21-22 July 2007 Mt Kelly (... or 1m of snow and -11°C) Photos
Maps: Yaouk and Rendezvous Creek 1:25000
Getting There

This walk was organised and led by Rene D and Keith T as a CBC walk:

(21-22 July: Mount Kelly-Mount Scabby – M/R Boboyan - Mount Kelly - Mount Scabby - Sams Creek - Boboyan. If weather or snow conditions are unsuitable, this walk will be relocated. Maps: Yaouk and Rendezvous Creek 1:25000 Leaders: Rene D and Keith T Transport: ~$20 Limit: 8.).

5 good souls (including one who had driven 5½hrs) met and drove down to Tharwa. Here the signs said Boboyan Road closed but we pressed on, with our good leader formulating plan B but hoping that the road closure would be S of the Old Boboyan Road turnoff. It was.

Further Information

Similar to what we did last time.


Day 1

We arrived at the Yankee Hat carpark just before 8am and stepped out to see the most magnificent view up above the mouth of Middle Creek. Mt Namadgi had plenty of snow, particularly the S flank, Mt Burbidge was crowned in granite and white, and Mt Kelly at the back was whitest of all. Kangaroos grazed in the foreground, no breeze, blue sky above - it was an idyllic day and hard not to believe that our leaders didn't have connections in high places to order such weather.

Away just after 8am. Our first pause at 3km in a sprightly 35mins to strip down a layer or two. On past the massive boulder which scores a red asterisk on the map and a second pause to top up water at the lower junction of Middle Creek arms. Beautiful walking on a crisp, clear winter's morning. On up the Burbidge ridge with, thank goodness, another pause after the first 100m climb onto the second level. Great walking this level through open forest. Up the next climb starting at 1300m we hit the snow and by morning tea at 1460m (6.8km, 460m climb, 2hr 40mins to here) there was a covering of several centimetres. A well deserved break of 30mins on a N facing bare patch, although the probe-equipped, electronic-powered, engineer-wielded thermometer was recording only 5°C.

We continued up towards the 1500m contour, then sidled round towards and across the arm of Middle Creek which comes down from Bogong Gap. Stunning views up to the snow covered granite bulb on the SW side of Mt Burbidge. At the top of the creek and S of Bogong Gap we hit serious snow and it became obvious that, with snow and ice on the SW ridge of Kelly towards the Scabby ridge, we'd not get through. On up to just SW of the Gap for lunch, this time sitting on granite as the ground was well covered (9.4km, 600m climb, 4hr 40mins to here). Munch time of 35mins, with great views through the trees to Mts Burbidge and Namadgi.

The plan firmed that we'd drop packs and wander up Mt Kelly, so we headed to the saddle between said hill and SH1733 on the Scabby Range as it heads SE. Keith was leading and I was trudging in his footsteps which, most of the time, were shin deep, but sometimes knee deep. I kindly said "that must sap some energy" and he graciously responded "how about plugging some holes?" I presume this is Aussie understatement, but guessed it meant would I take the lead. It was physically most demanding and I could only keep at it for a few hundred metres (Keith must have done over a kilometre). But we eventually reached a suitable place to drop our packs (GR70464570 MGA94) and thought that if anyone else came along and wanted to pinch them, they could carry them out. (10.1km, 5hr 40mins to here).

We headed up at 1.50pm through deep snow (at times to our thighs - that would have to be one metre). The scrubby belt was a little difficult. We reached the top, on hands and knees in some places, 1829m, at 2.40pm (see pic 1). Astounding, awesome ... just not enough superlatives. This was my 5th time on Mt Kelly, but I've never seen it like this! One of the legends in the party (of which there were four) reckoned that the weather and snow conditions were a one year in ten opportunity. Starting from just E of N there was Mt Namadgi with Rotten Swamp below (see pic 2). Then the Mavis Ridge (which draws my attention for a couple of planned walks) round to Mt Burbidge. The Tinderrys sit on the horizon. Swinging S of Burbidge you see down a Middle Creek arm past Yankee Hat N and S to the grasslands and pretend one can see the car at the well defined vegetation edge. S is the top of Kelly with Sentry Box at back, then SW to the way down and up the Scabby Ridge. Far in the distance is Jagungal with the Snowys marching S. W is the unnamed hill which gives access to the Kelly Spur, with Mt Murray directly behind. N from there are Bimberi Peak and the Brindabellas. Closer in to the N is the Kelly Spur and the distinctive Coronet Peak (see pic 3). What a vista!

The obligatory top shots of the party, of course, to record the event. Our leader also made an entry in the log - a slow process, as the biro needed a shot of warm breath every word or so to keep it going. Much reminiscing concerning previously recorded trips and walkers. The weather-etched trig stick was carrying a little extra weight (see pic 4).

Away just after 3pm. The S end of the top afforded us a view down to the top of Sams Creek and we were able to pick out a prospective camp site, under two large eucalypts which kept the area white-free from the snowy surrounds.  Back to our gear by 3.35pm, the descent a little quicker.

1.1km down through the scrubby belt at the top of Sams Creek and out onto the flats. The viewed camp site was perfect and we dropped packs at GR70134471 MGA94) at 4.15pm. A fairly confined area and, after I admitted I snored, some happy campers tried to distance their tent sites from mine. Another sited herself excellently around the back of the chosen fire-place (we were in NSW). The usual drill - firewood, tent up, water, etc. I was most pleased with my boots and knee-high winter/wet gaiters - my socks and feet were dry. Dressing for dinner took on added significance as the temperature plummeted - apart from long-johns, I was most grateful for the loan of a down jacket from Bob E. For me, soup, freeze-dried beef teriyaki, hot chocolate and a little (yes, 300ml rather than 1l) port to share. So pleasant round the fire that I stayed up till 7.30pm. True to self, I dropped and lost a glove abluting no 1 in the dark. I think I now have 2 left hand gloves after a similar loss in Tassie a couple of years ago. Sermons and rock 'n' roll as usual on the mp3 player. I'd taken the opportunity to test my new 750gm Western Mountaineering bag and I was very warm - possibly also thanks to clothes, Bob's jacket, silk and thermal liners.

Day 2

The morning dawned crisp and clear. I was rude enough to suggest that several other party members snored - my companions were generous enough to not say whether I'd kept them awake. A leisurely start as there was no option, given the conditions, other than to return via Sams Creek fire trail. The minimum-recording-function on the probe-equipped, electronic-powered, engineer-wielded thermometer said -11.2°C. Thank goodness it was not snowing/blizzarding/windy/raining - again, it was a perfect (but cold, still around -8 to -10°C)  morning. I'd learned some tips around the fire the previous night - if you don't have a wife with you, sleep with your boots and water bottle (and batteries and techno-gadgets, which I already knew). Keith estimates a tent raises the temperature about 5°C (-11-5=-6), so that's why my gaiters and extra water in the tent but not close were frozen in the morning. BTW - Jen H boils the billy last thing, pops the water in her SIG water bottle then in bed (so has a nice hot water bottle) and has liquid H2O for brekky! However, I could only just get my boots and laces pliable enough to put on and someone in the party had to light the fire in order to thaw their boots. Breakfast in bed, with lovely shots to the N as the sun hit the tops (see pic 5).

Away at 8.40am. The snow was a little crisper and held our weight a little better, but the deeper drifts still had us in up to our knees. Down the flats, across the creek and to our first genuine sighting of Sams Creek fire trail at 9.25am (GR69784354 MGA94). It comes and goes. Crossed to the W side of the creek and found morning tea at 9.55am (2.8km and 1hr 15mins to here). A stop to refill water just after as we again neared the creek, then continued up on the dry ground on its W side. Another good, benched, obvious spot on the fire trail at GR70644113 (MGA94).

And so to a crossing of Sams Creek and lunch at 11.35am (5.5km and 2hrs 55mins to here). Stoves out for a brew and political discussion.

Away after 45mins, a simple matter of following the fire trail round the S of Mt Gudgenby (see pic 6) to cross Naas Creek over a log, then up the S side of the drainage line to the Gudgenby saddle, reaching it at 1.30pm (8.8km and 4hr 50mins to here). Jen took us on a great route from here, hugging the S bank of the arm of Bogong Creek for much more than I've ever done before. A few old tapes and cairns. Certainly seemed easier and more direct than the sidle around SH1348. No cairns after a while, but animal pads took us to the footpad again and eventually out onto the green open spaces, then across the main arm of Bogong Creek. Across the culvert at the end of Bogong Swamp, then a vague B-line (my error, as I'd wanted to get back for a little side excursion) through the old Boboyan Pines (I've never seen them in their glory - now eucalypt seed has been scattered in amongst the fallen, burned pines to protect the resultant seedlings from the kangaroos) to the car. At one point, a hairless, pink, new-born joey lying on the ground which would die of the cold if not rescued by its mother (we discussed intervention, but decided no). Nature is tough.

Back at the car at 3.35pm and I took a little detour up to photograph the foresters hut. Another party of walkers had returned from part way up Mt Gudgenby, one a CBC walker.

This was a spectacular trip. Thanks for your leadership, Keith and Rene, and great company from Brian and Jen.

Distance: 28.5km  Climb: 1050m.  Time: 2 days
Grading: M/R; M(11)

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Mt Kelly

Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
1 BS on Mt Kelly
2 Mt Namadgi and Rotten Swamp from Mt Kelly
3 View N to Coronet Peak from Mt Kelly
4 The trig stick on Mt Kelly
5 Mt Kelly from Sams Creek camp site
6 Mt Gudgenby from Sams Creek fire trail