5 July 2011 Clear Range from the 'bidgee

Map: Colinton 1:25000

Getting There

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

Tuesday 5 July - Clear Range from the 'bidgee - M/M-R,X. I've never seen a walk up the east flanks of the Clear Range before. With permission and guidance from a local land owner (and the use of her canoe!), cross the Murrumbidgee River around 10km south of Michelago and climb 550m up onto the Clear Range. A short hunt for border markers. Around 12km and 550m climb. Map: Colinton. Limit: 10, with 6 already booked. But this will be the first of many trips in this way, so let me know your interest. Leader: John Evans - jevans@pcug.org.au, (h) 6288 7235. Transport: ~$7 per person, including use of paddle.

5 of us gathered in Canberra and drove to 'Jambawul'.

Further Information

Directions to my place – Monaro highway to Michelago 60km. Continue on highway 8km Turn right onto Baroona Road. Our home is 4km down this road at the end of the road at the top of the hill.

Local guide puts it at 3hrs hard going up and 2hrs easy coming down - It is 3 hour (Going hard) up and 2 hours easy down. There is a canoe to cross over. All up 7 hour walk in one day with lunch and river crossings and stuff.

Starters - 8 in total, trip booked out. PS will drive.

The first of many trips up here, so register your interest with me, even if this trip is booked out.


You can access all photographs here.


Track map: thumbnail is active
- click for a larger picture

This walk covered three private properties. It is not repeatable without obtaining the property owners' permissions.

We arrived at our host's property S of Michelago after driving through showers, receiving SMSs of "ho ho ho, there's snow, snow snow!" and reports of high winds. We were expecting a cold and wet day. Only the high winds eventuated (plus some first time canoeing experiences in a plastic vessel) and it turned out to be a fabulous day.

We walked 1.5km down to the Murrumbidgee River and spent around 20 minutes crossing one-by-one in the canoe.

Next followed a 2.5km climb up 520m in 1hr 45mins (including 15mins of morning tea) to meet a 2nd edn map-marked track (footpad) leading to the Mt Clear fire trail. This leg began with a belt of tea tree, had a steep section climbing around 150m, but was through relatively open forest (including a belt of Cypress Pines) up a reasonably well defined animal pad up the spur. Certainly no worse than the climb to Stockyard Spur from Corin Dam. Alex found an open burrow containing three echidnas.

The map-marked footpad turned SW and in 580m, climbing a further 40m, we joined the Mt Clear fire trail.

This we followed SW, then cut up towards the crest of the range. Snow appeared, the wind roared like an express train, but border markers were there to be hunted. A poor start for 3 new hunters - no 92 Mile marker could be found.

However, we then struck a good run, beginning with M33 which was an 'iron bolt' set in granite and fixed with cement. N33 and O33 were cairns/lockspits, marked with star pickets. P33, Q33, R33 and S33 were cairns, dusted with snow. T33 presented as a cairn, but revealed its 'iron bolt' with no dismantling. Sheaffe and his party, nearly 100 years ago, scratched am arrow in the cement pointing to the bolt. U33 was a magnificently constructed cairn. V33, W33 and X33 were cairns of various sorts. Y33 was a very obvious lockspit.

With our host wanting to stop for lunch (reminding regulars of a walker with a similar name and attitude towards meal breaks), we completed our border marker hunt at Z33 - not there.

Lunch was taken on the E side of the crest, out of the howling wind.

Away after that, back N along the Mt Clear fire trail. A fraction wonky at the top of the descent because I was leading, and even more wonky down near the river. The descent leg from the track junction with the Mt Clear fire trail to the Murrumbidgee River was 3.2km and took 1hr 15mins.

Another 20mins to paddle back across the river, poor Spotty having to dog paddle. This time, we returned to our host's home via the 'road' - a little less severe than our B-line track down in the morning.

On a cool winters day, there is one thing better than a beer - and that's hot chocolate. This we enjoyed, sitting in Cas's lounge room with panoramic views to the Tinderrys. Thank you so much.

A little discussion of future trips.

A wonderful day. Huge thanks to our host and guides, Cas, Edward and Alex. Top class company from Chris F, Max S, Mike B, Phillip S and Spotty the dog.

Distance: 14.6km Climb: 800m. Time: 8.15am - 3.20pm (7hrs 5mins), with 40mins of breaks and 40mins of canoe crossing.
Grading: L/M,X; H(12)

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Clear Range from the 'bidgee

Here's another view of the walk:

Wild weather was predicted, gale force winds and snow
But the gauntlet was thrown down - and picked up - so we go.
SMSs filled the air as we drove to Michelago
Our host texted boldly "There's snow up there, ho, ho, ho."

Introductions done, we walked to the river
Where my fear of water brought out a fever.
Archimedes principle - would it hold true
As we crossed the 'bidgee River in a little plastic canoe?

Spotty the dog followed Mum with great faith
While we all followed her sons at fast pace
Up thru' the tea-tree and up the huge incline
Stopping to view echidna, not touching the spine.

A welcome footpad turned to fire trail
And we were on the Clear Range in snow, white and pale.
Great joy, there were border markers to hunt
A new pursuit to our guides - where's the weather front?
The sky was part blue, snow covered the ranges
The wind roared like a train and buffeted we strangers.

Lunch over, we descended to the river below
Leaving behind the wind and the snow
Because a promise of hot chocolate filled us with glee.
Only one of the party chose tea.

Huge thanks to Cas and her boys, our guides.
'Carpe diem' - good fortune was on our sides.

We won!

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This page last updated 26Aug22