Mugii Murum-ban State Conservation Area (NSW)
Glen Alice 8931-4N
800 - 990 metres
Gap Creek Pagodas surround Gap Creek, upstream from Airly Gap, on the eastern slopes of Mt Airly. There are probably 6 or 7 different routes up into these pagodas from Airly Gap but usually they are only visited by people passing by on the Mt Airly firetrail.
This walk followed Gap Creek until the route was blocked by cliff faces and dry waterfalls. Turning back we found a way up through the western cliff line. From there the route traversed above the cliffs to the north until the creek could be crossed. At this point it was possible to scramble up the pagodas near the Mt Airly fire trail.
Route finding in pagoda country can be challenging. This walk was true to form - large cliffs, narrow ledges and sudden drop offs. Care is needed but the hard work is rewarded by wonderful views and more and more exquisite pagoda formations.
The clouds were low, threatening to rain - a very grey day. It stayed dry all day.
Our route through the pagodas took us to each of the 3 main spurs, sometimes across the top of the pagodas and other times finding a route along the ledges. Twice it was necessary to use a tape to descend small cliff lines too steep to scramble. Between the 2nd and 3rd main spurs we dropped into Airly Basin, a wonderful hanging valley, before climbing back up onto the 3rd finger.
After exploring the 3rd finger we headed back to Airly Gap via the Return Chute, a lovely narrow slot with a tunnel section, orchids and ferns that provided a way through the cliffline. From there it was a short walk down the scree slope straight back to the cars.