Ascent of Mount Bullongong on 2022-10-28

Climber: Ashley Watson

Others in Party:Sam
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, October 28, 2022
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Bullongong
    Location:Australia-New South Wales
    Elevation:3871 ft / 1179 m

Ascent Trip Report

Bagging this modest peak requires a longish traverse from the west across the top of Tinderry NR.
Parked at 35.6250°S, 149.2164°E where there is a parking area that abuts the reserve. We intended following the W-E track shown on the 1:25000 topo map but soon gave up trying to locate it, instead simply bushbashing our way several km to a point where the main West Keewong Trail has turned south. The ti-tree scrub was quite thick in patches. And a couple of nicely flowing creeks to cross.
Once we were on the fire trail it was quicker going - notwithstanding a 300vm climb once the trail heads east again.
An intriguing sight before the summit was a dense graveyard-like expanse of dead and dry tree litter that we walked through for a couple of km before the top. Don't recall ever seeing anything quite like it. Almost as if a tornado had gone through the forest some years past. A lightning strike could be devastating. This area is also the location of the key col for this peak.
Not much to see at the summit other than a largely dismantled old cairn. Looks like it was once a big'un.
Then headed back, following old tracks then the main trail again (making friends with an echidna along the way) until we reached the spot where Monkellan Trail branches off to the south - this track is marked but not named on the topo map. And this is where things got interesting for a while.
We followed but soon left Monkellan Track, to bushbash west across Burra Creek and find/join an old pioneer track that is marked on the map as terminating on the other side of the creek, and which should take us back ~4km to the car. The creekside scrub was thick and awkward to scramble through. And the creek itself turned out to be passing through a deep ravine that somehow we had to cross. We got there eventually, but it took a while to find a spot to safely climb down and up the other side (all the while watching out for tiger snakes - none seen, although Sam did get a painful bullant bite!). The creek was flowing very nicely - one day I would love to search for its source.
Up the other side we found what turned out to be a lovely old track that undulated its way (and us) back to our car. A great day.
23km in just under 7h, including breaks. 800+m total ascent.
*Having found and walked the old pioneer track back to the car, I later wondered why on the topo map there is shown a bordered 400 x 400m square of land surrounding the end of the track above Burra Creek. It looks like an enclave of private land within the reserve. But why there? Maybe once the location of an out station and/or a corral? No clues on the ground other than remains of fences here and there.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1000 ft / 304 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Mud/Swamp
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1000 ft / 304 m
    Distance:14.3 mi / 23 km
    Start Trailhead:2871 ft / 875 m
Descent Statistics

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