27 October 2012 Brindabella Gaps and Border Markers

Blackfellows Gap at 5pm

Maps: Corin Dam and Rendezvous Creek 1:25000

Getting There

This walk was organised and led by me as a CBC walk:

Saturday-Sunday 27-28 October - Brindabella Gaps and Border Markers - L,E-R,ptX. Combine the joys of 24 hour walking and border marker hunting, as well as visiting some beautiful gaps in the Brindabella Range. Corin Dam to Mt Franklin Rd, Blackfellows Gap, then off track along the border crest to Rolling Ground Gap, Leura Gap, Dead Horse Gap and possibly Bimberi Gap. Return via moon and torch light. Around 50km and 2000m climb. Maps: Corin Dam and Rendezvous Creek. Limit: 8. Leader: John Evans - john@johnevans.id.au, 0417 436 877. Transport: ~$10 per person.

Further Information

Our first 24 hour walk was on 15-16 Oct 11. 65km and 1700m in 19½hrs. So we'll have to do a bit more off-track this time. This walk not for the faint-hearted.

~13km off track, the rest on Stockyard Spur management trail and Mt Franklin Fire Trail + up and down the new clearway from Corin Dam to the Stockyard Spur management trail.

The aim of this walk is to cover as much of the border as is possible, so I would hope that party members would be prepared to go as fast as possible to Blackfellows Gap. After that, border marker hunting is relatively slow. The limitation from this point on is to be back at Leura Gap by sundown. From there, the return is all fire trail and we will have oodles of time for a night time saunter.

Meet at 6am. Start walking at 7am.

27 Oct 12 civil sunrise = 5.39am; sunrise = 6.06am; sunset = 7.29pm; civil sunset = 7.55pm
28 Oct 12 civil sunrise = 5.38am; sunrise = 6.05am.

From Corin Dam, up the newly cleared and stepped track to Stockyard Spur, along the vehicle track to the new marker signage at the Mt Franklin Rd, past Pryors Hut (say, 2hrs 30mins to here) and along the Mt Franklin Rd to Blackfellows Gap (say, +1hr 30mins = 4hrs) (checking out the nearby R58), 13km and 900m.
Search for 24 Mile.

If timing good to here, have 8hrs to do ~13km of bush along the border.

Up the border through the bush to the top of 'Ginger Ale' at F59. 1.4km and 300m. On 11 May 10, it took 1hr 30mins to do 1.7km from Blackfellows Gap to F59 on the top of 'Ginger Ale'. But this was border marker hunting.
Down the border searching for G59, 25 Mile, H59, I59, J59, K59, L59, M59, N59, O59 to Rolling Ground Gap, 1.3km.
From Rolling Ground Gap up to the next knoll searching for P59, Q59, R59, 26 Mile, A73, B73, C73, D73, E73, F73 to G73 (seen before), 1.5km and 150m.
Down from this knoll to Leura Gap searching for H73, I73, J73, K73, 27 Mile, L73, M73, N73, O73, 1.1km. Can exit from here via Leura Gap E fire trail to Mt Franklin fire trail. On 9-10 Jan 09, it took 1hr 30mins to do 2.5km from Rolling Ground Gap to Leura Gap with overnight bags.
From Leura Gap steeply up to P73 and Q73, 0.6km and 180m.
Down and up to the next knoll searching for 28 Mile and R73, 0.6km and 70m.
Down to Dead Horse Gap searching for S73, T73, U73, V73, 0.4km.
Up to the next knoll searching for W73, X73, Y73, Z73A74, B74, 0.75km and 100m.
Along the ridge and down to Bimberi Gap searching for C74, D74, E74, F74, 29 Mile, G74, H74, I74, J74, K74, L74, M74, N74, O74, P74, Q74, 1.7km.
Return along the border to Leura Gap, 4.0km and 170m.

Minimum stops during the day, only enough to keep energy up. However, back down on the Mt Franklin Rd and with water from McKeahnie Creek, we can have a hot meal - or whatever you'd like. So bring a stove.

Return to the car, 22.0km and 450m. All night to do this at an amble.

So need to return to Leura Gap by 7.30pm, giving us 25mins of twilight to walk 1.6km down the Leura Gap E fire trail to join the Mt Franklin FT (say, 8pm). From here, it's 13.3km back to Pryors Hut (say, walking at 3km/hr + a break, 1am). So we could have another long break at Pryors Hut. A further 5.0km to the Stockyard Spur footpad, and a further 1.9km down to Corin Dam.

I do not plan to camp or sleep anywhere, so that gear is not necessary. Torch, warm clothes and plenty of battery power are necessities.

Drinking water - only guaranteed spots will be Snowy Flat Creek (where the Mt Gingera track heads up; ~2hr 45mins into the walk) and McKeahnie Creek (night fall). The day will be mainly on the Brindabella crest.

Possible timing points:

Time Location
1hr Stockyard Spur heli pad
2hrs 30mins Pryors Hut
4hrs Blackfellows Gap
5hrs F59, top of 'Ginger Ale'
6hrs Rolling Ground Gap
7hrs G73, next knoll S of RG Gap
7hrs 30mins Leura Gap
8hrs Dead Horse Gap
9hrs 30mins Bimberi Gap
11hrs Dead Horse Gap
12hrs 30mins Leura Gap
13hrs Mt Franklin Rd


I carry a PLB, GPS and (Telstra service) mobile phone. I'll bring a survival bivvy bag and a sleeping bag.

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Track overview

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Walk - Track Notes

How do I put it - I bit off too much for us to chew; we wimped out; with tough goals, at least you achieve something.

We arrived at Leura Gap at 2.40pm, after a slower than expected time on the Brindabella Range crest hunting border markers. SH1698 S along the border from Leura Gap is quite formidable; you visit two border markers, then have to continue S along the border for a fair way to find the next; and have to return to Leura Gap by sun down. So instead of splitting the party, after discussion of the options, I made the decision to pull the plug.

On the positive side, it was a beautiful day and night; we tromped 47km and 1800m; we visited the locations of 21 border corners and 3 mile markers I not seen before; visited the location of 1 possible border corner; saw 1 remnant blaze; visited the locations of a further 4 border corners and 1 mile marker that we could not identify; visited a further 2 border corners I'd seen before; covered 5.2km of the border I'd not previously walked; walked the Stockyard Spur to Corin Dam track in the dark.

We started walking at 6.55am. Wild dogs howling from the Cotter River below the dam as we tackled the steep climb. A good insert to Blackfellows Gap - from Corin Dam up to the helipad on Stockyard Spur (2.3km, 52mins), Pryors Hut (7.5km, 2hrs), Blackfellows Gap (13.7km, 3hrs 20mins). Picked up water from Snowy Flat Creek on the Mt Franklin Rd at the turnoff to Mt Gingera. Visited R58 (pigs have rooted the site).

We headed bush at Blackfellows Gap. Could not find the nearby 24 Mile marker. A careless climb towards the top of Ginger Ale, as I'd visited these border markers on 11 May 10. But I'd missed C59, which we found today. Then up to the top to F59 on top of the boulder. 11.03am.

From here on it was almost all new territory for me and we began border marker hunting in earnest.

Coming down the SE spur of Ginger Ale to Rolling Ground Gap - could not find G59; 25 mile marker was a great example of a 3" concreted downpipe and cairn; could not find H59; found I59; J59 was pretty insignificant, but there was a nearby remnant blaze. Now 11.30am, so a brief morning tea was called. On down the spur, we found K59; could not find L59; found M59, N59 and O59. Lots of purple flowering pea about - Mountain Purplepea (Hovea Montana). So to Rolling Ground Gap at 12.15pm.

The rise between Rolling Ground Gap and Leura Gap was a lot slower than I thought it would be. Tight scrub in places, some rocky patches to be negotiated and all together fairly uninteresting. One of the party head butted a tree and left a bit of blood about. The majority of border markers were not very spectacular, perhaps haven't been refurbished for many years. Could not find P59; found Q59 and R59. Getting weary, so lunch called at 12.45pm. Found 26 Mile marker during lunch.

After lunch we continued on up the crest. Possible identification of A73; found B73, C73, D73, E73. A nearby open granite slab provided nice views back N along the way we'd come. Continuing, we found F73, G73, H73, I73, J73, K73 (with the top of the 1" galvanised iron pipe nicely showing), 27 Mile marker, L73, M73 and N73. Down to Leura Gap.

As described above, after a spell and some discussion, I decided that we go home.

20mins to walk 1.5km down the Leura Gap E fire trail. It drops 250m, so one wouldn't walk up it as quickly. We picked up water from McKeahnie Creek at the fire trail intersection.

A solid plod back along the Mt Franklin fire trail to Blackfellows Gap, 8.1km in 1hr 50mins. You can get water from all the creeks crossed, but it is still Spring after good rainfall. Some great views SE into the heart of NNP.

From Blackfellows Gap to the turn off to Mt Gingera was 4.8km in 1hr.

2 of us decided to pop up Mt Gingera. Round trip of 2.3km in 45mins, with time for a phone call home and a quick look at the view.

A surprise back at Pryors Hut, with a 4WD parked outside and a nice tent set up. A Canadian guy from Sydney Uni doing research on skinks - all legal and certified to drive in. Had a nice chat with him and his friend whilst enjoying a hot cup of soup for tea.

We left Pryors Hut at 7.50pm and walked by torch light under a nearly full moon back to Corin Dam. We took it fairly slowly down the path from Stockyard Spur, bur it was easy to do, A beautiful still evening. 7.6km in 2hrs 15mins.

Thanks to Derek S, Ian W and Roger E for your company.

Distance: 46.7km Climb: 1800m. Time: 6.55am - 10.00pm (call it 15 hrs), with 1hr of breaks.
Grading: L/E-R,ptX; VH(15)

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This page last updated 1Sep22