Saturday-Sunday 5-6 July: Weekends in the southern Namadgi #5 – Gudgenby circuit – M/R. Over Gudgenby to camp at the top end of the northern saddle. Return via top of the Naas and the saddle southeast of Gudgenby. Map: Yaouk. Leaders: Jenny and Rob H. Transport: ~$40 per car.
4 of us drove in 1 car to the Yankee Hat car park.
It didn’t quite turn out like that.
Distance: 33.7km | Climb: 1150m | Time: 2 days | Grading: L/R; H(12+)
Photographs are available, where you can start a large sized slide show.
Download the Google Earth .kmz file here.
As we wandered along the Old Boboyan Road, rugged up against the cold and keen breeze, we could see the snow on the hills to the west. A bit on the Yankee Hats and a lot on Mt Gudgenby. But there was only one way to find out how extensive it was. To get to the start of the footpad to the SE Gudgenby saddle, Rob crosses the Bogong Creek causeway, then leaves the fire trail at the elbow. We jumped across Bogong Creek, where some of the party “watered up”, as a dry camp was forecast. My eyes were already watered up, as I was carrying 3.5l of town water, my winter tent and groundsheet (weighing in at 2.2kgm), 3 pairs of gloves and a few extra clothes. 4.3km in 1hr 5mins to the top of the open space (there used to be a tape there) where the footpad starts.
Keen to get my eye in for next Saturday so I don’t look a fool, I watched Rob as he impeccably followed the footpad. He leaves the general direction a little after my ‘hard left up the hill following pinks’ and comes up a little gully, but both ways end up going round the up side of a large rock. Morning tea in the saddle with shells and beanies back on after the climb. The footpad to the saddle was 2.4km in 1hr.
We struck up from the saddle and pretty soon ran into the first of the snow. Quite manageable as we climbed, although it was slow going and needed care. But at about the 1580m contour we hit the scrub belt below the slabs. The snow was maybe 10-12cm deep, but the trouble was it was on top of the bent over shrubs. So you stepped into the snow, then down through it and the shrubs, to anything between knee and thigh deep. That was every step – it was tiring. Running my GPSr all the time, I can tell you that it took 37mins to cover 270m across the ground, climbing 50m. Out in front at the time, I was glad when the captain called a halt. From the saddle to our about turn was 1.3km in 1hr 35mins. The rope and slings Rob was carrying, and our mini-crampons, will wait for another time.
Our return to the SE Gudgenby saddle was 1.2km in 1hr. Lunch was taken as we considered options.
I didn’t object when Lutons was called, with a trip up to Boboyan trig from the Old Boboyan Road the next day. A further opportunity to recce for next Saturday and minimise that ‘where am I feeling?’.
Wandering now, still quite brisk, but no threat of showers. Down to cross the Naas Creek, a bit of a cut of the corner, but soon ended up on the – here, so called Sams Creek Fire Trail. A bit of benching finally appears then, nearing the junction with the Maurice Luton Fire Trail, the footpad is quite clear. From the SE Gudgenby saddle to the junction with the MLFT was 2.7km in 1hr.
A pleasant no-brainer down the Sams Creek Fire Trail on the SW side of the Naas Creek. Two gigantic dead trees stand gate-keepers to the Naas Creek swamp at its upper end and old fences can be seen along the NE side. Still the showers held off, but the occasional glance behind us showed a clouded over Mt Gudgenby. So to Lutons Crutching Shed, where timber is stacked to repair/make more of a feature of the drop log fencing. (Huge shout out to KHA and the Namadgi Huts coordinator Bob S!). This leg was 4.8km in 1hr 10mins.
Up in the light timber S of the shed is Rob and Jenny’s favourite camping spot in this area. This is the fourth time I’ve camped with them here (others 3 Jun 04 on my first Navigation Refresher with them, 8 Sep 12 joining the Navigation Refresher that year, 31 Aug 13 on my second Navigation Refresher) and it has great memories. A perfect spot, the usual great place for a convivial fire and Jenny didn’t fail to carry in a small amount of port to share. A mild night (didn’t have to put on every layer of extra clothes) in my palatial Mountain Designs Positron 2 tent – double skin, cathedral ceiling (well compared with my other tent) and rectangular shape. Tossed and turned as usual, but first look at the clock said 5am.
Away at 8am to another fine day, although the head of the valley was shrouded in low cloud. Cut across down to the Sams Creek FT. Lots of photos of FT junctions, just to remind myself and others for next Saturday. Lots of management trail roadworks in the area, with causeways (but no apparent drainage underneath) over Sheep Station Creek and the next swampy area after the junction of Sams Creek and Grassy Creek FTs. Cut down to the junction of Sams Creek FT and the Old Boboyan Rd, just S of the Naas Creek ford, then down to run across the ford. This leg 1.4km in 20mins.
An amble N along the Old Boboyan Rd to the bottom of the spur up to Boboyan trig, then a few metres into the bush to drop our packs and consolidate PLB, first aid kit, water, raincoats and morning teas into one pack.. 2.8km in 45mins.
A nice climb to Boboyan trig, then down to the Granite Tors Lookout. It was freeing to be without a pack – unless you were carrying it! A nice spur with a couple of areas of granite that should entice Ian the granite hunter. The area appears to have been controlled burned a couple of years ago, which makes the going a little easier from memory. This leg 2.9km in 1hr 35mins.
We rugged up in the breeze and had morning tea, enjoying the huge views to the wild heart of the Namadgi – as the new signage says. Plenty of snow on the peaks as the cloud blew north to reveal them.
Returning to the trig and just passed it, we ran into Ranger Richard. Nice to know these guys are out and about managing the wonderful NP we have a short drive from home.
Our return to packs and lunch was 2.8km in 1hr 25mins. The return track was easier at the top.
All that was left was to wander back to the car. 6.6km in 1hr 20mins.
A great trip, even though the weather conditions precluded us reaching the primary objective. Always a learning experience to walk with Rob and Jen H; there’s something crazy about Darren R to come back after another recent epic.
4 walkers – Jenny and Rob H (leaders), Darren R, me.