Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

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Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby NickH » Tue 09 Jul, 2019 2:51 pm

This is an open ended question to hopefully spawn some discussion.

The objective: Ascend Jagungal between July and October.

My trip plan is a blank piece of paper.

How would you do it? On what equipment? Duration? Start Location? What Else?
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby north-north-west » Tue 09 Jul, 2019 3:58 pm

How would you do it?

Very carefully.

...what equipment?

Snowshoes, ice axe, standard winter camping gear. XC skis would be better but I haven't learnt yet.

Duration?

As long as it takes. Depends on the route.

Start location?

Kiandra (AAWT to Doubtful Creek, up Farm Ridge) or Guthega (trig, alternate AAWT route to Schlink, Gungartan, Toolong Range). Round Mountain would be closer but probably not accessible.

What else?

Look for a good weather window. If there is such a thing.
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Tue 09 Jul, 2019 4:57 pm

Not a whole lot of snow around at the moment but that might change, and i'd imagine you'd still want all of the above-mentioned kit at least for the mountain itself. As NNW says there are no close approaches at the moment, Round Mtn and Nimmo Rd likely not accessible... best approach probably Guthega but might be slow if there is some decent snow beforehand... usually about a day and a half to the start of the climb from Guthega but in snow considerably longer i would think unless you had XC skis?
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby Zapruda » Tue 09 Jul, 2019 5:11 pm

Hey Nick,

Skiing in from Munyang, going over Kerries ridge and skinning to the top via the southeastern spur near the headwaters of the Geehi is the most common. No ice axe needed. Another common way is via Jagungal saddle from Cesjacks.

Snowshoes if you don’t ski but they are slower obviously.

Winter ascents of Jagungal are common. People usually do it over 2 or 3 days but some maniacs ski up and back in a day.

Going in from Kiandra is a pain in winter. Not enough snow to ski across Happys plain is a common occurrence, and the north facing side of the mountain is steep and scrubby.

Get a copy of Kiandra to Kosciuszko by Klaus Hueneke for some inspiration.

I did it a couple of years ago in great conditions when the valleys were full of snow. No awkward river crossings or bare ground. Bliss.

Late August and September would be best.

Roger Caffin - goes by rcaffin on here, should have plenty advice on the subject.

Cheers,
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby rcaffin » Tue 09 Jul, 2019 6:39 pm

Ascend Jagungal between July and October.

Good trip, but not easy. You have given no details at all about your experience level or what gear you have.
CAUTION: this is NOT an easy trip if you don't know the area and have limited snow experience. A strong party is needed.

How would you do it? On what equipment?

We have walked, we have snow-shoed, and we have skied. Quite a few times. OK, many.
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Duration? Start Location?

That depends on where you start from. From the NPWS gate near Cesjacks Hut we have skied there and back in a reasonable day. The run back can be made just about all downhill if you know how - whee!

From Round Mountain: very long drive to get there, snow unreliable, but not hard. Um - I think sometimes Round Mt is gated off if there is a lot of snow.

From Kiandra: long way around, poor snow, esp Happy Jacks Plain. Could be a shade boring, and HJP can be a bit harsh in bad weather. Like struggling to stand upright.

From Munyang: via Valentines and Grey Mare - trade route for commercial winter expeditions, with very experienced guides and a pulk. Or over the Kerries, but that needs more skill.

From the Cesjacks gate: shortest route to Jag, but you have to get to the gate. In winter you may have to ski in from half way from the Gungarlin bridge below Norris. At least one full-on 4WD with chains for front and rear needed, plus some experience snow driving. You might get a dirt 4WD track, a very muddy (slippery) track or you might get deep (impassable) snow. Spare food and fuel in car. Knowing the road first is desirable.
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From Perisher or Thredbo: much longer versions of the Munyang route.

Gear: XC skis are fine IF you know how to use them. If not, snow shoes essential. Don't try to walk it in shoes.

Full winter gear needed: we have had -17 C overnight, and we have had 100 kph snow storms overnight. Really full gear.

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I favour tunnel tents; tarp tents need not apply. They would not survive. Ditto for Pop-Ups, which you couldn't erect in a storm anyhow.

If you don't know the area well, a GPS would be highly recommended. There have been times when we could barely see our feet.
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As in 'got the tent up and got inside, now where are we?' The horizontal white specs are snow going past.

Lots of fuel as you will need more hot food and may need to melt snow for water. Needless to say, lots of food as well in case you are stuck somewhere for a day or two.
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Cheers
Roger
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby north-north-west » Wed 10 Jul, 2019 9:56 am

Zapruda wrote:Going in from Kiandra is a pain in winter. Not enough snow to ski across Happys plain is a common occurrence, and the north facing side of the mountain is steep and scrubby.


Along the ridge to Jackys and Jagungal Saddle and then swing west. A bit longer but no scrub and easy walking with heaps of campsites and shelter if necessary, and more fun than via O'Keefes. I've not been past Mackeys from Kiandra in winter but the couple of times I went that far it was easy going.
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby Zapruda » Wed 10 Jul, 2019 10:40 am

north-north-west wrote:
Zapruda wrote:Going in from Kiandra is a pain in winter. Not enough snow to ski across Happys plain is a common occurrence, and the north facing side of the mountain is steep and scrubby.


Along the ridge to Jackys and Jagungal Saddle and then swing west. A bit longer but no scrub and easy walking with heaps of campsites and shelter if necessary, and more fun than via O'Keefes. I've not been past Mackeys from Kiandra in winter but the couple of times I went that far it was easy going.


I would have agreed 6 years ago. It must have been a while since you were up there. Sadly, the lower sections of the ridge are very scrubby from regrowth (as at late October 2018), and wouldn't be enjoyable or even possible on skis. It is nothing like it was even a few years ago. It would probably be better following Doubtful creek from the road and cutting up to Jagungal saddle if you were coming from that direction.

I am also writing all this with skiing in mind. Obviously when on foot time increases but the landscape opens up. Feet are the best mode of transport anyway :)
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby NickH » Wed 10 Jul, 2019 1:27 pm

Thanks for all the comments folks! Roger those photos say a lot! The lack of snow on the grassy flats is a concern as, for the sake of speed, I'd imagined skiing over walking? Definitely food for thought.
My thoughts:

Speed is essential to utilise a good weather window. Thus skis. Snowshoes a possibility but only from Cesjacks and then probably an overnight near the saddle.

I'm thinking up and back in a long day from Cesjacks on skis would be the least risk option. Even then, 2 days food and o/night gear to the saddle. Then drop gear and scamper up and back.

Whilst the northern side is doable, it is HARD. I'll aim for the SE spur above the Geehi.

I presume going via the Kerries = o/night at Mawsons? Where do you get up onto the Kerries? Schlink pass? The Kerries are out of my patch. As far as winter is concerned, Four Mile Creek is my southern limit...so far...

Gear: I'm gunna have to think about gloves.... That said, the basics would be:
Gps, map(s), compass, and phone with a pre loaded route.
Tunnel tent, heavy bag, extra fuel/food, layers, and....???

Skis: My experience is with skinnys but these modern fatter things look interesting. A couple of blokes did the AAWT on some sort of fat ski??? I've skied from a young age and can get a bit blase'. There's been some big gaps in the timeline though and in recent years I've only chalked up some days on both skinnys and DH gear. (Yes, practise runs are on the agenda)

Late September is looking good. Any later and it might not be skiable at the lower slopes??

Thanks again folks. This project is at "pre-concept" stage. I'm very much just trying to feel out the idea with more experienced folks that I know will drop some gems once the conversation rolls on! Cheers to all
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby rcaffin » Thu 11 Jul, 2019 4:02 pm

for the sake of speed, I'd imagined skiing over walking?
On the downhills, yeah! If you get lots of icy boilerplate, going uphill can be hard.
On the other hand, crossing the Rolling Grounds under trying conditions once my wife decided to take her skis off and walk. She promptly fell through the snow into a gap between boulders. Um. Skis back on!

a long day from Cesjacks on skis would be the least risk option
I think so. If you get a white-out, which easily happens, knowing where you are can be difficult. I dislike using a GPS, but sometimes in fog ...

Whilst the northern side is doable, it is HARD.
There used to be a route up from the old met station, but that died ages ago. We drifted too far to the west one time and I found myself wishing for an ice-axe - on grass!

I presume going via the Kerries = o/night at Mawsons? Where do you get up onto the Kerries? Schlink pass?
You can do that from Schlink Pass - we have done that many times. A caution: there is a big scree slope with BIG boulders under Gungarten pass. Be VERY careful at any time there.

Gloves: light liner gloves, heavy fleece mitts and GTX overgloves. The overgloves are crucial for striking your tent when you have to get the poles out of the sleeves. Else sheer agony!

phone with a pre loaded route
Never used one. Don't even have one.

Tunnel tent, heavy bag, extra fuel/food, layers, and....???
Good air mats! A foam layer underneath as well is good, and makes for a nice seat at lunchtime in the snow.
Down duvet is good, but a good fleece is also needed if you have to travel in bad conditions (or a very good synthetic). We NEVER get any down gear out except inside the tent.
In the snow I carry a silnylon poncho (very light) in case of rain, but I travel in an EPIC jacket which breathes. The snow rolls off it.
We carry 2 squares of hard aluminium to use in scraping out a tent site. Cheap light snow shovels. They are extremely useful. A small bit of thin 3-ply serves as a stove base.
Headlights. Goggles or wrap-around dark glasses. Watch/altimeter (but skip the watch-compass as they are seriously unreliable).
CAMERA!
Some choccy and some sweet biscuits which can be eaten on the run in bad weather.

Cheers
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby clarence » Thu 11 Jul, 2019 10:51 pm

Many years ago we did it during a winter trip. From Tin Hut we went out and back in a day. Good weather and snow. My mate wasn't great on skis, but apart for the descent of Jagungal he managed okay. Very big day.

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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby NickH » Fri 12 Jul, 2019 12:33 pm

rcaffin wrote:
[i]phone with a pre loaded route

Never used one. Don't even have one.


Looks like this! Very handy. A topo in your palm!!
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby rcaffin » Fri 12 Jul, 2019 6:13 pm

I would prefer to start from Four Ways, the big junction at the bottom RH corner. I can recognise that even in bad weather. I would go up the Geehi to the fork, up the left arm until it got steep, then climb up NE onto the crest of the Toolong Range, N to the mini-peak at the top, then W to Jag. GPS not needed.
Unless I was feeling especially gung-ho, when I would simply zig-zag up the headwall to the saddle next to Jag. You will know when you get to the top. We have done both.

Coming from Cesjacks, there are other options.

Cheers
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby NickH » Fri 12 Jul, 2019 9:43 pm

Ah! I may have misled you! The blue line is a not a route, but a track. A record of a walk back in January.
And I agree, the gps isn't necessary, particularly in that terrain. Handy in a white out though!
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby Wollemi » Mon 15 Jul, 2019 10:01 pm

In August 2014, I lead a party of 4 for Springwood Bushwalking Club; GPS - Schlink Hilton hut - Mawsons Hut. After setting up our 2nd night's camp at Mawsons, I set off to summit Mt Jagungal, leaving at 4.30pm, alone.

Skiing under the full moon was delightful, and what I thought was scary fast speeds on long gentle downhills only came out at brief 18km/h runs, according to Strava; such is the amazing wacky sensation of skiing at night across plains with occasional scudding cloud. Twice I had to just stop and wait for many, many minutes, as the low-ish full moon was shrouded in fairly-fast moving cloud, this cloud was so thick over yonder, I just did not know where the moon was - and the moon was needed to navigate and visualise the ground (hard snow) underneath.

Strapping my skis to my pack, I boot-packed the flanks of Jagungal until the duckbills would not penetrate the frozen surface. I did not mind turning around then, although I was almost at Jagungal saddle, for I had so many unique experiences between Mawsons Hut and where I was. Skiing back was fast and easy on patterned skis - I did not have to use skins. On arrival back at the treeline that trends N-S, I was becoming a little concerned about where the hut was - until I saw a flashing torch left in a dead tree, 400 metres away. Such a great thought by one of my companions to do so. It was 9.00pm. I was gone approaching 5 hours, yet it seemed like less than half that time had elapsed.

~~~~
In August 1995 I did the convoluted drive towards Adams(?) hut in a group of 8 with the NSW NSC. We skiied in to morning tea at Cesjacks Hut and later climbed Mt Jagungal en-route to 2 nights in Dershko's Hut. It was clear all morning - but we were clouded in at the summit cairn/concrete truncated pillar - only for it to be clear once more once back with our packs.

This was my first over-night XC ski trip, and I had not too many bush-walking skills then. I fell in a creek trying to fill my water bottle, with one leg totally wet - I was terrified; really thinking frostbite... the leader came back to check on me, and I wailed out I was wet; he told me to get a wiggle-on, and I would quickly warm up; and I did.

This was a four day trip, so I carried 4 cans of oily sardines for lunch; two of the malleable aluminium cans had, of course, ruptured - the oil across my down sleeping bag. Then I cut myself on the lid...
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby rcaffin » Tue 16 Jul, 2019 2:50 pm

4 cans of oily sardines for lunch

Yeah, I could see that one in advance(!), so I leave the tins in their cardboard covers. Then, when I have emptied the tin, I boil a tiny bit of water in it to wash it MOSTLY clean. Shake dry, back into its cardboard cover and into an empty bread bag. Works so far.

Cheers
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby Wollemi » Tue 16 Jul, 2019 5:42 pm

Hi Roger, I simply do not carry soft cans anymore. Biscuits, chocolate (pre-broken due very cold conditions), nuts, pre-made sandwiches for the first day - all suit me well for lunches these days.
Thank you for reading my tales - which I hope the OP can learn from and be inspired by.
Live everyday as if it were your last... one day you will be right.
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby rcaffin » Tue 16 Jul, 2019 6:25 pm

Neither do we in general, except that sometimes on a long trip I might take one of those small flat cans of sardines or similar, just to make a change. Sardines and rice is not bad.

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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby NickH » Tue 16 Jul, 2019 8:01 pm

"which I hope the OP can learn from and be inspired by."

Thanks for the yarn! Both informative and entertaining! :)
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby NickH » Tue 16 Jul, 2019 8:06 pm

Both informed and entertained!
Sardines in the sleeping bag!! :D

Now. Stoves for sub zero. My plan is my old faithful trangia kit (34years and counting) with a gas burner.

Thoughts?
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby rcaffin » Tue 16 Jul, 2019 8:33 pm

Trangia: good for Scouts maybe. Maybe. Spill the fuel and you can have a spreading fire.

Today, for sub-zero, we use remote inverted canister stoves for about 5x the oomph. Actually safer than alkies in many ways. Much better than liquid fuel stoves which are as dated as the Trangia and either a bit dangerous (shellite, goes whoomp) or smelly (kero).

Note: I do have some of these left over from product reviews done for BPL: you will find them in the For Sale section, or you can contact me.

Cheers
Roger
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby warnesy » Tue 16 Jul, 2019 8:44 pm

NickH wrote:Both informed and entertained!
Sardines in the sleeping bag!! :D

Now. Stoves for sub zero. My plan is my old faithful trangia kit (34years and counting) with a gas burner.

Thoughts?


Trangia with gas converter is awesome. Don’t go anywhere without mine.


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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby Avatar » Wed 17 Jul, 2019 12:59 am

YES! A Trangia 27 with gas burner is not the lightest cook system but I say it cannot be beaten for robustness (set it up in a storm, use in snow), safety (stable and shrouded), fuel efficiency (do the tests!), versatility (cook, bake heat, fry, steam) and suitable for 1 or 2 persons. Definitely this system is not dated, smelly or dangerous.
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby rcaffin » Wed 17 Jul, 2019 8:44 am

Trangia with canister stove - sure.
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Re: Jagungal - A Winter Ascent

Postby NickH » Wed 17 Jul, 2019 9:24 am

Trangias are better for baking sardines.
Also easier to simmer for the sardine casserole...
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