Thursday, June 23, 2011

Trip Report: Mt Clear Traverse

Headed off in early April for the long but pleasant drive from Melbourne to the Mt Clear area via Mansfield, Sheepyard Flats, 8 Mile Gap then down into the Jamieson River valley. The plan was to follow the route described in walk 21 in 'Bushwalks in the Victorian Alps' by Glenn van der Knijff.

Missed the turnoff but didn't realise my error for a few k's, when it ocurrred to me that the road was really only fit for a four wheel driver and not the mighty Magna. Turned around and eventually found the track start.

First up was a 1.5km walk to Clear Creek.

Followed the steep 4wd track to a crest.

Connected up with the AAWT and went up to the Nobs (1,495m). Some great views.

From the Nobs I followed the footpad to High Cone (1,488m), then on towards Square Top.

The original plan had been to walk through to the suggested campsite beyond Mt Clear. However, between the late start, slow pace and a few unscheduled ("where the hell is that track?") delays, I had only gotten as far as the base of Square Top before it got dark.

There was also a change in the weather coming. I dithered around a bit finding a campsite that was on level ground and had some shelter, then pitched the tarp tent. With the wind starting to rise I used a few decent-sized branches to secure the windward side of the tent.

It was a full on night with heavy rain and howling winds from all directions. It would've been exciting but for the water getting into the tent. I was also cold in my not-top-of-the-range synthetic bag, even wearing my fleece top. Also, the vinyl ground sheet I used really wasn't up to the task, ripping in a few places on roots and stones. I resolved to work out a better shelter system before the next trip. My camera came off the worst from the night - when I picked it up in the morning it was dripping with water. Suffice to say that I had to use my iPhone 3GS for the photo duties from that point on.

Ater my usual hot breakfast (B&E/brewed coffee) I broke camp and headed up Square Top (1,587m)...

...then made my way to Mt Clear (1,695m). No views this day.

From Mt Clear the trail dropped steeply to where it met a 4wd track.

At this point the route leaves the AAWT for a 7km walk along the 4wd track. The walk is easy and through some beautiful bushland. In the last section the track descends to the Clear River and is heavily overgrown with regrowth in many places. After the rain of the previous night it made for a soggy finish to the hike.

Tedious walk up the road back to the car, then back to Mansfield for a well-earned coffee and lunch.

Lessons learned:
  • Don't wait until Saturday morning for weekend hikes - better to get to the start area on Friday night, ready for an early start the next morning.
  • When a couple of gnarly old blokes in well-loved Landcruiser tell you that the road is going to get a bit rough for your 2wd sedan, take notice.
  • Get a better shelter system to keep out rain and wind.
  • Get more obsessive about protecting electronic gear.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear from you - post a comment here.