak, some 14,000 ft. high, (“Hammerhead”) and from it saw the Tsinga headwaters to the South. The divide ridge drops very steeply on the South to a swampy plateau, similar to that on the North, but less extensive, with the headwaters of streams feeding the Tsinga meandering across it. Close by on the West were the 5,000 ft. high, vertical, ice-capped cliffs of Ngga Poloe; any accessible glacier tongues were further round the East flanks of the Carstensz range, and were not visible from Hammerhead. As there was no route over the range at this point, so close to the East wall, Temple and Crawford returned to their bivouac valley and moved round the western slopes of the basin at its head to make their second bivouac, where they were able to light a fire and have a cooked meal. One June 26 they crossed another North-running ridge of the notch at its South end, and found below and to the West of them a large glacial valley under the East end of the North wall. On the west side of this valley was a lake at about 11,500 ft., (“Lake Discovery”) they descended to this and found a good camp-site beside it, this is suggested as a possible base camp for a future expedition. The valley rises steeply above this lake and swings to the right. Temple and Crawford found a clear route through otherwise broken and scrubby slopes up to a second lake (“Lake Larson”) at nearly 13,000 ft. The stream draining this lake disappears underground, but obviously feeds Lake Discovery. At Lake Larson, they were already on newly fallen snow, and little more than a thousand feet above them the head of the valley, which is deeply carved through the North wall, was filled by a glacier snout, part of the main ice-cap on top of the North Wall. A route of no great difficulty lay round the West side of Lake Larson through scrub, and up over easy rock and scree to the ice, which seemed to be neither very steep nor badly broken. The weather was very bad, and without proper clothing or equipment they could not venture higher, but there is little doubt that here lies a packing route on to the Noordwandfirn, less than three miles West of Ngga Poloe.
To be concluded.
You Bushies seem to have been doing some good trips. There are no gorge trips that can be done in Colorado. All the canyons have roads up them, and anyway the water's too cold and there are no waterfalls. I assume Danai Brook hasn't been climbed up yet.
The week before last was a University vacation and I've just come back from an intrepid trip in the Utah desert, just upstream from the main part of the Grand Canyon. It was a hard walk, living on grilled rattlesnake and cactus mash soup, but the rock formations and climbing were fantabulous. I'll have to show you all my slides when I get back.
I've just shown my New Zealand slides here. I made it look as if all the slides were taken on one monstrous mountain climb; landing by lobster boat in Doubtful Sound, trekking inland through the moss forests; attacked by a ferocious amphibious wombat (actually Stitt backing out of a mudhole at Wood's Creek); climbing up the Cheval Ridge on Malte Brun, the only route on to the Tasman Glacier; negotiating the Hochstetter Ice Fall by climbing down into each crevasse on a knotted rope in bare beetle-crushers; climbing up the snow ridge of Green; and finally on to the summit of Hochstetter Dome - the highest peak in N.Z. I've been asked to show my slides again.
After returning from the Utah desert I succumbed to a deplorable atavistic urge. Instead of shaving off the week's accumulated stubble with a clean bold sweep, I procrastinated in front of the bathroom mirror and, in my imagination, began trimming it first in the Van Dyke style, then the Walrus, then the Ned Kelly. The inevitable happened; I settled for the Abraham Lincoln and left it on. Now, instead of “Wombat” the more insolent students at the University call me “Honest Abe.”
I had read about Pizzas in the Lil Abner strip in Australia, but had never seen one. But now I have. Pizza places are everywhere in America and the Pizzas are enormous - about 2 feet across. Eating a pizza is a night's work. Another institution, uncommon in Australia but common here, is the smorgasborg. At these places they have great buckets of delicious food and you can ladle as much onto your plate, and come back for as many helpings as you like, all for one dollar, which, in general buying power is about 5/-. How these places make a profit I can't understand. Everyone in the Hiking Club goes to a smorgasborg on Sunday nights. I find that a glass of milk and a slice of bread each day keeps me going for the rest of the week. Round about Friday and Saturday the bread-milk diet needs discipline, but the thought of the coming Sunday night makes it worthwhile building up an appetite.
A few week-ends ago I went walking in the foothills around Boulder. When I arose from the cot the femme birds were sitting on their nests chirping sweetly. The cock birds were resplendent in their brilliant yellow and red spring uniforms. “Clearly,” I said to myself, “it's Spring. Time to throw away the Longjohns and snowshoes and don the shorts and sandshoes.” However it was another Duncan bungle. Before long I was wa11owing up to. the Plimsol line through snow drifts and while the pain was not really desperate I was the object of scorn and ridicule by the whole party.
I have bought a magnificent pair of Blizzard Metal Skis for Stitt, and have nobly spent a few days on the slopes trying them out. This has been mine and Stitt's undoing. Hitherto I had resisted the temptation to buy metal skis for myself, but after trying these out I decided to keep them and buy Stitt another pair. I despatched all this junk Saturday, but I suppose it will take at age to reach Sydney by ship.
The Saturday before last, in between the Washington and Choir trips, two peabods and I climbed McHenries peak, (14,300 ft), and it was one of the hardest slogs I've done; about a 15 mile round trip on snow shoes through pine forest and deep snow to the foot of the real climb, and then a 4,000 ft. climb in thigh deep snow on steep slopes and at a fair altitude. We left at 5.30 a.m. and didn't get back till 8 pm, and according to the register were the first to make the climb this season.
Last Saturday I should have been packing but I was tempted into going for a stroll through the foothills to study the spring flowers and the behaviour of the birds and bees. While on the stroll I was attacked by 15 ticks. Mine was easily the best score of the party. Fortunately, however, they found my hairy legs slow going and I managed to intercept them all before they had found themselves a suitable digging-in spot.
Digby and Joan called in here about three weeks ago. Digby looked weatherbeaten but very much alive. They had run out of money and so were driving directly back to Montreal and employment.
That's all for now,
A heavy olive greet jumper, hand knitted and almost new has been found on the Black Dog Track during the Easter Holiday period. Any claimant please contact Mr. D. Hope, Kirkland's Household Supplies, Springwood.
The Lands Department denies any suggestion of a proposed merger.
The Cusiter family of Leura has forwarded an appreciation of the work done in finding their son's body. The purchase of medical articles to be taken on S & R rescues has been decided upon in consultation with the Section's medical advisor. A suitable stretcher for cliff rescues is to be made. The use of two way radio communication together with a base station is being further investigated. Further funds will be required before purchase. Colin Putt has agreed to take charge of mountain rescues involving cliff climbs.
Any suggestions for novelties? Best decorated table again this year - a suggested theme is “Old Boots”. A good attendance is aimed at in an effort to improve on previous years. Tickets will be 22/6.
Any literary contributions by members of Club?
W.E.A. Ramblers requested permission to clear the Victory Track at Faulconbridge leading to Perch Pools etc. The track has a solid foundation and some good work has already been done, but it is not yet available for use. It was reported that the Narrow Neck Road is planned to go over Clear Hill to join with another road to be constructed from Medlow Gap. The Council already has a grant of £20,000 to spend on the road and the project is said to have the support of Blackheath and Katoomba commercial interests.
“My magazine subscription was sent some time ago because “The Sydney Bushwalker” is so very valuable to those of us who are not living in Sydney now. What a time they had at Kanangra! and, of course, a mist at the end of it. I remember crossing that bit of plateau at dusk in a thick mist on my “Thirteen Over Thurat” trip many years ago.
Some day I'll get back to Sydney again and really become active - in a modified way. Till then, cheerio to you, and all my old pals.”
The sun is our powerhouse. With the exception of atomic power, all sources of energy - coal, oil, wood and wind come directly from the sun.
The sun is just another star; it differs but little from millions upon millions of other stars, but as we are only 93 million miles from it (which is just nothing man!) it looks bigger and feels warmer to us. The next nearest star to us, by comparison, is 25 million million miles away (and that is still like nothing). The sun measures 864,000 miles across and it would take 330,000 of our Earths to make the sun. A fair sized object, and warm too! Its surface temperature is about 10,000°F.
The energy of the Sun comes from the same process as in the Hydrogen bomb. Two atoms of Hydrogen given the right temperature, will join together to form one atom of Helium. However the atom of Helium does not weigh twice as much as the atom of Hydrogen, but slightly less. The difference in weight appears as a fair size burst of energy (mainly light and heat) at the moment of fusion of the two atoms.
So the Sun is actually losing weight at a rate of thousands of tons a day, changing it into heat and light as a by-product of the Hydrogen to Helium process. But don't worry about it running out, it will see you out!
Various agencies are at work breaking down the solid rocks into sands, gravels, soils and silts - rain, wind, frost, plant roots, heat. These by-products of the rock are gradually moved down to the sea by the action of water. The Mississippi River is lowering its whole catchment area at the rate of 1 foot in 6,000 years, the Upper Ganges, 1 foot in 800 years. Geologically speaking, this is pretty rapid progress. It has been calculated that all of England will be flat as a board, at sea level, within a million years. This denuding action is counteracted by movements in the Earth's crust, which lift up the land to form elevated plains (peneplains). The debris from the rivers is dumped under the sea where it slowly solidifies into clays, shales, conglomerates and sandstones (called sedimentary rocks). These in turn, may be lifted by crust movement to form new land.
Our Blue Mountains were formed in just such a manner.
Sydney Cove was chosen by Phillip for his first settlement because here a small stream entered the harbour. The Tank Stream rose in some springs in what is now Hyde Park. It flowed down a shallow gully where Hamilton Street is today, and “tanks” were cut in the sandstone hear Hunter Street to catch the vital supply. The sea reached up to Bridge Street in 1788, and here a small bridge was erected to cross the Tank Stream. (Don't rush down to see it - it has since been demolished.)
A full house on June 27, saw the showing of 120 Slides entered by 20 members. Judged by Malc. McGregor, Bill Rodgers and Arthur Gilroy the locations ranged from Tasmania to the tropics and on to the Middle East and Europe.
Largely on the score of “Would we like it on the wall at home for years and years”, the judges made the following choices;
1. Frank Leydon's study of flannel flowers - unusual but attractive lighting, coupled with pleasing and carefully studied composition.
2. Helen Gray's landScape from The Castle, towards Byangee Walls and Pidgeon House - a composition in receding planes with strong impression of depth,and distance.
3. Frank Barlowe's seascape - from a yacht on the way to Tasmania; storm-tossed waters, angry skies and screaming winds.
Others in the “best ten” were: