Peter, VK3ZPF proposed a visit to Talbot Peak on the 12th July during the winter bonus period , and asked for other interested activators. Allen, VK3HRA and myself were keen to go along as well. As the date approached, the weather deteriorated and the area had some heavy snowfalls, but we decided to go ahead anyway (with the limits of safety).
We dropped into Erica Snow Hire and picked up snow chains and three sets of Yowie snow shoes and then headed up to the Mt. Erica car park. Snow appeared shortly after entering the Mt. Erica rd. and at the junction of Mt. Erica rd. and Middle Tyers rd., we put the chains on (or Peter put the chains on and we stood around and watched 🙂 ). It was pretty obvious that snow was going to be a problem when we arrived at the car park. We set of around 11am and hoped that we could make the 5km walk to Talbot Peak in a couple of hours.
Our progress was hampered by trees over the track in many places caused by the weight of snow. The snow shoes worked well but it took an hour to get to Mushroom Rocks which is just less than 2km from the car park. After a quick break in shelter of some huge boulders, we continued with the same challenges of trees over the track. The steep section out of Mushroom Rocks was a lot harder than without snow.
We figured that we should be back at the car park by 4:30pm to arrive in the light, so it was looking very tight to make the return trip. The snow deepened and was around 45cm as we approached Mt. Erica. At times the track was not clear and Allen had to check the GPS to get to the track. We were about 800m from Mt. Erica and all getting a bit exhausted. The walk to Talbot was probably doable, but we would not have time to activate and return to the car park in daylight. Considering the risk factor with other possible unforeseen delays such as weather deteriorating we thought it best to turn back just as the snow came down.
The trip back to Mushroom Rocks saw a bit more snow falling and on arrival we had a late lunch. The walk back to the car was uneventful although many trees still over the track, weighed down with fresh snow. I thought that if conditions worsened to a whiteout and navigating became difficult, we could always follow our large snow shoe footprints back, but the fresh snow had almost completely covered our tracks over.
It was still a great walk with some very picturesque scenery and some experience in heavy snow. According to Allen’s blog, we had walked 7.8km. We left the car park and went to the Erica Hotel to meet up with Kevin, VK3KAB who had successfully activated Mt. St. Phillack. Thanks Peter for organising the hike.