Uncle Roddus Tramping Diary: Tramp No.162
Mt Catley 25 June 2016
Nine months since my last outing in the mountains and more than 12 months since my last Club tramp. My motivation in this area had been pretty low, for several reasons, but mainly due to my purchase last year of a fancy new turntable to go with my expensive new stereo and the subsequent spending of all my spare money on buying vinyl records and spending all my spare time listening to them.
Again Harley had emailed me several times trying to tempt me out on some trips and I finally succumbed to one of his invitations. The trip up Mt Catley in the St James Conservation area behind Hanmer Springs looked like just the ticket for a mid winters trip and easy enough to make it still doable if there happened to be any snow involved.
Just the two of us headed off from home around 7:30am on a frosty but clear Saturday morning for the 2 hour + drive to Fowlers Hut, on the Tophouse Rd, the start of our days adventure. The weather forecast was for fine but cool conditions with cloud developing later in the day and possible showers at night, we hoped to be well gone by then.
It was certainly cool and frosty at Fowlers Hut as we set off up the Fowlers Pass track at about 9:50am, under a clear blue sky. The track to Fowlers Pass is a well used track and we both had been on it before. We reached the pass in about an hour to be warmed by the lovely warm sunshine that had been denied us bu the hill side upon which the track sidled. I made the comment near the pass, that we would soon be in sunlight for the rest of the day walk. This, of course, was the wrong thing to say and no sooner had we started up the ridge to point 1435, than the sun disappeared behind some extensive high cloud and elected to stay there for the rest of the day. The access to point 1435 was relatively easy but the ascent onto Mount Picket was a bit more challenging in that the smooth looking shingle the had to negotiate looked quite soft and could make out ascent quite hard work for these unfit legs. The terrain turned out to be firmer than it looked and steady progress was made with thinks slowing down over the last 50 or so meters as the shingle did indeed get somewhat softer. We made Mount Picket around 12:30PM, took the usual photos and headed along the ridge towards mount Catley to find somewhere to hunker down out of the cold wind and have some lunch.
After lunching behind some rocks, we looks suspiciously at the shingle for the last 90 odd meters up to mount Catley and as we started that last ascent it look likely that this was going to be a real slog through softer and softer shingle, but it sooned firmed up and we made the summit in quick time. The wind was bitter and so quick photos were taken before heading off the top quick smart to descend to the spur that would take us back to the car. The first 400m of descent was through similar semi soft scree through which we ascended and although the travel was fairly quick it was far too hard underneath to fully abandon ones self to a full flight scree run.
We finally arrived at the cat almost dead on 3PM, after 5 hours, 11.6KM and about 1000M of climbing. That was just enough for my legs.