ROCKY MT. & MT. CATTLEY
by
Keith Lancaster
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Note: The reports have been scanned in as written. I have included the height and distance indications, e.g.:
(1000'- 12m.- 4.45p.m.)
which read as follows: height in feet - miles for the day - time.

Next morning (Friday, 30th. March 1990) I left at 7.15 a.m. and drove back to the highway and then eastward along to the Black Range parking point at 7,30 a.m..

At 7.35 a.m. I set off on foot southwards towards the summit of Rocky Mt. up a relatively clear button grass hillside. Once on the initial crest, I continued on southwards gaining height on each eminence until the final summit (3100') was reached at 8 a.m. at a group of quartzite boulders. Clouds restricted the view in all directions, so I hastily retreated to the van at 8 20 a.m..

At 8.40 a.m. I drove westward for 4.3 kilos. to the Cattley Road which branched off on the right. Almost a kilo. along, the Celery Road turned off on the left. Another kilo. along the Cattley Road a short branch turns off on the left and three kilos. further on the road bifurcates. I explored the right fork which ended after a kilo. Returning to the junction, I took the other fork (South Cattley Road) which ended at a quartzite quarry after 1 kilos..

At 10 a.m. I was away, climbing to the top of the quarry and finding an animal pad which led me up through low tea tree to the ridge crest above. Although this long ridge is titled Mt. Cattley, it could well have been the Cattley Range as it linked its highest peak at the northern end to a high peak at the southern end three to four kilos. apart. The ridge crest is capped with timber, mainly eucalypts interspersed with tea tree, bauera, cutting grass and a miscellany of other vegetation.

For a while the course was reasonably open but it steadily deteriorated. A minor break in altitude provided a short break across a button grass col but it was a brief respite. The quartzite-conglomerate outcrops along the summit with their surrounding scrub provided hold-ups as I pushed steadily onward to reach the scrubby summit (2900') at 11.35 a.m..

For a short period I made better progress on my return, but then I seemed to strike all sorts of impediments and rarely secured a welcome break. My slow progress eventually became alarming as I found it difficult to recognise specific sections and at 2 p.m. I decided to abandon the ridge and try a course lower down on the eastern side where a little button grass could be seen. This was a fallacy as the button grass was enveloped in a bauera-tea tree tangle and it proved an exhausting struggle gaining ground. After covering a couple of hundred metres of this, I struggled up to the ridge crest to find it just as difficult. Much easier open button grass existed or the western side below the crest, but I was reluctant to adhere to this for long in case the ridge should bifurcate without my knowledge. Thus I continued on between short breaks on the edge of the button grass and a periodic exploration into the dense growth on the west.

By 3 p.m. my position appeared desperate. I should have reached the quarry nearly two hours ago and I could be well past it and, if so, in all sorts of trouble. Again I abandoned the crest and started pushing down the eastern side through head high tea tree and bauera. Eventually the growth lessened slightly in height and I glimpsed something which looked like a road below and my spirits rose. It was still a long slog through continuous vegetation which was slow to show any improvement. I realised it was not a road but the drainage shoot from the quarry - much better news. I reached it at 3.30 p.m. and the van at 3.35 p.m..

It was rather late for lunch, so I got a fire going and cooked an early dinner that sufficed to cover both meals. There was still a little sunshine which induced a change of clothes and I took the remainder of the afternoon recuperating and decided to camp there for the night. A change in the weather next morning induced me to return home.

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