Mt. Bogong – 21-23 May, 2010

Brothers Peter and Stephan have been going up to Mt. Bogong for a week’s cross-country skiing every winter for over 20 years. They have told tales of climbing up steep spurs laden with equipment, crawling along the exposed icy summit ridge in howling winds, magnificent long ski runs down through the trees, the steep climb back out of these chutes, the cosy hut at the end of the day, and lots more, so we thought it was about time we visited the mountain to see it for ourselves. The perfect occasion came up when Peter asked us to join them for the annual “taking up of supplies”  prior to the winter snows setting in.

There were six of us: Peter, Nadia, Stephan, Katrina and we two. We stayed at Eskdale Pub on Friday night and drove into the start of the walk (an hour and a half’s drive) the next morning. The weather was beautiful, sunny and quite warm. We left the car in a clearing and readied our packs. It’s been a while since we carried full packs but it came back to us!  The first bit was the hardest, a steep ascent from the clearing up to join the Australian Alps walking track, which we then followed along Long Spur, before climbing up to Bogong itself. There are other access tracks to Mt Bogong at Staircase Spur and Eskdale Spur but they are much steeper, and we were glad we weren’t struggling up those!

It is a magnificent mountain, massive and formidable – we were glad the weather was being kind. Many of the trees were burnt in the 2003 fires, but there is good regrowth and there was lots of lush vegetation and water flowing in the streams. We stopped quite a few times for a breather, snacks and lunch, and finally had the hut in our sights at about 3.15pm – very welcoming! Even better, four other hikers were already there and had a lovely fire going, ready for the cold night ahead. Some of us went to look at the sunset from the ridge above the treeline, others stayed in the warm hut and rested their legs.

We enjoyed a hearty dinner and cosy evening. It was a cold frosty night outside and we woke to a glorious golden sunrise, which turned the whole frosted landscape a vivid orange. Most of us walked to the summit after breakfast – a long but gently undulating walk once we were above the treeline. (Katrina did her homework in the meantime – very impressive!) The summit itself at 1,986 m is near the northern end of the mountain but the views are wonderful all along the summit ridge in all directions. The ground was sparkling with the thick frost and some of the valleys way below us were beneath the clouds. We could see the main range, Mt Pilot, Mt Feathertop, Mt Buffalo, to name just a few (Peter and Stephan know them all. They also pointed out some of their favourite ski runs -very steep!)

We returned to the hut and prepared for the hike out, retracing our route back down Long Spur. On the way we side-tracked to Howman’s Falls, the creek plunging over ice-covered rocks into a steep gorge – we’ll have to do some more exploring there next time. We had lunch on the grassy slopes before Long Spur once more led us away from the mountain and back to our cars.

photo Photos

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Men's work - the boys removing a fallen tree from the track. Gearing up for the ascent. Time for a sugar hit at the top of the first steep climb, and a few adjustments to the packs. Lovely lush grass along the spur. The view from part of the Long Spur. Looking back along Long Spur. The white trees are those which burned in the 2003 fires, but they are regenerating from their bases. On Mt Bogong, following the pole line to the hut. One of the creeks that flows over Howman's Falls. View from the top bunk, late afternoon. Sunset from the summit ridge. Sunset colour from the ridge. Cosy around the fire. Sunrise from the top bunk (no need to get up, really!) Pete went out into the frost and took some photos of the sunrise glow. Sunrise. The hut glows in the bright light of sunrise. The palatial toilet block - four cubicles and not a bad view! Heading up to the summit through thick frost. Views to the Main Range (Mt Kosciuszko is in there somewhere.) Onward and upward... The summit cairn is that tiny pimple in the distance. "Rocking stone" - apparently in high winds the inside rock actually moves and makes a noise. Many photos were taken. The guys ski down here - crazy!! "Hell Gap" - apparently the name is quite apt in high winds. Staircase Spur from above. The two knobs are called Castor and Pollux. Woohoo! The summit of Victoria's highest peak! Carefully descending - the cairn has a few loose bits! View to Mt Buffalo below in the distance. Returning the same way, the frost gradually melting. Almost back at the hut. Looking across the Big River valley to the Bogong High Plains. The last of the everlastings for the season. Hiking down from the hut. Howman's Falls are to the right, down quite a way. Brilliant colour on the snow gums. Would look even brighter when wet! Cascade above Howman's Falls. Returning to the main track. Beautiful bushland. Lunch on the way back. The last descent (and then some..), yay!

Posted on May 30th, 2010, tagged with events

5 responses to “Mt. Bogong – 21-23 May, 2010”

  1. Dave Spears says:

    Great photos. Haven’t seen Bogong without snow and looks fantastic. Wish I had been there with you.

    The Captain.

  2. Dutchy says:

    Great spot for a family outing.

    Hope to get mine up there next year.

  3. Nadia says:

    nice pics! was thinking of doing a blog about it, too!

  4. Kathy says:

    Go for it, Nad! Your pictures are always so good! Let us know the URL.

  5. Dr Regopoulos says:

    Stunning photos! It’s what life is all about. Count me in for the next trip – but only if Katrina is there to set the pace! Michaele Regopoulos.