8-9 July 2006 Mt Kelly - Mt Scabby Photos
Maps: Rendezvous Creek 8626-1S 1:25000; Yaouk 8626-2N 1:25000
Getting There
This walk was organised and led by Keith T as a CBC walk:
(8-9 July – Mount Kelly-Mount Scabby – M/R Boboyan - Mount Kelly - Mount Scabby - Sams Creek. Maps: Yaouk and Rendezvous Creek 1:25000 Leaders: Rene D and Keith T Transport: ~$20 Limit: 8).

Mt Scabby is on my 'to do' list, so here was the perfect opportunity (apart from the cold and powerful, running leaders).  Drive to the Yankee Hat car park.


Even though it was only July, I knew I was in august company when the participants became known to me on Thursday evening.  Each of them has been walking for yonks.  I had to put the pedal to the metal early in the day to catch the walk leader and, even though it was going up Fitzs Hill in the car, that set the scene for the rest of the weekend.  -4°C was a popular temperature for the walk, being the mark as we set off from the cars and also at 6pm on Saturday evening at our campsite at the Scabby tarn.  It dropped to close on -7°C on Saturday night.

But you can't complain about a leader who orders perfect, crisp but sunny, blue-sky, winter walking weather.  Such it was as the 5 of us set off across the Bogong Creek grasslands from the cars at 8am.  There were additional ominous signs, as 3 of the 5 wore 'Dunlop Volleys' (the favoured footwear of experienced hands) and others' packs were casually slung to their backs as if they were filled with air.  I'd struggled to get my weight to 15.6kgm - but I still have the port margin to drop if I get desperate.

The route followed up to these grand hills would have to be the least painful of all my (few) trips to date.  Our trusty leader chose the Burbidge spur and our first serious stop was at 9.30am for a few minutes, just after the first climb (1220m contour) (5.8km and 1hr 30mins to here).  Views through the trees to the ridge behind the Yankee Hats.

We pressed on up the spur till morning tea at around 10.30am and enjoyed a well earned rest at the top of the second climb (1470m contour) (6.7km and 2hr 30mins).

The next leg saw us continuing on up the spur to around the 1490m contour, to near where the third climb starts.  Here we sidled left to the S arm of Middle Creek, coming out onto the flats.  On up to reach Bogong Gap at 12 noon (9.3km and 4hrs).  12.35pm was good enough for lunch and we stopped for 30 minutes at the 1700m contour, half way up Mt Kelly (10.2km and 4hr 35mins).  We found a good granite drop which afforded great views across to Mt Burbidge, down to Bogong Gap and Middle Creek leading to the cleared grasslands (you could see the defined lines of vegetation at the car park), and around to SH1733 with the Scabby Range in the background.  Below us was Rotten Swamp.  A 10X zoom on the camera brought up the Mavis Ridge (which is attracting my focus for a walk there soon).

We pushed on up the last 130m climb to reach Mt Kelly right on 1.30pm (10.6km and 5hr 30mins).  Astounding 360° views on a clear winter's day (pic 1)!  Someone did a quick analysis of the log and counted 11 recorded visits in the last 12 months.  I've been in 3 of the parties since January, so perhaps this will be my last visit to Mt Kelly for a while.

What was different, as we departed to the SW at 2pm, was for me the new territory leading down and across to the Kelly-Scabby ridge and the famed tarn.  A mite chillier on this side of the hill and my first sight of ice in Namadgi (pic 2).  'Scabby' conjures up a pretty nasty picture in one's mind, but this is indeed a very pleasant area.  Easy walking through open vegetation, with a couple of ups and downs to keep one's attention, finally saw us at the famous tarn I'd heard so much about.  We walked across it at 3.40pm (pic 3), not miraculously dry or even with wet feet - unfortunately it was dry (14.3km and 7hr 40mins).

It's a lovely spot, as many have described; it would be idyllic with water in the tarn (see here and here for that).  A return visit at an appropriate time is a must for me.  We set up camp, the tigers in the group pitching their flies - one fully air-conditioned, the other with walls to the ground and end filled in.  I was quite happy to put up my fully enclosed tent.  A couple of us wandered nearly a kilometre down and out the NW end of the tarn until there was enough running water to gather 20 litres for the group.

We all dressed for dinner as the temperature dropped and enjoyed conviviality over tea, after dinner drinks (for some) and conversation.  It was a crystal clear evening with a bright ¾ moon.  We wondered if the moon glow was contributing a zillionth of a degree to the temperature which, surprisingly, inched its way up a notch after the 6pm figure (or was it warm tucker or grog in the tummy?).

I piked and retired at 7pm.  I listened to a few tunes on my MP3 player for a while and every 10 minutes shed a layer of clothing as the CBC-hired sleeping bag (with my silk and thermal liners) did its job.  Wonderful to be warm and comfortable.  The usual tossing and turning from side to back to other side; yet suddenly it was 7am.

We'd noticed low, rolling cloud to the west the previous day and it covered us on Sunday morning.  Foggy and frosty.  We were away just after 8am, heading SW and generally along the border.  The fog shrouded our surroundings at first and, although it restricted our view, made a beautiful environment for this lovely, open, rolling ridge.  You could stand on the pools of water collected in granite hollows, the ice was so thick.  At times patches of blue sky appeared (pic 4), but when we reached Mt Scabby at 9.35am (2.4km and 1hr 25mins), our view was restricted.  A 'bag' of the 5th last ACT high hill on my list!

We next headed NE to tackle a less precipitous route down to the saddle to the E of Mt Scabby, then up the hill to the E.  Looking back, the sky had cleared and there was an excellent view back to Mt Scabby (pic 5).  S then E to SH 1721, which we passed at 10.50am (4.5km and 2hr 45mins).

We continued E and down to cross the Sams Creek Fire Trail, the creek itself and lunched at GR712401 (MGA94) (6.5km and 4hr 15mins).  The temperature dropped to 1°C.

Away again at 12.55pm, sidling the creek on the E bank till we picked up the fire trail on the ridge between the creeks.  A trudge along it till our trusty leader signaled that it was time to turn into the scrub (8.9km and 5hr 25mins) to cross Naas Creek and head up the the Gudgenby Saddle.  I learned a couple of lessons here, as last time going to Kelly this way I'd not done well in this area.  The trick (coming from Gudgenby Saddle) is to keep close in the drainage line running from the saddle into Naas Creek and, after crossing the creek, keep on the same bearing till the fire trail is intersected.  Easy when you know how.

We reached the Gudgenby Saddle at 2.05pm (10.1km and 6hrs), then trundled down to the top of the open area on Bogong Creek (note - there's a tree with an old style yellow tape painted red at the SSW corner of the open area marking where the track to the saddle starts) (12.5km and 6hr 50mins).

A final trudge of 3.7km taking 1hr in a NW b-line to the cars across first the pleasant creek flats then the desolate ex-pine area (16.2km and 7hr 50mins).  Packs down at 4pm.

An excellent weekend!  Thanks to Keith T for leading it and for the company of Margaret C, Ian H and Mary H.

Distance: 32.4km  Climb: 1300m.  Time: 2 days.

Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
1 View from Mt Kelly - Mt Namadgi, Rotten Swamp, Mt Burbidge to SH1733
2 Ice on the S side of Mt Kelly
3 Walking over the Scabby tarn
4 Scabby ridge
5 View back to Mt Scabby from the E
6 Mt Gudgenby from the W