Mount Twynam VK2/SM-003 2196 metres ASL, Kosciuszko National Park
Friday 6 March 2015. I’m spending four days in the Kosciuszko National Park VKFF-269 to activate 7 SOTA peaks, yesterday Thursday 5 March I activated Mt Perisher VK2/SM-007 2050m ASL and The Cascades VK2/SM-014 at 1840m ASL. Today the plan is to activate Mt Twynam the third highest mountain on mainland Australia at 2196m ASL (7205 ft). Mt Twynam is one of 10 peaks that form the Main Range from Ramshead to Mt Tate. Mt Twynam rises 296 meters above a glacial bowl known as Blue Lake.
The Main Range Walk starts from the Kosciuszko Summit Walk car park, Charlotte Pass. The descent from Charlotte Pass to the Snowy River is steep, more so on the return trip just to finish off a long walk. From the Snowy River the ascent to Twynam is 538 metres over 6.9 km taking 2 hours and 50 minutes including a couple of rest stops. The Main Range Track is well maintained and paved in part up to the Blue Lake Walk junction. From Blue Lake Walk junction the track is predominately gravel. The return walk is 15.2 km. 🙂
The bureau of meteorology is predicting a partly cloudy day with a max of 6 deg C. However winds are likely to strengthen in the afternoon from 15 km/h gusting up to 70 km/h. 😦
Equipment: For this activation I will use the FT-817 combined with a link EFHW 15/20/40m and a QRP LC tuner. The trade-off is lighter activation with band options limited to 40 and 20m, a small price to pay when walking 15 km. I have reduced the weight in my pack without compromising on food, water (4 litres) and protective clothing.
APRS: VK1NAM-5 using an iPad fitted with a Telstra SIM. Activated APRS at the Blue Lake Walk intersection. Mobile reception was via Mt Perisher.
Activation. The change in weather arrived a little early than predicted. Conditions on the summit were cold and windy with visibility down to 20 meters. I took shelter setting up behind a large granite boulder, strong winds kept me busy attending to the squid pole as it collapsed twice under the force of the wind. See pictures and a short video.
Chasers on 40m. I started on 40m at 2350 UTC 10 minutes before UTC day change working 15 chasers in quick session. First contact was a Summit to Summit contact (S2S) with Andrew VK1DA/2 on Livingstone Hill VK2/SM-093 at 932 metres ASL. Andrew was operating on 7.095 MHz and ready to move to 14.310 MHz. Andrew offered the frequency, I gratefully accepted while Adam VK2YK posted a spot for me. After clearing with Andrew at 2353 UTC chasers worked in order were; Adam VK2YK, Ernie VK3DET, Peter VK3PF/m, Nev VK5WG, Gerard VK2IO, Mike VK3XL/m, Peter VK3FPSR, David VK2WTY, Andrew VK2MWP, Fred VK3DAC, Adrian VK5FANA, Garry VK2GAZ, Winston VK7WH and Brett VK3FLCS at 2359 UTC.
UTC Day Change. Strong winds were now dominating the mountain peak, I continued with repeat chasers on 40m who were keen to score another 10 points. First chaser for UTC change was Peter VK3PF/m followed by Paul VK5PAS, Ernie VK3DET, Fred VK3DAC, Gerard VK2IO and Adam VK2YK just as the squid pole collapsed under the stress of the wind. With the winds battering the Trig and the steel frame icy cold I spent 4 minutes extending the pole only to have it collapse in my hands twice, bugger! Next chaser was Peter VK3FPSR followed by Brett VK3FLCS, Mike VK3XL/m, Nev VK5WG, David VK2WTY, Andrew VK2MWP, John VK2YW, Tony VK3CAB and finally Andrew VK1DA/p for a second S2S.
Chasers on 20m. Changed to 14.310 MHz to work Peter VK4JD, Paul VK5PAS, Wally VK6YS, Russ VK2BJP/p on Granite Mountain VK2/SW-015 for the third S2S. After spending 60 minutes in cold strong winds it was time to leave and warm the body with a vigorous walk.
VHF 2m repeater, Mt Ginini 146.950 MHz. Mt Ginini 2m repeater is 104 km north-east as the crow flies. The repeater signal strength was full scale on my Yaesu FT-60R dual band HT. I had a short chat with Andrew VK1DA discussing weather conditions, my departure time from Mt Twynam and the return time to Charlotte Pass. Thanks Andrew for monitoring my progress and welfare throughout the day. 😉
Pictures and GPS track logs from the day…
Mt Twynam – view of the south-east face carved by a former glacial flow. Photo taken on the previous day from Perisher at 2054 metres ASL.
Main Range SOTA peaks – Mt Kosciuszko SM-001, Mt Townsend SM-002 and Mt Twynam SM-003
Mt Twynam ascent profile
Start of the Main Range trail, 7:30 am at Charlotte Pass
Main Range trail heading north towards Carruthers Peak
Snowy river headwaters, take care crossing the river.
view of Carruthers Peak in cloud
Section of the track between Carruthers Creek and Blue Lake. Blue Lake junction is off to the right of the picture. I’m heading for the rocky seam (quartz outcrop) in the centre of the picture. I took a 10 minute break for food and water
Main Range Track and Blue Lake Walk intersection. The bags contain paving rocks ready to lay.
Navigate to the quartz outcrop, then follow the seam up the hill to intersect My Twynam trail, this will save you 800 metres of walking. See map below
After leaving Blue Lake junction the weather changed as clouds started a slow descent on to the range
Blue Lake at the base of Mt Twynam. 2 km from the summit, a thick layer of cloud is now covering range. I have lost sight of Mt Twynam trig.
On the summit of Mt Twynam enjoying strong freezing winds, I’m guessing 50 km/h, visibility is down to 20 metres while the apparent temperature is below zero. I spent 5 minutes wondering around the summit, walking in circles looking for Trig 😦
EFHW antenna and QRP tuner
Sorry folks no panoramic views from the Trig, I will try again in 2016.
Compare this picture to the same view at 7:30 am.