Having recently activated some tough summits in the Snowy Mountains area, it was time to allow my body to rest and recover. I decided the next summits attempted should be of an easier access variety. Looking into the mapping program it soon became apparent there were quite a few summits in my local region (Tumut) which have vehicle tracks nearby. The Brindabella Mountain area seemed like a good place to start.
To make the most of daylight savings and the good weather I decided to activate 4 summits, any more would be a bonus. I planned to attempt VK2/SW-024, VK2/ST-005 Webb’s ridge, VK2/ST-004 Dingi Dingi Ridge and VK2/ST-003 Devils Peak.
All of these summits appeared to be close to existing fire trails and fairly short walking distance for activation. I contacted Matt VK1MA to ask about access to Webb’s Ridge and that’s when the plans went out the window. Matt informed me the track to Webb’s ridge from the Tumut side; (Gentle Annie Trail) was quite hard going and suggested I try another trail for access. He also told me Devils peak would take quite some time and referred me to VK1NAM’s blog.
Not to be discouraged and aided with some GPS information from Matt, I made a change of plans. A short drive along the Brindabella road from Tumut takes you to the first trail towards VK2/SW024 a summit about to be removed from SOTA since it does not meet the criteria (Advice from Ian VK1DI).
The Top Flats road heads towards the summit, along the track there is an old fire trail which takes off left it is very overgrown and leads to the base of the summit. alternately stay on the Top flats road until you reach a large tree across the road. From either way there is a serious amount of walking and scrub bashing to reach the summit. After activation I returned to the Brindabella road and continued on towards the intersection with Mt. Franklin Road.
From Tumut travelling along the Brindabella Road it takes approximately 1.5 hours to reach the intersection of Mt. Franklin road.
At this intersection turn right and follow the road for 24Km until reaching the access road to Mt.Ginini. The road has several gates along the way which are usually closed during the winter months.
There is a 30Km/h speed limit and the road is unsealed, it becomes narrow in places so proceed with caution as vehicles travelling the opposite direction may be encountered. There is parking available near the access road to the summit or if the gate is open there is parking at the summit. From the lower car park you can also access Mt. Gingera VK1/AC-002 it is a further 7Km walk along the road.
There is a lower noise level at the rear of the building and a handy tree to attach the squid pole. I made several contacts just before 00:00 and then activated again after 00:00 UTC for the new day. After the activations I packed up and headed back towards the Brindabella Range.
VK1/AC-023 Mt. Coree
Back at the Brindabella road intersection I took the Two sticks road towards Mt.Coree.
Two sticks road starts directly across from the Mt.Franklin road. Two tracks appear at the track head take the road to the right of the sign.
The road is unsealed and has many potholes however the drive is easy and it’s not too long before Mt. Coree looms right in front of you.
My first thoughts were “How am I going to get up there?” I did not have to wait too long until reaching the access track. A right turn off the Two Sticks road approximately 8.5 Km in from Brindabella Road.
There is a nice picnic ground at the start of the track, a good place to stop and have smoko prior to heading up to the summit.
The track up to the summit requires a vehicle with good ground clearance and 4WD. There are dangerous cliffs and no safety barriers.
Along the way up there is a bend in the road where you can park and see a great view into Canberra, unfortunately for me the foggy weather came in and blocked out any photo opportunities. 😦
At the summit I attached the squid pole to a nearby structure and set up the shack on the rocks overlooking the cliff.
This summit is a popular location, there were people visiting the site on a Monday! A few curious onlookers enquired about my activities.
From this summit I travelled back down the trail until meeting up with Two Sticks road and turned right towards Dingi Dingi Ridge.
VK2/ST-004 Dingi Dingi Ridge
Continuing along the Two Sticks road from Mt.Coree trail for approximately 3KM I saw a track towards Devils Peak on the right and also found the Dingi Dingi fire trail to the left, following the Dingi Dingi fire trail I arrived at the intersection of Baldy Range Road.
Taking the left hand trail I drove a short distance until finding a suitable location to park and access the summit. Dingi Dingi ridge is only a short walk to the summit however it involves a bit of scrub bashing through some wattle regrowth, towards the summit it thins out a little. I found a suitable clearing in the activation zone and set up the shack.
Once the activation was complete I back tracked to the vehicle, it was at this point I decided to drive back to the nearby Baldy Range trail.
VK2/ST-008 Baldy Range.
From the intersection of Dingi Dingi Ridge trail I drove along the Baldy Range trail for a few kilometres until reaching Baldy Range. There are some spectacular views from this location, a shame it was a foggy day.
VK2/ST-005 Webbs Ridge
The trail to Baldy Range is easy going with a few valleys and rocky outcrops along the way. A standard 4wd will make it easily. Having made it to this summit in a short time I decided to have a quick activation with the intent to try for VK2/ST-005 Webbs Ridge. I quickly set up the shack and antenna just inside the activation zone near the highest spot along the trail, after a few contacts I packed up and headed back along the trail to the Dingi Dingi trail. The Dingi Dingi trail is very steep and rocky in places and there are some sharp bends. I recommend using a vehicle with good ground clearance and low range 4WD to access Webbs Ridge via this track. I made it to Webbs ridge after what seemed to be a long time, however I managed to set up and activate the summit with just enough time to travel back the way I came. (Sorry no photos battery expired! 😦 ) One big day out with 6 summits activated! I will return next year and do it all over again, but next time I will miss SW024 and head for Devils peak instead. I would recommend activating Dingi Dingi ridge and then travel to Webbs Ridge before activating Baldy RAnge. Thanks to Matt VK1MA and VK1DI Ian for their information on these summits. From the Dingi Dingi fire trail it took me 1 hour 45 minutes to drive back home to Tumut.