7 April 2009 Mt Murray from Yaouk Photos
Maps: Yaouk, Rendezvous Creek 1:25000
Getting There

This walk was organised and led by Peter W as an ad-hoc FBI Tuesday walk:

Tues 7 April – Yaouk to Mount Murray – 17 km, 740 m climb - hard Leader – Peter W. I have wanted to do this walk for some time, and even got part way once. The walk starts at the south end of Lone Pine trail (1180 m) on the Yaouk ‘road’, goes up the trail 4 km (1570 m), then 2 km of wide ridge with open? forest, then 2.5 km in a shallow depression of grassland/swamp/parkland to the two peaks at 1840 m. Great views. We return a similar way, or if we wish via the Yaouk saddle. The Canberra forecast is fine 6-20 deg, in the middle of a big high, so the weather could be perfect. Maps: Yaouk, Rendezvous Creek. Cars 185 km ($22). Leaving Weston about 7am.

7 of us met and drove in two 4WD via Boboyan Rd, Yaouk Rd and Kennedys Rd to about 500m up the Lone Pine Trail. We stopped short of the entrance to the 'Snowgums' property, respecting their privacy. Even though parts of the Boboyan Rd were in shocking condition, we made a respectable run of 2 hours each way.


A lovely drive in with great views to the back of Sentry Box, Yaouk Peak and Mt Scabby. A little frost could be seen as we raced by in the cars. We all knew that this would be one of those perfect days.

We headed up the Lone Pine Trail from where we parked. 1.2km up the trail there is a locked rail as Lone Pine Trail enters KNP, so you couldn't drive up there even if you wanted to. Some steep pinches caused some heavy breathing. We tromped the trail for 4.1km in 1hr10mins, climbing from 1170m to 1565m, a good 400m up. Some magnificent but, sadly burnt, Alpine Ash. Snow Gums as we got higher.

After a short tenses (that's an hour before elevenses) we left the trail and headed about magnetic N through Snow Gum regrowth on mountain grasses towards the Bimberi Range. Very pleasant. Reaching the broad ridge carrying the border (I got a little excited, as I was armed with tens of waypoints for border markers in my GPS), we turned to the NW, then sidled down to the lovely open areas of Jacks Creek. I'd call it a broad sphagnum morass (see pic 1); another party member called it a b... swamp. The springy sphagnum does require more effort to move across than solid ground. There are two distinct areas of swamp at the headwaters of Jacks Creek and we propped by the more creek-like area between them for morning tea. 6.7km in 2hrs10mins to this point.

Setting out again with beautiful views up the top swamp of Jacks Creek, we soon turned N and headed towards the rocky pinnacle of Mt Murray E (you can see it in pic 1). Pleasant walking through fairly open Snow Gum and grass, climbing around 200m. An easy scramble up the SW side of the top revealed the most magnificent views! I remember the thrill of first taking in this vista on 8-9 Apr 06, when for the first time I saw the Bimberi Wilderness peaks from 'behind'. Here they were again, laid out for us on a beautiful sunny day. To the N, on the other side of Murrays Gap, was Bimberi Peak. The uniform W slope of Tidbinbilla Mountain could be seen in the distance over Bimberi's shoulder. Tracking clockwise, Little Bimberi filled the foreground, hiding the rugged Cotter River valley. Across this stood Mt McKeahnie, with the granite blocks of Dutchies Peak (local CBC name) beside it. De Sallis Knobs (another CBC local name) guarded one side of Cotter Gap and Cotter Rocks (including Split Rock) the other. The magnificent granite cap of Coronet Peak overlooked where we knew Cotter Hut must be. Directly behind was Booroomba Rocks and Mt Tennent to its right. See pic 3. Above and behind Coronet Peak, the back of Cotter Rocks contained Rock Flats and stretched to become the Mavis Ridge, rising up to Mt Mavis. Mt Orroral was identified out the back and the Tinderys were on the horizon. In front of the Mavis Ridge was the spur reaching down from Mt Namadgi and, in front of that, the Kelly Spur. Rugged country. The spurs rose to their tops on Mt Namadgi and Mt Kelly, with Mt Burbidge peeking between the two. To the south of Mt Kelly stretched the tops to Mt Scabby. We could see the dip containing the Kelly-Scabby tarn, no doubt still dry. Mt Gudgenby and Sentry Box Mountain reared in the rear. South and West of Mt Scabby the open Yaouk Valley was obvious, with Yaouk Peak to its south. Sweeping further clockwise, the peaks soon rose again - Mt Morgan with its long northern spur and Half Moon Peak over the back. Mt Jagungal on the horizon. Distant plains and hills, then the twin peak of Mt Murray W (see pic 2). This is a spectacular 360° vista!

Lunch over, we wandered through the Snow Gums and grasses to Mt Murray W. We climbed the small pinnacle boulders - not a good view on this more rounded top and no cairn. I was disappointed, as with my new source of information about ACT-NSW border markers I was expecting to easily find 'T76 Mt Murray Summit'. Setting the GOTO in my GPS I wandered a few metres S of the top and, hey presto, there was the clearly angled marker 'cairn' in the grass. Granite pieces not stacked shin-high or even toe-high, but nestled in the grass. A bag!

Our trusty leader had other objectives, but he humoured me as we followed the border S. Another bingo, with 'U76 1" Pipe and Cairn' at the expected location. Again, the cairn was less that toe-high and nestled in the grass, but an obvious N-S line of rocks. We walked a little W of the border for a while, but then picked it up again as we turned from SW-ish to SE-ish near the top of Jacks Creek. I got very excited (so much so that there's a pair of Cancer Council sunglasses up there somewhere), but we missed a whole heap of border markers due to hurried searches and, the party finally worked out for me, my GPS overshoots a little as we walk onto a waypoint. Armed with this information, Peter patiently waited whilst we search for, allowed the GPS to settle and found 'Q77 1" Pipe and Cairn'. Again, it was only the man-made line of rocks that really gave it away from the cairn's naturally scattered neighbouring rocks. These blighters are harder to find than one may think, as the original survey field notebook comment that the downpipes are 'driven flush and filled with concrete' before the cairn is piled around it. But to prove the point, the centre rocks were removed, some dirt scraped away and there was the top of the downpipe! I trust we restored the border to its original position. If you are as excited as I am, good reader, you'll find photos of these three border markers on my ACT-NSW Border Markers page.

With time ticking by and my craze somewhat sated, we barrelled along the border finding no more markers. We paused at the steel brumby trap yards at the gentle, but 1600m contour narrow SW of 'Territory' of the 'Australian Capital Territory' written on the 2nd edn map (this is not a desirable location reference style!), then returned to Lone Pine Trail. Wandered back down it to the cars.

A one can of Coke drive back - I came prepared.

A perfect day with magic views, thanks Peter. Excellent company also from Barrie, Henry, Karen, Max and Steve.

Distance: 17.6km  Climb: 800m.  Time: 9.05am - 4.05pm (7hrs), with 45mins of stops.
Grading: L/R; H(12)

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Mt Murray from Yaouk

Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
1 Jacks Creek sphagnum morass
2 Mt Murray W from Mt Murray E
3 Coronet Peak from Mt Murray E with Cotter Rocks, Booroomba Rocks at rear