SOTA – Skains Mountain easy 10 points

Skains Mountain VK2/SM-038 1610 metres ASL, Kosciuszko National Park

Sunday 8 March 2015, my last day in the Kosciuszko National Park for the VK Autumn SOTA Party.  Yesterday I walked 17 km return to activate The Chimneys VK2/SM-010.   Yes, I’m a little tired and today my SOTA plans include Skains Mountain and Peppercorn Hill.   Last night I called Rob VK2QR to discuss the best route and pros & cons of Skains Mountain.  Rob suggested I avoid the re-entrant creek line, instead head around to the west side and plot a route up a spur line heading south-east.  There are no formed tracks to the summit however wild horse (brumby) tracks are easy to spot in the open scrub.  If you don’t mind driving for 2 hours the walk to the summit is a pleasant 5.8 km return.

Getting there: 2 hour drive from Jindabyne along the Snowy Mountains Hwy then Long Plain Road for 14 km to Cooinbil Hut campground. Long Plain Road is subject to seasonal closure. (see pictures)

The walk: I was lucky to find a brumby trail leading to the summit, no brumbies sighted along the way.  Are you interested in activating Skains Mountain?  I have saved a copy of the GPS track log in the VK1 folder at the SOTA_Australia Yahoo site.

Equipment:  FT-817 combined with a homebrew EFHW 15/20/40m and a QRP LC tuner.

Mobile Phone Reception: On the summit, a good signal on the iPad with Telstra 3G.
APRS:  Not used

VHF 2m repeater, Mt Ginini 146.950 MHz.  Mt Ginini 2m repeater is 20 km north-east as the crow flies. The repeater signal strength was full-scale on my Yaesu FT-60R dual band HT.  I checked in with Andrew VK1DA and Peter VK2FPMC activating a new VK2 SOTA peak Black Range VK2/ST-040 on a private property 17 km west of Yass.

Activation.   Weather conditions sunny and warm with a top of 25 C.  On the summit at 2310 UTC (10:10 local) I took my time to set up the SOTA gear in the shade of a tree.

Chasers on 40 metres.  Pre UTC action started at 23:28 UTC with a summit to summit (S2S) contact with Ian VK1DI/2 on Mt Perisher followed immediately with a second S2S contact this time with Andrew VK1DA/2 and Pete VK2FPMC/P both portable on Black Range VK2/ST-040 as mentioned before a new SOTA activation.  A third S2S followed this time a triple activation of The Viking VK3/VE-037 by Allen VK3HRA, Wayne VK3WAM and Warren VK3BYD, but wait there is more a fourth S2S with Gerard VK2IO/P on Mt Tomah VK3/CT-043 in the Blue Mountains.

With S2S contacts completed the main chaser group joined the chase for an easy 10 points.  Chasers were Peter VK3PF, Rob VK3EK, Matt VK1MA, Fred VK3DAC, Phil VK3BHR, Ernie VK3DET, Ian VK3TCX, Paul VK3TKK, John VK2YW, Amanda VK3FQSO, Col VK3LED, Peter VK3FPSR/P, Julie VK3FOWL, Nick VK3NAL portable in Tarra-Bulga National Park VKFF-480 and finally my good friend and SOTA buddy Al VK1RX.

Summit to Summit contacts. Pre UTC Ian VK1DI/2, (Andrew VK1DA/2 & Pete VK3FPMC/P) and (Allen VK3HRA, Wayne VK3WAM and Warren VK3BYD) and Gerard VK2IO.  Post UTC Ian VK1DI/2, Andrew VK1DA/2, Gerard VK2IO/P and Russ VK3BJP/2 & Rodd VK2TWR/P both operating from an unnamed summit VK2/SM-053 near Jindabyne.

Ascent details: 217 meters over 2.9 km taking 1 hour, 5.8 km return.

Skains Mountain GPS track log

Skains Mountain GPS track log overlay on OzTopo

Track profile

Skains Moutain track profile

Skains Moutain GPS track profile

Skains Mountain ascent data

Skains Mountain ascent data

Long Plain Road/Snow Mountains Hwy intersection.  Long Plain Road is closed to vehicles between June and October.

Long Plain Road off the Snowy Mountains Hwy.

Long Plain Road off the Snowy Mountains Hwy.

Long Plain – headwaters of the Murrumbidgee River

Long Plain forms the headwaters of the Murrumbidgee River

Long Plain – you can see why the name fits

Cooinbil Hut campground at 1370 metres ASL

Cooinbil Hut

Cooinbil Hut

Information on the campground can be found at  http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/kosciuszko-national-park/cooinbil-hut-campground/camping

Cooinbil Hut

Cooinbil Hut

Avoid the campground, head south-west around the tree line following a bridle trail for 730 metres to a saddle at grid (E 644055 N 6055310) or (S35.63553° E148.59099°).

equestrian campground a very popular site!

equestrian campground a very popular site!

Bridle trail leading to a saddle at (S35.63553° E148.59099°) 1380 metres ASL.

Bridle trail heading

bridle trail heading south-west to a saddle

20 metres into the tree line I found this brumby trail and followed it to the summit   🙂

brumby trail to the summit

brumby horse trail to the summit

brumby trail thins out in places

brumby trail thins out in places

On the summit at 1598 metres ASL.  Ample supply of fallen trees, many suitable as a squid pole support.

VK1NAM SOTA shack on Skains Mountain

VK1NAM SOTA shack on Skains Mountain

20/40 EFHW

20/40 EFHW inverted V

Open summit offering pockets of shade from the sun.  Quite comfortable sitting on the native grass.

view of the summit

view of the summit

After returning to the car I found the mid day temperature quite warm.  I cancelled my plans to activate Peppercorn Hill, instead I activated VK2/SM-036 (unnamed) en route to my accommodation at Jindabyne.

Related SOTA posts 5 March to 7 March 15:
VK Autumn SOTA Party
Kosciuszko National Park
Mt Twynam
The Chimneys

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