Byatts Razorback 2014 Sept

Sphinx Bluff, Broken Bluff and Pavement Bluff from below

The mountain I selected for today (Byatts Razorback) was perfect for a day like this. It was not too far away (about 1.5 hrs in each direction), and not too long a walk (about 30 mins each way). I am unwell again – they’re calling my virus the “hundred day flu”, and that seems right from what I’ve observed of self and others – and I have heaps to do before I fly with my debaters to Brisbane tomorrow. Just a little excursion was all I wanted. I was, however, expecting this “little excursion” to be unpleasantly scrubby: it is, after all, on the east coast, near West Tower and a raft of other rather bushy mounds.

Denison Crag from near Rossarden
We had never taken the road north of Avoca before. I’m not a fan of driving, but this road was a delight. Without a peak baggers’ list prodding me to explore and climb a stack of mountains I’d never even heard of before, I probably would have lived my life without ever going up this road. I’m thankful for the list and the number of new places it’s tempted us to see. The wattles (acacia dealbata) were in full bloom, and Stacks Bluff, which I’ve never inspected at close range, loomed large and perfectly delineated in the morning light, with crisp edges and shadows. It’s a great shape. It moved up the “to do” list, but not for today. My goals today were small.

We then swung right, to change our gaze to Broken Bluff and The Knuckle (yes, yes, I did watch the road as well), and eventually came to the quaint settlement of Rossarden, where someone has transformed the old wooden church into a very attractive house with daffodils. Not far to go now.

Typical bush on the way up.

My plan was to park just south, and a little west, of the summit, and walk north to the razorback of its name, and then east to the high point. One hardly needed a map for that, but we had packed one anyway, as we always do – along with a compass. As I’m approaching the spot in the car, I see a little side track. I consult my gps and decide it can do no harm, and could do a lot of good, so, even though it’s not on the map (what road ever is, you may well ask), I take it. Unfortunately, it stopped after about a hundred metres. Oh well, it was worth a try. Might as well climb from here now we’ve stopped.

No, he didn’t think it was the summit, but it did look a fun thing to climb. There were lots of little beckoning columns like this up there.

Framboisiennes fresh from our Harvest Markets in our stomachs, off we set. Well, well, look at that. That tree has an orange streamer. Look, so has that one up there. These streamers weren’t quite connected, in that I couldn’t see from one to the next, but by keeping the line of least resistance in the forest, I kept finding them. It was fun. And the bush was delightfully easy – a long cry from the fight with prickles and tangles I was expecting. We were loving it. Boulders were mossy and a soothing green. Up we went, enjoying the route, onto the ridge line. We climbed something that looked nice and high (and it was, actually, the black dot on the map), but a boulder cluster further over looked higher, and the pink ribbon continued, so (having climbed the black dot) we headed further east, actually dropping a bit on some scree in order to climb the next section with less resistance from bush. The pink ribbons, having led us down the other side, then disappeared. There were several scrambling routes possible, all of which appealed. I selected mine and up I went. On top of this one was a summit cairn, and, as far as the eye is any indication of anything, I was now on the highest point. My gps confirmed that I was at the summit height (actually, it said I was 1 metre higher).

The summit rocks. There is a cairn just behind me, to the left.

Even so, we still went a bit further east just for the heck of it, and because I had seen a good vantage point off that way where we could sit and snack and stare out at West Tower and its eastern mate.

West Tower (L) and East Tower (R) from our snack rock
Back at Avoca we shared a pie, lettuce and sparkling apple juice down by the river in the company of ducks to fend off the pangs of hunger until real lunch.

How wonderful it is to be welcomed home by dogs. As the car neared our internal gate, I could see them bouncing with excitement as they raced to meet us. I find it hilarious that they don’t seem to think that they can have fun without us. We all did a turn around the perimeter of the home paddock together, they, rushing and dashing; we, sniffing and sighing at the beauty of sun through petals, before at last heading into the kitchen for lunch.

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