|3-4 June 2006
|Mt McKeahnie and Corin Dam
|Map: Corin Dam 8626-1N 1:25000
My pack weighed in at 19kgm, including 3 litres of water and nearly a litre of port to share. If anyone new to walking is interested in what to take, learn from my mistakes - here it is. With hindsight, it was still too much!
We moved the cars down to the Kangaroo Creek 'bridge'. The road side parking area was crowded with a couple of cars of ANUMC folk day walking to Mt KcKeahnie. Oh to be young and fit.
There was no warmup - away at 8.50am and just straight up the spur over the other side of Kangaroo Creek as it climbed towards McKeahnie Trig. I'd been here before, on 4 Oct 04 and 22 Sep 04, but in from the NE off the Square Rock track. Some magnificent granite as we climbed. Morning tea was taken for 20 minutes around 10am near the 1330m feature near the top of the spur (1.5km and 1hr 20mins).
On to McKeahnie Trig, passing it on the W side. We didn't bother to climb nearer to the mighty pile of stones (2.3km and 2hrs). However, a few tens of metres further on we paused to take in the views of the fire ravaged, granite-spotted ridge and knolls extending S to Mt McKeahnie. This was tremendous for me - I'd taken in this view on previous day walks and toyed with the idea of going on. I learned over the next few hours that that would have been an ill-advised decision! Good views down into the top of Orroral Valley and across to the Ridge of Stone on the NE side of the valley.
There was granite, granite and more granite, all the more obvious when viewed through the stark and slowly regenerating trees. The ridge had significant knolls on it and, in places, the going was tough. In one place a crawl through a short rock tunnel and another time a scramble up a granite crack which required packs to be tossed up ahead of each climber. A few spots of snow on the S side of features, and views to significant dustings on the peaks of the Brindabellas. Lunch at 12.40pm for 20 minutes, about 2/3 of the way between McKeahnie Trig and the rock shelf to the NW of Mt McKeahnie (3.9km and 3hr 50mins). Slow going.
We reached the rock shelf at 2.20pm (4.8km and 5hrs 30mins) and, whilst we watched the ANU walkers descend through the boulders, Chris talked us through the options available - as time was of the essence. We decided to split the party, one tiger walker and another party member going on to our campsite and the other 4 of us dropping packs and making a dash to Mt McKeahnie.
We reached Mt McKeahnie at 3.10pm, the top marked by a small rock cairn (5.2km and 6hrs 30mins). Huge views - the mighty ears of Dutchies Peak reared 400m to the SE (we'll get there next time); the snow covered tops of the Bindabellas stretched along the W horizon; Split Rock was obvious to the S with Mt Namadgi at its rear; Tidbinbilla Mountain to the N.
We were back down to our packs by 3.40pm (5.6km and 7hrs). As the sun went down in the W, we headed a further 1.5km to our campsite (7.1km and 7hr 50mins). Chris was pleased to find a geological anomaly - the clear division between granite and sandstone bases. Our 2 companions had arrived, found water and set up their tents; we found a small pool of water in a little dry creek and also set up house as the evening closed in. Tea, a shared port and other liquid refreshment (more bang per gram) and to bed. A mild night, a little cloudy and windy which kept the frost away.
8am was the appointed time to set off, so I rose at 6.30am for a quick comfort stop, then back to bed for breakfast.
We headed out at 8.20am, the terrain a little easier to handle with lighter vegetation but many broken rock and scree surfaces. We passed over SH1415 and had excellent views E to the ridge line between McKeahnie Trig and Mt McKeahnie and W down to Corin Dam with its surrounding beaches.
Our next leg was down the spur running N from the SH, then turning NW and W. The drop from around the 1200m contour to around 1000m was substantial, the final drop into Clear Hills Creek taking us down unstable scree. Chris made the quote of the day - 'if the contour lines don't actually touch, then it's (usually) doable'! One member of the party showed us a clean pair of heals as he quickly descended - the rest of us a little more slowly (1.9km and 1hr 40mins). We took morning tea in the sun for 25mins.
As for most of the walk, the lie of the land dictated our route and it was obvious that we had a steady climb up the spur to our N-NNE. The vegetation and footing was much more manageable, but the start of the spur was puff-making for most of us.
We reached SH1327 at 12.20pm (4km and 4hrs) and took lunch.
A couple of further options were discussed, but we thought it wise to head for the cars. Convenient spurs to the NW then N took us to Kangaroo Creek, the last portion being sharp and rocky. Across Kangaroo Creek, then the climb up to the road - even the last pinch to the guard rails had us puffing! On the black top at 2pm (5.7km and 5hr 45mins).
1.4km saw us back at the cars at 2.20pm.
This was indeed a demanding walk for me in an area, as Chris said, not often visited. Plenty of granite and very few level patches! Thanks to Chris L for planning and leading, and to Margaret C, Ian H, Karel P and Ralph Y for their company.
Distance: 14.4km Climb: 1350m. Time: 2 days.
|1 Granite on the ridge above Kangaroo Creek
|2 Zoom to Dutchies Peak 400m away from Mt McKeahnie
|3 Impressive granite off the W side of Mt McKeahnie
|4 McKeahnie Trig to Mt McKeahnie ridgeline from the W
|5 We came down there to Clear Hills Creek
|6 Going down to the dam over unstable scree