20 August 2013 Three Trigs and a Waterfall


25r Pierces Creek Falls

Maps: Tidbinbilla and Cotter 1:25000

Walk Description

This walk was organised and led by Mike B as an irregular CBC Tueday walk:

Tuesday 20 August: Three Trigs and a Waterfall - L/R,X. Starting in Pierces Ck Forest at the TNR locked gate walk south along the Tidbinbilla Range Rd over Black Spring Mountain to Pierces Trig, retrace our footsteps for about 1 km to a point approx due east of Pierces Ck Falls. Walk 1.6 km (250 m descent) off track to the falls. Ascend Hardy Range (200 m climb) NW approx 2 km to Cotter Hill Trig. Descend to Pipeline Rd and follow it north for about 6 km and then make the final ascent to Hardy Trig. Expect patches of regrowth and a descent on a scree slope to the falls. About 18 km (4 km off-track) with a total climb of about 1100 m. A short car shuffle required. Map: Tidbinbilla, Cotter 1:25000 Leader: Mike B. Transport: $36 per car. Limit 10.

10 of us drove from Canberra in 4 vehicles to the Pierces Creek Pine Forest.

Track Maps

Track maps: thumbnails are active - click for a larger picture

Track overview

Track 1

Track 2


Track Notes

With the forecast conditions (and snow seen on the drive out), Mike made a very wise decision to reverse the route to allow any snow to melt for the climb out of Pierces Creek Falls. In addition, he reserved Hardy trig for another time. Both excellent decisions. So it was Two Trigs and a Waterfall.

We faffed around a little driving all vehicles to the finish point. But I can't complain, as I've made the exact same error in navigating the Pieces Creek Pine Forest fire trails. Left 2 cars there and drove to the new start point at the locked gate in the saddle below Hardy Hill on Pipeline Road.

Walking by 8.00am. Cool, but the sun was out (if you weren't in the shade). Snow on the Brindabella Range. Off down the Pipeline Road, passed by a lady coming up, driving her children to school. 6.6km in 1hr 20mins to the bottom of the spur leading SW up to Cotter trig.

I'd recorded the track to here, but something went horribly wrong with my new Oregon 650 GPSr. Operator error, but I failed to record the rest of the track (must turn off Setup, Tracks, Auto Pause). So today's track is courtesy of Ian (the granite hunter) W. I was also carting my new Hyperjuice Plug - a 14,600 mAh battery with 2 USB charging ports, plus my iPhone in a new Lifeproof ruggedised cover - sans the extra battery in the Mophie Juice item. Will it be worth it for overnight trips with lots of photos?

35mins to climb the 540m across the ground and 220m ascent to Cotter trig. We stopped out of the breeze for morning tea.

The next leg took us from Cotter trig up a spur to the crest of the Hardy Range, SW along the top for a while, then a slow plunge down to the bottom of Pierces Creek Falls.The spur and crest presented realatively easy walking, although bits of spindly sapling regrowth and some patches of snow in places. 50mins for the 1.3km from morning tea to the knoll turn point on the Hardy Range NE of SH1059. Next came some bush-bashing of a standard not endured for a while. A slow and steady descent from the knoll to around the 900m contour, again through patches of regrowth. Here Mike turned N and NE, as he knew that there was a significant cliff on the true left side of the falls. Very slow and scrubby. At last we hit the creek and followed it upstream with a bit of scrambling to the base of the Pierces Creek Falls. The descent of 200m and 1.2km across the ground took 1hr 25mins.

I was last here on 11 Aug 07. Not as much water then. Photos don't capture the height of the falls, perhaps the video does it better. A lovely sight. Lunch.

We left at around 12.55pm to exit via the true right side of the falls. It looked very steep and overgrown from the bottom and that it was. However a monster cliff provided a very handy route and we climbed up along the bottom of it, forcing through the adjacent scrub. 30mins to do the 0.525km and 150m climb.

Here's our entry and exit track shown on Tidbinbilla OZraster digital map segments. The exit route has had to be realigned, as satellite reception was not good on the climb out. But it helps get the picture:

Pierces Creek Falls waypoints

Another stroke of genius from Mike in reversing the route - when we got out to the 1000m contour and turned around, it was well-nigh impossible to pick a line to the start of the cliff we'd come up. Any sensible navigator would pick the slight spur and end up going along the top of the cliff to the top of the falls.

A lovely leg out to the Tidbinbilla Range Road - straight up a spur. A little snow at the top. 2.2km, 290m climb in 1hr 20mins.

We popped out nearly on the 68 blaze and wandered up the newly graded fire trail to Pierce trig. Plenty more snow on the W side, none with the view to the E. A short break. Rang home.

5.9km in 1hr 20mins back to the cars along the Tidbinbilla Range Rd. I was interested to inspect the waypoint 'Does a FT come up here from Oakey Creek Rd' as it shows well via Google Earth. A bit of a newly graded run off there - no FT on the ground, but an obvious gap in the tree line says a FT must have been there at some stage. And as Ian W reminded me, there's a Firebreak marked on the 1st edn Tidbinbilla 8627-2S map.

A terrific walk thanks Mike!


Distance: 19.6km Climb: 1000m. Time: 8.00am - 4.30pm (8hrs 30 mins), with 1hr of breaks.

Grading: L/R; VH(15-)

Walk Participants

10 walkers - Mike B (leader), Cynthia C, Chris F, Eric G, Nathan H, Jack J, Stewart J, Stephen M, Ian W, me.

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This page last updated 3Sep22