Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bimberi Peak, #3 of the State 8

Returning back from the summit of Bimberi Peak, carefully following the narrow track marked by stone cairns, we heard voices off to the right in the forest. Mmm… strange, we thought we’d be alone on this hike.

Bimberi Peak, Australian Capital Territory

The first of three blog entries for a week spent around Canberra doing three of the State 8 peaks - the highest mountains in each of Australia's eight states and territories.

SUMMARY - Bimberi Peak hike
Start Locked gate on Pocket Saddle Road, 34.5km from bitumen highway
End Bimberi Peak summit, re-trace steps to gate on Pocket Saddle Road
Time 3.5 hours each way
Distance 11km each way
Elevation gain 680m
Topographic maps 1:25 000 scale, two maps, Rules Point 8626-4S and Rendezvous Creek 8626-1S

Having set them straight on the ascent, to follow the stone cairns – "the what?", the piles of stones - we met another two parties ascending. It was a long weekend, but having camped out overnight at Oldfields Hut had given us a head start on other hiking parties.

The previous day we had driven the 35 kilometre Tantangara Road to the Tantangara Dam wall, crossing the Murrumbidgee River on a low timber bridge, then proceeding along Pocket Saddle Road. We had had conflicting advice about this dirt road, particularly Pocket Saddle Road past the timber bridge, was it suitable for a 2WD, or was a 4WD necessary. We had six people in our hiking party, so had hired two cars. To edge our bets, we hired an AWD and 2WD sedan. In the fortnight prior to our hike, a huge weather front had dropped 388mm of rain here, although nothing of significance in the five days prior. The road was fine. There was the occasional pool of water, but as the two roads follow the ridges creek crossings are minimal. The few creek crossings there were were culverted beneath the road.

We hiked an hour into Oldfields Hut, an old three-roomed cattlemans hut from the 1930s. We camped beside the hut, there is a large verandah, water tank and toilet. The following morning we continued along the fire trail to Murrays Gap. Water was flowing in the creeks, but again in each instance the creek was culverted beneath the road, otherwise there would have been some cold creek crossings.

The road reaches into the cleared and swampy saddle, the border between NSW and the ACT. From here we followed the stone-cairn marked track up the ridge, along the border, through the tree line to the summit. A survey trig point marks the summit. In what, at first, seemed like an ingenious logbook container, a double capped PVC sewer pipe bolted to the concrete footing of the trig, the contained logbooks was somewhat soggy and mouldy. Leaving some blank papers in a new sealed plastic bag, having signed our merry hearts away, this was after all peak number three in the State 8 - the highest summit in each of Australia’s states and territories.

We returned back to the car that afternoon. Simon, Shea and myself enjoyed a refreshing swim in a creek near the car, much to the mocking cries of the crew from the AWD who preferred to fester with their smelly gear in their vehicle. Not a problem, all in our car washed, as we journeyed down to Jindabyne to camp in a swampy caravan park beside a flooded Lake Jindabyne.

View in full screen format
Download GPX file - for use as a navigational aid in a GPS unit
Download KML file - view in Google Earth

TRACK NOTES - Bimberi Peak hike

Download larger version of track notes
Label Grid Ref Location Note
1 588 504 Locked Gate 34.5km along dirt roads, first Tantangara Road then Pocket Saddle Road. Leave car here.
2 Fire Track t-junction Follow east track
3 620 523 Oldfields Hut 1 hour from gate (1)
4 Murrays Gap Proceed to middle of swamp clearing at top of saddle, beside double sign saying 'Namadgi National Park' & 'Murrays Gap'. 1h15m from Oldfields Hut (3).
5 Bimberi Peak Follow stone cairn marked foot track along ridge to Bimberi Peak summut. 1h15m from Murrays Gap (4). 3.5 hours from gate (1)

No comments:

Post a Comment