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Claustral/Ranon - Preferred exit?

Posted: 23 Dec 2018, 21:55
by Kshitij
For years the preferred exit was across the Camel's saddle and back into Claustral brook (as indicated by NPWS's arrow sign ). The faint tracks on the left had sticks across them and were to be ignored.

Was going through Ranon today and noticed the sticks on the left were gone and instead a log lay across the usual way. Has the preferred way changed?

Re: Claustral/Ranon - Preferred exit?

Posted: 24 Dec 2018, 19:08
by T2
Kshitij, very interesting that the intersection has been actively changed. I went through Ranon about six weeks back and that wasn't the case. I did note at the time that the level of wear on the old Claustral entry track was much less than the exit track up Rainbow Ravine, which suggested that a lot of people were using the new detour.

My understanding is that National Parks still want people to use the traditional track that was in place from the old Claustral access. That said, they lack the resources to actively engage with the canyoning community these days and as long as people are avoiding the private property, they don't seem too fussed (based on the limited wording on the Alerts page for Blue Mountains National Park).

Up until this season, it seemed that most people were using the traditional route, but in the last few months the "short cut" has become very popular. I know that it is being used by commercial guides. I also know that quite a few trip leaders, including those who publicly advocate obeying the requests of land managers such as National Parks, have been using this alternate route, which is probably encouraging its popularity. I don't know who is responsible for placing the log in an attempt to mark this as the "correct" route.

I would point out that this route is not actually a quicker exit. While it saves about 500m of walking, it requires an abseil, so by the time the entire group puts harnesses on and descends it will likely take longer that the traditional route. The only reason it is done is to avoid a single short swim (less than 10m) in the upper section of Claustral.

Personally, I think the traditional route is the better option because not only do you not need to abseil, but it takes you through a really pretty section of creek and even some minor canyon formation. I'm more than willing to endure a quick dip in return.

Re: Claustral/Ranon - Preferred exit?

Posted: 28 Dec 2018, 09:38
by johnmurray49
This track or pad across the back of the Camels Hump has been in place many, many years, well before the closure of the private property access. In the "old" days it was just a different access point to do the canyon. It was also an emergency exit route if water levels were high. Many of our canyons have similar multi access points. Serendipity can be accessed from the head of the creek, from the eastern side or from the western side. The exit point from this canyon can be upstream or downstream. Arethusa is another that can be accessed from left or right and also has several exit points. I could list dozens of canyons which have several access points and exit points.
Just because the canyon "guide" book or internet "details" show you one option, it does not mean these are the only options.

Re: Claustral/Ranon - Preferred exit?

Posted: 29 Dec 2018, 10:42
by tom_brennan
NPWS was trying to discourage the formation of a new track in the Grose Wilderness area. Arguably that hasn't worked, and the alternate track sounds like it is now more worn in than the original in places.

That said, thus far I've continued to use the old track. As Tim says, it follows a section of beautiful rainforest creek with some minor canyon sections. In the old days, it used to be a good teaser for the more spectacular sections to come.

Re: Claustral/Ranon - Preferred exit?

Posted: 11 Jan 2019, 22:07
by Bron
I really like the old track. It's so pretty through the upper creek and is easy walking. Yes, there is a swim, but it's very short. The rest of the exit is such a slog that why would you want to skip the enjoyable part of it? And voluntarily bypass canyon sections for minimal time difference?
I should admit that I haven't actually done the new track, so I cannot compare the two. No description I've heard of it mentions the word 'pretty' etc though. I've only heard people say that it is dry. And slightly shorter in distance. Beauty trumps that for me. There may be a time if things go pear shaped on a trip and someone is struggling with cold/injury etc that I would consider the alternate track - but all going well I will continue to use the old track.