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The National Pass track between Wentworth Falls and The Valley of the Waters in the Blue Mountains of NSW was mostly built between 1906 and 1908 with picks, shovels, and crowbars. Construction did however commence in 1890 and the delay in completion was due to the problem presented by the cliff walls at the Wentworth Falls end.

An engineer, Captain Murray, was lowered by rope to survey a route down the cliff. The solution he came up with was to cut a zig-zag staircase into the cliff face. Access to the staircase also meant digging into the corner of the cliff to create a path to the staircase. This involved using dynamite. Workers also used bosun's chairs tied with ropes.

The Grand Stairway, as this part of National Pass came to be called, is the tallest outdoor staircase in Australia. Given today's more environmentally-sensitive minds, the Staircase would not have been built.

The opening of the track in 1908 was a huge event, and directly served to dramatically increase the number of visitors to the Blue Mountains. This was because until then, all visitors could do was stare down the deep cliff walls from high above at distant and inaccessible waterfalls and rainforests from one of the multitude of lookouts dotting the clifftops.

To this day, the National Pass remains the most popular track in the Blue Mountains, although some of the original track has been superseded and forgotten. I'm exploring one such section of old track tomorrow because I think it leads to the ledge above the mid-section of Wentworth Falls, which from that point was connected to the track by a series of walkways strung out over the boulders.

This shot was taken very early on a mid-winter's morning. I remember it being tad nippy. At this spot you couldn't swing a cat, so I basically was taking up all the space, with my tripod jammed into the corner of one of the zags. I used a Canon TS-E 24mm f3.5L Tilt+Shift lens with Shift engaged 8mm to the left and 8mm the right for a 3 shot pano with the camera in portrait position. Tilt was also engaged, and top it off I also rotated the lens to control the direction of the DOF. It was so tight I think I held my breath for the shot.

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