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Mount Bogong
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Climbing Mount Bogong

Victoria


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Bogong

StateMountainHeight (metres)
New South Wales Mount Kosciuszko2228
Victoria Mount Bogong1986
Australian Capital TerritoryBimberi Peak1913
QueenslandBartle Frere1622
Tasmania Mount Ossa1617
Northern Territory Mount Zeil1531
South Australia Mount Woodroffe1435
Western Australia Mount Meharry1253

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Climbing Facts

State Victoria
Highest Peak Mount Bogong
Elevation 1986m (6515 feet)
First climbed 1854 - Baron Sir Ferdinand von Mueller
Vertical Gain Mountain Creek Picnic Area
Base of The Staircase
~600m
~700m
Total Distance (one-way) via Staircase Spur
via Eskdale Spur
8km
10km
Estimated hiking time (Return) Staircase Spur
Esdale Spur
6-9
8-11
Difficulty Hard  
Required Maps Mitta Mitta 8324-N
Nearest Town Mt Beauty 25km
Nearest Accommodation Mt Beauty
GPS Co-Ordinates  
Date climbed December 2007

Victoria

Victoria - Mount Bogong

| About Mount Bogong |

Mount Bogong sits amongst Victoria's ski fields in the Alpine National Park. The most direct route is from the Mountain Creek picnic ground near Mount Beauty. You can however also reach the summit across the high country from Falls Creek and Mount Hotham ski resorts. The best time for climbing would be spring and autumn, as summer can very hot, while in the winter the mountain is covered in snow (although for cross-country skiers, this is a popular cross-countrytrip). I completed the route up from Mountain Creek, so can't comment on the overland track. I completed the walk in a single day, returning to Mountain Creek, although it looks like there would be a number of good camp sites for an overnight trip (although above the tree-line and somewhat exposed).

| Bogong from Mountain Creek Picnic Ground |

I never would have imagined that climbing the highest mountain in Victoria was going to be so darn...hot. Bet you thought I was going to say steep. Well it was that as well, but hey climbing a mountain, what could I expect.

But lugging myself up and up and up in 35-40 degree heat. Sheesh, that was just darn right uncomfortable.

So it's post-Christmas 2007 (sometime between Boxing Day and New Year) and mum and dad are planning a road trip through the Victorian Alps. In my quest to climb the highest mountain in every Australian State and Territory, I've slowly been working my way down the East Coast of Australia; Bartle Frere in Queensland, Mount Kosciuszko in New South Wales and Mount Bimberi in the ACT had all be checked off. Victoria and Mount Bogong were my next target. However, I hadn't been on a family holiday with the folks for years. The temptation to hang out with mates at the beach was overwhelming, however here was an awesome opportunity to gain a few brownie points by hanging out with my parents for a few days as well as ensuring that part of my coming along would have to include a detour to Bogong. Infact, I even managed to convince them that they should join me on climb up the mountain. Boy, did I make a mistake.

I won't bore you with all details of the drive on the way to and from the Alps, needless to say I endured hours and hours of my Dad telling me the way I should be living my life and my Mum generally agreeing, with the occasional don't give the boy such a hard time occasionally thrown in support of my position.

Needless to say, we eventually arrived at Mountain Creek picnic/camping ground, which is the most convenient and most common starting point for this climb and would also be our launching point for an early morning summit attempt. I suppose you could drive up from Mount Beauty (the nearest town) in the morning if creature comforts (ie a bed) are important for you. The camping ground is also very good, with plenty of spaces, picnic tables etc.

So at 7.45am we were off. Mum, Dad and me. We'd cheated a little by driving the extra 1.2km from the camping ground to Sodawater Creek (there is probably space for about 6 cars here). This road is quite drivable, even for a 2WD, although the initial part is up quite a steep hill. I don't think most don't walkers realize this, and add an extra 2.4km to their walk. Infact, with a 4WD you can drive right through to Camp Creek Gap, meaning you can wipe out entirely the walk along the relative flat fire trail to the base of The Staircase or Eskdale Spur (the two routes up the mountain). Something to be aware of however, there is a Victorian Parks sign which states that vehicular access along the fire trail is closed over winter.

The walk to the base of The Staircase is pretty easy. Wooden bridges have been built over the creeks and this entire section (about 2km) took us a few minutes over thirty minutes to complete. 8.15am and we were feeling great. Mum and Dad felt fine and we were all confident we could knock off the next 4km (to the summit) in no time. Whoa...did our speed slow down quickly after that. The people who named this route The Staircase must have been playing some trick on the rest of us. Perhaps when they were building the track they were planning on building a staircase to make the climb easier. But instead, they figured they'd just leave it as a steep uphill slog. Our rate of ascent, or rather Dad's rate, slowed to barely a crawl. As I slowly plodded along behind my Dad, I though about those stories of Everest climbers, who approaching the summit, say they take half a dozen steps before taking a rest. Unlike the Everest climbers who must stay standing and lean on ice axes to catch their breath, Dad insisted on sitting down every 20 steps. So we'd walk for a few minutes, then look for a place to sit, then sit, have a drink of water, get back up again and repeat the process all over. I took to looking for places for these rests, figuring that if I picked them out, at least I could keep him going. So up we plodded. The trail is not unbearable. It is steep, but I think my Dad was just unfit...and it was hot. Real hot! My guess would somewhere between 30 and 35C. The trees provided good shade, but they also stopped any movement of air, so climbing up the mountain, we all felt like we were slowly baking.

Two and half hours later and we finally reached Bivouac Hut. This is an emergency hut, and represents about the halfway point up the Staircase. There is a nice flat area here and would be a good campsite, although I'm not sure why you would camp here, given it's not really up or down the mountain (I guess that's why the hut was built for an emergency). So we'd had done four kilometers in three hours. Not terrible, but I wasn't sure how steep the next two kilometers would be and then we would have to come back down again. I was trying to work out how to tell my parents that I was thinking I might go on ahead without them, when Mum told me that she'd convinced Dad that their walk was over and they would be heading back down to our campsite and a few glasses of wine. So after a fifteen minute break, a few photos and swapping some of the water and snacks between bags, I was off again.

Given I'd been going slowly for the past few hours, I was feeling pretty good and actually made awesome time, once I jettisoned my human baggage. About ten minutes past the hut, the vegetation suddenly thins out and the first of the magnificent views suddenly lay before me. These are awesome views, with views across mountain and after mountain. I found myself continuously stopping to take photos, although I had yet to spot Bogong. It was now approaching midday and it felt like I was now not only baking, but someone had turned on the grill as well.

Luckily, my daypack was basically full of water bottles, so I quenched my thirst over and over with ever warming water. Better than nothing. However, no sooner did the trees thin out and stop growing altogether (I was now above the tree line) but I was cooled by a breeze blowing across the ranges. And I could now spot Bogong off to my right. With it's rounded summit, from here Bogong looked like a big hill, although certainly the biggest hill around.

Although the summit was still some thirty minutes away, this part of the walk was really a breeze. I was paying more attention to the spectacular views all around me to notice the continual uphill slog required to reach the top of the ridge. About halfway up the final a cairn marks the spot where a group of hikers perished in 1936. Here I was, wiping sweat away from my brow, however I could imagine that would probably quite a different story in the middle of winter with a blizzard blowing. Although tall wooden markers mark the trail, in poor weather it would be only too easy to wander off the summit and into some gulley.

But for me, I was almost there. I finally climbed up onto the ridge line where a sign marked Bogong summit off to my left. The actual summit is still hidden behind the slope, but after only a few minutes a towering stone cairn marked my final destination.

I had bagged my fourth peak. And as much as I wanted to savour this moment alone, a steady stream of other hikers followed up behind me. Nevertheless, I savoured the moment, convinced another hiker to take a few pictures of me, I could prove I'd done it, and then was ready to depart again.

It was only midday, so I had plenty of time to descend and figured I'd come down the Eskdale Spur this time. Boy, going down was a breeze. The path off the summit toward Mitchell Hut is very much like the final ascent up the Staircase Spur. I really only stopped at Mitchell Hut for a minute or so. This hut is brand new (I think both the previous Bivouac and Mitchell Huts' burnt down in the 1996 fires) and would certainly provide a cosy resting spot for any hiker caught up in bad weather. For me, I snapped a few pics and was off again.

The walk down to the Camp Creek Gap intersection is pretty straightforward and probably even a little less steep than the Staircase ascent. Getting down to the Camp Creek Gap intersection gook me just over an hour (1hr 20 minutes to be exact). You can definitely drive a car right up to Camp Creek Gap, as there were a handful of cars parked by the side of the road. The path briefly runs along the road, before dropping off to the left along a path well disguised by long grass. This path only runs a few hundred metres before joining back onto a 4WD track. Again, this track looks like it could be driven by a 4WD although I didn't pass any vehicles on my return walk. The track crosses the creek on several occasions, so I had plenty of opportunities to take a drink and fill my water bottle. By now I was ready to get back to the campsite, remove my shoes and sit back and relax. I really powered along the fire trail it took me just on a hour to cover the final six or so kilometers.

The final breakdown of hours was roughly as follows:

Mountain Creek Picnic Ground to base of Staircase Spur: 1.5 hours
Spur to Bivouac Hut: 2.5 hours
Bivouac Hut to Summit: 1 hour 20 minutes
Summit to Camp Creek Gap: 1 hour 20 minutes
Camp Creek Gap to Mountain Creek Picnic Ground: 1 hour


| The Weather |

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High
18°
17°
14°
10°
12°
15°
Avg. Low
8.5°
8.5°
-1.5°
-3°
-3.5°
-1°
Avg. Rain (mm)
105
75
85
80
90
145
75
85
125
110
120
100

(weather measured at Falls Creek ~15km away)

-->Falls Creek Australian Bureau of Meteorology Website<--

Temperature Converter (www.unitconversion.org)

degree Celsius [°C]:
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On this adventure: Mum & Dad (I'm sure that's their names), Roland