15th narrowneck Pass
15th narrowneck Pass

15th narrowneck Pass

Narrowneck has 14 known and documented passes. This trip found a 15th pass. It is ascendable by a competent bushwalker who has scrambling ability and tolerance for a degree of exposure. It is less exposed than passes such as Carlon Head, Walls Pass and Landslide Gully.


Narrowneck has 14 known passes. On the Eastern side are Landslide Gully, Golden Stairs, Walls Pass and the Wallaby Track. Tarros Ladders marks the Southern end. The Western side has Dixons (Waterboard) Ladders, Diamond Head, Redledge Pass, Rockpile Pass, Coachwood (Mitchells Creek) Pass, Black Billy Head, Carlon Head, Harmils Ledge/Glenraphael Head and Dunphys Pass.

Herbaceous Pass and Castle Head are not considered to be passes as fires have destroyed the tree and ladders that allowed buhwalkers access.

The trip described below traversed a 15th pass. It descended a gully from the plateau near Fools Paradise to the half way ledge which it followed South for 800m and then descended two scrambles - 4m and 6m to the talus.


The pass is traversable in either direction by a competent bushwalker who has scrambling ability and tolerance for a degree of exposure.

Both the upper pass and lower pass are less exposed than other Narrowneck passes such as Carlon Head, Walls Pass and Landslide Gully.

It is sufficiently far from any other pass - the closest is Black Billy Head which is 700m distant.

The ledge connecting the upper and lower sections is shorter than Harmil Ledge, and similar distance to Diamond Head and Dunphys Pass.

It should also be noted that this Pass is not especially useful. It doesn’t connect to anything useful at either end. Carlon Head and Black Billy passes are more accessible and acheive a better route for almost all purposes.


An earlier trip along the ledges south of Black Billy Head found a potential pass from the halfway ledge to the plateau, and several options worthy of investigation for passes to reach the talus below.

This trip along the ledge established a route up to the plateau from a low waterfall, and also a way down to the talus further along the ledge. Both are traversable by a competent bushwalker who has scrambling ability and tolerance for a degree of exposure.

The upper pass has two notched logs propped against the waterfall. The maximum exposure is 2.3m above level ground. The notches are probably slightly reachy for some. The ensuing gully is slippery, but fairly easily ascended on the Southern side, reaching the top of the plataeau within a few minutes. It would be difficult to find from Fools Paradise and looks very steep and slippery from the top, and also as though it doesn’t actually reach anything level.

The ledge between the upper pass and the lower pass is about 800m which equates to close to an hours hiking taking into account route finding and navigating through the vegetation and various levels of ledge. There are some sections that some will find challenging. The ledges are eroded Mount York Claystone - they are particularly sensitive to erosion… tread lightly.

The end of the ledge is marked by an orphan block that is visible for much of the walk, and indeed from Megalong Road.

The descent to the talus is 2m North of this Orphan Block down easy 5m of ledges to a small level area. Subsequently a further 6m of descent down a slot reaches the talus.

The talus presents only minor bluffs that are easily avoided en-route to Mitchells Creek fire trail. It is steep and slippery at first, crossing several gullys and creeks (including Galong Creek), but levels out further West.

Aerial View

One route starts at the bottom of the hairpins on Megalong Road and ascends to Michells Creek fire trail - although there are several other options for those that know the area Rice Terrace and Fools Paradise spring to mind.

In particular a more recent trip started at Narrowneck Gate, descended into Mitchells Creek and then quickly ascended towards Fools Paradise. A broad and heavily rutted hanging swamp led to the plateau where much of the familiar impenetrable scrub of Fools Pardise was avoided.

Black Billy Ledges

The Orphan Block is visible from much of the ledge from the South end of Black Billy Head. The gap between it and the cliffs is sometime visible as the walls behind it are particularly pale.

This is where the ledge finally ends and the descent to talus begins.

Black Billy Ledges

The ascent of Black Billy Head is documented elsewhere. Rather than ascend right to the plateau head South and ignore the final ascent gully.

Around the corner is a challenging rock to overcome. From here the chocolate ledge curves away toward the South end of Black Billy Head. It is often steep and loose requiring sure footedness and care.

Black Billy Ledges

The geology underfoot varies throughout the ledge.

Black Billy Ledges

After rounding the Southern end of BBH, Carlon Head and the firetower come into view. And a further 400m finds a low waterfall with a couple of logs propped against it. These logs took us about 45 minutes to find and construct the 15th Narrowneck Pass. They were notched to give a couple of footholds to reach the easy edge of the waterfall. A low cairn helps with the first foothold. They will be a bit reachy for some. Branches left attached near the top provide stability for both the ascent and descent and the second log helps lower down.

From the small creek in the gully, it’s easy to ascend on the Southern side up a couple of slippery but protected ledges to gain access to the plateau close to Fools Paradise.

Black Billy Ledges

Black Billy Ledges

From this upper pass follow the ledge South along some thinner and more exposed ledges.

Black Billy Ledges

… some of which require crawling…

Black Billy Ledges

…or hugging the cliff face.

Black Billy Ledges

The drop below some of these ledges is not insignificant, although some find them easier once on them.

There are at least a couple of sections that look impossible from afar, however once closer the exposure of the route becomes more acceptable.

And there are a couple of ledges that taper to nothingness. After backtracking a better (always lower) ledge can be found.

Black Billy Ledges

The final decsent is from where the orphan block touches Narrowneck. This descent is in two stages - the first is pictured below. There are level ledges wide enough for a boot spaced down the face to the cosy area below the column. A rope has been left to assist with safety.

Then there are a couple of slightly exposed and reachy ledges to negotiate - the second used a solid tree a meter from the rock shelf. The particularly thin can avoid both ledges by taking advantage of the narrow slot on the left.

The second part if this descent is next to the solid tree down a flared slot that looks like it is overhung for the last 3m. However, it turns out that the spindly looking tree a meter out from the cliff provides sufficient purchase to ascend or descend the last section. Although most would probably prefer a harness the first time.

Black Billy Ledges

Following the talus to the North West is steep for 500m through occasional low bluffs. The terrain then levels out crossing various easy creeks and by heading Westwards through easy bush Mitchells Creek is reached within 30 minutes.


A short day
Distance 11km
Ascent 700m
Time: 6:00


Once on the ledge, there are few route-finding and navigational challenges. There are no fallback alternatives and every section is reversible.

All of the party should be comfortable with exposure and be especially sure footed, particularly when traversing the multitude of steep, narrow and loose ledges.

A single pole or stout stick is particularly handy to provide a modicum of extra stability on the ledges to test footings.

Some sections require crawling, so good knees and some flexibility are preferred.

This west facing ledge should not be considered on a wet or windy day, there are potentially slippery sections and places where wind gusts could impact adversely.

The route to the talus needs good scrambling skills and tolerance of exposure - some will be more comfortable with a harness.

And finally, the BBH ascent & descent both require good scrambling skills and for most a 10m tape.

  • 30/12/2021