23072016 – VK3/VT-031 & VK3/VT-032
VK3/VT-031 Mt Margaret
VK3/VT-032 UnNamed Peak
Both in VKFF-0619 Alpine National Park
These summits had only been activated by Wayne VK3WAM over 2.5 years ago.
Two 6 pointers summits on 4WD track Mt Margaret Track whoch runs parrallel to Mt Tamboritha Rd just out of Licola.
There was a low event coming across the state with snow down to 1000m The predictions were for the weather to improve Saturday but it was going to be wet due to the amount of rain over previous days. It is winter so expecting a challenge and to get wet and be cold. Not a problem as dressed and prepared for the conditions.
As I was putting up spots I saw Peter VK3PF was on Mt Warrenheip. I did not have HF setup as the KX3 was packed to go and the Kenwood is away from the sanding dust so could not work him. Jumped on 2M in car and caught him between Mt Warrenheip and Mt Bunnyiong. This is a popular pair.
Peter VK3PF on Mt Bunnyiong in hail finishing up his activation. The shelter was of no value as the hail was coming in horizontally.
Had a chat before heading off to drive across the state to stay overnight at Muttonwood camping ground off the Wellington River.
Awake early after a restful night and back down the road to checkout Mt Margaret track. I had looked at the track on earlier trips in summer and considered it steep. In winter with the mud its use was out of the question. There were tracks from 4WDs who had been up and back but nothing recent. Closer inspection confirmed this is not a track suitable for Subie. So the question was to walk up the 4WD track or take the walking track further down. Plan A was to to take the Mt Margaret Walking track so stuck to it.
VK3/VT-031 Mt Margaret
Drove down to the start of Mt Margaret Walking track and parked the car.
This track is a route to Lake Tali Karng. I want to use for access the Mt Margaret 4WD track running along the ridge lione. The track has not been well maintained but is quite usable.
When on the ridge line it was clear as not a lot of room for deviation however on the flatter areas the track fans out and animal tracks add confusion. A lot of dear out there given the tracks. Not surprising there were also a lot a deviations around fallen logs fall or short cuts. I was not keen on walking in water so stayed high away from the the creek so again away from the track as marked on my maps. The direction is clear its a case of heading up.
The walk up is steep. After going over the first peek I hit thick scrub. Pace slowed down.
Had just purchased a Garmin VIBR camera so was distracted with it and strayed off track. My bad. The walk through the scrub cost me my sun glasses, pack cover and nearly lost the Spot device. The leather holder for SPOT is rubbish. It is stretched with use and have previously had the device fall out (and forgetting to zip tie in after replacing batteries). I took it out and kept in pocket. Whilst providing tracking abilities and I have interfaced with APRS the Spot device primary role is to gain assistance should the worst happen. Loosing a GPS in the area would be a issue but loosing the ability to raise help in a area with no phone coverage could be life threading.
In the end it took over 3 hrs to cover 5Km. Relived to make it to the 4WD track on the ridge line.
Once on the 4WD track I dropped my pack and took the FT817 and tuned end-fed for the 800m climb to Mt Margaret to activate. Quick activation. 40M not the best and quite.
By now I was 2hrs behind schedule and whilst the weather was not bad it was not improving and I like to be back at the car before dark.
Could just follow the walking track back out but I obviously had not found the best way up so no reason to believe navigating in the dark was going to be easier. Following the 4WD track out would ensure I picked up the second summit. It was going to be longer (~7K) but quicker travel. Anyway I was here and it would be a long before coming back so as long as can get safely back to car then why not ? Ok it would be safe but long walk on the road in the dark. Nothing else to do out here.
Took the longer easier option by taking the 4WD track back ensuring the second summit.
VK3/VT-032 UnNamed Peak
Mt Margaret Track passes through this peak. Just walk. A lot to see,
This view is from track looking towards Trapyard Hill.
Above is a picture of the GPS logs whilst below is from SPOT maps. There are a few rough spots. Dare say being in pocket was not helping. Going to tie it back on pack.
The walk down the 4WD track was faster as no need to navigation and clear access. The biggest issue is slipping in the water on the down side. Some trees over road but good track along the ridge ling.
Given the weather and lost time deciding to take the longer but safer option and follow the 4WD track back to the sealed road was the best choice and also avoided covering old ground. Very steep on the down side. Got back to the road on dark so wipped out the head torch and strarted walking down the road. The advantage of roads is the gentle gradient and clear.
Removed a lot of rocks that were on the road. A couple of recovery trucks came past heading out with 4WD on the back or in tow. Someone had issues. Scared a wombat who was not expecting me and had a chat to a shooter walking the other way. By this time it was dark and gently raining (snow) but warmer than mid day so apart from the distance, walking out along the road was the best option.
Had walked out of the National Park when offered a lift with some other shooters who were off to the pub. Glad for the offer as had had enough by now and took 4Km off the walk saving 40min.
Whilst only 6 pointers these peaks have interesting access options. A real 4WD with suitably equipped for the climb and with a skilled operator could drive up and along the ridge line. The waking track has not been maintained and requires attention to stay on target. Either way being prepared ensures a long but rewarding day.
Stats, 32769 steps for 27Km and 177 floors. 12 SOTA activator points and 1 complete.