I had been waiting to activate this summit for a while now. Access had been restricted due to fires and floods. There are still parts of the Grampians closed so checkout access before you head off.
Access to this summit is via the Mt Difficult overnight walking track. Start from either the Beehive Falls carpark or Troopers Creek. Access via Troopers Creek was still closed so I took the longer path via Behive Falls. Anything to secure a first activation.
So knowing access is open I headed off. Simply drive down M8 freeway to Roses Gap Road. Turn left onto Roses Gap Road and follow it to the Beehive Falls carpark on your left just beyond Mt Zero Road. Got the pack on and started walking down the track. The tracks are in great condition. Navigation is straight forward. The first 1.4Km to Beehive Falls is shady and pleasant.
There was water in the falls on my visit. Actually the Grampians were in great shape following the recent rain. Only you have checked out the falls you head off and up the rock cliffs. The track markers have been replaced so its a case of follow the yellow arrows. A couple of spots where you need to be careful then you get to the top. Whilst it did get to 32 the Grampians were in fine form. Slight wind and green. You can see the fire damage. Stayed on the track and kept walking. Took me 2.5hrs to walk the 7+ k each way.
There are even maps on the way to verify position. Most of the walk is across open rock plains. It would be challenging in the heat. Access to the summit is another rock scramble and I setup just off the peak where there was a tree for cover. Used end fed and KX3.
Views from the summit to Wartook Reservoir. First contact was with VK3ARR on VK3VN-023 and the final with VK2BJP/3 on VK3/VE-167.
Intended to activate South Mt Difficult Range accres from Chinamans Road / Carters Track. Access still restricted and I had enough of walking for one day.
Its a good clean walk but still 7Km each way. Would recommend access via Troopers Creek campsite (when open) be investigated instead.
A lot of effort for 4 points but in this case a first activation in great conditions and views..
06012017 – VK3/VE-050 (Mt Sunday)
06012017 –VK3/VE-026 (Mt McDonald)
Both in (VKFF-619) Alpine National Park.
Heading up to activate two summits using AAWT for access. Mt Sunday was considered for activation last week after successful activation of VK3/VE-040, VK3/VE-240 & VK3/VE-018 with earlier with VK3CAT. Decided not to and to come back when the weather was calmer as had unfinished business with Mt McDonald. Previous attempt (112015) to access Mt McDonald was aborted. This involved accessing from road through the dense bush. This is possible but heavy slow going. Decided best to access Mt McDonald from AAWT this time.
06012017 – VK3/VE-050 (Mt Sunday)
Left Midday and followed my normal access route of freeway then Mansfield to head down the Howqua Track into Brocks Road. Turned into Low Saddle Rd and crossed the Jamieson Rivers near the camp of last week. As you travelled deeper into the bush the tracks degraded. Low Saddle was fine. There are spots where I had to get out and move rocks and a couple tight squeezes between timber but overall the access good.
Then you turn into Mt Sunday road. The road is not 2WD. The final 100m of is across rocks and where you have to be careful. I proceeded in low range and have ‘Light Truck’ tyres in excellent condition. Next time would park where the Mt Sunday track meets Low Saddle and walk up.
VK3 contacts didn’t happen. Tried 40m, 20 and 10M. Worked ZL, VK2 & VK5 on 40M to qualify. Once qualified I packed up and proceeded down Low Saddle road to park where the AAWT meets Bull Plain Spur Road. Setup camp as wanted a start early to beat the expected heat.
Subie on the way back. You can’t see the new dint in the passengers side. Ran over a branch the flipped up and hit the car vertically. Watching rocks clearance and missed this stick. Grrrrr
06012017 –VK3/VE-026 (Mt Mcdonald)
This is what I was here for. Mt Sunday was a bonus.
Camped overnight at the point where the road meets the AAWT. Woke early, had coffee packed up tent and checked gear then headed off. Took KX3 and end fed for this activation.
The KX3, key, mic and 2900mAh internal nicads weighs in at 1480g. The FT817 with mic, key and 2800mAh batteries weighs in at 1570g. The KX3 is bulkier but includes antenna tuner and protective covers.
Followed the AAWT up. 6.1Km up, up across then up. As your are walking up you can see the roads weaving through the trees.
Took 2.5hrs to walk up, 30m to setup. Qualified in 20 minutes with Parks contact with VK3ZPF, then the usual culprits – VK2UH, VK7CW, VK5IS and VK2IO finally a complete for VK3CAT.
Then a couple arrived on the on the summit who were walking the AAWT. They were low on water and asking questions as to access for water at the Knobs and Mt Clear. Being aware of these sites but never needing to access I could not give useful advice. As it was expecting hot conditions, I was carrying additional water. Decided to give them water. Worked out how much I used on the way up and a margin for error then gave them the rest. Don’t go up here without water. You can’t rely on being able to access the springs or there being a fellow walker prepared to share what is the most valuable commodity in the bush.
Made a couple of post UTC calls with no response so packed up and headed back down. The track is good but still easy to wander off. 13Km for the trip but 200% easier then what appears to be a shorter option through the thick bush. Key is to stay on the ridge lines.
Great views from here,
View to Mt Clear,
01012017 – VK3/VS-027 (Ben More)
Decided to go to a local summit for the new year activations. Given UTC is at a civil time here and the high number of proposed activations it will be a great opportunity to chase Summit to Summit contacts (S2S).
Access is via a public road reservation that makes its way to the Ben More Bushland Reserve. Along the way, the road goes through several gates, one with a “Private – No Entry” sign, however the road reserve is public land. This is a popular site for hand gliders and I meet a couple coming down from the summit as I was heading up. They had decided to to launch due to the poor weather but confirmed the road condition and status. It is a rough track. There are no fences defining the boundaries until you hit the park. The summit is on private property. Watch out for livestock. The final climb into the reserve is steep. Subie handled it with no issues but would not be planning to go there if wetter.
Dark blue show the track taken whilst the purple lines show the road reserves. Don’t deviate from the road leaving the gates in the state you found them.
Being able to drive to the summit ensured I arrived on time, in fact early as expected a walk. Setup using 20/40 trapped dipole using the emergency marker;
Proceeded to work all I could find too finish up with 26 S2S contacts for 146 points. There were no hand gliders but eagles. Managed to get photo of one;
Good clear summit. Access is ensured but not 2WD track.
28122016 – VK3/VE-040 (The Knobs)
28122016 – VK3/VE-240 (High Cone)
29122016 – VK3/VE-018 (Mt Clear)
All in (VKFF-619) Alpine National Park.
I’ve had my eye on this area due to the number of desirable summits and ability to use the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT) to safely access said summits for a while.
Tony VK3CAT mentioned he was heading to the area after XMAS and I jumped at the opportunity to accompany him and Nan. Given the remote nature, these summits are not activated a lot. Previous activations have been by Wayne VK3WAM (https://waynemerry.wordpress.com/tag/vk3ve-040/) and Tony VK3CAT (https://vk3cat.wordpress.com/march-2015/) so also not many opportunities to go with someone who had been before. Sole hiking is not a good plan in this area. Intend to return to access easier summits but this time will go accompinied.
Weather was interesting. The week leading up predicted 36+ heat. Planning involved working outwore water points were.As it got closer the wetter the forecasts were becoming. Headed off Tuesday to drive via Mansfield as intended to camp that night. Noted the weather forecasts and decided to review the position in the morning. The closer to mansfield I got the wetter it became. Fears go excessive heat disappeared and was becoming obvious rain gear was to be deployed.
Easy access to the area. Head through Mansfield to turn down Howqen Road then pass through Shipyard Flat camping area to follow Brocks Rd down to the the Jameson River. This is marked as a 4wd track, but it is maintained to a high standard being recently graded, so no problems with a 2wd. Meat up with Tony and Nan at a camp site next to the Jameson River in time to setup tent in rain and have tea.
30Km all up over two days. GPX available on request.
The Knobs VK3/VE-040
Left Tonys camp on the Jamison in Subie to head down Mt Clear Track. Parked off the road and and headed up Mt Clear track then turned right to The Knobs track to gain access to the ridge line. One up on the ridge we meet the AAWT. This was used to to gain access to the summits. The weather was windy and grey but holding. It was a steep walk up but the AAWT track will head through the activation zone for The Knobs for our first summit. Track is clear and easy navigation. Just keep following the yellow triangles until GPS tells you you are in the zone.
This was the point for the first activation. Stayed dry but the wind forced us to select a spot just under the peak. Qualified and kept walking as more summits to do.
High Cone VK3/VE-240
Followed the walking track around to High Cone. The track did not go through the activation zone so we dropped packs and climbed the final 120M up to activate.
The rain was starting to come in now. Not a problem actually better than the expected 36+ conditions. Setup below the peak to avoid the wind and activated with intent to stay dry. Used the endfed with Tony’s KX3 to qualify.
Followed the AAWT around to camp in the saddle at the base of Mt Clear. The yellow line is the track AAWT GPX whilst the blue line is the actual route we took. There is a marked difference around ‘Square Top’. We decided not to go over the summit (can’t qualify so why walk up). According to AAWT GPX there should have been a track. No real track. Whilst the AAWT went around the base, the track in fact headed over the summit. We maintain 1490m and cut up once clear of the climb. By now the wind was quite gusty. Camped in the saddle at the base of Mt Clear. Given the wind and pending rain we selected a protected site as protected as possible and away from dead timber.
Mt Clear VK3/VE-018
Anything but clear.
The rain was varying from heavy drizzle to showers. Everything was wet. There was no view to enjoy so we qualified and moved on.
Walk back was via Mt Clear Track. This is the same track we had left the car on on the previous day. By now it is a overgrown 4WD parks management track that joined the AAWT. Despite the vegetation it is a easy but long walk as a case of head down keep going. The 4WD track is no longer used but still clear so no navigation going on. Frustrating in the final stages as it zigged and zagged down to meet Mt Clear Track. The GPS was showing 1.4km to the car for nearly an hour. There is a track on the maps that appeared a more direct route but did not see and usable options. Got back to Subie and headed back to main camp.
Tony stayed for another night whilst I headed home. Harsh weather on the way home so decided not to pickup summits on the way. Wet tried and looking forward to sleeping in my bed tonight.
Thanks to Tony and Nan for patience in harsh conditions. Appreciated the opportunity to access desirable summits.
Update – 012017.
Access restrictions to Mt Difficult (Mt Gar) have been lifted,
The walking track has reopened with modifications. Start from Beehive Falls car park instead of Troopers creek campground (which has closed).
All walkers must lodge a trip intention form at Brambuk the National Park and Cultural Centre, Halls Gap.
VK3/VW-008 Mt Difficult
|Start: Troopers Creek Campground||Time: Approx. 4-5 hrs return|
|Distance: 8.8 km return||Grade: Hard (elevation: 470m)|
Troopers Creek Campground is located along Roses Gap Road. A hard climb. Continue beyond Tilwinda Falls to the base of cliff overhangs and then weaves through weathered rock formations and boulders to the summit – the highest point in the Northern Grampians. Return via the same route.
Access – WildSight
(March 22nd 2016) Walking track status
Troopers Creek Campground still closed
Keith Roget Memorial National Park Award activation Weekend 2016 – 11th to 14th November.
The annual KRMNPA activation weekend is designed to encourage portable activities in Victoria’s 45 National Parks.
Track my progress over weekend on APRS – VK3ARH-1
This weekend will see at least 41 Parks (as of November 5th) of Victoria’s National parks available for contacts.
Each park qualifies for VKFF and WWFF.
I intend to activate four in the states east;
All in EG3 – East Gippsland Shire Council.
The goal is to activate the parks so any SOTA Summits will come down to conditions;
- Lind NP: No summits
- Alfred NP: Granite Peak VK3/VG-137
- Croajingalong NP: VK3/VG-151 Mt Everard
|VK3/VG-141||Australia – Victoria||Victoria – East Gippsland||Genoa Peak||488||149.6267||-37.5299||1||0||1||VK1AT|
|VK3/VG-146||Australia – Victoria||Victoria – East Gippsland||Mt Carlyle||433||149.8802||-37.4735||1||0||0|
|VK3/VG-147||Australia – Victoria||Victoria – East Gippsland||Howe Hill||391||149.8883||-37.5076||1||0||0|
|VK3/VG-151||Australia – Victoria||Victoria – East Gippsland||Mt Everard||348||149.2873||-37.7163||1||0||1||VK3PF/P|
- Coopracambra NP: 11 SOTA Summits in the park. No target yet. Will depend of time over weekend and a lot more time on Forest Explorer
|VK3/VG-065||Australia – Victoria||Victoria – East Gippsland||Mt Coopracambra||1003||149.2943||-37.2791||6||0||0|
|VK3/VG-069||Australia – Victoria||Victoria – East Gippsland||Mt Kaye||984||149.2458||-37.3954||6||0||0|
|VK3/VG-078||Australia – Victoria||Victoria – East Gippsland||Mt Denmarsh||917||149.2650||-37.3563||6||0||0|
|VK3/VG-093||Australia – Victoria||Victoria – East Gippsland||Pint Pot||823||149.2613||-37.3077||4||0||0|
|VK3/VG-094||Australia – Victoria||Victoria – East Gippsland||Mt Wakefield||817||149.4191||-37.3027||4||0||0|
|VK3/VG-097||Australia – Victoria||Victoria – East Gippsland||Bill Mile Hill||805||149.2283||-37.3750||4||0||0|
|VK3/VG-100||Australia – Victoria||Victoria – East Gippsland||Cooaggalah Hill||779||149.3076||-37.4203||4||0||0|
|VK3/VG-101||Australia – Victoria||Victoria – East Gippsland||VK3/VG-101||748||149.3541||-37.3536||4||0||0|
|VK3/VG-105||Australia – Victoria||Victoria – East Gippsland||Mt Merragunegin||718||149.4543||-37.3092||4||0||0|
|VK3/VG-111||Australia – Victoria||Victoria – East Gippsland||VK3/VG-111||686||149.2518||-37.4439||2||0||0|
|VK3/VG-112||Australia – Victoria||Victoria – East Gippsland||VK3/VG-112||682||149.3127||-37.3292||2||0||0|
21 Parks within 100Km
|VKFF-0458||South East Forest||-36.9190||149.5332||79.60km||NNE|
- 20/40m dipole
- 20m vertical
- APRS 2m/70cm in the car
- 20Ah battery
KRMNPA Parks not activated,
VK/ZL – Europe SOTA S2S Party – 22 Oct 16 0630 – 0830 UTC
Andrew VK1AD & Mike 2E0YYY organised using Sota website and Facebook. It took off with 54 summits across Australia, New Zealand, Japan, England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, France, Finland, Bulgaria, Portugal, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Greece and Switzerland alerted. Ed – DD5LP reports that there were 73 spots on the evening.
The evening started with hail and stayed cold. Never the less went to my local summit (VK3/VC018) that has good cover and setup for the evening. Given the wet conditions, took FT817 as not ready to drown KX3. 20m dipole at 7m so was dependent on CW for contacts. A great response.
Had a great time. The EU CW is so much harder then VK, much more and much faster activity. I’m looking for these activities to help with honing CW skills. The EU pace is madness.
I recorded 5 contacts. The only DX contact was with DL3TU3H on DM/BW-089, and local contacts with VK6NU,VK3CAT,VK3ARR & VK2IO
Heard many activations and called HB9IT,LZ1GY,JS1UEU,2E0YYY (SSB) , F/ON7DQ & JP3DGT but my QRP did not cut through.
From the reports it may have paid to hang on for another 30 min. However it was cold and wet. Had a good run so went into Bunnyiong to pick up pizza and went home to warm up.
Thanks Andrew (if thats really your name) and Mike. Looking forward to the next one.