Sunday 23 December 2018
Saturday was a quiet day with some family commitments. Sunday morning I decided to head to the east and to attempt to get to a new summit and hopefully activate a couple of summits to make them Complete.
I headed off along the Murray Valley Highway towards Corryong, with a stop at Tallangatta to buy something for lunch. I turned south at Colac Colac onto the Benambra Corryong Road and then east onto Nariel Gap Road. At Nariel Gap, I headed north along Evans Track to the high point of the track.
VK3/VE-170 (unnamed) 828 m 4 points Not previously activated
At the top of the spur, there was a track heading to the west with a Private Property sign. I checked the mapping again and confirmed that the area where I was located and to beyond the summit was located in State Forest. I decided that the best approach was to ignore the road and to climb up along the peak of the ridge, as I had originally planned. I loaded up the SOTA pack and started the climb.
The climb is about 650 m horizontally, with an altitude gain of 128 m. There are patches of bracken and some fallen timber, with the higher sections becoming rocky.
I set up just below the rocky summit knoll. Mitch VK7XDM was close to his first target summit for the day. I spotted myself for 40 m CW. Signals were good to Melbourne, Sydney and even fair to Toowoomba. I worked six stations in around 12 minutes – summit qualified on CW. I sent “SSB” and moved up to 7.085 as there was traffic on 7.092. Paul VK3HN replied to my first call, so appeared in the log twice as successive contacts as he was the sixth contact on CW. Next was Cliff VK2NP and I then moved up to 7.090 to work Mitch on Stacks Bluff VK3/NE-002 for a S2S. I returned to 7.085 and worked two more before I had no more responses to my calls and I shut down.
One of the callers made comment that previously unactivated summits typically have not been activated for some good reason. I agreed. I suspect that reason that this summit had not been activated is that it a long drive, even for the activators living in the Albury/Wodonga region. There are many other summits nearby with higher points value and they would be more attractive targets given the required travel time.
A new Activator Unique and a new Unique for all the Chasers.
I returned to the car and headed down to Nariel Gap and headed west to Thowgla Road, then south and onto Walkers Road. At the junction with Gentle Anne Track I came across a blocked road: signs plus mounds of earth across the road. I suspect that there is either a bridge issue or a landslide somewhere on Walkers Road. A laminated paper sign on a garden stake at the start of Gentle Annie Track notes that the track is 4WD only. I engaged 4WD and started the climb up the track. The couple of kilometres are moderately steep in places, with the ubiquitous spoon drains…. Higher up the spur, the track flattens out somewhat and was in good condition, have recently seen some dozer work. I parked at the high point of the track, directly north of the target summit.
Gentle Annie VK3/VE-114 “1121” m 6 points
The OzTopo mapping suggests a summit height of about 1130 m, with a spot height just south of the summit of 1121 m.
I loaded up the pack and started climbing up the spur line towards the summit. I climbed up the gentle slope for around 400 m until I was at around 1120 m. I set up and decided on a quick activation – 40 m SSB only – as I hoped to activate one more for the day.
15 minutes of calling yielded the four contacts required to qualify the summit. Apologies to any slow responders that missed me.
A new Activator Unique summit and a SOTA Complete for me.
I quickly packed up and pushed hard back to the car. I continued south and returned to the southern section of Walkers Road. The barrier here was a plastic grid-mesh fence behind the Road Closed sign, with the plastic fence having been pushed over flat. I heads south and stopped to consider my options at the next track junction. Mount Baldy would require another climb up through scrub to the summit, so I decided to continue further south. At the junction with Marginal Road, I veered right. I checked the map again at the start of Mt Boebuck Track. Mt Boebuck would require a more significant scrub bash a significant climb, so this was also ruled out for another trip: perhaps with Mt Baldy as a second target. I continued south, veered left onto Dead Finish Track and on until I reached the signposted start of the climb to the next target.
Mount Pinnibar VK3/VE-009 1772 m 10 points
Alpine National Park VKFF-0619
I turned left onto Walkers Road and then onto Mount Pinnibar Track, which started climbing and became rougher. No real issues were found with this seasonally closed track, just the usual spoon drains and some rocky and stony sections. The ascent was a case of slow and steady. I reached the summit and parked beside some snow gums just west of the trig.
The views from the summit were spectacular – you can view all 360 degrees, provided that you moved around the snow gums beside the trig.
I set up with a heavy duty squid pole and the heavier 20/40/80 link dipole. I operated from a folding table and chair under the shade of the snow gums. I spotted on 40 m CW and worked six stations in 15 minutes. I moved up to 7.135 MHz SSB and spotted, working three stations, including Peter VK3TKK/p in Inverleigh Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2336. With no response to further calls, I spent a fruitless fifteen minutes calling on 80 m SSB before I returned to 40 m, spotting on 7.144 MHz. I needed one more to qualify the activation for VKFF. The next 15 minutes yielded 11 callsigns in the log. I received a message from Geoff VK3SQ that he could not hear me, so quickly changed antenna links and worked Geoff on 80 m SSB. With no responses to CQ calls on SSB and CW on 3.615 MHz, I closed down and packed up.
A new Activator Unique summit and a SOTA Complete for me.
I retraced my route to Walkers Road and headed west, working my way around to Dunstans Road which wound its way north and then descended to the west to Benambra Corryong Road. It was then an easy drive north to the Murray Valley Highway and back to Wodonga.