Glenn VK3YY had a week off work at the end of Jan 2018 and suggested we plan a multi-day trip to visit some new summits for both of us. I had been looking at Mt Speculation and surrounds and suggested we aim for this area for a few days. Originally, we planned for a five day trip, but a band of heavy rain on the Monday caused a quick re-think and we cut it short arriving at Camp Creek near Mt Speculation on Tuesday afternoon.
The plan was a two day trek out to The Viking by way of Mt Despair and The Razor followed by a short climb up Mt Speculation and Mt Cobbler on the final day – about 36km of hiking in three days. Surprisingly it went to plan, but our feet and legs were very sore afterwards! Continue reading →
I had not activated the two 10-point peaks on the Baw Baw Plateau during 2017 and was keen to do so before the end of the year. I had also never visited Talbot Peak and so wanted a new one too. The opportunity presented itself with good weather forecast on Boxing Day and the following day and so I quickly hatched a plan for an overnight hike to pick up both summits.
Hovea montana (Alpine Hovea) on the summit plateau of Mt Stirling
Another opportunity to visit the high country presented itself when I had to deliver my daughter back to her year 9 boarding school at Howqua. I dropped her back late Sat afternoon and continued on to Mt Stirling. I had originally planned to camp at Mt No.3 and do that first on Sun morning, but discovered that Sunday 12 November was the day for the Targa High Country rally and the Mt Buller Rd would be closed all Sun afternoon when I planned to leave! Hence the exit had to be via Mt No. 3 Road/Carter’s Rd/Buttercup Rd. That made finishing with Mt No. 3 the most logical order and so I headed first to Howqua Gap campsite for the night. Continue reading →
Licola valley and the Macalister river on the approach to the southern Alpine National Park
Looking to complete a few more summits during the winter bonus period, I decided (together with Glenn VK3YY and Andrew VK3JBL) to return to the southern Alpine National Park in the same area we visited back in February. The plan was to attempt Mt Kent and Mt Dawson, both of which had only been activated once before, together with Picture Point Range and Trapyard Hill. We managed 3 out of 4.
Australia’s exceptional ski season in 2017 saw me return to Mt Hotham at the beginning of the school holidays so my daughter could participate in a jumps skills clinic. The snow depth was still 170cm which is amazing for this late in September. I took the opportunity to activate a few nearby summits, two of which were new for me. Continue reading →
Just a quick update for this activation. I took advantage of being up at Mt Buller for Inter-school ski races to activate this straight forward summit again. As in previous activations, I took the summit chairlift and then hiked up to the summit proper with my downhill skis over my shoulder. Continue reading →
For the fifth year running I returned to two regular winter summits – Mt Loch (VK3/VE-005) and Mt Hotham (VK3/VE-006) as part of our school holiday ski trip to Mt Hotham. Rather than write the usual narrative which would read very similarly to the previous four activations (see 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016), I thought I would spend this post documenting what I’ve learned about activating snowy Australian mountain tops (however I have included photos from this activation to provide some visual relief!) Continue reading →
This year, my daughter is attending a year 9 live-in programme in the foothills of the High Country east of Lake Eildon. This weekend, they had an open day and so naturally I wanted to visit her to see how she was going. This provided a bonus opportunity to activate some nearby peaks. I had wanted to do Mt Torbreck (lead photo) for some time and this proved a good opportunity, so I planned a late Saturday activation followed by an overnight at the Barnewell Plains picnic ground. With an early start on Sunday morning, I could squeeze in an early morning activation before travelling to the open day and then there would be time for a late afternoon activation on the way back to Melbourne. As it happened, the weather co-operated and I managed to achieve all these objectives. Continue reading →
Early morning on the Great Alpine Rd near Mt Hotham
With only a few weeks until the winter road closures commence, I had the opportunity to spend Mother’s Day in the alps near Mt Hotham and reach the 500 point half-goat level. I spent the Saturday at a ski lodge work party at Mt Hotham which conveniently located me in the heart of the alps for an early start on Sunday morning. I specifically wanted to target those summits that would be inaccessible over winter and leave the more accessible ones for the bonus period. I also needed to be back in Melbourne Sun night, so went for 3 drive-up (mostly) summits accessed via Blue Rag Range track.
The motivation for this trip was a proposal on the SOTA_Australia mailing list to attempt some 160m summit to summit contacts. Originally I was thinking of using my kite antenna, but soon realised that the evening was likely to be the preferred operating time and so a kite may not be such a viable option. I rapidly put together a loaded vertical antenna and planned for a night out on the top of Mt Lovick which appeared to be drive up. It didn’t quite work out as I thought, but I still achieved most of the objectives of the weekend.
Andrew VK3JBL floated the idea of a long weekend in the southern end of the Alpine National Park with Glenn VK3YY and I in January. It was a great opportunity to activate several summits that were new for me with good company and for me to give my new SOTA chariot (Ford Everest equipped for off-road) a workout, so I was in.
The plan was to drive up on Friday morning commencing with Mt Tamboritha then tackle Bryces plain. Day 2 was to be Mt Howitt and Mt Reynard with the 3rd day picking up Trapyard Hill and one of the rarely activate 8 pointers further east. The plan partly worked… Continue reading →
View down the Buckland River valley on the way to the Twins
Again looking for more interesting activities than skiing in poor spring snow cover whilst my daughter was in a ski programme, I decided to have another shot at The Twins and VE-023 during the bonus season. I activated both these last year and know it was a solid walk given the winter closure of Twins Track. Last year the activation was before any significant snow had fallen, so the ground was quite bare. This year, it was at the end of the season and so snow became a consideration (but as it turned out – minimal). Continue reading →
On the first weekend in Spring, I found myself once again at Mt Hotham taking my daughter to her regular FreeSki programme. In the preceding few days, Spring had expressed itself in the form of heavy rain which did much damage to the snow cover and so I was only luke-warm about the prospect of skiing. Being in the heart of the mountains, my thoughts of course turned to SOTA. Continue reading →
At the end of the Victorian Inter-schools skiing competition week at Mt Buller, I convinced my daughter that it was time to do some cross-country skiing at the neighbouring Mt Stirling resort. We packed up at Mt Buller on Sun morning and headed across to Telephone Box Junction car park on Mt Stirling. There was no sign of snow at the car park, so I had a quick chat to the ski patrollers and they said that it was at least 2km from the carpark to snow and that Mt Winstanley – the target for the day – may not have much snow at all! At that point I decided to leave the skis in the car and hike instead. Continue reading →
Looking towards Family Run from near the summit of Mt Buller
I was up at Mt Buller for the Victorian Inter-schools ski racing where my daughter was competing. Of course I had to escape for a couple of hours to activate it as in previous years!
Access in winter is quite straight forward as the Summit chairlift goes to within a few hundred meters of the summit itself. The last ascent though is fairly hard work in snow conditions wearing ski boots. Continue reading →
Once again it was time for the family school holiday trip to Mt Hotham. This year the snow gods had been a little kinder than last (see my winter hike last year) and actually provided about 50cm of cover. This is barely adequate for downhill skiing, but plenty for cross country and so I broke out the skis and followed a well trodden path to Mt Loch from the Loch car park.
Mt Livingston with Omeo in the middle distance from a lookout on the way to Benambra
In my previous post, I detailed the first day of my weekend adventure to East Gippsland and documented the trials and tribulations of trying to activate summits when propagation is dismal. Well Day 2 was slightly better, but still challenging.
The end of the winter bonus period was upon us and I was determined to get a few more 13 point summits this year. I had been eyeing off a few unactivated summits in East Gippsland and managed to get a leave pass for a whole weekend for the last weekend before summer rules applied. I had read Peter VK3PF’s blog on this area when he visited last year and decided to tackle a few of the summits he mentioned. The initial plan was Mt Seldom Seen on the Fri night on the way up, three summits on Sat and three or four summits on Sun leading to a possible 109 points for the weekend. The reality was 950km driving for just 3 summits qualified and 35 points! Continue reading →
The view from Mt St Phillack Saddle looking back to Mt Baw Baw
The end of the winter bonus season was rapidly approaching and there was still some snow left in the mountains, so the forecast of an excellent day on Sat 26th sealed the plan to head to my closest 10 pointer that I’d not activated this year – Mt St Phillack. I was feeling fairly fit and decided that if the snow was adequate, I’d have a shot at both Mt St Phillack and Talbot Peak on the same day – it turned out to be a bit too ambitious…
I was up at Mt Buller for inter-school snow sports trials which of course provided an ideal opportunity to activate it for the second time. Last year, I activated it on just 2m FM using a hand-held, but as I recounted in my blog entry, that took 2 hours to secure the needed contacts. Hence this year, I resolved to take the gear for a 40m activation.
Mt Buller summit with its convenient access chair (photo: VK3JBL)