08062014 – VK3/VE-022, VK3/VE-043 and VK3/VT-001

VK3/VE-022 (Mt Speculation)

VK3/VE-043 (Mt Despair)

VK3/VT-001 (Mt Howitt)

KRMNPA in Alpine WWFF ID – VKFF-619

Three summits in the Alpine NP before the road closes.

For this activation I planned to camp at MacAlister Springs then make my way along the Crosscut Saw to Mt Speculation then across to Mt Despair returning to Mt Howitt in the evening. Mt Despair was going to be optional dependent on conditions. Fortunately the weather whilst grim was on my side. Cold, snow showers and wet but no heavy rain whilst walking. The fog and wind would come in then clear up to just to taunt me. Have good equipment so a case of keep going. 

Activation went according to plan. Drove up Saturday evening. Arrived at Mt Howitt car park at 6:00pm. Walked into MacAlister Springs camping ground. Dark but can follow the track. The waxing moon helped when it came out but the track is quite well defined. A bit of slipping for the last 500m as the rocks increased when starting the descent into the camping ground. 

Setup tent. Cold. So called a night. Woke up just on light, had cup of tea and weetbix then off as had a lot of ground to cover.

Walked out into fog past a couple of confused brass monkeys into the spur.

WalkingOut

Have to stay sharp,

AcrossSpur

but basically a uneventful trip out across the spur line. Actually quite exciting. This is what you are here for.

VK3/VE-022 (Mt Speculation)

Made to Mt Speculation just after UTC. Had to select a operating position from Mt Speculation out of the wind as it would burst and slight snow showers. With the coat and layers of jumpers, gloves and beanies no issues. Great signals today 4 S2S (VK1DI/p2, VK3ANL/p, VK5PAS/p and VK1RX/p). Packed up and moved on once quite.

MtSpeculation

VK3/VE-043 (Mt Despair)

Walk into Mt Despair. 4 Km across, down then up. Walking in the fog not a problem as the track is quite good. Better that expected.There are a couple of areas where you have to scamper across rocks and the track will disappear completely. I was using a GPS with the route defined so just a case of following the pointer. 

Another quick activation but bagged 3 S2S (VK2IB/p, VK3EK/p and VK3MRG/p). Packed up once no response as wanted to be back on Mt Howitt before dark. 

Really glad to pick up these two summits as the second attempt to get this far out. Now time to get back. 

Stopped to enjoy the view on the way back when the clouds would clear.

ClearView

VK3/VT-001 (Mt Howitt)

Comfortably back on Mt Howitt before dark. The fog cleared up and was a nice walk. Mt Howitt is barren and with the wind and cold not a place too as quite exposed. Despite the 10 points this is a boring summit. Have to setup antenna using rocks as no trees in the zone. Antenna fell down on the first call but I got it back up and qualified the summit. No phone so not able to checkout other activations so missed both VK3WAM and VK5CZ. Quick activation and will apologise to any chasers who may have missed the opportunity due to quick activations. Whilst conditions improved I still wanted to keep going. Quite cold so did not want to sleep another night on the hill. Got back to Mac Callistor springs no issues, grabbed the big pack and walked out in the dark. Made it home 01:00 Sunday.

This is a good walk despite the warnings. The spur line is exciting. The real issue is the changeable weather. My second attempt to Mt Speculation as the first last year was cancelled under heavy wind rain then real snow. This time whilst fog is annoying not a issue.

The state of this track is clearly declared on signs at the Mt Howitt Car park and also the ‘Wilderness Area’ status of the area is declared as you enter the CrossCut. You have to be prepared to support yourself out here. That said the harshness of terrain and navigation skills required are not greater that that for the Sierra Ranges in the Grampians. There were always tracks to follow and the vegetation whilst thick still not as harsh.

Still want to activate The Viking and The Razor but not planning to walk in from MacAlister Springs. Too big for for a single day. 

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