4 December 2012 Border Marker hunting on the ACT Border straight line

Cliff line from around 1150m to 1200m contour - View up from the turn back point - View from Pabral Rd to our route to the top

Map: Cotter Dam 1:25000

Getting There

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

Tuesday 4 December - Border Marker hunting on the ACT Border straight line - M/R,X. This should stop me navigating in circles. Border markers on the straight line off Pabral Rd. Swan up Pabral Rd from Blundells Flat, then go SW through the top of Musk Creek towards Mt Coree. I think this is very rough country (Percy Sheaffe thought so in 1910). If we want more, go NE off Pabral Rd. Up to 13km and 600m climb. Fit and experienced walkers only. Map: Cotter Dam. Leader: John Evans - john@johnevans.id.au, 0417 436 877. Transport: ~$6 per person.

3 of us met at my home and drove via Uriarra Crossing, Brindabella Rd, Curries Rd and Pabral Rd to a convenient parking spot at UTM 55H 666848-6091085 (MGA94).

Further Information

We'll insert via Pabral Rd to chainage marker 9855.93. The border runs at 222° magnetic (42°M).

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Walk - Track Notes

What seemed would be a dull little border marker hunting event turned out to be quite edgy, extending my limits of rock scrambling. I'm still tingling with excitement - or is that the waist high fields of stinging nettle that we had to traverse (me in my shorts)? An aborted climb up through the 50m cliffs of the NE side of Mt Coree, followed be a retreat and an eventual successful passage.

We drove through the Curries Rd/Pabral Rd intersection and were able to proceed past the burnt out arboretum to park at UTM 55H 666848-6091085 (MGA94). This used to be a large turn-around circle, now rocked off. But plenty of space for a few cars to park. Headed off up Pabral Rd - it soon gets a bit steep and probably not drivable in my pretend 4WD Mazda Tribute (that I need to perform for a few more years). Did 2.3km in 30mins to the border.

Popped 20m up into the bush to find border marker 9855.93 (that's links from Mt Coree).

Next we plunged down into the dense scrub towards Musk Creek, finding border marker 8960.96 on the way. Through the trickle and dense surrounds of Musk Creek and up to the 1 Mile marker (8000 links) from Mt Coree. I assume that the 8010 link marker is in the same lockspit, as 10 links = 2.01166m.

From here, a further 700m in 32mins took us to the location of border marker 5134.19. No sign of it (although the GPS accuracy here was 19m), but plenty of stinging nettle.

A seemingly simple task from here, to go to the border marker 3996.5, which we'd previously seen on 31 Jul 12.

Not so simple in execution. We spent another 45mins covering 650m, climbing from around 1070m to 1200m. At one stage I thought it fair to call a short break - one of my companions was about 10 years younger and the other about 40 years younger. The going began as scree covered with bracken fern and waist high stinging nettle, which forced me left to the base of the cliff line. A short traverse left and we found a lead that looked promising. Stewart and Alex took the front and I followed, heart in mouth, as we scrambled up to a point where we could go no further. My limits were extended! At this point we were about 80m from the border marker.

We reversed down and I would have given up. However, my companions would not. We traversed South along the bottom of the cliff looking for another lead, but only found morning tea. Alex got bitten by an ant on his sit down, as he sat down. Rang home.

Back to the North, past our abortive climb point and back to near our entry point to the bottom of the cliffs. Here, another lead presented and, stoically advancing up through more scree, bracken, stinging nettle and rock scrambles, we finally got to a more reasonable part off the side of the NNE spur from Mt Coree. I'd like to call this the 'Stewart-Alex' pass, but no doubt this is the area that Percy Sheaffe and his party descended in 1910. Fire the KMZ file in Google Earth, tilt, view from the East and zoom in - fairly impressive.

Came in to 3996.5 from uphill, then took a vague escape line to the Coree Summit Rd. Wandered up to Mt Coree trig for the views and lunch. Stewart pointed out a ditched car off the side of the road. The wind was roaring at around 50km/hr at the top, so lunch in the lee of the trig. Nice views.

With my heart lowering from mouth to chest, we returned via Coree Summit Rd and Pabral Rd to the car.

Back in Canberra by 2.30pm, so one could possibly label this a whimpish Tuesday walk - but I don't think so.

Thanks to Stewart J and Alex B. Without you guys, I would have given up after the first aborted cliff climb.

Distance: 13.6km Climb: 750m. Time: 8.00am - 1.50pm (5hrs 50mins), with 40mins of breaks.
Grading: L/R,ptX; H(13)

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This page last updated 1Sep22