6 Nov 2007 Cotter River from Mt Franklin Photos
Map: Tidbinbilla 8627-2S 1:25000
Getting There

This walk was organised and led by me as an irregular CBC Tuesday walk:

(Tuesday 6 November – Mt Franklin to Cotter River – L/R,X. From the Mt Franklin car park, up past the new information shelter built by Adelaide Uni students to Mt Franklin trig. Then via a series of spurs 850m down to the confluence of Stockyard Creek and the Cotter River. Return via up. Around 12km and 1050m total climb. Strenuous walking for a fit and experienced party. Route not fully known to the leader. May be physically demanding, with delays and diversions from the intended route. Map: Tidbinbilla 1:25000. Limit of 8. Leader: John E – jevans@pcug.org.au, (h) 6288 7235. Transport: ~$15. Further details at members.pcug.org.au/~jevans.).

3 happy walkers left from Weston Creek at 7am and drove to the Mt Franklin car park. One doesn't often pass a bus on this road - we did, containing Adelaide Uni students still building the information shelter just by the old ski chalet site.

Further Information

This is a recce of the W end of a planned Mt Franklin to Fishing Gap walk. We did the E end, Fishing Gap to Black Springs, on 5 Jun 07. As well, Namadgi rangers can't tell me what the 'hut' is marked on the 1st edn map at the confluence of Stockyard Creek and the Cotter (someone has suggested an old gauging station).

Civil twilight: 0529 - 2005


Away at 8.10am. It was freezing walking up the Mt Franklin Walk! The clouds were speeding overhead and the wind was roaring through the trees. At the Ski Chalet site we could see what the bus passengers had achieved - a fine building, but more work yet to be done. The chalet tank stand makes a crazy angle when compared with the lovely new stand a few metres away. On up the track past all the great new signage. I tell all my walking companions of the time in 1968 when a mate rode me to the top as a pillion passenger on his BMW motorbike. We hardly paused at the look out site - it was bitter. Arrived at the trig. (This leg 1.4km in 22mins with 145m climb.)

My route card had us leaving the Mt Franklin trig at 24°M for 475m, then 63°M for 1.2km. I was surprised at the open vegetation and nice grasses underfoot for these first legs, compared with the last time we came off Mt Franklin to the E. For me, not necessarily easy navigation, as the spurs are broad and there are no distant points to fix on. (see pic 1). (These legs 1.7km in 40mins with 280m drop.)

We did hit some areas of regrowth well above head height as we continued down the spur. The idea was to squeeze between a couple of drainage lines and keep on the general NE course, before turning SE down to the Cotter. We found 15mins of morning tea around GR64147287 (GDA94) at the 1140m contour, at the end of a flat bit in the spur and prior to a plunge down to the Cotter. (This leg 1.8km in 1hr 10mins with 250m drop.)

A right turn to the SE saw us beginning the serious drop to the Cotter. More regrowth. Towards the end of these legs I slipped off the side of the spur as, although the Cotter was in site far below us, it looked easier to head towards Stockyard Creek. So a contour was required, right leg a lot longer than left, as we headed towards the GPS waypoint for the 'Hut'. I was quite surprised to see a structure and several minutes later we arrived at a new looking totally enclosed tin shed sporting a solar panel and a data link (see pic 2). No doubt a gauging station, as there were pipes and cables into the river and a height marker. (These legs 1.4km in 1hr 50mins with 335m drop.) Lunch for 45 mins, including a shower, by the gurgling Cotter River. I think the planned Fishing Gap to Mt Franklin walk (for which this was a recce of the W end) would be a tough day. Those fellows I've been told about who carried their wooden skis in along this route must have been toughies!

All that remained, after bagging this 'hut' (and it certainly can't be called a hut, I agree Chris) was to wander back up to the car. A better route back up the spur kept us away from the sidling and out of a bit of regrowth. Easier navigation going up spurs. We seemed to be moving quickly, but I certainly needed a few breaks to regain breath. 4.6km back in 3hr 5mins with 820m total climb. A black snake crossed our path.

Back at the Mt Franklin trig and armed with the ACT Heritage Register map of the area, I wandered down the marked path to the tow motor, then down the Slalom Run cleared area. Couldn't find anything off to the W at the bottom (the pick handle in the stone cairn not registering with me) and turned round to climb back up. A flash in the scrub caught my eye and it was a new sign at the Slalom Hut site (see pic 3). I came back out onto the ski run and the purpose of the cairn registered, plus a pink ribbon in a tree I'd missed!

Back up, rain came, down the track to the car.

A successful bagging day. 2 huts, a revisit to the chalet site and Mt Franklin, and a new touch on the Cotter River. Thanks for your company Dick M and Chris R.

Distance: 13.0km  Climb: 1050m.  Time: 8.10am - 4.00pm (call it 8hrs), with 1hr of stops.
Grading: L/R,X; H(14)

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Cotter River from Mt Franklin

Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
1 On the way down to the Cotter River
2 'Hut' near confluence of Stockyard Creek and Cotter River
3 Slalom Hut at Mt Franklin