New year’s day saw many SOTA devotees out on summits at a very special time in the SOTA calendar!
The UTC year roll-over means that you can make double the chaser, activator and summit to summit points over a couple of hours. Daylight saving means that UTC rollover is 11:00am EADST.
The author VK7TW and son Reuben VK7FREU got up at very early on New Year’s Day and drove up the Brooker Hwy out of Hobart toward Launceston and turned off left to Berridale and Collinsvale. Headed to and through Collinsvale and turned off left to the Myrtle Forest walk (sign posted). Headed along the road and park in the Myrtle Forest walk car park.
We walked for 15m along the forestry road to the picnic area. Then it is a steady climb for 15m to the Water Fall. From the water fall it is a reasonably steep climb for about 20m to the turnoff to Collins Bonnet and Collins Cap. Turn right to Collins Cap and head up through the rain forest. Last time we were here the Pandanis were in flower, this time the Tasmanian Waratahs were in flower along with what I call the spice bushes.
At the junction of the Collins Cap Fire trail you turn left and head past the water hole and heard many frogs. It is just under one hour walk from the carpark to the fire trail turn off and we were there at 21:00UTC (8:00am local). We were on track to make Mt Marian (VK7/SC-003) to be on summit by 23:00UTC on 31/12/14 or 10:00am local time.
The Collins Cap Track meets with East West Track and you continue past Trestle Mountain. There is a walking track short cut that cuts some time off the East West Fire Trail. This walking track short-cut is basically a track along a small creek and good walking boots are required.
We got to the Mt Marion (SIC) turnoff about an hour later along the East West Fire trail. Reuben and I stopped for a snack and water and the summits were clouding in and misty rain was starting. The track into Mt Marian is a snow pole and rock cairn marked path. It is a gentle climb up to the summit however you are pushing through low vegetation and you get wet from the knees down. Note to self – Gators next time!
We got to the summit just before 23:00UTC and quickly setup the 40m linked dipole in a protected area. Then the rain started – we put the rain coats over the operating position and both started grabbing as many contacts as we could leading up to rollover and then went around again after 00:00UTC (11:00am) on 1/1/15.
Together we made well over 40 contacts most of which were summit to summit whilst on Mt Marian. The rain stopped and the sun started appearing. At around 12:00pm local we packed up and headed back along the track to junction with the East West Fire Trail. We had lunch at the nearby water hole.
We then walked to Trestle Mountain (VK7/SC-004) about three quarters of an hour back down the East West Fire trail. The track up Trestle Mountain can be found about 100m back along the East West Fire trail from the shortcut track. The sun was out and things were drying off!
The track up Trestle Mountain is mainly a steep boulder scrambling exercise at the beginning and end of the track. At the top we found out why it is called ‘Trestle” mountain – there is a strategically place rock that sits on top of two vertical rocks and looks like a trestle table! We setup the 40m linked dipole and Reuben started on 2m and I started on 40m.
Reuben and I made over 30 contact from Trestle Mountain with many summit to summit contacts as well. The weather was clear and the sun was out and it gave us a chance to dry our kit out after the rain on Mt Marian.
Both these summits were both 8 pointers and we also contacted VK3EQ/7 who was on Mt Wellington and was a crushing 5/9++….HIHI.
Reuben and I walked a total of 21km on New Year’s Day and scaled two VK7 summits and had a fantastic start to 2015.
Thanks to all amateurs who made contacts with us on the rollover, it was a great experience and I certainly look forward to next year and the next summit!
Catch you on a summit very soon!
73, Justin, VK7TW