Trip Report Mt.Clear/Hell's Window/ The Bluff.Dec.27th-31st/2018

Discussion in 'Backcountry Trip Reports' started by Mister Tee on XC Skis, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Hi. "Happy new year first of all " as Jimi Hendrix said on the "Band of Gypsies" live album.
    :)
    Your correspondent in the field went out and walked this route just recently with two other bushwalkers from the VNPA.
    Upper Jamieson River/Clear Creek Track/ Mt. Clear Track/Mt. Clear/Chester's Yard/King Billie No.1 and No. 2 /Mt. Magdala/Hell's Window/Picture Point/Lovick's Hut/Mt.Lovick/Bluff Hut/ The Bluff summit/ Refrigerator Gap/ Refrigerator Gap track/ Brock's road/ Finish.
    We covered
    60 kms over 4 days of actual hiking and three different campsites.
    On day one we met at Sheep yard flat and piled into the Tee Mobile. I took the Tee Mobile up to The Bluff hut to retrieve an unused BC XC ski trip food and fuel drop and to check the water tank level.
    The water tank at the Bluff hut was nearly full and my food and fuel drop was still there and had not been disturbed so we drove onto our campsite in the Upper Jamieson river area .The roads up there are rather rough.
    I can say that us hikers and XC skiers cast a slimmer shadow in the summer sun than many 4 x4 enthusiasts do.
    Here are some photos of the pre hike visit to the Bluff Hut. The Huts and the campsites that are drive in campsites such as Sheep yard flat are best avoided by bushwalkers during peak periods such as the Xmas /New year holiday period.
     
    #1 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Jan 1, 2019
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  2. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Day one of the actual hike started with humid overcast weather and a hint of intermittent drizzle which persisted for much of the day . In fact it was good that it was not a very hot, clear and dry day which would have been more taxing for walking up to the top of Mt. Clear from the Valley floor.
    We parked the Tee Mobile at the Jamieson River bridge camping area on Brock's Road , some 2.5 kms further upstream from the junction with The Refrigerator Gap track.
    That Mt.Clear Jeep track just kept going up and up. :-0 .We crossed Clear Creek and ascended what looked like a seldom used management track. Rangers or DEWLP staff had gone through that route and cut the vegetation back and sawn some protruding logs to maintain access in the event of a fire.
    After a slog climbing up a series of switchbacks from the creek crossing we started to get a view of the surrounding country side.

    Your correspondent in the field loaded up with a travel guitar , camera and 4-5 days worth of food and looking a bit sleep deprived after a previous day of all driving and no walking.
     
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  3. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Mt.Clear came into view as we continued up the spur . Bits of the Mt. Clear track were humane and then suddenly it started becoming bleeding steep again.
     
  4. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Sections of the track were green and pleasant and then became effing steep , dry , rocky and scrubby elsewhere.
     
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  5. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    As we climbed up higher we reached some sub alpine meadows where there were some better views of the surrounding ranges. We found a small wet land /pond. The wildflowers were blooming in profusion.
     
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  6. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    We set up camp, located good water in a stream down an overgrown old bench cut logging track facing South .Then we had lunch and then a well earned rest at our campsite.
     
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  7. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    After time out we decided to visit the summit of Mt. Clear as a side trip , without the heavy packs that we had hauled up the spur track.
    It took longer than we assumed to get there because once we found the AAWT junction with the Mt. Clear 4 x 4 track , it climbed up Mt. Clear very steeply. On the Northern summit plateau we walked through an enchanted snow gum woodland of great antiquity and beauty . The views were not shabby either.
     
    #7 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Jan 1, 2019
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  8. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Ancient snow gums on Mt. Clear. 28.12.18
     
    #8 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Jan 1, 2019
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  9. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    The weather looked a bit grim all of a sudden so we didn't hang about on the true summit for long.
     
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  10. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    It was really flat on top of Mt. Clear.
     
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  11. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    More scenery from Mt.Clear. The summit area has BC XC ski potential but it is a right mission to get up there.
     
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  12. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Yet More scenery from the Mt. Clear summit walk. When we got to the summit cairn the weather looked like it was about turn nasty so we turned around quick smart and went back to camp. We were actually concerned about getting back to our tents with sufficient daylight. It was 1930 when we made it back to our tents. All in all , It was a long day on foot. I went to get more water from the stream . That involved some swearing as I bashed my way through the scrub along the old logging track for approximately 500 metres. I cooked and ate a meal as the twilight faded.
     
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  13. Ubiquitous Steve

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    1930!!!

    You went back in time!

    The Nineteen thirties !Indeed!
    Wait till Xplora catches up with this time travel capacity!

    Like Dr Who!
    Splendid pictures non the less!

     
  14. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    I kept spotting old photogenic snow gum trees on the way back from the Mt. Clear summit. We scrambled down the AAWT and hot footed it back to camp along the Mt. Clear 4WD track. .1930=7.30 pm. I use 24 hour clock quite a bit.
     
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  15. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Day 2 of the trek. Mt. Clear to Hell's Window/ Hellfire Creek saddle. A long day that started with walking out of campsite no. 1 at about 0730 am and ended at 1630 at the said destination. We saw a lot of amazing stuff along the way and filled up on water near Chester's yard .It threatened to drizzle all day . Perhaps it did. We took lunch at the AAWT track junction where King Billy No.1 track meets the Bluff 4 x 4 track , not far from where the AAWT veers NE towards Mt. Magdala. As the hike leader, I decided that the weather was settled enough to go over the two King Billy summits and that of Mt. Magdala.
    This photo shows a view looking back at Mt. Clear from a snow grass meadow on the AAWT heading for Rocky Point/ Waterhole Saddle/ Chester's yard.
     
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  16. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Day two scenery. Near where the water that flows across the track at Waterhole Saddle/ Chester's yard. It seems to be a feeder stream of Peter's creek which then flows into the Upper Jamieson river .
     
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  17. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Day 2 scenery . Heading for King Billy Saddle.
     
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  18. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Day 2.Near the automatic weather station there were some extraordinarily old snow gums. I was being spoiled for choice as to which one to appreciate the most ,esp. with my camera.
     
    #18 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Jan 2, 2019
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  19. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Day 2.The 4 x 4 Mt. Clear track was easy to walk on. Someone had come through and cut some heavy fallen timber that was blocking the track. We did not see anybody else out there on foot, horse, jeep nor pogo stick, until we reached the crossroads at King Billy Saddle.
     
  20. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Day 2.Arriving at King Billy Saddle.
     
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  21. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    It is luverly cruisy wandering all through that area.

    I’m going to have to show you a tassie trail for real & proper scrub, maybe not it would too cruel.;)
     
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  22. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    The Northern Prom. circuit is fairly solid for trackless scrub bashing.
     
  23. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    Are you allowed to leave the track on the Prom?
     
  24. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Day 2 . The trek over the King Billies.There were convoys of young Monster 4 x 4 Tonka toy enthusiasts heading for the Macalister river when we stopped for a break at King Billy Saddle . The views from KB 2 & KB 1 were rather grand. Visibility was quite good but even still we hurried through there because it looked like it was going to rain on us.Some of the old snow gums up there were amazing.
     
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  25. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    No, you are required to stay on the track at The Prom. but much of the Northern Prom. is a wild thicket and finding " the track" at times is interesting to say the least.
     
  26. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Day 2. The trek over the King Billies. More photos of the mission accomplished :).Mt.Clear can be seen the right hand background of the picture.
     
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  27. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    This old Snow Gum in the saddle between KB 2 and KB 1 was quite striking. The cairn on top of KB 1 is a vantage point of note when surveying this section of the AAWT and the surrounding terrain. One imagines the weather up there could be rather nasty on any given day. It is very exposed up there. Wandering off course over the bald summit areas in poor visibility could lead to some steep drops. Ms.A. is seen arriving at the top of KB 1 from KB 2.
     
    #27 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Jan 2, 2019
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  28. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Day 2. We took lunch where the AAWT briefly rejoins the Bluff track. Then we slogged it over the AAWT heading NE towards Mt. Magdala. By the time we reached the top we were all ready for a big rest the Hellfire Creek area campsite . Hell's Window was the next stop after Mt. Magdala. It was quite windy up there indeed.
     
  29. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Behold another one of Mr. Happy's names for places: Hell's Window.
     
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  30. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Late on day 2. We set up camp near Hellfire creek. Only one other walker was camping there, a young lass from Eildon who was out for a solo hike.Tents were erected, water was located and food was cooked and consumed .The view up towards Hell's Window was appealing.
     
  31. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    The light was quite muted with a heavy cloud cover. I spotted another ancient E. Pauciflora tree near where I set up my tent.
     
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  32. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    It rained overnight after a long day 2 of walking and all while we were having breakfast and packing up camp on day 3 .
     
    #32 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Jan 2, 2019
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  33. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    DAY 3. We packed up in the rain, put on wet weather gear and headed past Hell's Window via the low track. The scenery was dramatic. The showers of rain came and went all day.
     
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  34. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    DAY 3 . Hell's Window to The Bluff Hut camping area.
     
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  35. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    This is redunculuos, wandering in the rain in Vicco.

    You sure this was not all last June & you just (that’s about my trip report timing) are reporting now?;)
     
  36. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Day 3.Redonkulous but well worth it. A bit of humid summer rain and electrical storms never stopped me putting in up to 16 kms a day on foot in the Vic. Alps.Behold Views from the lower track at Hell's Window.
     
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  37. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Ms. A. had not been walking out that way before as far as I know. She really enjoyed the scenery out near Hell's Window.
     
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  38. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Day 3. A long day on foot. Thankfully it was not too hot nor was it a total wash out like the U.K. test matches are in the English summer.
     
  39. Boodwah

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    Special part of alpine australia, nice work!
     
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  40. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    The rain and wind came and went .The slog back up to King Billy # 1. saddle from Mt. Magdala and onto Picture point was registered in the complaints book which is kept in the glove box of the Tee Mobile ;-P. We had a rest where the AAWT rejoins The Bluff track.
     
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  41. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Looking back at from whence we came in rainy weather on the AAWT at morning snack time. DAY 3.
     
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  42. Rabid K9

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    Just wondering Mr T, do you like pain?

    That guitar / tripod over shoulder looks awkward, wouldn't cut it in scrub / off track, same as tent roll / dry bag attached outside.

    What about a bigger pack? Fit it all with ease, nothing to catch or get torn / lost on outside. I love my 120L, extended throat so can double as ivy bag of sorts.
     
  43. neilmny

    neilmny Hard Yards

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  44. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    My pack is very large . My tent clips onto the lower section of my pack rather well .In some circumstances I have left the guitar at home, esp. for overnight ski trips where it is either a choice the skis strapped to the pack or carrying the guitar OR for a simple one night overnight hike in green season I can leave it behind . However for 3-5 nights of hiking I prefer to have it with me to relax with in the tent after the walking for the day is done. It is not really the sort of thing one can put inside a pack. The main weight I carry is food and water. I eat and guzzle water a lot on these trekking trips. For scrub bashing trips e.g. The Northern Prom. circuit , I have an old travel guitar that is already cracked and I can use it as a battering ram !!.I am rather fit and do quite a bit of swimming, cycling as well as a spot of surfing and XC skiing. I am nearly 50 years old and feel very fit and well.
     
  45. Ubiquitous Steve

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    Oh some on the forum want to see music banned from the wilderness!
    And Mr T restricted to mouth organ and or whistle compositions!
    Best to ignore their ultra light mantra altogether.

    Team Bears wish Echo would develop a musical chainsaw ...so we could play melodies to the gatherings of little animals that come from miles to watch the bears perform !
     
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  46. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Day 3.
    After rejoining the Bluff Track we headed for Picture Point. I took a lot of photos of the King Billy Tree . It is a famous and protected tree that is listed in the registry of significant trees or whatever that thingy is called.
     
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  47. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    DAY 3. The King Billy Tree.I was really pleased to have a digital camera with me to take a lot of photos of this fine snow gum tree. Being a wet day and all the twisted branches and huge trunk looked even more striking. It is the flowering season for E. Pauciflora. How such an ancient plant has escaped a bushfire is miraculous.
     
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  48. Ubiquitous Steve

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    That King Billy Tree(complex) looks like a good place for a minstrel to perch while performing a few songs to brighten up the little animals!That tree looks ancient!Anybody got a guess as to its age?
     
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  49. Ubiquitous Steve

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  50. bawbawbel2

    bawbawbel2 First Runs

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    Would a tree ring core be allowed ? Invaluable addition to the bristlecone sequence.
    Love the traveling guitar (mine stays in the car).