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Brownes Path and Unnamed Pass - Hat Hill Ridge
Brownes Path and Unnamed Pass - Hat Hill Ridge

Brownes Path and Unnamed Pass - Hat Hill Ridge

Starting a Wind Eroded Cave car park, there's a footpad that passes the cave and then heads up onto the tops where there's a few interesting rock formations. However, instead of heading up cross the slope diagonally and head towards the wide gully West of the creek. At the creek, head downstream for 100m, then up a narrow ramp on the West side to a big rock formation with a couple of cairns on top.

Starting a Wind Eroded Cave car park, there’s a footpad that passes the cave and then heads up onto the tops where there’s a few interesting rock formations. However, instead of heading up cross the slope diagonally and head towards the wide gully West of the creek. At the creek, head downstream for 100m, then up a narrow ramp on the West side to a big rock formation with a couple of cairns on top.

Take the obvious slope to the West that leads to the cliff top (after an easy 3m climb). From there are views from Sydney, across to Pierces Pass and West to the Darling Causeway.

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Looking back East towards Wind Eroded Cave

The cliff edge has plenty of good vistas…

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This one is looking down at Brownes Path . The pass follows the green ledge around the corner. The bluffs in the foreground are best avoided by descending the talus 100m after leaving the chocolate ledge. Even there it’s still steep loose scree with a few low clifflines to negotiate.

Following the broad ridge West leads to what is probably marked as Bennett Lookout on the topo.

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This cairn probably marks Bennett Lookout (33 35” 3’S  150 19” 4’E). The cairn is old enough and there’s not much else out there worthy of being called a lookout. From here descend steeply West and North to find a pleasant morning tea spot…

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Looks like a great spot for morning tea… and it was. From there descend steeply to the East to find the Pass.

The orange rock is an easy landmark.

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The start of the pass is marked by bright orange sandstone blocks. These are probably the same bright orange blocks that are visible from the photo from above.

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Starting along the pass. Mt Banks and Edgeworth David Head visible looking East.

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A classic chocolate ledge, similar to Orang Utan Pass further East… but with far less exposure.

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A faint footpad can be seen looking West along Brownes Pass. The steep scree ends abruptly above a 50m drop. This is reminiscent of parts of the Mt Banks Traverse.

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The Pass has the remains of a rock shelter at the Eastern end.

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At the end of the chocolate ledge, steep loose scree becomes the dominant feature. Somewhere around here, either descend to the Grose River and exit via Little Blue Gum and Perrys Lookdown, or else take the Unnamed Pass in the next gully to the West.

Both options require extreme care - steep loose scree, hidden cliff lines… a typical Grose Valley off-track descent.

And both options are likely to give an uninterrupted view of Hanging Rock and Baltzer Lookout. The sun was low for this July walk - the photo taken at 11:30.

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Hanging Rock from below. It’s shadow emphasises it’s profile.

Taking the Unnamed Gully option involves descending the loose slopes while heading West. There are faint pads occasionally. The obvious nose isn’t negotiable without extreme exposure, another 50+ metres of descent is required, mostly above the 20m drop into the next gully. Cross the gully with only minor difficulty and ascend equally steeply up the top of the talus and 100m around to the Unnamed Pass.

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The Unnamed Pass has 3 obstacles - the first is a 4m wall of fairly loose rock. The gully (behind the vegetation) on the right is probably least exposed, the face has holds but of dubious quality, and the scree to the left is just a tiny bit too steep, and above the gully.

Obstacle #2 is a 12m dry waterfall. Avoid it by climbing v. steeply on the Eastern side of the gully for about 15m. No photos… no spare hands to take them…

And the 3rd obstacle is a tricky boulder.

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The Unnamed Pass has a boulder that’s tricky to negotiate. A double knee jam helps a little, as there are no handholds on the smooth rock above.

And continue easily up the gully to the saddle where the track leads to Bald Head and Hat Hill.

Brownes Pass is easier than Orang-Utan, or Lews Pass, Mackenzie’s Pass or the Unnamed Pass. Almost no exposure, fairly easy to find, a short walk from existing walking tracks. The only downside is the steep descent down the talus, but that applies to them all.

  • 30/04/2021