April 13, 2006

Clumner Bluff Walk

Marian Harradine Posted on 2006-04-13
Times taken: 7 hours
Start to summit: 3 hours 45 minutes.
Summit to Car: 3 hours and 10 minutes

I had been keen to climb Clumner Bluff ever since we climbed up to the Walls of Jerusalem, as it looks quite striking from there. We had wanted to climb it when we were at Lake Rowallan in April, but could not find the start of the track. We had another look when we were in the area in July and found it that time.
To get to the start of the walk, turn into Dublin Plains Road, turn into the second track on the right, (Clumner Spur1), travel 2.2 km along this road at which point there should be a cairn on the right hand side against the side bank of the road. You have to look pretty carefully as it is not very obvious.
We parked the car there and left at 10.33. The beginning of the walk is a bit vague, but it soon becomes obvious that the track follows an old logging track, now covered with new scrub. Not far from the road a faded ribbon on a bush encourages one to assume that this is the track.
We walked along this track for about 10 minutes, before it becomes just a rough cairned route. Then the track veers off to the right in a south westerly direction and then gradually goes south. It becomes rougher and the occasional cairn and ribbons are not always easy to see, but they are there if one perseveres. We hung a few more markers which we found helpful on out return.
After 35 minutes of gradual climbing, the track starts to climb more steeply and starts to become more rocky. As we got higher the track became more rocky and at 11.40 we came to the end of the bush and the start of a boulder covered slope which had to be crossed to gain access to the plateau.
It was very windy and exposed up on the boulders and some bushfires burning in the vicinity down lower, on the other side of Lake Rowallan, were causing poor visibility at times. There are cairns on the boulders to show a route, but not always easy to see, especially in the smoke. It did not help that cairns sometimes had been put in more than one direction! We usually enjoy boulder hopping but were glad to get to the end of it.
It took us one and a half hours to climb the boulders and the last hop up on to the plateau was at 1.10. We expected the top of the bluff to be nearby, but saw it in the distance south of us at what I thought might be up to one hour of walking still. It looked like a true mountain from where we were, whereas from below and from the Walls of Jerusalem, it looks more like the high point of a plateau.
We had a fifteen minute break at the top of the plateau and at 1.25 we left, heading south in the direction of the Bluff. There were no tracks or cairns on the plateau so keeping the Bluff in sight we proceeded, cross country, in a direct line.
There was a lot of low scrub, rocks and the odd pool of water and soon we came to a rocky ridge which we had to ascend a bit and then descend, losing some of the height gained. Then we kept to the west of another rocky escarpment before crossing a valley to the start of climbing up to the highest point of Clumner Bluff.
I was surprised how quickly we got there, arriving at the top trig at 2.15. The views were not real good because of all the smoke, which fluctuated, but it was still worth while.
Mt Gould looked very striking to the south west, then The Guardians, The Minotaur, The Parthenon, The Acropolis, Mt Geryon behind Falling Mountain, Mt Hyperion, Mt Massif, Mt Ossa, behind Cathedral Mountain, and Mt Doris, too hazy to make out Pelion East, then Mt Thetis, Perrins Bluff, Mt Achilles, Pelion West looking magnificent, and closer were Howells Bluff and Mt Pillinger. Further north west were Barn Bluff, Mt Emmett and Cradle Mountain. There was a fair bit of snow on all of those peaks near overland track. Strangely it was too hazy to see much of the Walls of Jerusalem nearby.
I took a circle photos in the strong winds and we left again 5 minutes later.
We returned back, trying to retrace the way we came. Fifty minutes after leaving the top, at 3.10, we came back to the cairn near where the descent through the boulder field started. and we sat and had a quick snack before making our way back down. We saw a very large wedge tailed eagle not far above us.
We left the plateau at 3.20 and made much quicker time going back as we stopped looking for cairns and just descended the most direct way, keeping in our sight the general area we had come from at first and then we could see the pink ribbon I had tied to the marker stick and aimed for that. We were over the boulders and at the start of the bush by 4.15.
We had some of our lunch at that point, in a sheltered spot, and then continued on down. The track was very dry and slippery with loose stones and we had to take quite a bit of care on the way back. I received more scratches there than on any other part of the walk. We got back to the car at 5.30.
It would be a pity if the track disappeared completely as it was a very good day's walk.

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