Jagungal trip advice sought

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Jagungal trip advice sought

Postby Iryna1805 » Sun 22 Nov, 2020 10:14 pm

Hi everyone!

I thought I may try and revive this thread by asking a few questions reg some routes in Jagungal Wilderness.. :)
Fist of all, I'd like to say a huge thank you to Robert Green for such a brilliant book. I'm only relatively new to Australia (arrived in Melbourne in Feb 2018) but love hiking and particularly keen on exploring rarely visited areas.. I learned about Jagungal from this forum and purchased the book straight away. My husband and I first attempted a walk in Jagungal at Christmas 2018 and it didn't go the way we planned it to say the least, as we didn't have GPS, overestimated out navigaional skills and underestimated the wildness of the Wilderness :) We attempted to walk to Tin hut from Island Bend along the Burrungubuggee River. We camped at Burrungubuggee Shelter site but next day it was absulitely impossible to make out way up the ridge withouth GPS as it was completely overgrown. When I look at this attempt today I laugh at ourselves and see how we were doomed to fail.. That day I said I'll be back prepared much better and this year we're planning a short 3 day circuit in Jagungal, I've read tons of information but still have a few questions if someone is happy to share their recent experience..
So we are planning to start a circuit from Cesjacks Hut and make it to Mt Jagunal via Jagungal Saddle, then descend to Grey Mare Trail and then camp at Tumut River and have a relaxing afternoon. Next day we'd proceed along the trail to Valentines Hut and then to Mawsons hut where we'll camp. Next day would be a way back to Cesjacks Hut via Mailbox Hill and Bulls Peak Fire Trail.
If anyone has anything to commend on this, give any suggestions, updates on regrowth etc, that would be much appreciated! This is more about the areas between Cesjacks and Tumut river via mt Jagungal and all the way back from Mawsons to Cesjacks.. This time we will have GPS with all the waypoints.

Thank you to everyone in advance!

Iryna
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Re: Jagungal trip advice sought

Postby rcaffin » Mon 23 Nov, 2020 7:55 am

I think you are still a bit out with your expected distances.
Cesjaks to Jag, Grey Mare, Tumut: about two days, not one. You are not allowing for altitude change.
Go the wrong way and you will be caught in the sub-alpine scrub. You have met that already.
Bulls Peak FT: largely gone at present. Too many fires and regrowth. Go over McAlister Saddle instead.

Cheers
Roger
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Re: Jagungal trip advice sought

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 23 Nov, 2020 9:50 am

You may need 4WD to get to the Cesjacks gate. From Cesjacks go south-west to upstream of the creek junction, then west over the ridge to Jagungal Saddle. This is mostly open. From Jagungal Saddle go west to the Toolong Range, bushy in places. Once you are above the bushline it gets easier. Go north then west on the ridge to the summit. There are a few small campsites just below the summit, with water a fair way down the broad gully to the south.

Doubful valley S.jpg
A short way from Cesjacks looking at the Doubtful valley.


It took me a little under four hours Cesjacks to Jagungal. If you leave early to beat the heat you can be on the summit by 10-11 am. If you don't mind river crossings, from the middle of the summit plateau go south, keeping west of the Geehi River, crossing this north of Tarn Bluff. There are a few sheltered campsites on the river. Bluff Tarn is pleasant. You may have time to reach Mawsons, but this will be a long day.

Alternatively, from the east of the summit rocks go south-east to the ridge, which has a track that lewads to the Tumut, quite small at that point. There's a sheltered slightly sloping clearing up the hill a short way. It's easy walking on the road to Grey Mare, with one shallow crossing 30 minutes before the hut.

From Grey Mare Hut there are three shin deep river crossings to get to Valentines Hut. From here go up the road for 10 minutes then go east into the valley. I was advised that there's a bridge here but could not find it. The valley is open. Over the saddle north, east and south to Mawsons.

From Mawsons going to Cesjacks I usually go east then a little south - in summer it's an easy crossing place. From there go east up the hill, past Cup and Saucer and Mailbox, keeping high under Bulls Peaks, below the scrub, which is nasty. The saddle west of Smiths Perisher is open, then keep high above the Doubtful. The track can be picked up on the ridge a kilometre or so south of Cesjacks.

Dawn near CJ.jpg
Dawn near Cesjacks, looking south.
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Re: Jagungal trip advice sought

Postby Iryna1805 » Mon 23 Nov, 2020 7:25 pm

Thanks so much for the advice! There are a few things to consider indeed.
As was mentioned by Roger, the last thing I'd want is to fail again taking on more that we can accomplish so im being cautious this time and thinking of other maybe easier ways to have a bit of a taste of the area.
On this note, what would be the best route to get to Grey Mare FT south from mt Jagungal avoding the climb to the summit? Then make it to Mawsons via Valentines and then back to Cesjacks via mailbox and McAllister Saddle. Does this sound more doable in 3 - 3,5 days? Alternatively, as Lophophaps mentioned before, would it be better to go to Jagungal saddle then follow Geehi River via Tarn Bluff and Big Bend to Mawsons (day 1) and then just do a day trip to Valentines and back, camp at Mawsons another night, then back to Cesjacks.. How does this sound?

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Re: Jagungal trip advice sought

Postby Iryna1805 » Mon 23 Nov, 2020 11:03 pm

1) There are notes in Robert's book that it's possible to walk from McAllister saddle to Grey Mare FT via Geehi Forks and what used to be Strawberry Hill FT. Did anyone walk this recently? Robert mentions that "there's a section of forest and scrub on Strumbo Hill, for a distance of about 750 m". I assume it was a while ago, can anyone suggest how bad it is now and if it's walkable at all?
The other option would be to walk from Strawberry Hill FT to Strawberry Hill itself, then to Geehi River, Big Bend, and Mawsons Hut, this is to avoid long walk along the Gray Mare FT.. Any thoughts?
2) Which way from Cesjacks to McAllister saddle is better :
- to follow Bulls Peak FT to Smiths Perisher
- via Doubtful Creek?

Thanks again to Roger and Lophophaps for taking time and replying to me! Any tips and advice are priceless and much appreciated!

Cheers,
Iryna
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Re: Jagungal trip advice sought

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 23 Nov, 2020 11:37 pm

The Strawberry Hill Fire Track may have recently been cut, not sure. It's about an hour of energetic scrub if not. Keep below the bushline near Bulls Peak. This is nice open terrain. I'll post some pics tomorrow.

It would be good to get some specifics. What time of day do you anticipate starting from Cesjacks? I'm a little confused. You say
best route to get to Grey Mare Fire Trail south from Jagungal avoiding the climb to the summit
Grey Mare FT is north and west of Jagungal. If you are going from Jagungal to Grey Mare FT you have to be on the summit ridge. Once you get below this there's rocks, scrub and steep gullies in most places. Also, if the weather is fine, why not go to the summit?

How about a base camp at Cesjacks? Jagungal with day packs is viable, and at worst you can turn back. Or base camp at McAlister Saddle region, about two hours from the gate. Jagungal is then three hours away. The main negative with this is that you may not find the camp. A GPS is nice, but if it fails then you could be in strife

A better option may be to camp on a river, like the Geehi where the two branches meet near the Toolong Range. From here Jagungal can be done in a day, and on another day a circuit to near Strawberry Hill, Valentines, Mawsons and back to camp. If you run out of time, come back in a straight line (more or less) from any point.
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Re: Jagungal trip advice sought

Postby Zapruda » Tue 24 Nov, 2020 12:13 pm

Strawberry hill FT has not been re-cut. The scrub is as bad as ever.
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Re: Jagungal trip advice sought

Postby Zapruda » Tue 24 Nov, 2020 1:36 pm

Iryna1805 wrote:We attempted to walk to Tin hut from Island Bend along the Burrungubuggee River. We camped at Burrungubuggee Shelter site but next day it was absulitely impossible to make out way up the ridge withouth GPS as it was completely overgrown. When I look at this attempt today I laugh at ourselves and see how we were doomed to fail..


Please don't take this the wrong way. Your failure on that trip has nothing to do with the fact that you didn't have a GPS. It sounds like you were just inexperienced and unable to navigate with a paper map or even judge the terrain correctly. I am certainly not saying that going from the Constances site to Tin hut is easy in terms of terrain but it is fairly straightforward in terms of navigation. A GPS is no substitute for critical thinking and micro navigation. Learning how to read a map and applying that learning when off track in the bush is priceless. Understanding what a contour line on a map tells you about whats in front of you is something that everyone should know before heading off track. Don't be fooled in to thinking a GPS will help you move through scrub efficiently.

Luckily, walking around the plains and undulations south of Mt Jagungal is a bit easier than further south around the Burrungubugge and Bar Ridge. The walking is open and relatively straightforward, and using Mt Jagungal, a few other peaks and some waterways make for some good POI's and handrails.

Stay out of the middle of the plains as much as possible and try to stick to the hillocks and ridges. The plains are often boggy and slow going.

Lops and Rogers advice is good. I disagree with them little about their estimation of time and distance travelled but I'm a bit younger than they are ;) Sorry fellas :lol:

Starting at the gates near Cesjacks puts you right in to the action early. Its the best way to access the area. Beware of crossing Bulls Peaks Creek in any vehicle. It may appear shallow and slow moving but the bottom is sandy and will stop your car in its tracks. Ask me how I know... Parking there and walking the extra kms is not a bad idea unless you are certain that your vehicle can make it. High clearance AWD or 4WD is recommended.

Instead of going to Valentines hut (Zzzzz) from Mawsons, I would suggest you head up to the Kerries and walk out to Mt Gungartan. The Kerries has some of the best walking and views in the high country. You could then drop down Gungartan Pass and head for Tin hut. That would make for a nice day of walking. You could then return to your vehicle from Tin hut following the Brassy Mountains on your last day.

Have a great time in that stunning area and please give us an update of how it went when you are finished.

Cheers,
Stef
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Re: Jagungal trip advice sought

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 24 Nov, 2020 3:09 pm

Zapruda, I saw that! What you can do in a day I can easily do in ... three days. Unlike you I have a proper stove, an Aga.

Some of the valleys are best avoided due to bogs. I've found that in the Jagungal region there are often good routes between the valley floors and the scrubby ridges. This is Bulls Peak North.

Bulls Peak North S.jpg
Bulls Peak North


The Kerries is brilliant walking, light scrub, gentle gradients. There's space for a few tents just east of Gungartan, and another at Gungartan Pass. From there to Tin Hut is a tad scrubby, but nothing dramatic.

I mentioned crossing the Valentine east of Mawsons Hut. The pic below is what it's like when the tide is out.
Val crossing 2 S.jpg
Valentine near Mawsons


This is the Doubtful north-west of Cesjacks. It's a lot easier south-west en route to Jagungal
Doubtful Crossing S.jpg
Doubtful downstream of Cesjacks


Looking at the summit slopes of Jagungal from the south-west ridge. The route come off the slopes to the east (right side) of the summit rocks, diagonally to the end of the track. Water is in the big slope on the right. The track continues down to the baby Tumut.
Jag from ridge S.jpg
Jagungal from SW ridge


Be conservative and have a number of options so that if something does not work out you can do something else.
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Re: Jagungal trip advice sought

Postby Iryna1805 » Tue 24 Nov, 2020 8:50 pm

Hi everyone!

Lophophaps wrote:It would be good to get some specifics. What time of day do you anticipate starting from Cesjacks?

We plan to camp at Cesjacks so will be starting early in the morning..
Lophophaps wrote: I'm a little confused. You say best route to get to Grey Mare Fire Trail south from Jagungal avoiding the climb to the summit
Grey Mare FT is north and west of Jagungal. Of you are going from Jagungal to Grey Mare FT you have to be on the summit ridge. Once you get below this there's rocks, scrub and steep gullies in most places. Also, if the weather is fine, why not go to the summit?

Sorry I confused you, I just meant the shortest way of reaching Grey Mare FT from Cesjacks without climbing the summit, but I now think we'll walk to McAllister Saddle to Mawsons via Strawberry hill and Big Bend. I would be happy to climb the summit but there will be 4 of us this time and I'm trying to make sure my plan caters for everyone :) and just have some backup plans and different options.
Lophophaps wrote:How about a base camp at Cesjacks?

That is an option too, we may end up doing this but I'd like to be ready for a pack carry too which I personally prefer much more..
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Re: Jagungal trip advice sought

Postby Iryna1805 » Tue 24 Nov, 2020 9:03 pm

Zapruda wrote:Please don't take this the wrong way. Your failure on that trip has nothing to do with the fact that you didn't have a GPS. It sounds like you were just inexperienced and unable to navigate with a paper map or even judge the terrain correctly. I am certainly not saying that going from the Constances site to Tin hut is easy in terms of terrain but it is fairly straightforward in terms of navigation. A GPS is no substitute for critical thinking and micro navigation. Learning how to read a map and applying that learning when off track in the bush is priceless. Understanding what a contour line on a map tells you about whats in front of you is something that everyone should know before heading off track. Don't be fooled in to thinking a GPS will help you move through scrub efficiently.

I"m not going to deny any of this and appreciate the constructive feedback.. If only I had an opportunity to explore this countly with someone who knows it well and could teach to navigate in the wilderness, that would be fantastic :)

Zapruda wrote:High clearance AWD or 4WD is recommended.

We have Triton Ute, I guess we'll see how we go when we're there..

Zapruda wrote:Instead of going to Valentines hut (Zzzzz) from Mawsons, I would suggest you head up to the Kerries and walk out to Mt Gungartan. The Kerries has some of the best walking and views in the high country. You could then drop down Gungartan Pass and head for Tin hut.

What's wrong with Valentines Hut? just being curiuous :) But yes, walking up the Kerries to Mt Gugartan and Tin hut sounds appealing!

Zapruda wrote:Have a great time in that stunning area and please give us an update of how it went when you are finished.

Thanks for that! I'll definitely post a report here after the trip and let you know how it went!

Regards,
Iryna
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Re: Jagungal trip advice sought

Postby Iryna1805 » Tue 24 Nov, 2020 9:05 pm

Lophophaps

Thansk heaps for more beautiful photos and tips! I'm really looking forward to this trip!
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Re: Jagungal trip advice sought

Postby rcaffin » Thu 26 Nov, 2020 2:29 pm

from the east of the summit rocks go south-east to the ridge,
That should be south WEST. The ridge is obvious, except in thick fog.

We have Triton Ute,
A bit Iffy. Having a second car to pull you backwards is very useful. Having the rope for this also helps.

The Strawberry Hill FT is invisible at present. I KNOW.

Mawsons in one day via Jag is a bit too far.

I disagree with them little about their estimation of time and distance travelled but I'm a bit younger than they are
I was allowing for a novice unused to traveling across button grass plains. Open grass lands - what could be easier? Yeah, well ...

From there to Tin Hut is a tad scrubby, but nothing dramatic.
Um ... that DOES depend on what route you take! Some of the scrub around there is very slow (again, I know).

Just as a suggestion: from Cesjacks, climb Jag, head south across Strawberry Hills towards the Kerries, and see how far you get before you have to turn around. Targets are good, but they do not have to be cast in concrete. Um - we used to carry most of a spare day's food when exploring around KNP. Rarely used it, but it was reassuring to have.

Cheers
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Re: Jagungal trip advice sought

Postby Zapruda » Sat 28 Nov, 2020 1:02 pm

Iryna1805 wrote:
Zapruda wrote:Instead of going to Valentines hut (Zzzzz) from Mawsons, I would suggest you head up to the Kerries and walk out to Mt Gungartan. The Kerries has some of the best walking and views in the high country. You could then drop down Gungartan Pass and head for Tin hut.

What's wrong with Valentines Hut? just being curiuous :) But yes, walking up the Kerries to Mt Gugartan and Tin hut sounds appealing! ,
Iryna


I think Valentines lacks the charm of other huts. It’s fairly “new” by hut standards having been built by the SMA in the mid 60s. It’s a popular hut because of its colour which makes it quite photogenic.

The walk there and back from Mawsons is a bit dull compared to the rest of the area. That’s just my take on it.

I’ll pm you re nav out there.
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