Penn Creek Track
I dislodged a stone which whizzed down, and a muffled curse floated up from Colin below. "----- I'll wait till you're up!" I balanced up a shallow gully with no footholds and sidled across steep scree, sending more stones down to Colin. Grabbing a bush, I pulled myself into vegetation and immediately felt much more secure.
We were negotiating the first gully on the Penn Creek Track. This gully is by far the worst gully we came across that day. It's only 0.5km from where the track first enters the bush. A steep slip has cut off access to the stream and we were attempting to climb out above the slip. An alternative would be to drop into the stream and work a way up the stream bed.
Once we reached the stream it was OK and we climbed out very steeply, hanging on tree ferns, followed by a sidle through thick supplejack. We started dropping, hoping to pick up the path, but had to drop considerably through tangles of supplejack before eventually reaching the track. Getting past the first stream was the most difficult part of the day. It would pay to recce the route and mark it before another trip.
Despite being used by hunters, the track has become overgrown often with supplejack, and occasionally benching has slipped away making it difficult to find footholds. After an easy stream crossing we reached a wide river terrace and followed the track through supplejack and lots of bogs and pools. The next stream crossing offered a bit more excitement in the form of a steep climb out on the true right with a fixed rope and trees and roots to hold. A few more streams passed by.
Very soon we came to a stream with a major slip on its true right bank (map ref 999327). There was no problem getting into the stream bed, but the climb across the slip was via a ramp which had eroded noticeably since our previous trip. At one point the ramp petered out and we had to balance across the head of the slip using a bit of grass and a few loose stones for handholds. The ramp was followed by a sidle across steep ground, gradually climbing. Another stream hoved into view and we kept on climbing into the streambed. On the true right bank we climbed steeply up some scree and reached the bush at the base of our spur.
The spur we had chosen climbs about 600m and joins Judd Ridge just to the south-east of Tirotiro Knob 855m. The going at first was steep with dollops of kiekie and supplejack, but got easier the higher we climbed. At 004319 we joined the main spur and were able to relax in the easier going. There were no markers on this spur.
This spur offers a good short day replete with some fairly serious off-track work.
- Party members
- Risk-takers were Colin Cook and Ken Fraser(scribe).