SOTA – The Chimneys Kosciuszko National Park

The Chimneys VK2/SM-010 1905 metres ASL, Kosciuszko National Park

Saturday 7 March 2015.  Continuing on with my adventures in the Snowy Mountains Kosciuszko National Park VKFF-269, yesterday I walked 15 km to complete a Summits on the Air (SOTA) radio activation of Australia’s 3rd highest peak Mt Twynam, today the plan is to activate The Chimneys VK2/SM-010 this is my first attempt.

Previous SOTA activations:  Al VK1RX (first) and Rod VK2TWR

From Dead Horse Gap the ascent to The Chimneys is 415 metres over 8.5 km taking 3 hours including a couple of rest stops to ‘smell the roses’.  The track rises 160 metres over 6.7 km then 255 metres for the mountain ascent over 1.8 km.  The return walk is a little over 17 km  🙂

The walk:  From Dead Horse Gap take the Cascades Trail for 2.2 km.  Where the Cascades trail heads south over a small bridge stay left and follow a well-worn brumby trail running parallel with the Thredbo River.  Stay on the brumby trail and watch out for the bogs.  At grid 616822 5955027 I crossed the Thredbo River to find another well-worn trail leading to the base of The Chimneys.  At the base is a large bog, be prepared I recommend wearing ankle high boots, anything less you are likely to end up with wet & muddy feet.

From the base of The Chimneys at 1650 metres the vegetation is thick through to 1800 metres and the grade is bloody steep at 15%.  From 1800 metes the vegetation thins out however the ground levels off into a wet bog.  At 1840 metres is a saddle grassy plain with beautiful smooth mottled-grey snow gums.  From the saddle the final 50 metre ascent will take 10 minutes to cover 300 metres.

Equipment:  Same for yesterday’s activation, I will use the FT-817 combined with a link EFHW 15/20/40m and a QRP LC tuner.  In addition to the radio gear I carry 4 litres of tap water, food, protective clothing, an emergency shelter, water purification tablets and a first-aid kit. I would think twice before drinking the Thredbo River water untreated.  The boggy plains are frequented by feral horses, known in Australia as Brumbies.  The amount and scale of horse manure mounds is surprising along with the flies and the stench!   The damage to bog habitats is obvious.  😦

Mobile phone reception. On the summit, line-of-sight to Thredbo Top Station for 3G coverage to check-in with my XYL.  Below the summit, no coverage.   In case you are wondering, XYL is an amateur radio term for a wife.   😉

APRS:  Not used

Activation.   Weather conditions sunny and warm with a top of 16 C.  On the summit at 2340 UTC (10:40 am local) and with little time to waste I had the FT-817 on air in 10 minutes.

Chasers on 40m.  Started on 40m at 2350 UTC 10 minutes before UTC day change, the VK Autumn SOTA Party was well underway, a quick scan 20 KHz either side of 7.090 MHz proved worthwhile.  I joined established chaser lists for summit to summit (S2S) contacts with Bernard VK2IB/P on Granite Mountain VK2/SW-015, Tony VK3CAT/P on Mt Beenak VK3/VC-016 then Nick VK3ANL operating portable in Morewell National Park VKFF-623.

UTC Day Change on 40m.  With 40m flat out I decided to spend ten minutes chasing activators for two repeat S2S points plus other activators not worked before UTC change.  First in the list was Tony VK3CAT on Mt Beenak followed by Bernard on Granite Mountain.  New activator S2S contacts for UTC change were Russ VK2BJP on VK3/VG-038 (unnamed), Gerard VK2IO/P on Canoelands VK2/SY-001, Ron VK3AFW/P on Mt Beenak with Tony, Allen on Mt Despair VK3HRA/P,  Al VK1RX/2 on Bowning Hill VK2/ST-042, Mark VK3PI/P on Mt Warrenheip VK3/VC-019 and Ian VK3TCX/P on Mt Wombargo VK3/VG-006.   10 S2S contacts post UTC!   🙂

Chasers on 40m in order were: Matt VK1MA, Peter VK3PF/M, Bernard VK3AV, Amanda VK3FQSO, Ernie VK3DET, Peter VK3FPSR, Glenn VK3YY, Adam VK2YK, Andrew VK2UH, Col VK3LED, Ray VK3YAR, Paul VK1ATP, Fred Vk3DAC, Mike VK3XL/P, Paul VK3DBP, Adam VK3AGD, Nev VK5WG, Adrian VK5FANA, Brett VK3FLCS, Tom VK5LEE, Ian VK5IS, Neil VK3FNLR, Allan VK3FABT and Marc VK3OHM/P operating portable in the Brisbane Ranges NP VKFF-055.

Chasers on 20m. Changed to 14.310 MHz to work Peter VK4JD and Anthony VK6MAC on Mt Dale VK6/SW-036, 3100 km west in Western Australia for my 11th S2S chase, a great result for 5 watts into an EFHW.   EFHW owners rejoice!!!  

After spending 75 minutes on the peak it was time to leave for a 2.5 hour 8 km walk back to the car.  🙂
Thanks to all who participated in the VK Autumn SOTA Party.  I may return to the Bog Plains in 2016 for an overnight camp to activate VK2/SM-009 2.5 km north of The Chimneys.

Pictures and GPS track logs from the day…

Photos: © Copyright 2015 Andrew VK1AD

7:50 am depart Dead Horse Gap at 1550 metres ASL

start of the Cascades Trail from Dead Horse Gap

Dead Horse Gap start of the Cascades Trail

Chimneys Ridge

view from the Cascades Trail. photo 5 March 2015

Chimneys Ridge view from the Cascades Trail – 5 March 2015

OZ Topo map incorporating Garmin 62S GPS track logs.  SOTA peaks in the view are VK2/SM-014 The Cascades, VK2/SM-010 The Chimneys and VK2/SM-009 unnamed.

The Chimneys GPS track log

The Chimneys GPS track log

Track profile

The Chimneys track profile

The Chimneys track profile

The Chimneys ascent data

The Chimneys ascent data

The Chimneys ascent data

At the Cascades trail footbridge stay left (don’t take the footbridge) and follow a narrow brumby track running parallel to the Thredo River.

Thredbo River through the Cascades

Thredbo River

08:30 am 3 km completed 5.5 km to the summit

following the Thredbo River

following the Thredbo River

09:15 am 5 km completed – found two convenient crossings – be careful navigating over the rocks  – OR –

river crossing

river crossing

Alternate crossing – Wade through shallow water.  I crossed here, my boots are leather, waterproof and cover the ankle

alternate shallow river crossing

shallow crossing suitable for waterproof boots

9:30 am 6 km completed – next a 255 metre ascent over 2.5 km to The Chimneys summit

close up view

close up view 2.5 km to go

A beautiful place to be – view north-east to Mount Leo from the base of The Chimneys  🙂

view of

view of Mount Leo ridge running east-west


wild feral horses known as Brumbies

wild feral horses known as Brumbies at the base of Mount Leo

9:40 am 1650 metres ASL – A huge sphagnum moss bog!

large permanent wet bog filtering water as it flows into the Thredbo River

large permanent bog filtering water flowing into the Thredbo River

10:30 am – Beautiful grey Snow Gums where I disturbed a small herd of Brumbies feeding close to the trees

saddle area immediately below the summit

1860 metres ASL – grassy plain 50 metres below the summit

10:40 am on the summit 20 min before UTC day change.  No sign of a Trig station


highest point a Snow Gum eucalyptus pauciflora among large granite boulders

Thredbo River Valley

looking back through the Thredbo River valley

view north-west

view north-west

Where did I start the walk?

view west

view west

Return trip through the bog!   😉

return trip - stepping softly through the wet bog

return trip – stepping softly through the wet bog

If you enjoy long walks in the Snowy Mountains region, this is a good one.

4 thoughts on “SOTA – The Chimneys Kosciuszko National Park

  1. Cool. I looked at the Spatial Vision map and there is a 1900m contour as you said. The rocky peak in the southwest is at a height of 1885m and it is the mountain that is officially called The Chimneys. I’ve added two peaks – one called The Chimneys and one called Chimneys Ridge High Point, unofficially.

  2. Pingback: Quick SOTA Activation – The Cascades VK2/SM-014 | Get out of the Radio Shack and Live Life

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