Saturday November 3 ~ 3013 Mt Burrell – Sphinx Rock (abseil) - Mt Nardi traverse.
Walkers: David R, Dave M, John M, Gary W & Karl.
Met at the Heritage Centre, Lismore, 6.00am. Drove to Mt Nardi in two cars and left a car there. Then drove in one car to Webster’s Creek, Mt Burrell, (with permission) and started walking at 7.40am. After a steep ascent we reached the top of Mt Burrell at 8.45am. After a short stop we continued down the other side of Mt Burrell, along the ridge to reach the top of Sphinx Rock arriving at 10.30am. After another short stop we abseiled the eastern end of Sphinx Rock in two abseils (approximately 15 and 22m respectively) with an unroped traverse along the northern side inbetween the abseils. (See picture). Once at the foot of Sphinx Rock (12.15pm) (which was our main objective), we walked/scrambled around the southern cliff base of Sphinx Rock (through the spear lilies) and ascended a steep, soily ravine (using vines, rocks and anything else) to regain the ridge between Mt Burrell & Sphinx Rock. We duly noted our point where we gained the ridge, of four rocks placed along the ridge! Had we been more thoughtful, we should have brought our abseil gear along and then we could have abseiled Sphinx Rock twice. Nevertheless, it was part of the grand plan to also: 1. Find an ascent route up from the eastern side of Sphinx Rock and 2. Be able to downclimb it, which we did. After returning, we left the base of Sphinx Rock for our walk back to Mt Nardi at 1.30pm.
Along the way, three of us climbed the first rocky outcrop, just east of Sphinx Rock (travelling west to east), (because it’s there & to enjoy the views). This took about ten minutes. In the previous walk report, dated 23/9/12, travelling in the opposite direction (east to west) this was described as the second lookout! (Clear as mud!)
We also stopped at the next lookout to enjoy our final look at Sphinx Rock, then tramped on to and past Kunghur Flying Fox, Mt Neville and Pholi’s Gap, reaching Mt Nardi & the car at 5.15pm.
From memory, according to David R’s GPS, we walked 13.7km.
We drove back and picked up the second car at Mt Burrell, afterwhich we stopped at the Nimbin Bowling club for a celebratory drink.
After so many years of thinking of the possibility of the traverse & the previous reconnaissance walks and one previous attempt the year before, it’s satisfying to now be able to look at the skyline ridge and know that we’ve successfully traversed it, abseiling Sphinx Rock.
Well done, team (including those that helped walk the Mt Nardi to Sphinx Rock track beforehand). Karl Sprogis.
Nb. The second abseil anchor should be placed as low as possible, otherwise the descent maybe greater than 25m (if a 50m rope is used).
Sphinx Rock looking from east to west and our approximate abseil route.