VIC High Country - Mt Pinnabar and Mt Gibbo

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VIC High Country - Mt Pinnabar and Mt Gibbo

Unread post by Legendinc13 » November 8th, 2013, 11:05 pm

Geez what a Trip! 3 days with a mate and my 10 year old son driving from Canberra to Victoria and back again. The trip took in Major Clews Hut, Geehi Flats, Tom Groggin, Mt Pinnibar, Wheelers Creek and then Mt Gibbo before heading back.

My Mate has a GQ Patrol (2009 I think)that's lifted with TJM commercial bullbar and Warn Winch. Me I have a 2011 LTR Colorado that's lifted, snorkel ARB Sahara Bar and a Smittybilt winch. I had rather worn Dunlop Duelers (AT's) and thought best to get some newies as I'd heard Vic was a challenge without anything but muddies. Long story short I got some Mickey Thompson Baja's STZ's (265/75 R16) two days beforehand so I was set.

Day 1 - Canberra to Keeblers Hut VIC - We left South Canberra around 10:15am and made it to Jindabyne around 12pm for top up of fuel (didn't need to in the end but didn't know what to expect at the time. Jumped back in and took off along the Alpine Way towards Tom Groggin, at Tom Grogging we turned north and headed towards Khancoban. About 15km out of Khancoban we turned left off alpine way onto Major Clews Fire Trail and prepared the vehicles let the tyres down and the adventure started.

Major Clews fire trail was not too bad. Steep in one or two areas but relatively gentle with no areas providing a real challenge. It seemed kind of fun and a good introduction into what was to come. about 7km's in we made it to Major Clews Hut and got out for a look. By this time it was around 2pm and we toyed with the idea of staying here the night. Checking out the map we thought we would keep going and get to Keeblers Hut. From Major Clews hut we took a left turn onto Geehi Walls Fire trail and followed it for about 8km until we passed Old Geehi Hut. Just up from here was sheer joy as we had reached the Swampy Plains River and about a 30m long River crossing. It was not flowing too fast and after checking the length by foot it was at most 1m deep. It had a very good rocky bottom with a small section of sand at the end. The patrol went first and from the video it looked like a text book crossing. Apart from crossing the Bendethre River 12 months before this was my first real river crossing. I wacked the collie into 4Low second gear and went for it. :lol: WOOHOOO! no problems and what a rush. Water over the bonnet and my son ducking for cover. In hind sight - I should've taken it slower, got the bow wave happening and pushed through. Anyway - Great Fun.

We got to Keeblers Hut around 3:30 and set up camp. My son and I tried our luck at fishing however all we got was a few snags in the trees (Fishing lessons is next on the agenda :))Keeblers was great. It has a long drop toilet and fire pits. We also had a few friends over for dinner. About 5 wombats. They felt so welcome one tried to share my mates swag during the night. A good feed and a few beers was the order of the day, which went down well and as the pea soup fog rolled in we called it a day.

Day 2 - Keeblers Hut to Wheelers Creek via Mt Pinnibar We got up, had breakfast and hit the track about 9:30am. It was a short trip to Geehi Camp ground with another river crossing. A lot shorter and same depth but this section was flowing faster. It was a nice start to the day. Across the river we aired up again for the 20km bitumen trip to Tom Groggin. At Tom Groggin we hit the Murray River, a crossing you must take to get to Davies Plain Track. The river was not too deep but you needed to drive it in kind of a U-Shape to stay in the shallower water. I went first and as I had viewed the video of yesterday's crossings was a little less eager and more controlled. The exit hits you quickly and you need to give it a bit to get up the bank on the other side. We aired down on the other side and turned right onto Davies Plan Track towards Mt Pinnibar and Tom Groggin Track. Left will take you to Davies Plain Hut but this track is closed until December. The track winds north and then heads west up the hill and at this point was heavily rutted. It would be hard when wet and I've seen some you-tube vids confirming this. We turned right onto Mt Pinnibar track and headed for Mt Pinnibar. (its about 13Km's)

Now this track was fun. Heavily rutted in areas and becomes quite steep. I travelled most of the way in 4Hi but was surprised at the amount of time I spent in 4low Second gear. Especially going down hill. The tyres I put on were starting to show their worth. Heaps more traction and the wider footprint allowed me to ride the sides of the ruts. About 3km's from the summit my mate had a momentary lapse of reason and got stuck in some ruts on a very steep incline and got hung up on his front diff. I got a call on the UHF that he needed some help so parked the collie up on the next burm and headed down the hill. Now we ended up setting up the winch and lowered him back down the hil, far enough to get out of the rut. Very scary stuff and my mate was packing it. A few times he was see sawing on opposite front and back wheels and at one time the front started sliding sideways angling him across the track. :boggle: OMG! In the end with the help of a few passers by we got it parallel with the track and into a position that he could drive on. My mate must have been still pumping on adrenalin or something cause he forgot to pick me up and I had a 100m walk UP the hill back to my car. Needless to say he owns me a six pack for that one.

The rest of the track was pretty straight forward with some magnificent views. And getting up to the mountain we were surprised at the number of rigs up there. We stopped up here for a little bit but it was too windy to heat up a cuppa or stay too long. We took the shady Creek upper track and headed back down the mountain towards Wheelers Creek. There was a lot of 4low driving down this section and there was a section where we had to cut a new path through the bush as a massive tree had fallen across the track. Something that in my opinion the collie took a liking too. :D The track comes out into Cattlemans Creek Track where a left turn takes you into Wheelers Creek and into Wheelers Creek hut on the right.

This was a great spot but we were wary of what to expect as we were told it was occupied by a large group od bikies the night before. When we got there though there was only one tent and that was in the back corner so we set up camp expecting to have a quite night.

More to come.......

The Missus
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Re: VIC High Country - Mt Pinnabar and Mt Gibbo

Unread post by The Missus » November 13th, 2013, 5:59 pm

Isn't Major Clewes hut amazing - how well set up it was, even has an indoor bathroom! When we were last there we chased off by a swarm of wasps, they seemed to be a tad annoyed we were on their turf.

Mt Pinnibar is a fun track, but Mt Gibbo is better, of all the many tracks we've travelled Mt Gibbo is my favourite!

The trig on Mt Pinnibar is always windy, it's horrible, the views are OK, but there are better. But don't you feel good when you reach it? Looking from Mt Pinnibar to Tom Groggin is spectacular.

Sounds like you had a memorable trip, looking forward to the next instalment.
Adventure before dementia!

The Missus
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Re: VIC High Country - Mt Pinnabar and Mt Gibbo

Unread post by The Missus » November 23rd, 2013, 1:53 pm

Legendinc13 wrote: Left will take you to Davies Plain Hut but this track is closed until December.
What a shame you didn't go down. Davies Plain Tk is now open from November 2, they just haven't updated the websites or the timber signs.

All gates are open and the Seasonal Closure dates have been changed on the signs.

We came through last Tuesday.
Adventure before dementia!

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Re: VIC High Country - Mt Pinnabar and Mt Gibbo

Unread post by TLC60S » November 23rd, 2013, 2:40 pm

Hi Legendinc13
It's beautiful country through that area . I have travelled Major Clews track before the massive bush fires went through there & the fires devastated that area completely even burning the huts . On the Major Clews fire trail when you start coming down towards the Swampy Plains River there was a section of the mountain covered in fern trees where the mountain didn't get much sunlight , has that recovered! Also the crossing of the Swampy plains River has claimed a few 4wds over the years with high water levels following snow melt from the speed of the water not so much the depth.
Was there still snow on the top of the mountains at Geehi ! On one of our trips to Geehi one year in September we got to watch a RAAF plane from Amberley RAAF Base in QLD land on that runway at Geehi .
Legendinc13 I would love to see some of your photos of your trip.
Cheers TLC60S

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Re: VIC High Country - Mt Pinnabar and Mt Gibbo

Unread post by oohsean » November 28th, 2013, 12:26 pm

Great read so far, some pictures would be even better too! :)

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