|19 November 2005
|Maps: Rendezvous Creek 8626-1S Second Edition 1:25000; Yaouk 8626-2N Second Edition
An objective of mine is to walk the major peaks of the Bimberi Wilderness in the Namadgi National Park - Mt Scabby, Mt Namadgi, Mt Kelly and Mt Burbidge. The latter 3 can be viewed from the lookout on the Boboyan Road, a couple of km past the end of the blacktop after the Yankee Hat car park turnoff. They look imposing. I'd seen a day walk to Mt Burbidge whilst looking through the old Canberra Bushwalking Club it magazines - 28 November 1998 and 15 March 1999. So all it needed was an experienced hand to provide some guidance.
We left Canberra early, having picked up the last of 4 walkers just before 6.30am. We were down at the Yankee Hat car park and ready to walk by 7.20am.
Description: Saturday 19 November - Mt Burbidge - L/R A flirt with the skirts of the main Bimberi Wilderness peaks. This will be a day long (and long day) jaunt, in via Middle Creek and Bogong Gap and out via the Yankee Hat saddle. They say there are excellent views down to Rotten Swamp and across to Mt Namadgi from Mt Burbidge. An early start and late finish for strong, quick walkers. Limit 8. Maps: Rendezvous Creek and Yaouk 1:25000. Leader: John Evans (under the watchful eye of Keith Thomas) (h) 6288 7235 (e) email@example.com Transport: ~$10. More information at www.pcug.org.au/~jevans .
The sun was catching the rocky top of Mt Burbidge as we looked across the rolling green of the Bogong Creek/Gudgenby River grasslands and up into the mouth of Middle Creek. To its rear were Mt Kelly on the left and Mt Namadgi on its right. My heart skipped a beat as, again, I silently wondered if I'd bitten off more than I could chew. I sure was glad I had my walking companions - Keith T (acting Walks Secretary of the club and insurance), Max S (my usual walking mate) and Peter A (who had been close to the top of Mt Burbidge on two previous occasions). I guess we were the only 4 available and mad enough for this long day walk.
The grasslands are beautifully green at the moment, after the wonderful Spring rain and it is always a pleasure to walk the track to the bridge over Bogong Creek. From here we struck off across to the 'boulder' feature marked on the map, near the mouth of the Middle Creek valley (3.3km and 40 minutes). Hitting it is always a navigational encouragement! Next stop was the rock shelter just a step across Middle Creek at GR757435 (MGA94) for a look around and a 5 minute stop. From there we headed to the aboriginal axe grinding grooves on Middle Creek, just where the fence line crosses it (2nd edition map). I'd been here before on a Wednesday walk, but it was hard today to point out the grooves, without expert advice. We stopped for a 5 minute breather, having covered the 4.5km to here in 1 hour 20 minutes. All this was a mere warm up for what was to come!
The route up the ridge line to the south east buttress of Mt Burbidge was quite clear - what we would do when we got to the foot of it was less clear. The ridge rose in 3 steep sections, with a bit of relief between each. The first climb was 150m, the second 250m and the third 150m. Medium cover bush all the way, but the climbs caused us to stop talking and focus on breathing. We reached the flatish area below the south east rock face of Mt Burbidge by 11am, now having covered 8.4km from our start.
Impressive as Mt Burbidge is from the Yankee Hat car park, it certainly gains in magnitude from up this close! There was some discussion as to left or right, but in the end it was 'up the guts with bags of smoke!' It was a further 100m up, with rock scrambling which slightly extended me. 35 minutes to do the climb. The view back down the route we'd taken was fabulous - see the pic on the right.
It took another 45 minutes to cover the rocky top to the cairn marked high point to the NW, including a short crawl through a tunnel under huge boulders. Discretion was the better part of valour for all of us as we decided not to chance the last couple of impossible metres to the high point marker. Instead we circumnavigated the base boulder and found a rock shelf for lunch with a northerly aspect.
12.15pm saw us munching luncheon and admiring the fabulous view. We looked out across to Mt Namadgi and the locally named Mt Mavis ridge. A few scramblings around to the west and we looked down onto Rotten Swamp and the Licking Hole Creek valley, with Mount Kelly Spur in the middle ground and Bimberi Peak on the sky line. Just south of west reared Mt Kelly, with Bogong Gap in between. Further to the west and south was the Scabby Range with Mt Gudgenby in the distance. All this was a fabulous vista which stirred me to think about a 2 or 3 day wander around these rocky peaks above the creeks and valleys.
We started down at 1pm and our return track took us down towards Bogong Gap, then south to just below the top of the south arm of Middle Creek. Following down the creek there were spectacular views up to the south west face of Mt Burbidge, including a huge bulbous granite feature the top of which we'd traversed earlier. We skirted the edge of an excellent sphagnum bog. At the next cleared area and the beginning of a steep cut in the creek we changed to the southern side. Remarkable to see patches of dense, unburnt tea-tree along the creek. We followed a spur down, keeping well up from the bouldery creek line. Blue coloured sun orchids.
We passed across the 'back' of the Yankee Hats - I realised how ridiculous it was to plan a 200m climb and extra kilometres at the end of a long, hard day! Finally out into the open and the wander over the grasslands to the car. Back by 4.45pm. The homing devices which were cleverly positioned in a chilled esky worked excellently.
This walk tested my limits. I certainly would not have attempted it without Keith T's guidance and assistance. However, it certainly gave me the confidence to go back into the area - maybe a day walk to Mt Namadgi. I appreciated everyone's company very much and learned a few more leadership lessons. The views and the hill were fabulous.
Distance: 19.5km Climb: 800m. Time: 7.20am - 4.45pm (call it 9.5 hours) with 1 hour of breaks.
|1 View back down from the Burbidge buttress
|2 Panorama N to E from Mt Burbidge
|3 View to SW face of Mt Burbidge