Mt Palerang: Ascent 2021

I had watched the wildfire hit Mount Palerang 18 months earlier, but had only seen the ragged slopes from a distance since, as access to the area has been closed until recently. Yesterday, I climbed the mountain with Indya, my gym instructor. The purpose in ascending the mountain was to catalogue surviving species, observe the bushland recovery at first hand and record a safe track to the peak.



General observations

Access from Braidwood along the Mulloon Firetrail is straightforward and relatively safe (we struck recent fallen trees across the firetrail in a couple of places - and heard trees falling on a couple of occasions during our hike). Access from Forbes Creek is possible with a 4WD, but you may be blocked by water or erosion  at Mulloon Creek, and there are dangerous unmarked gutters/holes in the road at several places. The old stone work at the Chinese Walls is still holding the road, but...

The trek up the mountain itself is dangerous. There has never been an 'official' trail to the peak - but there is a fairly well worn track that appears from time to time to avoid rocky outcrops. These paths might follow the ancient Yuin Trace spur line giving line of sight to Lake George to the north-west and the plains around Mount Gillamatong. 

The first part of the path, from the intersection at the four ways (the road from Braidwood and Palerang Fire Trail) to the first shoulder is heavily eroded and very slippery with lots of loose rocks - climbing up is a lot easier than climbing down. From the shoulder, the path becomes much easier - follow the faint path until you spy the first of a series of pink trail markers. The markers are infrequent but very useful visual guides to the worn track which will disappear from time to time. I have made my GPS map trace visible on Gaia and include a link at the end of this post. 

Warnings

There are signs of pigs and wild dogs on the mountain. Trees are still falling - branches will fall in strong winds or simply explode in still conditions. Do not come here alone. Bring water. The trek may take 2-3 hours, and much longer if you loose the trail.

Be wary of using Google maps to help you with the ascent. Ignore the Google path suggesting a possible short scramble up the east face of the mountain without taking ropes and leaving your will with the authorities. Google and other on-line apps may locate the peak a little to the south of the actual trig.

Braidwood to Mulloon Fire Trail / Palerang Fire Trail intersection


 

There is a rough parking area at the intersection.


First climb

Take two strong sticks.

The track to the top of the shoulder starts as a fairly indistinct affair about 50m along the Palerang Firetrail on the right hand side. There are at least two eroded paths up the mountain to the first shoulder (i have marked both on the Gaia trace). 

This isn't mountain climbing - more like climbing up a dry waterfall. Going up slowly is ok - coming down is a nightmare.

Shoulder

From the shoulder tend left around the rock face until you find the first pink trail marker. This part is fairly flat. 

The shoulder - summit walk took us past healthy colonies of everlastings, peas, hibbertias, and fan flowers. 



 


 


Many larger trees on the slopes have started to reshoot - but the surface remains loose and vulnerable to rain downpours. The fire has exposed a large variety of rock surfaces - and the heat of the fire has spilt many rocks to reveal crystaline structures.

 



 






Summit






Nearby


Mulloon Cascades


Chinese Walls

 

Mulloon Creek Camp Ground



Mapping


Click the map image to load the GAIA Map Trace - to use in the field, load the Gaia App onto your smart phone.  The link is: https://www.gaiagps.com/public/cewBFDqyak3R7RbR9QKmikKt/?layer=GaiaTopoRasterFeet





Comments

Jai Baidell said…
Awesome ascent and fantastic photos. I grew up in South Australia, very mild and gentle countryside for bushwalking. I never quite got over the shock of just how wild and rough the mountains around Canberra are. I'm impressed that you made it to the summit and even more impressed that you got back down safely. Thank you for sharing.
Peter Quinton said…
Hi Jai, South Australia is a beautiful part of the world, full of the nicest people, and you have some amazing inland ranges. I travelled to Island Lagoon near Woomera a while back for a book I am writing - and was fascinated by the place.
While a lawyer by trade, i did a lot of fire fighting in the mountains, and it is through that unlikely connection that i have grown to fear and love the local mountains, despite their population of 8 different types of funnel web spiders and the largest dingoes in the country (taking care not to mention some of the other larger animals that one occasionally gets glimpses of).
I climbed Palerang the week before the terrible fires, and now have cause to regret the poor photo shots from that climb - despite a horrible drought, i found a profusion of wildflowers on the first ascent. Coming back this week was a relief (there is a lot of regeneration) mingled with a lot of concern - the tracks are heavily eroded and dangerous, but the diversity i once saw has been terribly compromised. Only time will tell.
Cheers

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