Will the real South Rams Head please stand up?

Trip reports, stories, track notes. Multiple/large photos are OK in this forum.
Forum rules
Posting large/multiple images in this forum is OK. Please start topic titles with the name of the location or track.

For topics focussed on photos rather than the trip, please consider posting in the 'Gallery' forum instead.

This forum is for posting information about trips you have done, not for requesting information about a track or area.

Will the real South Rams Head please stand up?

Postby johnw » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 4:22 pm

Last Friday, New Years Day 2016, I finally completed a four year quest to summit what I have been led to believe is the peak identified (by some) as South Rams Head in Kosciuskzo NP. For a variety of reasons it has taken me that many years and four attempts before succeeding (I'm getting older but not usually that slow). I've climbed every major peak in the park except Jagungal (another goal), but this relatively low 1951m trig has eluded me until now. Partly because I thought I had ascended it in 2012 only to be informed that this far more impressive 2052m neighbour about a km further north-ish on the same ridge was not what I thought. That peak is actually labelled as South Rams Head on some topographic and tourist maps. The less lofty edifice I climbed on this occasion is sometimes unlabelled on maps. The Geehi Bushwalking Club guide book "Snowy Mountains Walks", seventh edition marks the 2052m peak as South Rams Head but the eighth edition labels it as the 1951m peak! In that edition the 2052m trig is designated as "Rams Head", with (central) Rams Head labelled "Ramshead" :?. Both South Rams Heads have metal trigs on top - I have now become intimately familiar with them, and various routes in and out of the area, which is enjoyable to walk through if you are comfortable and comptetent to mostly leave formed tracks (and crowds) behind and navigate cross country.

On this last occasion I once more started from Dead Horse Gap about 5km south of Thredbo. Ignoring the offical tourist track to Thredbo Top Station which starts across the road from the Cascades trail head, I parked up the hill at Dead Horse Gap proper and (for the third time) followed an old unmarked track up into the Rams Head Range. Note: This trip is not for beginners - it requires that you can navigate competently without tracks, have appropriate gear including safety items, and be conscious of the weather conditions, as well as being mindful to avoid any sensitive vegetation that may be encountered.

I had only once seen another person on this track. This time met a couple about halfway up who were having a rest break; I was sweating a bit so stopped and exchanged notes. They were also going to South Rams Head - um, the 2052m one (that I had now climbed twice - theoretically in error). Further discussion revealed that one member was a local experienced cross country skier and S&R member who had overflown the area extensively. His view was that Mr 2052m is correctly labelled as per a number of maps. I am not going to argue one way or the other as I have at least some documentary evidence to support both opinions, and I've now climbed them both so it's an academic question - which is one is it?

The other walker asked if I'd seen any brumbies in the immediate area. There is plenty of evidence but I hadn't seen any there, only on the nearby Boggy Plain that the Thredbo River passes through. Ironically after leaving them I was no more than 5 minutes further progressed when I startled two brumbies at close range. They looked at me then trotted off at a brisk but unhurried pace. Last time I had a similar encounter with wild horses about eight of them immediately stampeded up Mt Terrible.

Continuing on my way the trig of my old 2052 m friend soon loomed above me. I headed towards it to try and scout the best route to my target (avoiding scrub etc). I was about 20 m from the trig but wasn't going to be bothered climbing up to it yet again. I ascended an adjoining rock formation and spied a reasonable approach that saw me partly retrace my ascent to access the optimal route. That tactic worked and I fairly quickly arrived at the saddle below my destination only to surprise a herd of ~seven feral deer about 20 m ahead which took off at an alarming pace when they saw me.

The summit was above me but I couldn't see the trig position, so took the first viable looking ascent I could find. A bit hairy - wasn't keen on returning the same way. Once on top I still had to hunt for the trig, which doesn't seem to be the highest point I visited. Finally I found it and drank some water from my drink bottle to celebrate (I'm easily pleased). It was a bit windy on top so I located an easier descent to small saddle below the summit for lunch. After that thunder and lightning started in earnest in the vicinity of Tom Groggin not too far away. I decided that discretion was the better part of valour so beat a hasty but controlled retreat off the mountain. I stayed more or less dry until arriving at the car, when the heavens immediately released their torrential contents. Mission accomplished :), E&OE. Back to Thredbo for a coffee where Mrs is waiting for me after doing a couple of local walks.
Below the real South Rams Head.jpg
Looking up to the trig on the "real?" South Rams Head
The real South Rams Head.jpg
The real one?
Look back up to the false South Rams Head.jpg
Or is it really this one back up the ridge?
John W

In Nature's keeping they are safe, but through the agency of man destruction is making rapid progress - John Muir c1912
User avatar
johnw
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 6243
Joined: Wed 23 Jan, 2008 11:59 am
Location: Macarthur Region - SW Sydney
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Will the real South Rams Head please stand up?

Postby north-north-west » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 4:53 pm

It depends which map you look at. Only one solution - the tried and true 'Climb them all'.
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
User avatar
north-north-west
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 12499
Joined: Thu 14 May, 2009 7:36 pm
Location: The Asylum
ASSOCIATED ORGANISATIONS: Social Misfits Anonymous
Region: Tasmania

Re: Will the real South Rams Head please stand up?

Postby johnw » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 5:20 pm

north-north-west wrote:It depends which map you look at. Only one solution - the tried and true 'Climb them all'.

Done that now for these two - please don't tell me there is another possibility, there's a lot of Rams Heads up there :lol:
John W

In Nature's keeping they are safe, but through the agency of man destruction is making rapid progress - John Muir c1912
User avatar
johnw
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 6243
Joined: Wed 23 Jan, 2008 11:59 am
Location: Macarthur Region - SW Sydney
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Will the real South Rams Head please stand up?

Postby north-north-west » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 6:28 pm

I've climbed every pile of rock along that ridge higher than three metres just to make sure I didn't miss anything that could count.

The southern trig (where I saw two peregrine falcons having a stoush) and the North Ramshead are my faves. Nice camping up near the NRH too, overlooking Cootapatamba.
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
User avatar
north-north-west
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 12499
Joined: Thu 14 May, 2009 7:36 pm
Location: The Asylum
ASSOCIATED ORGANISATIONS: Social Misfits Anonymous
Region: Tasmania

Re: Will the real South Rams Head please stand up?

Postby akl168 » Tue 05 Jan, 2016 5:15 am

This sounds like a great quest. I may have to return one day to complete the South/Ram/North trifecta. Or the quaddie, if one includes the 1951m v 2052m choice.
akl168
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat 20 Apr, 2013 5:43 am
Region: Victoria

Re: Will the real South Rams Head please stand up?

Postby johnw » Wed 06 Jan, 2016 12:12 pm

akl168 wrote:This sounds like a great quest. I may have to return one day to complete the South/Ram/North trifecta. Or the quaddie, if one includes the 1951m v 2052m choice.

Yes, a worthy adventure. Can be done as a longish day trip - Three times I've done that via Dead Horse Gap > South Rams Head (2052m) > Rams Head (central) > North Rams Head > Kosciuskzo walkway > Tourist track back to Cascades/Dead Horse Gap. If you wanted to stay longer it might be worth considering camping in the Rams Head Range. By my observation people are few and far between compared with over the other side in Wilkinsons Valley/Townsend Saddle etc. Walking through the RHR I've rarely seen anyone else. And you should complete both SRHs for good measure :wink:.
John W

In Nature's keeping they are safe, but through the agency of man destruction is making rapid progress - John Muir c1912
User avatar
johnw
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 6243
Joined: Wed 23 Jan, 2008 11:59 am
Location: Macarthur Region - SW Sydney
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male


Return to NSW & ACT Trip Reports & Track Notes

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest