Bolaro Slabs and Boulders

Thursday 6 August 2020


Photos courtesy of Ian, Barry and Philip

It has been a few years since we last sampled the delights of Bolaro Mountain’s granite tors.  Walking such areas is now much easier than before the recent bushfires which have almost eliminated the understorey.  So now was the time to traverse the most spectacular parts of Bolaro’s huge boulders and slabs.

On this day the weather was perfect – sunny, mild, no wind.  Due to Corona19 restrictions, many of us have not been walking so we looked forward to an enjoyable day.  Unfortunately, it was not to be for 2 of our 8 starters due to a sprained ankle (the victim was efficiently “retired” from the field to head home and is now happily recuperating).

Following recovery actions, we resumed our journey to the first of the large boulders, probably the largest on the mountain complex.  High, near the ridgetop, this sentinel can even be seen on satellite images.  It is perched on the top edge of a particularly large sloping slab of solid rock, accentuating its size and prominence.  It even has a mate, large in its own right but dwarfed by the star of the show.

We moved on, and upwards, moving out of pure Spotted Gum into Maidens Gum and White Stringybark country and through rock – lots of rock.  It was a slow, exhausting 400 metre elevational slog straight up the mountain, skirting yet another hectare sized granite slab.

Although the bushfire had removed what little understory is normally in this forest, the loose rock underfoot, and the fallen Spotted Gum bark hiding the ground surface, made progress slow.  Where possible, we “slabbed”, avoiding the few wet lines where water exuded from rock cracks.

When we reached our lunch destination we were sweating from our exertions but the lunch rock perch overlooking the slab was worth it – uninterrupted views to Pigeon House and The Castle.  In the sun, and the peace and quiet, it was a suitable resting place for a well earned snack.

Traversing westward on the edge of the boulder dropoff we eventually found the only cliff marked on the old contour maps.  Cliffs are rare on rounded granite batholiths so, as expected, this was more of a series of large overhanging boulders but very interesting nonetheless.

It was time to return.  A long gradual descent on unstable scree material, avoiding boulders and small ever present slabs, brought us to yet another very large boulder, surrounded by the remains of vines and other undergrowth.  Its hairy fringe of rock lilies was looking rather the worse for wear from the wildfire which, in hours, ran rampant from here to the coast on New Year’s Eve.

On our exit route we visited the last feature of interest, arguably the largest rock slab on the mountain.  It is a huge three hectare swath of mother earth, gently sloping in a slow curve to the sunny north, in streaky greys and whites as its broad expanse gradually steepens to an abrupt base in the Spotted Gums and Burrawangs.  A few lonely scorched figs, now recovering from fire, were the only adornment on its upper slopes.

As the sun began its winter descent to our left we headed to the cars, weary and a little foot sore, but having enjoyed a beautiful day in the best of Bolaro’s wonderful granite rockfields.