Passes - Lawbeck Pass
|Track Condition||5||Overgrown or badly eroded.|
Lawbeck Pass begins at the back of the Fairmont resort and descends Lawton's Creek to Lindeman pass. The first known (by this author) ascent was by Mitchell Lindbeck Nov 2016. The bottom section had been explored by many, evidenced by the footpad which leads to the first majot obstacle. After this though there is little evidence of human disturbance. I know some have abseiled down from the top but I know of no other "walking" ascents or descents. Some iron fittings can be seen higher up on the western bank cliffs near the bottom of the canyon when approaching the firdst abstacle. I metal bracket can also be found (pictured below). These are believed to be the remnants of either the supports for the Gladstone mine aerial cableway or supports for an access ladder. As yet I have found no other evidence to indicate which.
Access: Fairmont Resort (Grand Cliff Top Walk)
Starting from Lindeman Pass there are two variations for the start. The first is to follow the creek up. This is a scrambling excercise over slippery rocks. The second, less slippery, is to go west on Lindeman Pass to the top of the first rise after Lawtons Creek. There is a track that heads up and then along a ledge. Both variations meet up within about 50m or so.
Follow the creek using the west bank to navigate past the small waterfalls. Halfway up the canyon there is a big boulder blocking the creek and a 2m wall on the west bank. This is the first major obstacle. The climb up is the 2m wall close to the creek. There are some hand and foot hold but mantling is required. Best to get one person up then put a rope down for the rest of the party. There is a solid medium size tree about 5m up.
Continue up the canyon which starts to narrow, again using the west bank when the creek is impassable. Eventually you will come to the most closed in section which ends at a waterfall. It looks as if there is no way up.
To find the pass, turn around, and about 50m back on the left looking down you will find a chimney going away from you (pictured below - Route out). This is the way up. The initial section is best tackled inside the cliff. Chimney up a few metres heading back towards the outside using the chockstone. A hand-line might be able to be set off a tree up higher, but it’s probably easier to chimney than to try and haul yourself up a rope at this point. Continue up the ramp, which has several steps and is quite loose in places (See Steep leaf litter pictured below). Go all the way to the top of the ramp, and cross over to the right. It is worth exploring around this area a little bit as the formations are quite interesting. There are potentially several ways out at this point. Only one way has been done and the rest look to entail either much more exposure or steep slippery bush. The ledge around to the right has been explored but not seriously attempted, probably being more of a climbing route out, and the ramp system heading into the bush to the left if you cross over from the point was also explored briefly but not seriously attempted. The way up is in the continuation of the chimney ramp. From a vantage point back from the steepening you can see where to go. There are several useful trees and ledges that are used to pass this obstacle. Head up to the steepening. There is a tree on a ledge on the right which can be surmounted. Two options then present: 1) Then step left about 2m past another thin tree into a groove. Get up the groove, digging holds out of the dirt, and grab the first tree you can reach. Set a hand-line for anyone who doesn't want to do the moves. A proper belay might be considered for some as it is quite steep. 2) Go directly up the corner above which presents relatively clean rock with plentiful holds. These options are pictured below - the Final obstacle.
From this point, head up through the bush, there is another step that can be climbed easily or most likely walked around. Keep heading up winding your way around several other patches of rock. As the terrain levels out, the bush thickens and you find your way bashing generally in the direction you need to go. A faint trail may materialise, or else you’ll eventually just pop out on the fire trail at the back of the Fairmont Resort.
I have also been exploring another possible pass, heading up the ramp on the west bank up onto Elizabeth Bowden Ridge (still to be fully explored). An exploratory on 22nd Sept 2017 took me to within 30 vertical metres of the top! I was faced with a 3 - 4m climb that I was unprepared to do on my own when feeling tired. This route heads up to the left after the first obstacle. As each new level of cliffline is reached keep heading left and up until you reach the top cliff wall. Follow the "ramp" up the side of the wall to the right. I tried to come down from the top to see how difficult the remaining top section was but couldn't find a way to see the position I got to. If it is doable I have decided to name it Bowden Pass and the route will be published in detail on its own page.
|2017-03-14||Graeme Holbeach||Long ago I mentioned to the man who named Lawton's Ck that I was going to see if it was possible to get up there. He said he had looked and it wasn't negotiable, so I didn't bother. Not only did I miss a chance at fame, but likely talked several others out of having a look as well!|