Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mt Namadgi, ACT, Australia


2015 October: Day trip to climb Mt Namadgi from Yankee Hat carpark, ACT, Australia

Prolog - List of 11 highest named peaks in ACT

I've compiled this list of 11 highest named peaks in ACT.  One day, I like to climb them all. Contact me if you wish to do so too. (Data is from Rooftop's map called "Namadgi - ACT South Activities Map" 2011 edition.)

•  01   1913 m   Bimberi Peak - photos and write up on this climb are in my blogs:
From east: http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2011/01/bimberi-act-australia-east-approach.html
From west: http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2009/12/bimberi-act-australia.html

•  02   1856 m   Mt Gingera - photos and write up on this climb are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/mt-gingera-mt-ginini-act-australia.html

•  03   1846 m   Mt Murray

•  04   1826 m   Mt Kelly - photos and write up on this climb are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/kelly-burbidge-nsw-australia.html

•  05   1810 m   Unnamed peak just east of Mt Scabby - Easting: 668144; Northing: 6041045
          1791 m   Mt Scabby - Easting: 667725; Northing: 6041140

•  06   1784 m   Mt Namagi - this climb

•  **   1766 m   Ginger Ale - (unnamed on paper maps);  on ACT/NSW border, between Leura Gap & Blackfellows Gap - photos and write up on this climb are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/little-ginini-ginger-ale-act-australia.html

•  07   1763 m   Mt Ginini - photos and write up on this climb are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/mt-gingera-mt-ginini-act-australia.html

•  08   1740 m   Mt Gudgenby

•  09   1738 m   Little Ginini - photos and write up on this climb are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/little-ginini-ginger-ale-act-australia.html

•  10   1727 m   Sentry Box Mountain eastern peak - Easting: 672182; Northing: 6033836
          1697 m   Sentry Box Mountain western peak - Easting: 671412; Northing: 6033807
Photos and write up on this climb are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/11/sentry-box-act-australia.html

•  11   1724 m   Mt Burbidge - photos and write up on this climb are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/kelly-burbidge-nsw-australia.html

•  **   1711 m   Mt Mavis (unnamed on paper maps) - Easting: 672279; Northing: 6049323  (just north-east of Mt Namadgi;  east of Big Creamy Flats)

Today's climb - Mt Namadgi

Continuing my effort to climb the 11 highest peaks in ACT ...

Today's climb is to Mt Namadgi, 1784 meters, 6th highest named peak in ACT, and one of the remotest mountains in ACT.

The view from the summit is excellent. But to get there is not so simple ... this trip costs us (BR and I) 19.5 hours !!!

One reason we took so long was because on the return leg, from 8pm to 1:30am, we were in the middle of the night, bushbashing in the dark in dense bush. But even if we had total daylight, we would still require about 16 hours. So, with hindsight, we took the trip too leisurely earlier on, should have bushbashed much faster in the morning.

This was the first time I went on a climbing trip without taking enough batteries for my GPS ... well, I didn't anticipate the trip to take 19.5 hrs. I had expected a regulation climb of 11 hours only. Also, I expected BR to bring his own GPS ... but his GPS was broken in an earlier trip. To conserve power, I turned off my GPS on the return trip. Fortunately, BR is a good navigator and was able to guide us down the mountain, even in complete darkness and in the bush. Only occasionally did I need to turn on the GPS for a minute or two to confirm our positions.

But still, without a GPS, we were a bit slow.  On two occasions, we even went backwards while in the dark. Lessons learnt: Always bring enough batteries for the GPS to last 24 hours !

Maps

•  8626-1S Rendezvous Creek  1:25,000
•  Rooftop's "Namadgi - ACT South Activities Map"  2011 edition;  1:50,000
•  8626 Tantangara  1:100,000

The relevant part of the 1:25,000 scaled map can be downloaded from:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSekNDelRvOVFpYk0/view?usp=sharing

The below map is from the 1:50,000 scaled Rooftop's Namadgi map.


Yankee Hat Carpark

The starting point of the Mt Namadgi climb is at Yankee Hat Carpark on Old Boboyan Rd.

If you are coming from the direction of Canberra, drive south on Boboyan Rd. At about 0.7 km pass the bridge crossing Rendezvous Creek, or 0.3 km pass the bridge crossing Gudgenby River, watch out on your right for a fork with a very small sign pointing to Yankee Hat Carpark & Old Boboyan Rd. You really need to watch out for it, as one blink and you'll miss it.

GPS tracklog file & route

The GPX tracklog file of our walk can be download from:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSekptT0pYU0MxbTQ/view?usp=sharing

The 1:25,000 scaled map with our tracklog superimposed on it can be downloaded from:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B877-h5SCJaSTERjRkw2MENHUGs/view?usp=sharing

In summary, our route is:
•  Start at Yankee Hat carpark.
•  Once we pass the open plain and into the scrub, keep to the north side of Middle Creek.
•  Walk to Big Creamy Flats until we are north of Mt Namadgi.
•  Climb Mt Namadgi.
•  Return trip is to retrace our steps back to the car.

Timeline & Distance

05:52   0.0 km  Start Yankee Hat carpark
12:28  13.0 km  At Big Creamy Flats, north of Mt Namadgi

Lunch

12:55  13.0 km  Start to climb Mt Namadgi
14:31  14.4 km  At Mt Namadgi summit

Enjoy the scenery

14:41  14.4 km  Start to descend from the summit
14:46  14.6 km  At a knoll 200 meters north-east of the summit
15:48  16.1 km  At Big Creamy Flats, north of Mt Namadgi
20:05  22.2 km  (Sun sets at 19:37. Last light at 20:05.)  From now on, we are totally in the dark.
01:32  30.0 km  Finish at Yankee Hat carpark

==============================================

Total:  19 hrs 40 mins
           30.0 km  Distance is from Google Earth
           37.8 km  Distance is from Garmin GPS

(Hhmmm ... the discrepancy in distances is weird. Usually the Garmin distance is 10% longer that the Google Earth distance. This time, the discrepancy is more than 20% ... perhaps due to the Garmin being turned on and off in the night ???)

Pictures - Early morning at Yankee Hat carpark

1)  While waiting for BR to arrive, I take this picture of the open plain at Yankee Hat carpark at 5:41am with the moon in the sky. (First light at 5:36am; Sunrise at 6:03am) ~~~
- Red arrow points to mist covered Yankee Hat.
- Blue arrow points to the valley through which Middle Creek flows.
We'll be walking up the valley on the north side of Middle Creek (In the photo, it is on the right side of the valley.)


To Big Creamy Flats

2)  25 minutes after we started walking ~~~
Open plain near Yankee Hat carpark, taken at 6:15am. (First light at 5:36am; Sunrise at 6:03am)


3)  In the 2 pics below, note the change in colour within 15 minutes!
The upper photo is taken at at 6:15am.
The lower photo is taken at 6:28 am
- The hill on the left is Yankee Hat.
- The valley in the middle is where Middle Creek flows.
We'll be walking up the valley on the north side of Middle Creek (In the photos, it is on the right side of the valley.)


4)  Looking back at Yankee Hat carpark - the red arrow


5)  After an hour of walking in the open plain, it is bushbashing time.


6)  A creek to cross ~~~ this one flows into Middle Creek.


7)  An interesting rock


8)  7.8 km, 2 hrs 40 minutes after we started walking, we get our first glimpse of Mt Namadgi.
- The left arrow points to Mt Burbidge
- The right arrow points to Mt Namadgi obscured by the gum tree.


9)  10.8 km, 4 hrs after we started walking ~~~
We are due east of Mt Namadgi - red arrow in the pic. However we won't climb Mt Namadgi yet. We'll keep going north-west to Big Creamy Flats.


At Big Creamy Flats

10)  Now at Big Creamy Flats ~~~
Mt Namadgi is not in this pic. It is just outside the left edge of the pic.


11)  Mt Namadgi from Big Creamy Flats ~~~
We are at the north-east side of Mt Namadgi. The summit can't be seen yet. In the pic, it is behind the rocky cliff at the top of the ridge.
We won't be climbing Mt Namadgi from here. We'll keep going in the north-west direction along Big Creamy Flats until we are almost north of Mt Namadgi. Then we'll climb straight up towards the rocky cliff, left yellow arrow. (Some people climb towards the saddle point, right yellow arrow; then walk along the ridge to the summit.)


12)  Still at Big Creamy Flat, looking directly east at the 3 peaks of Mt Mavis. (The summit is the peak on the right.) At this point, I realize I have to ditch my grandiose plan of climbing Mt Mavis after climbing Mt Namadgi ... it is already past 12 o'clock (more than 6 hrs of walking) and we have yet to climb Mt Namadgi !


Climbing up Mt Namadgi

At 12:30pm, we have lunch by the edge of Big Creamy Flats. Afterwards, it is straight up towards the summit.

13)  A wombat hole ... while climbing up Mt Namadgi


14)  BR climbing up a rock face - we are half way up the slope of Mt Namadgi.

15)  These are the rock cliffs that is at the top of the mountain in Photo #11. The Namadgi summit, which can't be seen here, is another 500 meters behind the cliff.
We'll climb up the rock cliff through the crack pointed by the yellow arrows.


16)  (This pic is taken at the same spot as the previous pic was taken.)
- Big Creamy Flats can be seen below.
- The red arrow points to Mt Mavis summit. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)


Mt Namadgi summit

17)  After we climbed over the rock cliff in Photo #15, we can see the summit - top of the rock in the middle of this pic.


18)  Hurray! At Mt Namadgi summit 1784 meters, 14.4 km, 8 hrs 40 minutes after we started from Yankee Hat carpark. Hhmmm ... we now realize a large chunk of the return trip will be bushbashing in the dark !
My thumb is pointing at Mt Kelly.


19)  BR ~~~
Mt Kelly is the big mountain in the centre of the pic.


20)  Excellent panoramic view from the summit ... Towards south-east and south:
The arrows point to, from left to right:
- Yankee Hat carpark (blue arrow) ... where we started the walk this morning.
- Yankee Hat (red arrow) ... on my to-do list.
- Mt Burbidge ... Climb it and Mt Kelly with RE in early January this year.
- Mt Gudgenby ... on my to-do list.
- Mt Scabby ... on my to-do list.
- Mt Kelly ... Climb it and Mt Burbidge with RE in early January this year.

Photos and an account of my climb to Mt Kelly & Mt Burbidge are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/kelly-burbidge-nsw-australia.html


21)  Towards west and north-west:
The arrows point to, from left to right:
- Mt Morgan ... on my to-do list.
- Mt Murray ... 3rd highest mountain in ACT ... on my to-do list.
- Bimberi Peak ... climbed it with RE from the east in Jan 2011.
- Cotter Flats (blue arrow) ... RE and I camped out there for the night after climbing Bimberi.
Photos and an account of my climb to Bimberi Peak are in my blog:
http://mntviews.blogspot.com.au/2011/01/bimberi-act-australia-east-approach.html


Return to car

After 10 minutes at the summit to soak up the atmosphere, we look at the watch and it is 2:41 pm !!! It sinked on us then that we'll be bushbashing a large part of the return trip in the dark ... Well, we started at 5:52am, almost 9 hours ago; the return trip won't be much easier. In addition, my GPS battery is running low ... well, I hadn't catered for such a long day   :-(

Fortunately BR has a good sense of direction.  So I turned off my GPS and let BR guide us back to the car at Yankee Hat Carpark.

At 8pm we've covered half the distance. As the sun sets at 7:37pm and last light is at 8:05pm, so the last half of the walk is bushbashing in complete darkness. In the end, we reach the car at 1:32am in the middle of the night ... making it a total of 19 hrs 40 minutes for the day !

Post Script

- By the way, there are others who were able to complete the same trip in 10 to 12 hours, so we are a bit slow  :-)  Ah, but it is journey that counts, not the speed  :-)

- The kangaroos were in plague proportion in ACT. On the way back to Canberra from Yankee Hat carpark (where we started the walk), kangaroos jumped in front of my car on 3 occasions. Fortunately I had the foresight to drive at 50 kph in a 100 kph zone and was able to stop the car in time. Had I bump into one of roos at full speed and badly damage the car, I don't think I can get any help as there was no mobile phone connection in that remote part of ACT.

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