Friday, February 26, 2010

Pushing Limits

decending down duanes spur

view north west from quartz ridge.
hard to see but ?mt beauty in distance upper right.

a tad blurry but rather ominous view from warby corner from where i had come: mt bogong

so i was trying to explain to one of my colleagues at albury emergency on monday that 14 hours was really just a training run.
and yes it probably isn't ideal to be running in the bush alone.
yes i am a doctor and have wilderness medicine qualifications.
yes i own a steripen (well 2 actually) yet decided not to carry it and drink untreated water from big river.
and yes predictably i ended up with an 'upset tummy' afterwards requiring a quick intravenous top-up and some antibiotics.
but didn't really feel silly to be honest.
just keen to get better as quickly as possible.
guess it makes it an easy decision for 3 weeks time: yep carry the steripen ;)
i was more dirty i missed my flight, missed my shift the next day and an uncomfortable trip away for some medical teaching work the following day.

did a slight variation of the initial 60km loop except starting and finishing from the YMCA at howmans gap about 10km up the road from bogong village (the alpine 100 mile startline).
was quite a little adventure in the dark getting up to the spion kopje (SK) fire trail.
for starters the trailhead from the YMCA isn't that obvious and i spent sometime fossicking arround in what i presume is the managers back yard (trampoline, kids toys...) before finding it up the back left of the complex (seems to be back right on the maps).
easy trip down to rocky valley creek which was only at knee high at worst but looking across at 5am all i could see on the other side was cliff high rock walls with no trailhead, bugger!
of course shimmied to the left rather than right and spent 10mins climbing over logs and generally splashing around before in the end it was just a few metres to the right of where i came out on the other side originally :)
bloody steep trail ie. hands and knees stuff and was a very sweaty first 40mins (for about 1.5kms!!) to the wider but overgrown SK trail.

then climbed up SK to warby corner and did 'the loop' down duanes spur (to big river) up tspur to mt bogong and then down quartz ridge (to big river again) up timms spur and back to warby corner.

initially a drizzly morning before a beautiful sunrise.
made it to a cloud covered mt bogong at 11.45am.
had decided due to a forecast storm at 3-6pm and poor visibility (20m) that i would head down staircase spur if i hadn't reached the summit by midday so was pleased to carry on.

have long wanted to do quartz ridge after reading lawrence and jan's account of the original alpine 100 miler the year they did the loop clockwise.
it was very cold with deep snow that year and although the ridge line is quite safe in the dry/daytime it sends a chill down my spine looking at how easy it would be to literally fall off quartz ridge in more difficult conditions ie. snow.

arriving back at warby corner i could look back at the awesome site of mt bogong and adjacent ridgelines that i had just traversed as well as the darkness of the impending storm.
had brief thoughts about heading back via the road and in hidsight should've at least checked the radar on my phone.
felt a little uneasy on the 1880m highplains with thunder around walking with my aluminium poles!! got of the ridgeline as quickly as i could.
only 2 flashes of lightning though and well in the distance.

rocky creek is described as 'impassable at times of high flow' and realised i would not only be heading down howmans gap down a slippery slope but with no guarantee of getting across the creek at the bottom.
did a fair bit of bum sliding to get to the creek which was as predicted a fair bit higher than before (hip/waist) but very slow flowing where i crossed so quite safe albeit causing a chilly last 10mins of the run.

have recovered from my little tummy upset which i am sure was bacterial in nature.
missed a few runs (no pun intended) but went out for a quick trot this morning.
i am sure next time whippet sees me there will be some payback for all the lectures i gave him on avoiding all this sort of thing at aawt!

final stats 59km and 3400 ascent and descent.
apart from the stuff around howmans gap and the storm at the end never got out of 1st/2nd gear.
was to do another hour or 2 exploring around bogong village on the monday but obviously had to can that.
a nice adventure.


Blogger Hamburglar said...

I thought my gastro ws bad after B2H, but at least I didn't have to make a hospital visit.

Sounds like a fun day out none the less.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Bellthorpe said...

Stunning photos!

Sounds like a great adventure ...

10:42 AM  
Blogger Boomka said...

Great fully formed rainbow picture! I think any time I have ever seen a fully formed rainbow I have looked around and been like, "anybody have a camera" to which I am just met with blank stares. But now we have camera phones so I am prepared. The next time one happens I will be there and ready! Great catch!

3:47 AM  

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