Tracks - Lindeman Pass
|350m + many ups and downs between 600 & 750m
Lindeman Pass began as the brainchild of Charles Lindeman, a local business man of Blackheath and then Leura. He was a member of both Katoomba and Blue Mountains councils. His idea was to link the walking tracks of Katoomba with those of Wentworth Falls by a walking track which skirts the top of the tallus slope through the Jamison valley, giving unobstructed, unique views of the valley.
Lindeman's first efforts started in 1898 when he followed up on Copeland's efforts in walking from Leura Cascades to sublime point. He also descended Copeland Pass and pushed accross the eastern side of sublime point to reach Gladstone Pass.1900 saw the Federal Pass completed by Katoomba Council and in 1903 Robert's Pass had been created by the Wentworth Falls trustees. By 1911 Lindeman's track was well under construction and all but completed. Only 100m was left to build at the base of Leura Falls.
Unfortunately a series of tragic circumstances prevented it from ever being completed or maintained by the authorities. Some of these were: Council rivalries, anti-german sentiment during WW1, lack of funds and changes in bushland management at crucial times.2
For much of its 100 year history the track has remained unmaintained and neglected except for the advocacy of Frank Walford in the 1920s and 30s and the track reconstruction attempted by Jim Smith and Wilf Hilder in the 1970s and 80s. In more recent times local walkers have done "gardening"on the track by clearing fallen branches etc. A steady flow of enthusiasts, inspired by Jim Smith's book, have also helped in keeping the track somewhat defined.2
- Roberts Pass (from Fairmont Resort)
- Roberts Pass (from Vera Falls track)
- Gladstone Pass
- Copeland Pass (west, east & nose)
- Leura Cascades / Fern Bower
A number of bloggs in recent years mention navigation as a problem. This is now not the case, although the track is difficult and severely eroded in places it is easy to follow and there are a number of tape markers where the track may be a little more difficult to spot. The worst section is the landslide just before the fern section on the eastern side of Sublime Point. A number of fallen trees and scree slopes have to be negotiated. In this section most usually the middle option when multiple paths present is best.
Starting from the Valley of the Waters. From the conservation hut follow the National Pass past Empress, Sylvia and Lodore Falls. At the National Pass Turnoff continue on the track further down the creek towards Wentworth Pass and Vera Falls. On the Vera Falls track you will come accross a series of steps which lead to a dead end track (Marked by NPWS). Don't take it. This is the original start of Robert's Pass. This first section of Robert's Pass was taken out by a landslide. Continue on the Vera Falls track and take the new Robert's Pass track. This track is easy to follow and is in reasonable condition.
The track coming down from the top of Robert's Pass is well sign posted. Lindeman Pass starts here. The walk around to Lawton's Creek is straight forward.
Two interesting but exhausting side trips are possible on Lawton's Creek, which runs down between The Bowden Ridge and Inspiration Point. Heading down will bring you to the old Gladstone Mine. There is also a track which heads up the creek just before a small cairn sitting on a large slab (see photo below). My solo exploration brought me to a dead end at a waterfall. The rocks on the left bank are climbable but it wasn't worth risking it on my own on a wet day. This may be passable with more people and equipment. Observable on the cliff to the left is an iron bar which most probably was a support for the aerial cableway which service the mine. Subsequent explorations have resulted in two passes in this gully, Lawbeck and Bowden passes.
After crossing Lawton's creek the track heads up to a set of stairs cut into the side of a slab. The lower track that leads straight ahead is the track down to the old Gladstone Mine which is a short side trip.
Take the blocked off track after crossing Lawton's creek. Follow down and around slope which heads back to the creek. Two large cairns can easily be found. Turn right and down at these about 30m to another cairn.The mine entrance should then be in sight. Following the bench around to the west will bring you to two more entrances.
Take the stairs to a high ledge with shaley cave. Warning: Recent reports say this ledge has colapsed and is very dangerous. Around the corner is a rope which assists in a boggy section. Follow around the point into the gladstone creek gully. The Gladstone Pass track can be found on the western side of Gladstone creek. It heads uphill and back towards the creek, not easily seen when walking past.
Dash's Cave (545 649, 33°43'38.7"S 150°20'55.6"E) is close to the Gladstone Pass turn off. In it there is a billy with a logbook. When exiting Dash's cave go back the way you entered to the track below rather than by the ledge that leads from it. It is named after Charles Lawson Dash (c1887-1958) by Jim Smith c1985 in honour of his involvement with Lindeman Pass. In 1913 Dash argued in favour of Katoomba Council completing Lindeman Pass. Charles Dash was a local alderman, Mayor and business man. Advertised his business by placing a flag on top of Orphan Rock with his name and slogan, Dash & Orphan Rock Stand alone.3
The most challenging part of the walk is the next section, between Dash's Cave and Sublime Point. There are two major sections of landslide where the original track has been wiped out and large fallen trees block the way. Care must be taken to keep on the track. Jim Smith's notes at this point are out of date as more recent landslides have occurred.1 The first section is easily navigated although the track is rough in places. In the second section there are four places where a decision about whether to go up or down needs to be made. The easiest way through is to go up, down, up, down. At the end of the last landslide there is a possible route up Copeland Pass (Eastern variation - see notes on Copeland Pass). Once through the Landslide and Fern section it is a short walk to the end of Sublime Point where Copeland Pass starts. The Copeland Pass track is marked by a cairn at the point where the track turns the point (534 633, 33°44'29.0"S 150°20'16.3"E). A second track up Copeland Pass can be found 500m further on and is maked by a large cairn (533 638, 33°44'13.8"S 150°20'13.7"E).
The track from here to the end is in relatively good condition as it is on the drier western side. The track bypasses Walford Falls, which can be seen not too far off through the trees, before it gets to Lindeman Falls. This section also gives good views of the eastern side of the Three Sisters.
Gordon Falls is not far after Lindeman Falls. The track takes you in behind the falls. Make sure you stay close to the cliff as the area downstream is boggy and fragile.
At Microstrobos falls veer right towards the cliff line rather than go down into the boggy section below the falls. By staying on the rockier section we may be able to limit damage of this fragile environment. Great views of the Three Sisters, Sublime Point and Mt Solitary occur along this next section of track that eventually lead to Leura Falls. Take care to not drop too low in this section as it is easy to end up off track and miss the ledge that takes you round into the Leura creek gully. After going down the smal iron ladder the track descends a swithchback, under a large log and over another, over 3 creek crossings (1 dry and 2 wet and slimy). Around a small ridge after the third the track goes up not ahead (the ahead track is a dead end and leads to the Fungus 'shelf' pictured below).
As you come upon Leura Falls (lower section) stay high and then follow the zigzag track that brings you to the flat rocks at the base of the falls. Cross these (usually very slippery) and locate the Sewer inspection cover on the far side. The track goes straight up from there and within minutes you arrive at the end of the Pass just near the bridge at the base of Linda Falls. As an alternate, following the creek (on the right hand side) will take you to Adelina Cascades and eventually to the track that goes to the Kedumba Pass fire trail. This is sometimes known as the Sewerage Workers Track.
Starting from the Linda Falls. A number of walkers I have met on the trail have indicated the confusion they experienced trying to find and navigate Lindeman Pass from the Leura end. Certainly the proliferation of tape on the eastern side of Leura creek has added to this confusion. Many groups had put tape up showing the route they took having missed the actual track. I recently scoured the hill and removed all of the unhelpful tapes.
The track starts within 10m of crossing the bridge at the bottom of Linda Falls (516 652, 33°43'26.4"S 150°19'11.0"E). This track is wide and well made. When you come in sight of Leura Falls, descend straight down to the flat rocks near the bottom of the falls. Cross these taking care as they are very slippery when wet. On the other side of the creek ignore the tapes on trees, scramble downstream for 20m or so and then head up towards the cliff line on a zig zag track. At the top of the slope there is another sign indicating that you are on Lindeman Pass. The track is easy to follow from there.
An Historic Article on Lendeman Pass:
Mountaineering is as much "a gift" as steeple jacking, wire walking or exploring. In fact, it embraces something of the quality of the three accomplishments. To be a successful Mountain climber a brain undizzied by height or depth is required; feet as sure as a chamois, and a natural instinct for direction uncannily like the mysterious power of the wagnetic (sic, magnetic) needle are also needed. The man gifted by Nature with these faculties finds something very congenial in the physical features of the Blue Mountains. There is a never-failing supply of material upon which to exercise the bent or genius or to gratify the hobby for tracking the trackless and invading the secret places set aside by Dame Nature for her own use.
Katoomba owes much to a select few of such specialists, who, with infinite patience and resolute gameness have wormed their way inch by inch to vantage points apparently unattainable. The tortuous and peculiar tracks which thread the labyrinth of cliff and gorge in Fern Gully [at Grand Canyon] and the Leura Cascades are a wonderful testimony to the untiring efforts and stout-hearted skill of Mr McKillop, a one-time Alderman of Katoomba.
In 1893, Mr Copeland, now associated with the Progress Association, ventured out to the foot of the cliffs at Sublime Point and succeeded in scaling that rather forbidding acclivity. This performance has not been repeated during the 20 years that have elapsed since then. Such exploits are, however, very useful because such places as have been trodden by the foot of man may be made so that the ordinary person may traverse them.
Our remarks upon Mountain pioneering are prompted by a motion by Ald Dash at last Council meeting. He moved that as soon as funds were available, an entrance be provided from the Leura Falls reserve to Lindeman Pass, with a view of opening up the Pass for the use of tourists. It is no use making remarks, or passing opinions upon any project or scheme without first making personal investigation, and, so that we could speak with certainty upon the matter, an "Echo" representative was despatched to "do" the Pass. The report submitted proved the tenability of the motion. Lindeman Pass has been years
in the making. It has cost a considerable sum of public money and a vast amount of energy and ability on the part of Ald Lindeman, to whose daring and patience the survey of the noble Pass is due.
It is thirteen years since the opening of any new route through the beauties of this district, when Sir William Lyne officially opened the Federal Pass in 1900. The beauties of Nature do not fade with ages, and the most frequented sights are still as interesting and attractive as when first made passable, but we have to invest our heritage with a spice of novelty. The freshness of a new aspect has a wonderful drawing power to those whose feet have wandered along the paths discovered ten to twenty years ago. Lindeman Pass has been in existence for the last three or four years, but owing to failure to connect with the much-frequented Leura Falls it is as yet unknown, and unused by the great crowd of touring visitors. A few pounds spent at the foot of Linda Glen in making a path under the second fall at Leura to connect with the Lindeman Pass, would throw open a four mile track of exceptional beauty. It seems strange that the Reserves Committee of the Council has not moved in this direction.
The Pass is the work of the Gordon Falls Trustees, constructed under the personal supervision of Ald Lindeman out of a Government grant of £40 per year. At present - and indeed for the last two years - the track cut and formed at so much expense and trouble is lying unused and neglected having no approach to the Katoomba end. The chief merit of the Lindeman Pass lies in the fact that it has been cut right at the foot of the perpendicular cliffs, thus keeping above the Valley forests and maintaining a clear view of the gorgeous vistas of the lowlands.
For scenic beauty and wealth of vegetation it is far and away superior to the Federal Pass. Council is constantly theorizing about opening up new places of interest, yet Lindeman Pass, one of the most magnificent Mountain walks, has been begging for two years for an open door. The make-shift mentioned above would suffice for the present, but the proper connection should be on the face of the cliff leading up to the top of the second Leura fall.
It is amazing to know that of all the men interested as trustees not one (with the solitary exception of Mr Lindeman) has completed the journey of inspection right round the Pass from Leura Falls to the pretty glen which has its outlet on the eastern slope of Sublime Point. The active and hard-working Alderman has explored, surveyed and supervised the work of the Pass and the average cost has not amounted to more than 7s per chain.
Although no maintenance has been done for the last two years the track is in fair condition and only requires an entrance to be one of the most popular walks in the district. We trust that the vague term "when available," as applied in Ald Dash's motion, will not prove to be the epitaph of this glorious Pass, but that immediate steps will be taken to turn the valuable asset to profitable account. We also trust that the name of the man who has done most — in fact done all — in this link between the Federal and National Passes will be perpetuated when the time of official baptism occurs.
|Thanks for your comment Ashley. Yes a number of us have been clearing that messy section and simplified the route. Unfortunately it will always continue to devolve as landslides and tree falls are common. Copeland pass (nose route) is tricky if you miss the few cairns that are there. I may revisit the pass and create more detailed notes. The East route is much harder to find, overgrown and very deep in leaf litter. The West route as you mentioned is tricky in the middle section. I have now updaed the notes and included a photo of the lower junction.
|I have been walking this track in stages. So fare by descending Gladstone pass and up Roberts Pass and again descending Gladstone pass and walking around to the west side of Sublime Point to then scramble up the Copeland Pass. The lindeman Pass track is easy to follow, (yes there are land slides to navigate but foot tracks have helped to navigate through) i'm guess this is due to more people knowing about the track via internet. Copeland Pass was a little tricky and found the middle part of the track hard to navigate. Maybe the ascending from the east side would have been easier?
|That was one of the best walks I did . Thank you, Rob. The views were amazing and the historic touch made it a very special experience. Best regards, Ewa