Rams Head Range Walk - New Years Day 2018

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Rams Head Range Walk - New Years Day 2018

Postby akl168 » Sat 06 Jan, 2018 8:54 pm

On our semi-regular pilgrimage to the Jindabyne area, a good friend LH and I had penciled down a jaunt up to the 3 Rams Heads as a day walk. After an overnight walk to the Guthega area, and a couple great days blasting up and down the various mountain bike trails around Jindabyne, New Year’s Day saw us driving up towards Dead Horse Gap. After dropping one car off in Thredbo, we were soon parked at the Cascade Trailhead.

A quick walk up the road to Dead Horse Gap soon ensued where I saw a large parking lot, which had a lot fewer cars than Cascade Trailhead. LOL. Note to self - park up at Dead Horse Gap next time around.

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Walking through the Snow Gums

We were a party of 7, LH had his two kids with him, and my wife and I had our two kids with us. After a group wefie at the Dead Horse Gap, we started up the trail. The trail although a little faint, is very noticeable. I would say that unless it was entirely snowed over, in a whiteout, and in really dense fog, there is no way you could lose sight of the trail. When we started entering the snow gums, there was a lot of horse poo on the trails, looks like the brumbies also use this trail. Better than the poo though, were the wildflowers. They were in full bloom and beautiful, Daisies, Alpine Trigger Plants, Billy Buttons, and many others.

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Rocks and Brumbies

We climbed steadily in a northwesterly direction and soon enough we were above treeline. The trail does become less obvious at this point, but South Rams Head (the 2052m version) is immediately obvious so it was quite easy “aiming” for it. We headed due north till we were roughly east of the peak and then made our way up. After a quick drink and the obligatory photos, we headed in the north easterly direction towards Rams Head. We did not try for the 1951m version of Rams Head South. Maybe another time.

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Between Rams Head South and Rams Head

Two years ago we climbed up Rams Head from the east, I must admit the peak looks a lot different from Rams Head South, hardly any boulders from this viewpoint. We came across a lot of fresh horse poo after Rams Head South, and sure enough, we spotted two of these brumbies. My wife was quite excited as after 5 trips to the park, she finally got to see them. What I found really cool about the area between Rams Head South and Rams Head was that no more than 50 metres apart were two streams, one flowing in the south easterly direction, very likely joining up with the Snowy, and the other flowing in the north westerly direction, possibly joining up with the Murray. What different journeys the difference of those 50 metres results in! Our group stood there for a bit contemplating this thought. Once we were close to Rams Head, we basically walked north up its southern flank. No rock scrambling was necessary. I found it quite a slog here from Rams Head South, so I was glad to fire up the stove for some coffee and lunch on the summit. The kids on the other hand were flying and had to often wait up for the slower “oldies”. I still remember those first few walks with my kids many years ago, where merely completing 1 km was a cause for celebration with icy poles. Now my older kid carries the same weight as I do, and walks twice as fast as I am able to.

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Lovely cool stream

We couldn’t really see Rams Head North from where we were, but after picking our way down the boulderly east side of Rams Head, we pretty much headed in the north easterly direction up towards a rise. As mentioned earlier, there isn’t much of any trails above the treeline, but with a map, we found it easy to target the peaks. We came across the first humans for the day here, meeting a group of four who were headed towards Rams Head. After some pleasantries about the walk and weather, they headed off for Rams Head while we headed towards our final destination.

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Scrambling up to Rams Head North

Having arrived at Rams Head North on its South West side, we found a boulder field (choss pile?) on its Western Side and 3rd classed up the rocks. After carefully picking our way up this line of weakness, we were soon on the summit. Again, after the obligatory wefies and pictures, we looked for a way down. Those of you intimately familiar with Rams Head North will be saying - dude you came up the wrong way. Yes we did, LOL. At the summit, we could see the easy grassy way down, on the North East side of the peak. Sure enough, we could pretty much walk down this side. We headed due East for the metal Kosciusko walkway. After the days solitary stroll, the crowds on the metal walkway took a little getting used to. But it was nice just “switching off” and striding back.

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Metal walkway and the end of a great day

Would I do this walk again? Most definitely. Maybe with an overnight pack the next time, and the visit to the 1951 m version of Rams Head South. Other than the skin melting UV levels, we lucked out with the weather on this trip. A gentle breeze most of the day, comfortable temperatures, and all shades of azure on display in the sky. As such, I’ll forever of good memories of the Rams Heads.
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Re: Rams Head Range Walk - New Years Day 2018

Postby Mark F » Sun 07 Jan, 2018 12:27 pm

A great walk and an area so little visited especially considering the hordes thundering along a couple of hundred metres to the north.
"Perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove".
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Re: Rams Head Range Walk - New Years Day 2018

Postby johnw » Sun 07 Jan, 2018 3:23 pm

Nice report and photos of one of my all time favourite day hikes, thanks for posting. I've just returned from the area myself but didn't get to the Rams Heads this time. Among other things decided to explore the length of Kangaroo Ridge, another interesting area that is technically part of the same range and also avoids the hordes. I was actually doing that the day before your walk. Also had lovely weather every day I was up on the range, and still a fair bit of snow lying around in patches here and there.

In reference to the actual 1951m Rams Head South peak - The more impressive 2052m peak that you visited and describe as Rams Head South is unnamed, but unofficially known as "The Southerly Rams Head". It is much confused, and even wrongly labelled on some maps. That confusion caused me several trips to eventually bag the 1951m trig, which you may have sighted about 1km down the ridgeline from the 2052m summit. It is also quite easy to visit in clear weather (no track). To do that (still coming up the old track from Dead Horse Gap), the easiest way I found was to head in a southerly direction towards it once below The Southerly Rams Head. You will be able to pick out a route from there. Easy ascent to the trig once below it.

p.s. If you don't want to do a car shuffle and rather make a circuit, I have returned to Dead Horse Gap via the tourist track off the Kosci walkway. Longer walk of course.

Mark F wrote:A great walk and an area so little visited especially considering the hordes thundering along a couple of hundred metres to the north.

Too right Mark :)
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Re: Rams Head Range Walk - New Years Day 2018

Postby rcaffin » Sun 07 Jan, 2018 8:22 pm

It is an interesting thought that the much-maligned steel walkway is such an effective and even welcome constraint (on the hordes). In may ways I am grateful for it.

Cheers
Roger
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Re: Rams Head Range Walk - New Years Day 2018

Postby johnw » Mon 08 Jan, 2018 3:06 pm

rcaffin wrote:It is an interesting thought that the much-maligned steel walkway is such an effective and even welcome constraint (on the hordes). In may ways I am grateful for it.

Cheers
Roger

Yes we're probably being a bit unkind Roger. They would be trampling all over sensitive veg and possibly getting lost without it. And I have used it myself many times, often as quick access to other areas. It's just a bit of a pain during busy times, and unfortunately quite a few have no sense of etiquette or manners. Kids I can forgive, but you'd think adults would understand that it's a two way shared path and that not everyone travels at the same pace.
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Re: Rams Head Range Walk - New Years Day 2018

Postby Zapruda » Mon 08 Jan, 2018 3:19 pm

johnw wrote:
rcaffin wrote:It is an interesting thought that the much-maligned steel walkway is such an effective and even welcome constraint (on the hordes). In may ways I am grateful for it.

Cheers
Roger

Yes we're probably being a bit unkind Roger. They would be trampling all over sensitive veg and possibly getting lost without it. And I have used it myself many times, often as quick access to other areas. It's just a bit of a pain during busy times, and unfortunately quite a few have no sense of etiquette or manners. Kids I can forgive, but you'd think adults would understand that it's a two way shared path and that not everyone travels at the same pace.


I agree with what Roger is saying. The walkway is the perfect tool to funnel people to the top of Mt Kosciuszko all while preserving the other delicate areas of the Main Range.
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Re: Rams Head Range Walk - New Years Day 2018

Postby akl168 » Tue 09 Jan, 2018 5:54 am

Thank you for reading my simple tale and for your comments. I believe it's a fair assumption that everyone on this thread, and possibly this site, are thankful for that metal walkway (and the loos at Rawson Pass) - which limit our impact on this gorgeous park. I also believe that it's a pity many (as alluded to by Mark) have as their only KNP encounter - the metal walkway. I know a few folks who have left after spending an entire week here, having only sampled the metal walkway. But to each their own. As for me, I'm trying to figure out how I can return, maybe the Jagungal area next...
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Re: Rams Head Range Walk - New Years Day 2018

Postby Zapruda » Tue 09 Jan, 2018 7:17 am

Cant go wrong with Jagungal. Fantastic area and the collective knowledge on this forum about it is impressive. Thanks for the trip report.
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Re: Rams Head Range Walk - New Years Day 2018

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 04 Apr, 2018 10:40 pm

Try the Round Mtn. circuit. It is easy to follow and has a remote feeling. You have been warned about the march flies in January.
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Re: Rams Head Range Walk - New Years Day 2018

Postby rcaffin » Thu 05 Apr, 2018 7:20 pm

The steel walkway has its good points. We were returning to Thredbo in bad weather. We could see the walkway - for maybe 5 - 10 metres ahead. So we ran down it, bouncing slightly as we went and sailing with the wind, to the top of the Quad at Eagles Nest. I thought it might be a good idea to take the chairlift down since the weather was so bad. I was trying to ask the liftie how much for the ride when he just sort of grabbed Sue and me and plonked us on a chair and yelled GO! I think they were about to close for the evening anyhow.

The joke was that by the time we got to the bottom we were frozen stiff and could not get off the chair! But the liftie up top knew about this and had phoned down. Two more lifties at the bottom picked us both up off the chair and plonked us down on the mat. We thanked them and retreated into the joys of one of the lodges.

So - walkway? Yeah.
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