7-8 July 2012 Mt Kelly

Fearsome leader surveys Mt Namadgi, Rotten Swamp, Mt Burbidge and SH1733 from Mt Kelly

Maps: Yaouk and Rendezvous Creek 1:25000

Getting There

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

7-8 July - Mt Kelly-Mt Scabby - M/R. Boboyan - Mount Kelly - Mount Scabby - Sams Creek. Expect a cold night. If weather or snow conditions are unsuitable, this walk will be relocated. Maps: Yaouk and Rendezvous Creek Leader: Keith T. Transport: ~$70/car Limit: 8.

7 of us met (at my place, so I got a couple more minutes in bed) at 6.15am and drove in 2 cars to the Yankee Hat car park.

Further Information

Recording and assessment of an extensive Aboriginal site complex including a stone arrangement was undertaken at Mount Scabby in the Bimberi Wilderness Area of the ACT by Saunders (et al 1996). The investigation focused upon a recently reported stone arrangement site located at the uppermost reaches of the Cotter River near the peak of Mount Scabby. Intensive survey of the western side of the mountain top revealed that the stone arrangement site consisted of two roughly circular arrangements of stone on a gently sloping rock platform 100 m west of the Cotter Source Bog, at an elevation of 1735-1740 m AHD (Saunders et al 1996:21). The stone arrangements were measured at between 1.49 m and 3.36 m long and 1.28 m and 2.1 m wide, and had been constructed from granodiorite stones of varying size (Saunders et al 1996:21-22). Additional archaeological finds were made in the survey area. These included three ‘quarries’ or stone procurement sites (veins of grey chert and quartz, and a rhyolite dyke, all exhibiting evidence of Aboriginal stone extraction), and three open artifact scatters (Saunders et al 1996:23-24). The artifact scatters were found within 60 m of the stone arrangement site and contained between two and seventy seven artifacts. Artifacts included flakes, flaked pieces, cores and microblades manufactured from quartz, chert, silcrete, volcanic and unidentified material (Saunders et al 1996:26). It was apparent that some of the artifacts had been manufactured from the locally outcropping chert (Saunders et al 1996:25). The site complex was determined to be large by sub-alpine standards and the largest sub-alpine site recorded to date in the ACT. Based on the site’s size, diversity, artifact assemblage and range of raw materials, Saunders argued that the archaeology was indicative of a summer occupation zone visited by Aboriginal family groups (Saunders et al 1996:26-27, 49). In suggesting a primarily domestic role for the Mount Scabby sites, Saunders’ hypothesis runs contrary to Flood’s (1980) interpretation of such high altitude sites as male-only moth collection points. Although Saunders acknowledged the possibility of stone arrangements having ceremonial significance earlier in her consideration, an interpretation of the role of the Mount Scabby stone arrangement within its natural or archaeological setting was not attempted. - taken from Proposed Namadgi National Park and Bullen Range Fire Trails –quote from Proposed Namadgi National Park and Bullen Range Fire Trails – Cultural Heritage Assessment Navin Officer Heritage Consultants June 2007.

This was to be a repeat of a trip exactly 6 years ago, on 8-9 Jul 06.


You can access all photographs here.


Track maps: thumbnails are active - click for a larger picture
Track overview Track 1 Track 2 Track 3 Track 4 Track 5

Great to get away with a reasonable load on my back:

Item Weight
Golite pack 0.939
Sea to Summit 35l dry bag 0.072
Mountain Designs Positron 2 Tent and groundsheet 2.312
Western Mountaineering Ultralite sleeping bag, silk liner and Sea to Summit Reactor thermal sleeping bag liner in stuff sack and dry bag 1.193
Paddy Pallin Vista jacket in stuff sack 0.872
Western Mountaineering Flight down jacket in stuff sack 0.358
Toilet paper and trowel in ziplock bag 0.080
Pocket rocket; billy, gas cylinder, wind shield, scourer, Chux wiper, spoon in sack 0.490
Food (what 2+kgm? included a nice little crisp dry white) 2.011
Therm-a-rest Prolite 4 sleeping mat 0.457
Toothbrush, toothpaste and Chux towel 0.054
Map case, maps, compass, pencil 0.099
First aid kit 0.530
2l Platypus bladder with ~700ml water 0.780
~600ml water in PET bottle 0.651
Thompson MP3 player, Black Diamond Storm headlight, Drivers licence, Credit Card, cash in ziplock bag 0.162
Canon PowerShot SX120IS Camera in carry case 0.381
4*AA batteries in case 0.068
Extra - 1*pair socks, thermal long johns, large freezer bags for boots at night, waterproof gloves in stuff sack 0.454
Total 11.963

The cars cracked the iced Hospital Creek at the ford and Keith's excellent thermometer read -7.5°C as we got ready. But a cracker of a day - blue sky and not a breath of breeze.

Leaving at 7.30am, a good pace across the frosted Gudgenby grasslands, a high track taking us to within sight of the boulder at UTM 55H 676169-6043173 (MGA94), across the S arm of Middle Creek quite near the junction with the main arm and just S of SH1107. Open forest walking here. Up the stepped Burbidge spur, so tighter belts of regrowth on the steep bits, open forest on the flatter areas, particularly around the 1230-1300m contours. Morning tea at 11.10am.

Trended off the spur from here, down to near the arm of Middle Creek. The scrub a bit tight in places around GR720451 (MGA94) near the creek, as Keith steered us across the bottom of the dead Mountain Ash and fearsome regrowth on the flanks of the spur above us. At last out onto a creek flat and lunch at 12.25pm.

One of our party was a bit crook after lunch, so we had a reasonable stop when we crossed the creek to pick up water and a slower trip up to Bogong Gap. Started to pick up snow earlier than last time, so we thought there may be a fair bit of it, but it turned out to be not as deep in the Kelly Gap area (between Mt Kelly and SH1733 (marked on 1st edn map)).

Keith sidled us across to the Kelly Gap. Decision time, as the party was moving slowly. Decided that we wouldn't have time to pack up Kelly, negotiate the ice on the SW descent onto the Scabby Ridge, so we dropped our packs and left one of the party.

Joy oh joy, a chance for some border marker hunting; frown - it's not easy in the snow. I'll claim V81 (kicked the snow around to uncover a definite unnatural rock pile), possibly T81 and S81 which I'd seen before. And, of course, R81 which is Mt Kelly. A bit of a puff directly up the line of the border through the snow.

Not enough superlatives to describe the view from Mt Kelly. The 360° view is magnificent! I'll let the photos and videos speak for themselves. Not a breath of breeze. Rang Gay - doing ok. (Note to self - must start mapping where I can place a call from.)

But the clock didn't stop ticking, so we had to come down, taking the more usual route down across the slabs before hitting the scrub.

We picked up our well recovered party member and our packs and headed down to our camp site just NE of SH1537. Fairly scrubby and snowy on the S facing slope. Heard another party passing above us (3 walkers heading to Mt Namadgi in the logbook when we got back to the cars). Reached a good spot at 5pm, having covered 14.1km.

Tents up, water ~100m away to the NW, around the corner of the scrub and out onto the bog. Had to crack the ice to get to the water. Keith kindly got a fire going for us. Best tea I've had for a while (not that I've camped many nights) - McWilliams crisp dry white whilst cooking Back Country freeze dried Honey Soy Chicken and rice, with Moroccan couscous added at the last minute. Followed by a hearty vegetable cup-o-soup and a coffee. Checked out Tony B's latest stove and learned a bit more about gas in the cold from him. Beautiful crisp, starry night. In bed by 6.45pm!!

Slept warm with my lightweight gear, except for my toes hanging off the end of the 3/4 length Therm-a-rest. 3 pairs of socks didn't help, but some relief after I put a pair of gloves on my toes.

Breakfast in bed after the usual old-man's-necessity-to-get-up-and-wander-in-the-bush-first-thing-in-the-morning. Packed and away just after 8.30am, as the plan announced the previous night was to just return home via Sams Creek. The morning didn't quite go like clockwork, as various body clocks were not aligned with expected breaks and there was a lot of waiting around as individuals, at differing times, headed bush!

The trip down Sams Creek consisted of interconnecting portions of the old Sams Creek Fire Trail. The section around 1460m is quite recognisably benched, but down near the creek it's impossible to recognise and is no more than a footpad at best. Rob H was leading for a lot of the time and you have to take your hat of to him as he successfully navigated and joined together the bits. He showed me where you can come down from the Scabby tarn and also a stockyard site mentioned on a previous trip at UTM 55H 669959-6042433 (MGA94). I'd forgotten how many time you ha ve to cross the creek. Views to Mt Gudgenby and 'The Fortress'. A final crossing of Sams Creek via the fallen tree and morning tea at 11.20am.

Then along the Sams Creek/Naas Creek divide to Rob's 'double-blue tapes', which mark the turnoff towards the Gudgenby Saddle. They (it) is looking very worse for wear and a better recognition point is the huge fallen trees across the track. Found a pair of sunnies that I left on a car in the car park, maybe the group we'd heard had dropped them. We went down to Naas Creek and had lunch at 12.30pm.

Very standard coming home from there. Up to the Gudgenby Saddle, then along the taped footpad (quite well worn in in the upper portion) down to the tapes at the top of the 'open paddock'. To the corner of the fire trail near the rolled up wire netting, then via fire trails back to the cars.

A great winter's walk, thanks Keith T and Alan V, Rob H, Robert M, Tony B, Wayne P.

Distance: 30.4km Climb: 1050m. Time: 2 days
Grading: M/R; H(12)

KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: Mt Kelly

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This page last updated 30Aug22