Sentry Box Mountain VK1/AC-010 1720 metres ASL, Namadgi National Park
Forecast: Temperature 11 degrees, -1 overnight and light winds 4 km/h
Winter Bonus Points: 3
Actual distance: return walk 31.99 km
Actual duration: walking to the summit 5 hours
Return trip: 5 hours 10 min with a 20 minute break at Waterhole Hut
Total time: 11 hours 40 minutes – Brayshaw’s Hut > Sentry Box Mountain > Brayshaw’s Hut & a 40 min activation.
Today’s dual activation of Sentry Box Mountain by Al VK1RX and myself (Andrew VK1NAM) was a bigger challenge than first expected. There are two approach options leading to the spur line running north-west up to the summit:
- the first is from Yaouk Road through private property to Scabby Range Nature Reserve (yellow line) then up the spur line climbing 440 vertical metres over 7.9 km; and
- the second is the longer route in blue, starting at Brayshaw’s Hut along Settlers Track around the south-west base of Pheasant Hill to Waterhole Hut, to Grassy Creek fire trail, on to Scabby Range NR and up the spur line. Plotting this route on Google Earth and Garmin Base Camp indicated a distance of ~12.8 km. Actual distance was 16 km a variation of ~3 km.
Al VK1RX contacted the ranger at Tumut who knew the property owner and despite the best efforts of the ranger, permission to enter the property was not forthcoming due to the ranger not receiving a return call. So at 8 pm Friday night we knew we were up for a big challenge on distance alone and once on the spur line the real challenge would begin.
Data from the Garmin 62s GPS
- Brayshaw’s Hut to Scabby Range NR: 8 km in 1 hour 40 minutes, avg walking speed 5 km/h
- Scabby Range NR to Sentry Box summit: – 7.9 km in 3 hours 20 minutes, avg walking speed 2.9 km/h
- Ascent 746 metres & descent 251 metres (along the route)
Left Brayshaw’s Hut at 06:30 am just before sunrise and followed Settlers Track around the base of Pheasant Hill to Waterhole Hut. From the hut we headed due west to intercept Grassy Creek fire trail. The junction is marked by a small rock cairn precariously balanced on a log. From here you head north to the Scabby Range Nature Reserve gate. After passing into the reserve you turn right into the scrub and head north up the spur line. Along the spur line there are large (massive) rocky out crops to navigate around. We found the best route was on the east side of the spur line 20 metres below the spur to avoid the large granite tors and thick patches of regrowth.
As usual at 1500 metres we met a belt of heavy tea-tree regrowth which dissipated at 1600 metres. At 1600 metres the snow line was well-defined and continued to the summit. Once clearing the alpine eucalypt trees and more regrowth, there are two rock plateau. The summit is the plateau to the east separated by a 100 metre section of trees, boulders and more regrowth. Arrived on the summit at 11:30, 5 hours after leaving Brayshaw’s hut. Given the 5 hour walk and sunset is at 17:10 we didn’t hang around too long, besides we both got cold after sitting for just 30 minutes. I am sure you will forgive me for not setting up the 5el 2m Yagi. We did have Al’s 2m dipole which performed well when elevated on the squid pole. Check the pictures.
First contact was a summit to summit S2S on 40m with Ian VK1DI on Billy Range VK1/AC-028 followed by a second S2S with Allen VK3HRA and Glenn VK3YY both on Mt Matlock VK3/VC-001. Allen’s blog link. 20 minutes later we worked Mitch VK3FMDV S2S on Mt Macedon VK3/VC-007. During the chase I switched to 2m and worked Ian VK1DI on FM at VK1/AC-028 then Dale VK1DSH and Matt VK1MA both on 144.200 USB. After a long session working 24 chasers we found Brian VK3MCD on VK3/VE-006 Mt Hotham for the last S2S. With the exception of SOTA activators today’s QRP chaser was Andrew VK2ONZ in Sydney. The boys at GippsTech were busy darting in and out of presentations, I worked a rare chaser Wayne VK3WAM not on a summit. At 12:50 we packed up the gear departing the summit at 13:00 for the 5 hour walk back to the car. On the way back we found a group of randomly placed large rocks and named it ‘Al’s Stonehenge’.
At Waterhole Hut we took a 20 minute break and enjoyed fruit cake with hot black tea. Hmmm love fruit cake! With the hunger now satisfied, it was time to dig deep into the back pack for the head lamp. Left Waterhole Hut at sunset 17:10 for the last leg 4.2 km along Settlers Track to Brayshaw’s Hut. Last light passed at 17:25 for a 40 minute walk in the dark!
I dare say Al and I will be back next year for the short cut version. More time to plan on getting the farmer’s permission to enter from Yaouk Road.
Here are a few pictures to browse through.