The Pimple from Tidbinbilla Peak

Wednesday 16 November 2022: Tidbinbilla Peak and beyond ! – L/E-M. In via Camel Back Fire Trail, cut the corner, Johns Peak. Out via the south-east exit from just south of Tidbinbilla Peak.


From Garmin Connect – Distance: 11.13km | Climb: 829m | Time: 3:08 moving + 1:27 of stops = 4:35 | Grading: L/E-M; M(11).

Photographs Photographs are available here.
gpx File The gpx file is available here.
Track Notes

My 20th trip to Tidbinbilla Peak today, the last on 14 Sep 22. Never get sick of it! But it’s been a while since I came down SE from S of Tidbinbilla Peak, over 5 years on 27 May 17. I wanted to have a look at the route, as I was recently told that some track clearing and cairning/taping has been done.

A wave to Rob on his way to work as I did a U-turn after seeing Point Hut Crossing was closed.

Walking from the Mountain Creek car park by 7.35am. I signed in at the bushwalking register. Cool in the shade and a little sun as I walked up the Camel Back Fire Trail. Some nice flowers about. And thanks to members of the ACT Native Flora FaceBook page for helping me again with some of the names!

Purple eyebright (Euphrasia collina), Bulbine lily (Bulbine bulbosa) and Snow daisy bush (Olearia lirata) beside the Camel Back Fire Trail

A bit of a surprise around the spot I planned to turn up off the fire trail. It started to snow, the fluffy, drifting type.

A point of interest (to me, at least) on the leg up to the crest. I used to go on up to the U-turn footpad junction and go in via the burnt-out communication tower. On a couple of recent trips, some corner cutting has been used. What’s the difference? Map segment: © BKK Enterprises Pty Ltd, Mona Vale NSW 2103 Used with permission.

Cut corner tracks

Route Date Up Down Distance Climb Time
The full loop, via Track junction 28 Jun 17   Down 2.7km -214vm 41mins
Corner cut 1 14 Sep 22   Down 0.4km -205vm 32mins
Corner cut 2 14 Sep 22 Up   1.2km 222vm 48mins
Corner cut 3 Today Up   1.5km 214vm 47mins

Based on those metrics:

Going up

  • Most pleasant and easiest 3
  • Shortest tried 2
  • Shortest not tried 1
  • If you haven’t been along the crest before do the full loop.

Coming down

  • Not tried 2, 3
  • Shortest but not pleasant 1
  • If you haven’t been along the crest before do the full loop.

Climbed up to the crest. A pleasant and short leg.

Nearing the crest of the Tidbinbilla Range

Popped off a Facebook post. Not a very impressive photo, but it was certainly long coat on and glad to have feathers in reserve. The snow stopped on the climb to Johns Peak, but I kept my raincoat on for the rest of the trip and considered putting gloves on.

Start of climb to Johns Peak

No stop for Johnny Boy at Johns Peak. I followed the footpad on towards Tidbinbilla Peak.

The footpad just past Johns Peak

Through the open area and on the final climb to Tidbinbilla Peak, a lovely mountain side of Wax Flowers.

Long-leaf wax flower (Philotheca myoporoides, formerly Eriostemon) a couple of hundred metres out from Tidbinbilla Peak


Arriving at Tidbinbilla Peak, my attention immediately turned to next Saturday’s objective.

The Pimple from Tidbinbilla Peak

That’s what all these solo trips up here are all about. Will I make it to The Pimple next Saturday with mates Ian and Rob to hold my hand?

Always interested in how my new-ish Garmin MAP66i performs, I snapped the following as I sipped my coffee and ate home-made biscuits.

Metrics at Tidbinbilla Peak

Elevation reading a bit high today, Tidbinbilla Peak is 1561m ASL. But I’d noticed as I enjoyed the down bits on the climb up Camel Back Fire Trail that the Total Descent was showing around 50+m. Here it’s showing 103m of descent. So just a jogger to me that counting contours just from bottom to top is not an accurate measure of ascent.

The footpad south from Tidbinbilla Peak is well defined to start. It deteriorates a bit around SH1556.

Footpad 150m south of Tidbinbilla Peak

Down around the track junction there is a plethora of cairns!

A plethora of cairns at the turnoff to Tidbinbilla Mountain

I turned SW on the deteriorating footpad towards Tidbinbilla Mountain. Marked a couple of cairns. Down through a dip.

The dip and knoll before I turned around

From the knoll, there’s a view forward towards Tidbinbilla Mountain. 

View from the turn around knoll across a bump, SH1555 to Tidbinbilla Mountain


And a view across to The Pimple.

The Pimple from the turn around knoll

The weather was coming in again, so I left the rest till next Saturday. Back at the track junction, I turned SE down the exit footpad. Well defined at the start.

The start of the SE descent footpad from S of Tidbinbilla Peak

Never seen so many tapes and cairns.

Tapes, cairns and a well defined pad at the top

In places, a new type of track marker – hip high cut off saplings on the side of the footpad. Very useful!

Useful regrowth cut-offs on footpad

More photos of the footpad in the photo album.

Sago snow started falling around 11.15am.

Sago snow on the footpad at 1470m contour, 11.12am

I remember parts of this descent prior to the footpad. It’s certainly easier now.

The footpad makes for easier going at 1400m contour

The pad passes the ‘Boulders’ map point that Rob H used to use.

At the 1180m contour, around 320m from the Fire Trail, I lost the footpad. No matter, as the fire trail made a handy catching feature and the going was open. But a pedant will have to go back.

Open going 140m from the Camel Back Fire Trail

There was still a bit of slush on the Camel Back Fire Trail.

Still a bit of slush on the Camel Back Fire Trail

A cold car.

Cold car

Relive the Trip


Track Maps

Here’s where I went. On Tidbinbilla 1:25000 map © BKK Enterprises Pty Ltd, Mona Vale NSW 2103 Used with permission.

Track overview Tidbinbilla Peak and SE exit

Track 1 Tidbinbilla Peak and SE exit

Track 2 Tidbinbilla Peak and SE exit

The AllTrails map is here, where you can pan and zoom.

Route Card
From To Distance (km) Climb (m) Time (h:mm) Going
Mountain Creek carpark Johns Peak 6.0 560 2:08 Camel Back FT, easy off-track, footpad
Johns Peak Tidbinbilla Peak 1.0 130 0:40 Footpad
Exploring around the area 0.7 25 0:35 Footpad
near SH1556 Mountain Creek carpark 3.0 -670 1:15 Footpad, FT

(Metrics from OziExplorer Σ)


Just moi.

Information Bit(e)s

I’ve had a lot of assistance from walking friends recently. By way of paying a bit back, I’ll publish a few bites of information that may help someone. Today’s is ‘8 Plot a compass bearing on a map – what’s that hill over there?‘.