1. There's more to this forum than meets the eye!

    We have a vibrant community here conversing about all sorts of non-snow topics such as music, sport, politics and technology. Simply register to reveal all our Apr├Ęs topics.

    NOTE: This notice may be closed.

    Dismiss Notice

Trip Report AAWT Bushwalking. The Nobs to Mt.Clear. Nov. 18 & 19th 2019

Discussion in 'Backcountry Trip Reports' started by Mister Tee on XC Skis, Nov 20, 2019.

  1. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    9,269
    Likes Received:
    8,680
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Salaam!
    Your correspondent in the field took a two day break and made the most of a favourable weather window to go and walk some more of the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT).
    Armed with my new GPS as well as a map and compass this was quite an adventure.

    I rose at 5 am on Monday November 18th and was on the road to Mansfield by 6 am. Having lodged a trip intentions form with the Mansfield Police and refuelled the tee mobile ,I arrived near the trailhead in the Upper Jamieson River Valley at approximately 1030am.
    I took a quite early lunch and headed up Brocks road to the junction with Clear Creek road and up the near vertical Nobs track. This time last year these 4 x4 tracks were terribly overgrown with blackberries , saplings etc. and full of impassable bogs near Clear Creek itself. Now there are three heavy earth moving machines turning it all into a level , clear bog free 6 lane super highway.
    The bad news is that hiking up The Nobs track on foot with an overnight pack plus 7 litres of water to cover up to two days of trekking is still a slog like few others in the Victorian Alps. Having been up and down it in one day with a day pack in one day last year I knew what I had signed up for. About 2/3 of the way up a forestry /track worker in a large 4 WD was descending along The Nobs track.
    He stopped and had quick chat with me and mentioned the lost hiker who had left his car near the Upper Jamieson Hut. The Policeman in Mansfield also mentioned this matter to me as did another person the next day out on Mt. Clear.
    Anyway eventually I surmounted the crest of The Nobs track . There were large pools of muddy water near the Old Helipad.
    I stopped for another water break and then headed up the AAWT towards the Twin summits of The Nobs. I dropped my pack where the track veers off towards High Cone( perhaps it was named by a 4 WD enthusiast who enjoyed the herb superb?).
    I visited both summits(1490 and 1495 M.) unencumbered by a pack. The walking along that ridge between the two summits is quite easy and with clear weather the views were fabulous .
    I took some photos. Having marked my backpack's location on the GPS as a waypoint I found it again with no trouble.
    Using the GPS in the field with the detailed uploaded Topographical maps and significant waypoints already marked prior to embarking on my solo mission was becoming useful.
    Time was ticking along . The slow grind up the Nobs track had taken its toll on me and my imagined progress in relation to the clock and in comparison with the outlined schedule of the guide book's author. I am referring to Glenn Van Der Thingy 's guide book : "Bushwalks in the Victorian Alps".
    This walk( No. 21 in the book ) is described in detail. Mr. Thingy is super human , a proverbial hare from one of Aesop's fables while I am a mere mortal and much more the tortoise.
    By about 1630 I had had enough and knew that Mt. Clear was still a long way off. I remembered some sage like words uttered by an AAWT walker I met at Roper's hut not long ago. He was walking the whole AAWT, i.e. 600 km .
    He said :" Don't fool yourself thinking there will be a better campsite ahead. Rest your body when it is time to do so , conserve energy and water when you find somewhere good to pitch your tent". So in the saddle not far from High Cone I set up a dry camp. The Nobs were visible and I was quite happy having a dry camp dinner , a rest and a read of Graham Greene in my tent , away from THE INSECTS! . I budgeted water in a meticulous way. I ensured I had 3 litres for day two for drinking in order to reach the Clear Creek Headwaters not far from the Mt. Clear track. Knowing the location of that reliable point made quite a bit of difference in my mind.
    I went off to bed just after sunset . The stars and the moon were on display in a cloudless high country night.
    I was up and ready to walk on day two at 0630. Again I ate a dry camp breakfast knowing I could eat food that required rehydration for lunch on arrival at the water point.
    Now Glenn Van der thingy is possibly a expert navigator . I know that staying on the top of the ridge , or the spur or the summits is the best way to avoid dramas with finding the way. Even still I did wander off direction a bit here and there. My instincts and experience told me "this is wrong, get back up higher".
    The GPS told me how far the true AAWT route was from my position and in which direction . My compass told me which way was North East is for example. A number of times I relocated the true route with some accuracy. This was rather pleasing. These GPS thingies are good!.
    The alternative routes that sidle around the summits of High Cone and Square top seemed all wrong to me . The Yellow AAWT markers , nailed to trees, intermittently mark the high walking routes that take in the summits on this segment of the track.
    Anyway back to the trek.
    I reached the summit of High Cone. The day before a reflection was glinting in the sun from High Cone. I saw that a 4 WD vehicle was parked just below the summit. The Grimme Track coming up from near the Barkly River valley gives 4 x 4 Tonka Toy people access to High Cone.
    There was no tent or motorist or occupant. The number plates showed it was registered in South Australia. It struck me as being odd.
    The view in the early morning from the top of High Cone was not shabby.
    Then having taken some more photos I scrambled down towards the saddle that lies betwixt High Cone (1488 M.)and Square top(1580 M.). As one chap from the VNPA once said to me , navigation overall along this route in clear weather is not that hard because you can see where you are meant to go.
    I still had to scout out for the foot pad a number of times.
    Below the flat summit area of Square top I went off course a bit and found myself sidling around the side of the massif . I decided to go straight up to regain the summit area. This was a good course of action esp. with the aid of GPS I relocated the track and an AAWT cairn with pin point accuracy.
    A long,long time ago somebody went through this route and cut many logs with a chainsaw. The old cut logs are a sure sign that the route one is taking is the right one.
    Having scrambled up a commando course type bluff and headed due East I relocated the said cairn and was happy to be back on track. I soon saw a welcome yellow AAWT marker on a tree . Once again the route seemed to sidle around the massif of Square Top . This seemed wrong to me. I went straight up the mountain side and relocated the main route. The wooded and flat summit area was easy to walk on and the scenery was very pleasant. It was not a hot day either so budgeting my water consumption judiciously was going to plan.
    I did not at any stage feel apprehensive about being out there on my own nor while navigating on my own along a route that I had not walked before.
    I know @Total Whiteout walked this route a year or two back. He and his bushwalking buddies enjoyed it , but they also had a dry camp and did not keep to the projected schedule or time frame as described by the guide book.
    I stopped at another yellow AAWT marker for a trail mix, water and map reading break.
    My fitness is good but carrying a pack is something I have not done much of since the trip up Hannel's Spur with @Chaeron and my friend The G man back in April 2019.
    Coming down off Square top I seemed to follow the recent boot prints of another AAWT walker. This person had a poor sense of direction but eventually the true AAWT was relocated as I sidled down and around the slope towards the grassy and shady saddle between Square top and Mt. Clear(1695 M.).
    Along the way there are signs of dry camps with fire scars , some litter and signs of other walkers using these grassy saddles as overnight camping locations.
    I took another break and psyched up for the 200 M. elevation gain in order to reach the summit cairn of Mt. Clear. This section of the route had some amazingly old and large snow gums, with great girth in their trunks and signs of an ancient natural world presence that pre dates 1788 AD by some centuries.
    The ascent was not as bad as it could be . I found myself just heading north until I found the summit cairn. The view from the top was amazing with still some small patches of snow on Mt. Howitt and Mt. Lovick quite clearly visible.
    Mt. Feathertop was visible in the far distance . With Mt. Buller not far away I took out my phone to send a message to someone to say that I was fine and on top of Mt. Clear and heading for the water point.
    To my surprise it was 1130 am already. This trip was quite exacting and slow going with a lot of ascents, descents, scrubby bits , fallen logs and rocks and scree as well as time taken up navigating solo . My legs where my shorts and long gaiters exposed my knees were looking a bit bloody for it .
    I was surprised to meet another walker on the summit area of Mt. Clear. We had a quick chat and then off he went. He was out for the day from a campsite near the King Billies.
    The scramble down the North side of Mt. Clear often involved some backward crab crawling so as to control the descent with a full pack on my frame.
    I had a rest at the bottom of the track where the AAWT heading for Chester's Yard meets the Mt. Clear 4WD track. I was ready for a good lunch break with lots of fresh water, rehydrated food and time out to attend to my scratched up legs.
    I reached the water point at about 2 pm . It was gushing with fresh , clear cold water. Oh thankyou grand Pooh bar of bush survival !
    I ate what would have been my breakfast of muesli with lots of powdered milk and had a cup of tea. The scrub bash down the old overgrown logging track to the water point on the Clear Creek headwater had set off an allergic reaction with my skin on my legs having come into contact with the pollen on the bushes.
    So while the trangier boiled the water and I drank some water I also took some anti inflammatory & anti histamine tablets and applied some anti itch lotion to my legs.
    Eventually it was time slog it down the 4 x 4 track back to Clear creek .It did offer some views of my peak bagging and the ridge line that I had traversed during the morning.
    Some work has been done cutting back the jungle along that management track.
    I went for a boots on water crossing at Clear Creek and saw how much more work had been done to the Clear Creek track from Brock's road to the Nobs track.
    I reached my car at 1830!. A 12 hour day. Lawdy Mama!.
    Once I found my favourite swimming hole just down the road in the Upper Jamieson river I went for a skinny dip. It was bleeding cold by rather good!
    I changed my attire and was back in Mansfield by dusk.
    I left a note under the door at the cop shop to say I had returned and then drove home.
    I should have camped at the Upper Jamieson river after completing the trek . I was fatigued and driving home (with Little Feat on the CD player)in the dark took a lot of concentration. However I made it back home in one piece and found my bed to be a great place to conk out for 8 hours of deep uninterrupted sleep.
    Overall it is a scenic but reasonably demanding bushwalk in the Alpine N.P. .. Good mild sunny weather makes all the difference. I must say that carrying 4 litres of extra water is not optional.
    Mission accomplished!
    Photos are coming soon.
     
    #1 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Nov 20, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
    whether, Fozzie Bear, Seth and 4 others like this.
  2. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    9,269
    Likes Received:
    8,680
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Day 1.
    Heading up Clear Ck. Rd from Brock's Rd.. Much work is being done to fix this track and the Nobs Track all the way up to the top of the Nobs Track.
    I went up it , up , up , up to join the AAWT.
     
  3. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    9,269
    Likes Received:
    8,680
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Day 1. Scenery from near where The Nobs track meets the AAWT.
    Mt. McDonald looms large as do The Bluff and Mt. Clear. If I head up to Mt . McDonald in Spring 2020 then seeing what improvements are being made to the near Vertical 4 WD track that is The Nobs track will be interesting.
     
    #3 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Nov 21, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
  4. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    9,269
    Likes Received:
    8,680
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Day 1. Walking up to The twin summits of The Nobs. The views from the twin summits were excellent.It has a remote and isolated feeling, especially when being out there alone.
     
    coolair, neilmny, whether and 4 others like this.
  5. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    9,269
    Likes Received:
    8,680
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Day 1 . Heading for my dry camp near High Cone. The sunset was grand.
    Sub Alpine wildflowers were just beginning to come out into bloom in patches.
     
    neilmny, whether, Seth and 3 others like this.
  6. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    9,269
    Likes Received:
    8,680
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Day 2.
    A long slog but well worth it. I estimate I walked 18 kms with a full pack up and down those hills for a total of 12 hours from start to finish. I could have measured the whole trip and come up with all the statistics that some people thrive on using the GPS, but I only used the GPS to relocate the AAWT when I seemed to be going off course .
    These photos here are from the High Cone area. The head net that I was wearing was not optional. The insects were gathering force in their multitudes out there .
     
    #6 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Nov 21, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
    coolair, neilmny, whether and 3 others like this.
  7. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    9,269
    Likes Received:
    8,680
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Day 2.
    Square Top.
    Between each summit lay a grassy saddle which made for many possible dry camp sites. You would not want to do this trek when it is any warmer than 25 C. by 2 pm each day. The breeze that seemed to be blowing on both days was cooling and welcome relief as I sweated my way up and down those hills.
    Some sections were too 'Commando Course' like for me to take photos. Once I found the track on the summit plateau of Square Top I was more inclined to chillax and take some photos. Sometimes finding a rock cairn or a yellow track marker was cause for celebration ;-P and I took a picture of it.
     
    neilmny, whether, Fozzie Bear and 4 others like this.
  8. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    9,269
    Likes Received:
    8,680
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Day 2.
    Approaching The Mt. Clear area from The saddle between Square Top and The summit ridge that goes up South to North along up to Mt. Clear.
    It was interesting to walk up to Mt. Clear from the Southern Approach , heading north up a clear and obvious ridge. It is scenic and there are many ancient snow gum trees along that route.
    Having bushwalked in the KNP a bit I still find this kind of bushwalking here in the Vic. Alps to be more interesting. The route did not offer much in terms of potential BC XC ski touring. Mt. Clear despite being rather remote has some BC XC ski possibilities however it is major mission and a real slog up from the valley floor along the fire trail to reach Mt. Clear.
    I would rather just go to Mt . Stirling to XC ski in the general Buller / Howitt area.
     
    neilmny, whether, Seth and 2 others like this.
  9. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    9,269
    Likes Received:
    8,680
    Location:
    Melbourne
  10. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    9,269
    Likes Received:
    8,680
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Day 2.The Mt. Clear Track .
    Having left the AAWT at the bottom of the S T E E P North face of Mt. Clear I went off to fetch some water and have lunch and a rest. The Mt. Clear track starts way down near Brock's Road not far from where the Upper Jamieson River and Clear creek meet and the jeep track continues up to The King Billy Saddle.
    This section required zero navigation skills. I was stocked up with water :) and I was zombie walking 8-9-10 km. back to the car . The afternoon was warm and I was pleased that some sections were in the shade and in verdant areas that were cooler.
     
    #10 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Nov 21, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
    neilmny, whether and skifree like this.
  11. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    9,269
    Likes Received:
    8,680
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Day 2.The last section along the newly repaired Nobs Track/ Clear Creek Track and back to my car at Brock's Road.
     
  12. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear A Local Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    Messages:
    5,135
    Likes Received:
    8,378
    Location:
    In the woods
    Well done Mr T :thumbs:
     
  13. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    9,269
    Likes Received:
    8,680
    Location:
    Melbourne
    My GPS topographical map and the 3rd edition of the SV Buller Howitt map show the position of Weir's hut just NE of the AAWT where it leaves the North side of Mt. Clear and heads for Chester's Yard. Is that hut still there?