|12 November 2005
|Map: Yaouk 8626-2N Second Edition
Drive south from Canberra through Tharwa to the Yankee Hat car park.
This walk is number 16 in Graeme Barrow's Namadgi and Tidbinbilla Classics: Tough Bushwalks in Canberra's High Country and our outward leg followed number 13 in Graeme Barrow's Exploring Namadgi & Tidbinbilla: Day walks in Canberra's high country. I'm certainly glad we chose to do it in a clockwise manner (up via Gudgenby Saddle and down via Bogong Creek), rather than the reverse. This walk had been building in my mind and it was nice to do it at last. Spectacular views!
It was a beautiful late Spring day, forecast fine and maximum temperature for Canberra of 22degC. Max and I were walking by 8am, south from the car park along the Old Boboyan Road. Almost immediately the imposing sight of Mt Gudgenby appeared behind Yankee Hat South.
Our first leg was to Frank and Jacks Hut, 2.6km which we completed in 40 minutes. We had a poke in and around the hut (as before, well maintained) and the sheep dip out the back.
We then headed up the old fire trail/forestry trail at the back of the hut and, instead of following the trails as I'd planned, just took a B-line towards Gudgenby Saddle, trying to maintain any height we'd gained. Probably a lazy option, but we did end up at 9.00am at the wooded tongue were I'd planned to. This leg 1.4km and 20 minutes. In terms of height, we'd gained less than 100m from the car park.
Again, I learned a lesson as we tracked visually to the Gudgenby Saddle. I should have, at least, taken a compass bearing. Pretty easy walking through open scrub, as we were well to the south of the main footpad which goes up the steep gully to the Saddle. There were impressive (daunting?) views up to our objective at around 1km short of the Saddle, where we struck the footpad. We followed this to the broad saddle, reaching the native cheery tree morning tea spot at 10.05am. This leg was 2.8km and we gained an additional 250m in altitude. So, to this point, a fraction over 2 hours for 6.9km and around 300m up. We enjoyed morning tea for 10 minutes - bacon sandwiches and coffee for me!
I'd been to Gudgenby Saddle before and looked up through the bush towards Mt Gudgenby - now I was to experience what I'd read was a daunting climb. We set off on a bearing of 317degM and I was surprised to find the climb constant, but not too steep. The scrub was quite open, with a few large fallen trees and rocks as we got higher. 0.98km up from the Saddle, 50 minutes and 290m higher saw us out into the open at the foot of the granite cap. The views which opened up down to the Saddle and north to the Boboyan Pines where the car was were awesome! The Gudgenby trig towered above us, tantalisingly close. Quite easy to here, I thought.
The last 270m (along, on the map) took 20 minutes, and we gained another 110m in altitude. We climbed up some fairly gentle rock slabs, approaching the trig point from the east. No way up there. So we moved round to the north of the trig point rock pile, Max remembering a description of a 'thin, steep passageway before inching our way through a tilting cavern and finally hoisting ourselves up onto more boulders' from Barrow's book. This he found and all this we did, bringing us to the trig point from the NW. I placed a rock at the point where we emerged, so the return was marked. We were there by 11.25am, me learning the lesson that bare knees do not mix well with rock scrambling.
What astounding, 360deg, uninterrupted views!
Check out the larger sized photos via the thumbnails on the right. Starting from the N and sweeping E, we could see the green grass of the cleared Boboyan Pines/Bogong Creek swamp area and imagine the car in the tree line. Then round to the Gudgenby Saddle and the hills to its east, with the Tinderrys on the eastern horizon. To the SE was the green of the Naas Creek grasslands and Sentry Box Mountain rising above them (here I'd had my first Namadgi camping in July last year). We could see Sentry Box Rock to the west. Further round was the Yaouk Valley with Yaouk Peak to its south. Snow was visible on the Kosciuszko tops, with Mt Jagungal crouching clearly in the distance.
Sweeping from S through the W, we could identify Mt Scabby and Sams Creek, heading up towards the conglomeration of Bimberi peaks - Spot Height 1733, Mt Kelly, Mt Burbidge and Mt Namadgi. This was the view I'd come to see! Then the view north along the Mt Gudgenby top, including the spectacular rock pile, then onto Yankee Hat South and the Bogong Creek gully. Huge!!
I paid particular attention to Mt Burbidge, as we're day walking there next Saturday. I have the feeling it will be a looong, haaard day, if I haven't bitten off more than I can chew.
Lunch was taken for an hour. After admiring the views we kept low out of the wind in a rock crevice by the trig pile of stones. As usual, Home Brand fruit rings topped off cheese and salad and bacon sandwiches and the rest of my coffee.
I'd planned to return the same way, but we decided to find a different way down from the trig and to go and explore the rock pile to the north. That, plus Max's reading about the more northerly approach up Bogong Creek (as per Barrow) and the view to the NE, tempted us to freehand something different.
We headed down from the top just to the SW of were we'd come up. The rock shelf tilted down a little less aggressively. A short scramble had us down to a wide, grassed ledge which we followed round to the north and so out onto more manageable areas which took us to the rock pile, 320m north of the trig.
We passed them, set our compasses on 90degM and began the headlong plunge down through the scrub towards the vivid green of the cleared area by Bogong Creek where the timber starts. We were certainly glad we were coming down this way, rather than up! We passed through the sapling forest described by Barrow, now a dense belt of burnt, dead trees. It took 1 and a half hours to complete this leg, out into the green clearing by 2.10pm. It was 3.1km and a drop of 670m.
We got a little water from Bogong Creek, then decided to walk to the Yankee Hat aboriginal rock art site, as one of the party (not me) couldn't remember whether he'd been there or not. A leisurely 3.2km jaunt in 55 minutes along forestry track and the edge of the timber saw us at this special place, with memories of previous visits flowing back for both of us. We admired the art for 10 minutes.
2.7km back to the car along the beautiful Walking Track, through the wooded areas and open grasslands and across the bridge over Bogong Creek. 3.50pm saw us enjoying the first of a new tradition - a chilled bottle of Cascade Premium Light which had been on ice all day.
An excellent day with testing rock scrambles and absolutely awesome views. Good choice.
Distance: 17.7km Climb: 800m. Time: 8.00am - 3.50pm (call it 8 hours), with 1 hour 20 minutes of stops.
|1 Mt Gudgenby from the ridge behind Frank and Jacks Hut
|2 Panorama from Mt Gudgenby N-E-S
|3 Panorama from Mt Gudgenby S-W-N