SUNNYSIDE RIDGE, NEWNES – 24 August 2019
Ever since Craig F recorded a visit to the Cracks of Doom, I’d been hanging out to go there, it looked really cool. For Day 2 of the Sunnyside Trifecta – we’d be checking out the Cracks of Doom 1 & 2, plus Cathedral cave.
John and I had tried to find the Cracks of Doom from on top of the cliff-line (and failed), but we did find the top of Cathedral Cave. On today’s day walk we’d give the Cracks another go. In 100m of cliff-line we found 4 cracks, 2 mini canyons and two mega caves! Anna, Heather & Trish had turned up to join John, Min, Mule and me, and off we headed.
Into the scrub, no tracks here! Before long we were heading down a hill, into a gully.
And the gully started to close in and we were in canyon-like formation.
Below Trish there’s a pool of water, everyone chimneyed their way across to keep dry (it was a really cold day no one wanted to get wet).
Looking back to where we started the chimneying. I didn’t like the look of the chimney-moves so waded through the water, it was only mid-calf deep (but was really cold). Now I had wet feet!
The word from up front came back “there’s an abseil” so we donned our abseil gear in this very confined space!
We set up an anchor off a chock-stone and rigged up the 27m rope (double), and then Mule went down. He got as far as a ledge and couldn’t tell if the rope reached the bottom, so we reset the rope, adding a 20m rope to it. Finally he was down the bottom and reported that the two ropes together were long enough, effectively this was a 23m abseil.
Min followed, it was a very narrow slot (maybe we should have called this Cracks of Doom Canyon). There were 2 pools, one I could chimney across, the other one was too wide, so Trish and I ended up getting wet (up to our waist) – the water was freezing. (Photo: John G)
Then there was a really nasty overhang – most of us were very ungraceful on this. And that was it! One abseil, but an awesome slot!
Me trying to warm up after getting wet, there was a cool wind blowing and not much sunshine around. (Photo: Trish)
We then walked a short distance to Cathedral Canyon (so named by Michael Keates). We’d looked down from the top years ago, now we were able to enjoy it from the bottom.
It was fortunate that we were in the canyon just at the right time to see the sunbeam (Photo: Trish). We spent lots of time here photographing the sunbeam and exploring up to the end of the canyon (the base of the compulsory abseil).
Arty-shot. Looking out when in the canyon, the rocks looked a little like two faces whispering to each other.
Just around the corner we came to Cracks of Doom 2 (named by Craig F), 40m in length and about 50cm wide, you could easily walk along it.
There were a few small climb-ups as the crack rises about 6m over the course of its length. At the end, there’s a chimney, Mule was able to climb up but the rest of us took one look and said “no way”.
Anna and John passing each other, it’s a tight squeeze.
Looking down the crack.
20m away was another crack – Crack of Fools named by Michael Keates. This involved sidling up a 2m squeeze, to a small chamber and then a difficult climb, Trish and I took one look at the climb and said “no way”, Heather, Anna and Mule managed the climb. John and Min took one look at the squeeze and said “no way”.
The view from up top, I’m pretty sure Crack of Doom 1 is in the cliff ahead on the lh side.
Anna and Mule at the top.
I believe that this crack is unnamed but this led us to Crack of Doom 1.
John exiting the crack.
The start of Crack of Doom 1, 30m in length and 20cm wide in some places. Named by Craig F.
It starts wide enough (well for us small people), with a couple of small climbs (less than 1m).
Then it starts to narrow in, John was ahead of me and was having a rest here, it’s hard going.
John at the part that’s 20cm wide. He gave it his best shot but finally had to admit defeat. I have to say, it was a real squeeze even for me.
Min exiting at the top.
Min on his way back down – was much easier going down as you had gravity helping you along.
After the Cracks, we sidled around the cliff-face and came to the Doom Caves. There are two caves in total, very impressive with fine white powder sand on the floor.
Trish in the first Doom Cave (Photo: John G).
Another small slot worth while exploring nearby, nothing there though.
Then it was a simple case of following a ramp out to access the ridge. View from one of the pagodas looking down, in the distance is Carne Creek.
We had one huge pagoda to climb, but it had good foot/hand holds all the way up, almost like a staircase.
It was a quick trip up to the ridge and then maybe 50m in scrub and there was the road, and 100m down the road were the vehicles. Can you believe it, so many great features in the space of 100m.
We decided that we’d drive as far as we could towards the end of the fire trail (lots of almost 4WD stuff) and then walked along the ridge to the end where there was a great lookout.
Looking across Carne Creek – Emirates land is below the cliffs, you can just see the farmland in the bottom lh corner, very brown as there’s been no rain.
The rest of the crew admiring the view – they were too close to the edge for my liking!
So, the Cracks of Doom have been taken off the wish list! I can’t believe that there was so much to see in the space of 100m, makes you wonder what else is in that valley.
Thanks John for putting this day walk on the calendar!
Banner: The view from the end of the fire trail. Thumbnail: Wattle – a sure sign of Spring.
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