VK2AOH Mount Coricudgy VK2/CT-009. Summits Of The Air

Mt Coricudgy is approximately 36kms from the rural township of Rylstone. At the Rystone Hospital is the bitumen road leading to Olinda where there is a RFS fire shed. At the fire shed is an intersection, continue straight on through scenic farmlands. Soon after Olinda the road becomes unsealed. Further on the road is signed 4WD vehicles only. A 2WD with good ground clearance will get through, note that the road may become impassable to all traffic during bad weather.

Sign advising of locked gate ahead.
Sign advising of locked gate ahead.

There are some bad boggy sections. After passing Dunn’s Swamp turnoff keep going until you come to a locked gate which marks the boundary of the Coricudgy State Forest. Plenty of open parking here, from hereon access is either foot or bicycle.

Arriving at the locked gate parked the car and manouvered my laden bicycle past the gate pedaling slowly along the track. Some sandy sections made steering difficult at times.

State Forests boundary locked gate
State Forests boundary locked gate

As I was carrying 8 litres of water progress was slow. Riding was only possible for a kilometre or so after that the track becomes very steep and from then on becomes slow push for nearly all of the 8.7kms to Mt Coricudgy.

In the full summer heat had many rest stops to recover. Steeper and steeper the track became, at the upper levels came into cool groves of ferns and tall stands of timber.

Ferned gully
Stands of tall timber and heavily ferned gully on the left
Fern corridor
On the upper levels parts of the track went through passage ways of ferns
Forestry sign
A Forestry sign indicating the way to Mt Coricudgy.

There are some excellent views when the higher levels are reached despite the tall timber.

Tayan Peak in Wollemi Nat Park
Tayan Peak in Wollemi Nat Park

After much exertion came to the basalt plateau where it was possible to get back onto the bicycle and ride the last 2.1km to the trig at Mt Coricudgy.

On the plateau there is a lot of hardwood logging and a number of side tracks. The main track comes to a Y intersection, take the right hand fork. This is the main track to the trig which is on a small knoll.

Upon reaching the trig was surprised to find to two radio communications towers. Set up my humble fly tent and rolled out sleeping bag etc, strung the dipole up and started calling on 30M.

Mobile phone access is very poor at Mt Coricudgy, the only reliable signal spot was just to the left of the older radio hut about 200 metres away.

A lot of running to and fro to make spots and announce band changes etc.

Started calling around 0730 on 30M with only one contact,VK3PF at 0736Z, over to 20M, Tony VK3CAT and two DX chasers DL3HXX and DL2HWI.

Was pleased with the two DX contacts as was only running 5 watts.

Very strong winds started blowing and the resulting noise made even the headphones hard to hear at times.

Otherwise would have stayed on air for later in the evening.  Generally 30M is a good night time DX band.

IMG_3945
My pleasant bush land campsite in amongst the trees.
Sleeping quaters and the radio shack.
Sleeping quaters and the radio shack.

Saturday 17th a cold change had come through during the night making it a chilly morning in my rudimentry fly sheet shelter.

Started calling on 20m around 2100Z with no result, over to 40M with 10 VK chasers till rollover at 2400Z. After rollover worked another 6 VK chasers and closed down around 0040Z (11.40AM).

Although pleased with the 1st time activation of this hard to get to summit was sorry to repack the bicycle and leave such a pleasant campsite.

In retrospect had a bit of time and should have gone for a ride to the Hunter Trail at the boundary of the State Forest to take in the views of the rugged Wollemi National Park.

Next time will do so. The ride back was uneventful taking care not to spike a tyre on the many sticks along the Coricudgy plateau.

Naturally the descent was very quick and my hands became tired from the constant braking down the steep mountain. At the lower levels negotiated the sand bogs again and back at the car in good time.

So ended the first time activation of Mt Coricudgy.

I logged a distance of 8.7km from the gate to the trig on my bicycle odo.

On this occassion used my KX3, linked dipole with a 1:1 balun and a 5 AH gel battery. My first attempt with the Pico Paddle and  these are a bit of a handful to get used to. Made a number of errors.

Mt Coricudgy is well worth a visit despite the steep climb. I believe there may be a water source somewhere on Mt Coricudgy but have no information of its location.

Prudent to carry water unless certain as the water may possibly be some distance from the SOTA designated summit in any case.

Advertisements

SOTA Nullo Mountain VK2/CT-017, Mount Cox VK2/CT-025 and Mount Pomany VK2/CT-023.

IMG_4990
Mt Pomany as seen from Mt Cox

Mt Pomany along with Mt Cox within the 501,703ha Wollemi National Park was the ultimate destination of a four day bushwalk over the October Long Weekend 2015.

As Nullo Mtn, Mt Cox and Mt Pomany are all designated SOTA summits decided to activate these unactivated summits as part of the whole activity.

Track information is given for those whom may wish to undertake their own activations or bushwalk in this area.

Access to this western part of the National Park is via Nullo Mountain about 60kms east of the rural township of Rylestone. Much of the driving to Nullo Mountain is on good unsealed roads to the farming property Nullo Park which adjoins the National Park.

Had visited this property a couple of times previously and had permission to drive to Nullo Mountain which is situated on the property.

Saturday 3rd arriving at Nullo Mountain soon had the linked dipole strung between two trees, table and chair in place, started calling around 0105Z.

For these three activations used my KD1JV tribander as it is small, lightweight and very economical on batteries.

These are useful attributes for coming long walks to Mt Cox and Mt Pomany which are well in the Wollemi National Park wilderness.

To my surprise there was mobile phone access which permitted self spotting. Phone access is generally poor or non existent in the Nullo area.

18 contacts later had well and truely completed the first activation of Nullo Mountain. Despite calling for 15 mins or more on 20M and 30M no dx

Most distant contact was John VK6NU in Western Australia and VK7CW in Tasmania. One S2S courtesy Peter VK3PF.

IMG_5149
Farm water tank on Nullo Mountain
IMG_5147
Nullo Mtn radio operating position. The next two summits were nowhere as comfortable.

The above photos are the comfortable operating table at Nullo Mountain and the farming property water tank.

Closing down and packing up moved to my overnight campsite in readiness for the trek to Mt Cox and Mt Pomany.

Sunday 4th carefully loaded my rucksack with all provisions  and equipment for the next three days trek to the Wollemi Wilderness. Double checked everything as a forgotten item could many problems out alone in the wild.

Both Mt Cox and Mt Pomany are in a rugged waterless and trackless wilderness which means everything has to be carried in.

After exiting a farm gate on the western boundary walked N along Nulla East Trail for about 300 metres till I came to a tree with a yellow 10 tag on it.

This marked the beginning of the old fire trail which eventually leads down to Hoolem Boy Point which overlooks Widden Brook.

Excellent views from Hoolem Boy Point although on this trip did not go there.

The fire trail is very steep in places, overgrown and a number of fallen trees. Came to near Hoolem Boy Point where on the left are two trees with axe blaze marks. Only one of these is visible now.

IMG_5160
On the lower part of the abandoned fire trail leading to Hoolem Boy Point are two trees blazed with an axe. This marks the start of the cattlemans track to Hoolem Boy Gap and then onto Mt Pomany.
IMG_5156
Prominent rock just before the two trees blazed with an axe.

Note the large rock on the right which is a pointer to the blazed trees on the left a little further down the track.

These two trees mark the start of the old cattlemans track which ran all the way out to Mt Pomany. Years ago  a cattleman whom had a inholding at Mt Pomany. There was a hut and a water trough fed by a spring nearby on the side of the mountain.

The hut was burnt down in bushfires and the water trough has long, long fallen into disrepair.

There is no water available at Mt Pomany or at least none to my knowledge.

The cattlemans track to the saddle at Hoolem Boy Gap is still visible although overgrown and steep in places.

IMG_4984
Hoolem Boy Gap
Hoolem Boy Point
Hoolem Boy Creek as seen from a point near Hoolem Boy Point
IMG_4039
From Hoolem Boy Point looking over Widden Brook
IMG_4047
Widden Brook as seen from Hoolem Boy Point

There is a small open grassy saddle at Hoolem Boy gap which makes reasonable camping and most importantly is the last source of water for the next three days.

The water can be found in a small creek immediately east of the saddle. Walk down the left hand side of a dry creek running eastwards and look for a line of dark green trees with bellbirds calling.

There is drinkable water. Here I filled up my water bladders to a total of 7 litres and climbed the steep slope back up to the saddle.

While at Hoolem Boy left a food cache in a sealed lunchbox for the return journey.

Repacked the rucksack and set off, burdened with the extra weight of water, 6.15kg or 13lbs. Slowly began the walk along the heavily overgrown cattlemans track up to a ridge which leads to Mt Cox.

At the base of Mt Cox rested for a good while before making the final assault up the steep spur to the top of Mt Cox.

In the 30C heat to say I was exhausted would be an understatement. Well there was a first time activation of this remote summit so set about to erect the dipole and late in the afternoon 0450Z started calling.

No mobile phone access and was relieved when Gary VK2GAZ responded to my calls. Gary put up a spot and thanks Gary.

Despite my weariness and the merciless biting march flies made six contacts plus and S2S with Peter VK3PF which successfully activated Mt Cox for the first time.

Closing down 0508Z was so tired set up my sleeping mat and bag. The evening meal was a frugal repast of nuts, oilseeds and raisins. Impossible to light a fire for cooking as a wind was blowing and the whole place was surrounded by dry leaf litter and sticks.

There was a real risk of starting a bushfire.

IMG_4990
Mt Pomany massif. In the old days a haunt of bushrangers and cattle duffers (people whom steal cattle.)

 

IMG_4989
Looking N of Mt Cox with Emu Creek gorge in foreground.
IMG_4992
E from Mt Cox overlooking Widden Brook
IMG_5162
Old cattle mans yards N of Mt Cox.
IMG_5195
Rock cairn on ridge N of Mt Cox. Water cache

Next morning Monday 5th descended to pick up the mostly NE running ridge system which leads to Mt Pomany. On the first ridge came to a cattlemans stockyard still standing after all these years and a rock cairn a short distance further north.

At the rock cairn deposited a 1.5L water cache for the return journey. Continued along the ridge line which in many places is covered with indescribably dense thorny scratchy scrub along with fallen trees.

The last connecting ridge to Mt Pomany is a very narrow rocky saddle with perilous drops on either side. Shortly before this saddle there is a very large cairn with rock pointers indicating the way to be taken.

Historic note: This region was popular with cattle duffers and bushrangers in years past, legend has it this cairn was built by them as a route marker to Mt Pomany and Mt Cox where there was feed and water for their stolen stock. This narrow saddle was guarded by the duffers against unwanted intruders as was the only access to Mt Pomany.

Slow progress through this thick scrub until scratched and bleeding came to the base of the Pomany Massif.

Here my memory from my last visit of 28 or so years ago failed me and ended up taking a route up via a very steep rocky spur with difficult scrambles. After climbing this came to still steep but now grassy slopes which I plodded up until with much relief came to the plateau.

Walked along this until came within sight of the Mt Pomany trig. Happily dumped my rucksack onto the ground having achieved a major part of the whole exercise.

Freely admit was much elated at finally returning to Mt Pomany , my last walk was 28 years ago in 1987. Much has changed with access to this truly remote wilderness place, as I looked over the deep gorges memories came flooding back of those past years.

A photography exercise followed of the stunning rugged grandeur surrounding Mt Pomany. Only later upon my return home found there was a technical fault with the pocket digital camera which resulted in poor definition images and bad exposure settings.

Still enough detail to be useful.

IMG_5173
Emu Creek Gorge. Junction with Cedar Creek
IMG_5190
SE from Mt Pomany overlooking Widden Brook, Mt Cox on right
IMG_5174
View NNE from Mt Pomany, Emu Creek gorge and Wedding Cake Mtn in the haze.
IMG_5176
View W from Mt Pomany, the gorges and ranges go on forever.
IMG_5177
View W from Mt Pomany. Probably Bylong River gorge in far distance.
IMG_5180
View S end Mt Pomany. Ridges leading up to Mt Cox itself. NOTE: The low cairn marking the way down is not far from where this photo was taken.

Back to radio set about stringing up the dipole and getting on air my first contact was with Ron VK3AFW at 0544Z on 40M.

To my complete surprise found there was mobile phone access, put up a spot and upon switching over to 30M, DX came in IK1SOW, OK1KW, and later S58AL.

The only 20M contact was with John VK6NU despite much calling.

Even with applications of insect repellant biting march flies would try to feed of me which interupted radio activities from time to time.

A total of 33 contacts which successfully activated this remote wilderness summit for the first time.

Around 0740Z closed down and set up camp for the night. Another fireless night as the whole of the Pomany plateau was covered in thick grass making fire lighting to risky.

After another nuts and raisins meal there was nothing more to do than lie there enjoying the great canopy of stars in the heavens above.

Tuesday 6th very pleased with the three 1st activations began the two day trek back to the car at Nullo Mountain.

At the SW end of the Pomany plateau found a low stone cairn which marked the easy route down the side of Mt Pomany. Very steep, much scratchy scrub in places but only took about 15-20 mins to get down to a spot where I could pick up the ridge line back to Mt Cox.

Another struggle through the thick scrub till I came to the water cache near Mt Cox and had a good drink as by then had run out of water.

The rest of the walk was a steady repeat of before except for the unbelievable tangle of fallen trees and thick scrub around the eastern side of Mt Cox.

It was impossible to take a compass line thanks to heavy scrub.

Arriving late in the afternoon at Hoolem Boy Gap went down to the grove of tinkling bellbirds and filled my water bladders with sufficient supplies for the night and next days walk.

Wednesday 7th the trudge up to Nullo Mtn was uneventful except of course steep and very hot. At least I had plenty of water to drink and had many rest stops. Once past the last steep pinch the walk along the Nullo Plateau was a stroll through a grassy well timbered forest.

Back at the car at lunchtime made a hot cup of tea, the first in three days and ate lunch from provisions left in the car.

The first good wash and change of clothing which was a relief after so many days.

The great wilderness oddessy that took so much preparation and planning was over.

In the end all of the three summits were successfully activated for the first time.

A total of 33 contacts with only 3 DX contacts.

As I arrived late at the summits and to be quite truthful was quite physically exhausted by the time I arrived and set up the radio was not on air for a very long time.

Usually about one and a half hours or much less which limited on air operating time.

Think it fair to say there will not be many activations of these hard to get to summits as access is quite difficult.