27 October 2009 Left Hand Creek and Mt Clear Photos
Maps: Colinton and Bredbo 1:25000
Getting There

This walk was organised and led by me as an irregular CBC Tuesday walk: NOW A 34KM MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDE

Tuesday 27 October - Left Hand Creek and Mt Clear - L/E-M,X. Another attempt at the walk originally advertised for 8 Sep. A long fire trail bash to visit a large tabular aplite dyke which crosses Left Hand Creek. In via the Naas Valley fire trail and out via the Mt Clear fire trail, descending through the bush from near Mt Clear. Around 27km and 950m total climb - shortened if a hot day. Route not fully known to leader. Maps: Colinton and Bredbo 1:25000. Limit of 8. Leader: John Evans – jevans@pcug.org.au, (h) 6288 7235. Transport: ~$15. Further details at http://jevans.pcug.org.au.

3 of us met. Had to take 2 cars with the bikes. Around 1hr 20mins drive to the Mt Clear camp ground car park, with a 5min delay due to bridge works at Tharwa.

Further Information

An option, which Max and I like, would be to do it on bikes, with the return via the Long Flat fire trail (note that it has been significantly realigned from June 2009 to protect Long Flat. Agreed. I've hired a bike from CBH - Capital Bicycle Hire 02 6259 5335, Peter on 0412 547 387. As for 28 Nov 06, they drop off the evening before and pick up after for $50 ... and clean it after my use. That's pretty good. This time, a brand new, entry level, aluminium framed bike. Except, as last time, it doesn't come with an engine.

Original description

Tuesday 8 September - Left Hand Creek and Mt Clear - L/E-M,X. A long fire trail bash for Tuesday traipsers to places which just have to be visited (once). We begin with a poke about the intersection of the Long Flat and Naas Valley fire trails and nearby Back or Grassy Creek and Naas Creek, to try to identify several European historical and zoological sites of significance. Following the Naas Valley fire trail, we visit two hut sites, then Demandering Hut and Horse Gully Hut. Turning east onto the Left Hand Creek fire trail, we visit a large tabular aplite dyke which crosses the creek. The Mt Clear Fire Trail climbs a further 500m to Mt Clear, the 16th highest named hill in the ACT. South of Mt Clear near The High Forest we go bush and descend 300m to Chalkers Chimney. A direct route back to the car. Around 27km and 950m total climb - shortened if a hot day. Route not fully known to leader. Maps: Colinton and Bredbo 1:25000. Limit of 8. Leader: John Evans – jevans@pcug.org.au, (h) 6288 7235. Transport: ~$15. Further details at http://jevans.pcug.org.au.

ACT Sites of Significance: G27 Demandering Hut; G26 Horse Gully Hut; G28 Left Hand Creek. W-G sites: BR08 Two hut sites; BU1 Horse Gully Hut.


A couple of sprinkles of rain as we drove down, but all clear in the S of the ACT. A month and a day short of 3 years that I last rode a bike (a hired one from Capital Bicycle Hire and with these 2 companions).

Away at a good pace. I'd had visions of changing shoes and delicately carrying the bikes through the 3 fords in the Naas Valley fire trail through Naas Creek - no such thing - we just followed Max through the water. Of course I didn't make it, plopping feet in the water. No time to stop as we whizzed past BR08 Two hut sites, but we did stop and walk down to Demandering Hut. 6.1km in 38mins to here - sure beats walking! We wandered down the track, crossing the bridge put in by a working bee in memory of Eddie Chetham (see pic 1). Demandering Hut was nice and clean; Max tried the bed.

Back to the bikes and a quick 2.1km in 10mins to Horse Gully Hut. Morning tea.

At the beginning of Left Hand Creek fire trail, the usefulness of the 'granny wheel' front gearing was pointed out to me, so I was able to pedal a bit further before the rise forced me off to walk the steep bits and push the bike. At a spur overlooking Left Hand Creek (several trucks and pieces of equipment parked there, but no one about) and close to the GPS position of interest, we parked the bikes and headed bush down the spur into a junction of a feeder and LHCk. Disappointing at first as nothing seemed to look like a 'massive aplite dyke'. However, we found a small intrusion of quartz-like material. Following the creek back upstream and around a corner, we came upon a rock barrier in the creek of obviously different sort of rock (see pic 2). On rereading the description when I got home, this is obviously the major dyke and the first area we found its continuation around the 'knick':

'Left Hand Creek is a steep tributary of the Naas River draining the northern slopes of Mount Clear and exposing outcrop and boulders of Clear Range Granodiorite. A massive aplite dyke over 2 metres thick crosses the creek near this site forming a major knick point in the stream. This is one of the largest tabular dyke intrusions known in the Gudgenby area.' (from Sites of Significance in the ACT Vol 9 The Gudgenby Area, National Capital Planning Authority April 1990)

Climbing back up to the bikes we set off again. A pause to check that we headed S onto the Mt Clear fire trail, rather than continuing 1.5km up to the border and the Clear Range fire trail. Some good runs along here up to 14kph, with only a couple of steep bits to walk and push.

But we eventually arrived at the intersection with the Gap Creek fire trail and the start of the 570m climb over 3.6km taking 1hr 30mins to Mt Clear. It was push all the way, me suffering from leg cramps towards the end. Hard work!

A fine collection of first aid hut, communications tower and solar array at Mt Clear. We settled between this and the trig point (see pic 3) (which is also border marker U36) for lunch. We wandered up to the trig after munchies and on the way back wondered whether the scaly creature in the grass was a lizard or a snake. A large red-bellied black, every inch of 4 feet long, took off.

We reckoned the homeward leg would have to be a bit quicker. Off Mt Clear we covered 1.7km in 10mins. Here we stopped again to hunt for border markers. We may have found I37 but as I didn't have exact locations I won't claim it.

4.1km in 33mins later we reached the blocked intersection with the old Long Flat fire trail and followed the realigned section NW then NE around the protected Long Flat area. Some good speeds on the down the NE leg (19kph for me, Madeleine's gizmo measured 42kph, so she and Max had a lot of waiting to do for me). Walked up the hill beside Sam Abouds Dunny, not bothering to stop.

5.4km from here back to the cars, zipping past Potters Chimney. I covered it in 30mins - the others were waiting for me when I arrived.

I led all day from the rear and mine is very sore tonight. Thanks heaps for showing off your excellent mountain bike riding skills Madeleine and Max. It'll be another 3 years before I ride with you two again. But you certainly cover more territory when not pushing them up a steep hill.

Distance: 34.3km  Climb: 950m.  Time: 8.25am - 3.15pm (6hrs 50mins), with 50mins of stops.
Grading: L/E-M,ptX; H(12) - for a non bike rider!

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Left Hand Creek and Mt Clear

Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
1 Eddie Chetham bridge near Demandering Hut
2 SoS G28 Aplite dyke on Left Hand Creek
3 Mt Clear trig