Mt Wee Jasper alternate route – 19 April 2014

Mt Wee Jasper VK2/ST-017 1121 metres ASL, Buccleuch State Forest NSW

Post Update 13 May 2017.  I have posted a revised 4WD track route, please see this post.

My last visit to Mt Wee Jasper was back in November 2013 when Al VK1RX and I made the ascent from Wee Jasper Rd or commonly known as the Tumut Road.  The ascent (on foot) along the Hume and Hovell walking track was 745 vertical metres over 6.4 km taking 2 hours and 10 minutes.  Yep it’s bloody hard work considering the weight of the pack and almost no respite from a constant uphill walk.  Later after completing the SOTA activation storm clouds moved in for a 2 hour descent in the rain.  We were soaked!  😦

During the ascent and within 1 km of the summit, the Hume and Hovell walking track crossed a 4WD track, aha!  To bad we didn’t know that before hand.  So it was our mission to find the origin of the 4WD track.  If there is an alternate route that saves 600 vertical metres then I’m all for it.

Before the Easter break Andrew VK1DA suggested an interest in taking on Mt Wee Jasper, I often joke with Andrew that Mt Wee Jasper walking track is a good training ground for an attempt at Mt Tennent in the Namadgi NP (bastard of a climb, once in the mountain’s grip it will break the human spirit)  So during the week Andrew and I, in our own time, reviewed topo maps and images from Google Earth for the illusive Wee Jasper 4WD track.  As it goes once your on the ground it’s not that illusive, I’m kicking myself I didn’t investigate the tracks earlier (although I now get some sense of the difficulty experienced by Hume and Hovell on their trek to Victoria).   Anyway we agreed on two possible 4WD routes and this is where Google Earth limitations apply.  While Google Earth will help you ‘see’ the tracks (based on the image date) you don’t know the grading of the tracks neither can you tell if there are recent obstructions like fallen trees or washed out tracks exposing large boulders that will rip the sump off a motor or blow out a car tyre or two, I have fond memories of the visit to Mt Lowden, never again!

To the good news, unless you are really keen on an ascent of 745 metres over 6 km, we can now offer you an alternative route that will take you to within 700 meters of the summit leaving a residual ascent of 110 metres.  🙂   Yeah, yes I know you are very excited and can’t wait, okay so off you go and activate Mt Wee Jasper.  For the readers who are not into SOTA and would like to experience the summit, it’s just gorgeous, complete with two park bench seats where you can enjoy the serenity of nearby and distant bird calls.  A peaceful place to be.

Oh one other issue, if your mobile phone service is with Optus, turn your phone off to save the battery.  The Optus service range doesn’t extend to Mt Wee Jasper on the other hand the Telstra service is fine.

To the details:

Map, compare this to the map from November 2013

Map - Mt Wee Jasper

Map – Mt Wee Jasper

Wee Jasper bridge

Wee Jasper bridge

Turn left into Wee Jasper Forest Road from the Tumut Road

Turn left into Wee Jasper Forest Road from the Tumut Road (good road surface)

Some warning signs

warning signs

From Wee Jasper Forest Road turn left into Pheasant Creek Road

From Wee Jasper Forest Road turn left into Pheasant Creek Road (good road surface)

Sorry folks I forgot to take pictures of the next three turns.  Follow the instructions further below.

Pine forest and Hume and Hovell sign post

Pine forest and Hume and Hovell sign post ahead

Car Parked

car parked, now on the Hume and Hovell track for a short climb to the summit

Summit area

Summit area:  Andrew VK1DA

Route instructions:

  • Drive to Wee Jasper and the cross bridge, continue through the township.
  • at the next T intersection turn left to Tumut.
  • drive passed the old wool shed (or drop in for a visit)
  • at the next T intersection (Nottingham and Tumut/Yass Road) turn right. You will see a campground to your front.
  • Stay on the Tumut road until you arrive at Wee Jasper Forest Road.  Reset your trip meter.  Repeat reset your trip meter.
  • drive along Wee Jasper Forest Road for 2.6 km and turn left into Pheasant Creek Road. (don’t reset your trip meter)
  • drive along Pheasant Creek road for 2 km until the trip meter reads 4.6 km (approximately), you should see an unnamed track on your left.
  • turn left off Pheasant Creek Road and drive 1km to a T intersection, trip meter should read 5.6 km (approximately).
  • next turn right and follow the track, at 6.8 km the Hume and Hovell track is within 20 meters, although you can’t see it.
  • continue until your trip meter reads 7.4 km, you are now approaching a track on the left.  Turn left.
  • follow the track for 600 meters to a cross road junction.  On your right is a Pine Forest.  The Hume and Hovell walking track crosses the 4WD track here.
  • Two options:  Leave your car here for the walk or turn right into the Pine Forest and continue for 1 km until the 4WD track runs to a dead-end at 8.4 km.  (If the track is wet I recommend leaving your car at the Pine Forest intersection)
  • Immediately to your front is the Hume and Hovell track sign.  Leave your car parked safely (depending on weather) and enjoy the short walk to the summit.  The terrain is very steep, recommend you stay on the formed walking track.
  • I can’t store the Garmin GPX track on this site.  If you would like a copy of the track log, please use the contact page and I will email a copy of the file.
  • For SOTA activators I have placed a copy in the VK1 folder @ SOTA_AUS Yahoo

To the SOTA activation:

Started the activation at 23:14 UTC (09:15 am local) 15 minutes ahead of our posted alert.  🙂

25 contacts in the first session before UTC change, 4 of which were on 20m.

31 chasers post UTC, 8 on 20m (other chasers had joined in with the VK5 guys, now out of bed most likely the iPhone SOTA Goat alarms going off).  One contact on 2m 144.2 MHz SSB Ian VK1DI, thanks Ian for persisting and 22 chasers on 40m.

Summit to summit action:  Mike VK3XL on Mt Dandenong VK3/VC-025, Rob VK3EK on Mt Elizabeth VK3/VG-074, Compton VK2HRX on VK2/NT-002 (no summit name) and Mike VK6MB/1 on VK1/AC-040 Mt Ainslie.

National and other Parks:  Glenn VK3YY at Wilsons Prom NP and Tom VK5FTRG at Tantanoola Conservation Park.

Stayed on the summit for a while waiting for Rod VK2TWR who by all reports was having antenna problems.  Andrew and I didn’t stay around too long, our next planned activity was to recon Grahams Road leading up to a private property in the vicinity of …….wait for it…….Black ‘Andrew’ Mountain!  Yes we have a summit appropriately named for all 9 VK SOTA Andrews.  The challenge set by Andrew VK3ARR is to have all 9 Andrews on the summit at the same time.  🙂

Back at the car, Matt VK1MA alerted us (by SMS) to Rod’s activation, best we could do was fire up the FT-817 with the Cute Antenna connected to the front BNC port, yep and to the non-believers, the ‘Cute’ produced a 5-1 report each way. (see last picture below)   The term ‘Cute Antenna’ is credited to Glenn VK3YY, see Glenn’s blog.


VK1DA operating CW and SSB at different times of the morning.  It was a chilly 9 degrees in the shade

VK1NAM SOTA station

VK1NAM SOTA station, FT-857D and a 10/20/40 link dipole.

VK1DA 1/4 wave vertical

VK1DA 1/4 wave vertical

Back at the car fitted the Cute Antenna (Diamond RHM8B) to the FT817 to chase Rod VK2TWR on VK2/SM-083 Pine Hill.  Yes the antenna radiates a signal, no it’s not a dummy load!  Works well when the rear heat sink is ‘grounded’.


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