Burgess Bluff and Chapman, Mt: 18 October 2012

Had a few days off work, my new gps, and a desire to get out.. Unfortunately the weather didn’t want to agree, but neither did it stop me. And I learnt my first few lessons on walking with a gps in whiteout conditions! This is what I wrote at the time on Facebook:

Burgess, Chapman Track

GPS track to Burgess Bluff and Mount Chapman

The moral of today, if you’re gonna be a smartass and go out on your own to climb a mountain where part of the track isn’t clearly marked in low visibility, you need to make sure you’re smart, and not just an ass! Lesson number 1: Make sure you wait till you have proper maps on your GPS; Lesson 2: If you don’t have maps, make sure you plot a number of key waypoints for the off track section before you go; Lesson 3: If you’re too lazy to do that, make sure you’re not too lazy to mark key waypoints as you go with proper descriptions rather than just numbers, it’s too easy to mistake one for another; Lesson 4: If you’re too lazy to do that, make sure you check your grid reference occasionally with the paper map; Lesson 5: If you’re still too lazy to do that, you risk learning the hard way: unnecessary detours through scrub that you never need have wasted time and energy on!!! Won’t be making that mistake again!

Anyway, having said that, it is quite a nice walk, if a little long. Descriptions to get to the start are exactly as those to get to Picton, only follow the road a couple of hundred meters further as it heads south. Just before the road starts to turn easterly, there’s a parking spot and a plastic disk (possibly faded red if I remember correctly) marking the start of the track (see Burgess Chapman map).

The taped track heads up in a south-westerly direction. Take care to follow the tapes, as there’s one section where you can’t necessarily see the next tape without a look around (you’ll see my digression on the route taken). You work your way up open forest, with a few slippery roots to trip you up, and come out to a flat plateau. Here you wind your way through waist-neck high tea tree (I think it was), along a pad that for me was more of a river!

Square Tarn

Square Tarn in the mist

This opens out as you get higher, and the really nice walking begins. There’s less of a pad, but on a clear day the route is pretty unmistakable. There’s a nice view towards square tarn as you pass on its left, and then you head up the ridge towards Abrotanella Rise. If in whiteout, take care with route choice. I veered slightly to the right and had a little bit of light scrub to contend with.

Once on top, all the hard work’s done, and you can sit back and relax for the rest of the journey. If you’re already done for, give Burgess a skip, but do go out to Mt Chapman, as it’s an easy walk with no scrub. If you head out to Burgess Bluff, you might as well go over Anderson Bluff.

All up: 18.4km, 6.52hrs, 1311m ascent.