Mount Solitary

Looking back- Ben Pearse 2016

Looking back on Katoomba from Mt Solitary ridge

Situated in the world heritage listed Blue Mountains, Australia lies the majestic Mount Solitary. At 950 metres above sea level Mount Solitary demands attention amongst it’s nearest landscapes rivals such as the iconic three sisters located nearby. The local indigenous people called the mountain Korowal meaning “the strong one”. Mount Solitary is located in the jamison valley and is most easily accessed via the mountain township of Katoomba.

Over the years Mount Solitary has been a sought after destination for many experienced walkers, hikers, runners and overnight campers as they seek the majestic and breathtaking views the mountain offers up as you labour up it’s steep eucalyptus lined ridges. From it’s summit you are offered a stunning view from melville’s lookout near chinaman’s gap that takes in lake burragorang and the wild dog mountains.

In recent times the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) have installed pit toilets, shelter and rainwater tanks for the increased traffic flow to Ruined Castle ,which you pass along the way enroute to Mount Solitary. Though the rain tanks may supply water year round, yet it’s vital you carry a good supply of water as it may not be available in the dry periods atop Mount Solitary. Overnight campers can stay in chinaman’s gap or nearby areas with suitable tents and sleeping equipment.

Below is a series of pictures taken by Ben Pearse who is a commercial photographer living and working in Katoomba, Blue Mountains, Australia. These images document the popular walking route from the Golden Stairs to atop Mount Solitary. The distance from the beginning of the Golden stairs to the Chinaman’s Gap is approximately 7.7km. (please read additional notes below images on hiking severity)

I hope these images help others enjoy this beautiful section of the Blue Mountains, Australia.

cheers Ben

All images are copyright to Ben Pearse Photography 2016

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Golden stairs to Mount Solitary

three sisters view

three sisters view

Golden stairs decent- april 2016- 2048

Golden stair pathway

angophora trees

Angophora trees

Signs to Solitary- april 2016- 2048

Signposts to Mt Solitary at base of Golden Stairs

Entering the forest- april 2016- 2048

Entering the forest

Dappled light- 2048

Dappled forest light

Forest views- april 2016

Forest views

Forest greens- april 2016- 2048

Forest greens

Sunshine in greenery- april 2016

Sunshine and greens

Sun through the trees- april 2016- 2048

Sunshine through the trees

Trees amongst the ferns- april 2016- 2048

Trees amongst the ferns

cliff lined views- april 2016- 2048

Cliff lined views

Track between ferns- 2048

Track through the ferns

Forest in sunlight- april 2016- 2048

Forest in sunlight

Sea of ferns- 2048

Sea of ferns

Under a fern canopy- april 2016- 2048

Under a fern canopy

Lush forests- april 2016- 2048

Lush forests

Bush toilets- april 2016- 2048

Bush toilets

Turnoff to ruined castle- 2048

Turnoff to Ruined Castle

Warning signs to heed- april 2016

Warning signs to take note

Camping site- 2048

Campsites and rest spots

Water and shelter stop- 2048

Water and shelter

Rain tanks and shelter- april 2016- 2048

Rain tanks and shelter

Last pit toilet- april 2048

Last pit toilet stop

Rainwater tanks- april 2016- 2048

Rain tanks can provide water if it’s available

Raintank- april 2016- 2048

One of two rain tanks available

Beautiful angophora trees- 2048

Beautiful angophora trees

The uphill climb begins- april 2016- 2048

The uphill climb begins

Ruined castle views- april 2016- 2048

Ruined Castle views

Angophora forest- april 2016- 2048

Angophora forest

Sunlight over angophora- april 2016- 2048

Sunlight over Angophora tree

Angophora canopy- 2048

Angophora canopy

The track steepens- april 2016- 2048

The path gets steeper

First steep scrample

First steep scramble

Looking to Kings Tablands

Looking to Kings Tablelands

Katoomba cliffline views

Katoomba cliffline views

The chimney climb

The chimney climb

The second knoll climb looms above

The second knoll climb looms above

Looking back across the jamison valley to Katoomba

Looking back across the jamison valley to Katoomba

Looking back panoramic views

Looking back panoramic views

Narrowneck plateau views

Narrowneck plateau views

Summit views...still a way to go.

Summit views…still a way to go

Finding shady spot on the climb

Finding a shady spot on the climb

Summit glory

Summit glory

Chinamans gap- Mount Solitary

Chinaman’s gap- Mount Solitary

Chinaman's gap eucalyptus trees

Chinaman’s gap eucalyptus trees

Chinamans Cave- Mount Solitary

Chinaman’s Cave- Mount Solitary

 

Chinaman's gap in the mist

Chinaman’s gap in the mist

Morning light

Morning light

Melville's lookout- Mount Solitary

Melville’s lookout- Mount Solitary

Zooming in on Lake Burragorang

Zooming in on Lake Burragorang

View over Lake Burragorang

View over Lake Burragorang

Panoramic view from Melville's lookout

Panoramic view from Melville’s lookout

Rain over Lake Burragorang

Rain over Lake Burragorang

Tales around the campfire

Tales around the campfire…

Katoomba panoramic view

Katoomba panoramic view- Mount Solitary on the left. The hike starts from right, underneath narrowneck plateau, and continues left past and below ruined castle and finally up the steep visible ridgeline onto Mount Solitary.

 

Thanks for looking, cheers Ben

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Note: The hike to Mount Solitary is not suitable for inexperienced hikers and campers. The long steep ridge path through sections of sandstone boulders can prove exhaustive and dangerous for those whose fitness is not at a suitable level.

Note: The author takes no responsibility for any incorrect information in this blog post. All person/s who are undertaking a walk/hike or camping trip to Mount Solitary should research/contact NPWS and other local government agencies and/or official sites prior to leaving to ensure their own safety. Please stay safe and monitor bushfire warnings when hiking and camping and be sure to take out your rubbish with you so other can enjoy these areas too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ruined Castle

Ruined Castle

Ruined Castle

The ruined castle is a popular and distinct  sandstone rock outcrop in the Jamison valley within the World Heritage Blue Mountains, Katoomba, Australia. I have ventured out there for a walk on numerous occasions and also camped within the ruins many moons ago. A great sight of this wonderful sandstone structure is to witness the last sunrays falling across the castle in the jamison valley on sunset.  I have often stood at a lookout watching the last rays of the day lighting the sandstone walls of the castle walls. I’m guessing that it got it’s name, as it appeared, “castle like” to somebody walking through the area some time ago and in which they probably said something along the lines like, “Hey, don’t you think that looks like a castl, you know, like a ruined one”! I’m sure this is totally incorrect, but it will do for now and if you need to know, I’m sure  google has the answer somewhere…..

If you do find yourself in the area and you have a few hours in which you’d like to get your heartrate up a little and be rewarded with a beautiful 360 degree view at the end, then this just might be for you. A great way to get there is to descend the golden stairs off the Narrowneck plateau. If however you would just like to admire it from the distance like the many thousands of tourist each year, then Echo Point in Katoomba is a great vantage point for this spectacular Blue Mountains landmark. I hope you find time in your week to get outdoors to explore…..

See you out there

cheers ben                                                                                                                                                                                          more castle views

surrounded by mist

surrounded by mist

last light touches the walls

last light touches the walls

hazy light

hazy light

without colours

without colours

hidden in bushfire smoke

hidden in bushfire smoke

aglow

aglow

glimpsed through the trees

glimpsed through the trees

A storm approaches the castle

A storm approaches the castle

Guardian of the Castle

Guardian of the Castle

Conquering the Castle

Conquering the Castle

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Jamison Valley- Blue Mountains

Dramatic jamison valley

Dramatic jamison valley

One of best viewing platforms to see the beautiful Jamison valley in the Blue Mountains has always been from Echo Point in Katoomba. From this very popular tourist destination you can often see jamison valley transform through it’s different moods before your eyes. The valley is a sandstone area much like most of the Blue Mountains and Sydney area, characterised by it’s steep  sandstone cliffs. Much of the soil in the region has a layer of shale throughout which has been eroded over time causing the sandstone to collapse, which helps form the beautiful deep valleys and canyons.

I spent a large part of my youth and beyond roaming and climbing around these beautiful areas. The jamison valley is populated densely with Eucalyptus trees, often giving it a blue haze that looks stunning upon sunset. Many times I’ve come down to the jamison valley trying to capture some change in weather or mood. Some of my most memorable photos so far have been the morning mists or the smoke after hazard reduction burns in the valley. I don’t think i’ll ever tire of looking out into the jamison valley and into the sea of trees………..I just love it.

I hope to see you out there….

cheers ben                                                                                                                                                                                         more from the jamison

3 sisters sunset

3 sisters sunset

fog swirls in the valley

fog swirls in the valley

valley mood

valley mood

smokey skies

smokey skies

Into the blue

Into the blue

valley of smoke

valley of smoke

seas of fog

seas of fog

waterfalls of mist

waterfalls of mist

plays of light

plays of light

Jamison Glow

Jamison Glow

a dry summer

a dry summer

steep water carved valleys

steep water carved valleys

gorgeous curves

gorgeous curves

under the light of a full moon

under the light of a full moon

last light on the ruined castle

last light on the ruined castle

glowing with colours

glowing with colours

plenty of wildlife

plenty of wildlife

Mount solitary commanding a view

Mount solitary commanding a view

enjoying the jamison views

enjoying the jamison views

Smoke soaked sunrays entering the Jamison valley

Smoke soaked sunrays entering the Jamison valley